Falafel Arepas

Arepas take two. I’ve been experimenting with this yummy Venezuelan staple food for a while. After a few initial failed attempts, I finally have them down pat. You HAVE TO use pre-cooked white cornmeal (I used the wrong kind of corn flour in an earlier post.) There are several brands of arepa flour out there, but the most common one I’ve seen around is Harina PAN. It can probably be found in the ethnic food section in the grocery store. They’re super easy to make and go well with anything, and can be used in place of pita (if gluten-free is your thing.) I decided to fill them with falafel to make a savory East-meets-West kind of pocket with a Latin twist. Topped with a creamy cashew nut sauce, these little guys were really flavorful!

Baked falafel balls (makes about 9 balls)

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained (about 1 can)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375º. Put all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until a thick paste is formed. Roll into 1-inch balls and put onto an oiled baking dish, slightly flattening them. Cook for 30 minutes, turning them over halfway through. They should be crispy and browned.

Arepa pockets (makes about 6)

  • 1 cup Harina PAN flour
  • 1 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Put all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix the flour with your hands until all the water is absorbed. Roll into 2-inch balls and flatten between your palms. Grill until golden brown on both sides (I use a George Foreman grill for convenience.) Allow to cool, then cut a slit halfway through to make a pocket.

Cashew cream sauce (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp cashew butter
  • 3 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • salt, black pepper, paprika, and a pinch of nutmeg

Process everything up until smooth.

Serve with sliced red cabbage and chopped tomato.

¡Buen Provecho!

Black Bean, Sweet Potato, and Collards Stew

Winter’s made me super lazy about cooking lately and I’ve been stuck in a rut of making my favorite staples over and over again. But having recently joined a new food coop in the neighborhood, I have all this yummy produce and was inspired by the fresh herbs I saw yesterday and decided to get off my lazy butt and make a stew! This is a variation on my good old black bean recipe, but made a little heartier with sweet potatoes and greens, and with an herby kick. Perfect for a cold wintery night!

Black Bean, Sweet Potato, and Collards Stew (serves about 8)

  • usual black beans recipe, minus the dry oregano and adding to the pot 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed, and 1 more cup of water

Plus

  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh rubbed sage
  • 3-4 leaves collard greens, chopped

When the beans are soft, add the red wine vinegar, sage, oregano, and collards, and let simmer another 4 minutes until the collards are wilted. Garnish with some fresh oregano and serve with brown rice.

Cannellini Bean & Kale Quiche

One of my friends brought over a cannellini bean and spinach dip for Thanksgiving which was amazing, and I thought, this would be a good creamy filling for a quiche! Most recipes use silken tofu to get that consistency but I found the beans were just right. And having lived in France for 2 years, I miss quiche and have never tried to make a vegan version. I even made the crust from scratch, which was surprisingly easy and cheaper than a store bought crust.

For the crust

  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp organic cane sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 7 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp soy milk

Preheat oven to 400. Put all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and mix with a fork until all the flour is dampened, then press the dough against the bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie plate, making sure it’s even and there are no holes. Cover with foil and bake for 8 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 4 minutes until the dough is set.

For the filling
  • 1 cup cooked cannellini beans
  • 1/2 cup basil
  • 1 12 oz jar artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup portabella mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup daiya mozzarella cheese
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • paprika
  • salt

Bring the temperature of the oven up to 425. In a processor, add all the ingredients except the onions, pepper, and mushrooms. Process it up until it’s creamy. Saute the remaining ingredients in a saucepan with some olive oil until the onions start to get translucent, about 4 minutes. Layer the bean mixture and onion mixture in the pie crust, adding a sprinkle of daiya cheese on top. Bake for 30 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.

Bon appetit!

Chickpea Herbed Patties

My first attempt at making my own veggie patty! I rarely ever buy vegan burgers because I just can’t find one that isn’t crazy expensive, full of sodium, and that I like enough to spend $6 a box on! These are super hearty and filling so I recommend having them on a lettuce leaf or another type of green instead of bread.

Makes about 6 patties

  • 1 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas (I pressure cook mine but canned is fine also, just don’t use as much salt)
  • 1 leek, finely chopped
  • 3 small carrots, shredded
  • 5 small white potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 1/4 cup chopped dill
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • paprika, red pepper, and sea salt to taste
  • 5-6 leaves of kale, chard, or any kind of lettuce you can wrap around the patty
Preheat your oven to 400°. Boil the potatoes for about 10 minutes until they’re just starting to get tender. While that’s cooking, start cooking the leeks in a pan with some olive oil over medium-low heat until they start to become translucent, but not browned. When your potatoes are done and have cooled a bit, shred them into a mixing bowl, and add all the remaining ingredients. Toss everything together and form the mixture into 1/2 inch thick patties. Cook them over medium heat in a non-stick skillet until they are browned on both sides. Finally, put the patties in the oven for about 10 minutes until they become crispier and more firm. Wrap some greens around them and enjoy!

The $5 Challenge Dinner

I decided to take the $5 Slow Food Challenge and cook an easy, healthy, vegan, and most importantly, CHEAP meal for a few friends this weekend. This is a recipe from a previous post, Mexican Pizza but with black beans this time, and some leftover corn on the side. I chose it because it was the cheapest thing I could think of to make from scratch without having to buy too many ingredients, and everyone loves pizza (duh.) Plus, it went perfectly with my new Mexican tablecloth that I just got while on vacation last week!

The goal was to spend less than $25 to feed five people, and I was actually under budget if I don’t count the spices and olive oil that were already in the cupboard. The flour, cornmeal, and yeast were bought in bulk from the Bushwick Food Coop, which is why they’re so cheap. It pays to join a local coop!

I froze the bananas and put them through my champion juicer on the homogenizer setting to make a custard for dessert. I know not everyone has a juicer, but you could also just use a food processor or blender to make a creamier pudding.

Here’s a recap of what I spent, including for dessert:

  • 3 bananas – $0.93
  • 2 green peppers – $1.91
  • 1 bunch of cilantro $1.79
  • 1 avocados – $2.00
  • 1 bag black beans dry – $1.29
  • 1 tomato – $0.88
  • 1 bag yellow onions – $1.99
  • 4 ears corn – $2.67
  • 1 block tempeh $2.00
  • 1 cup cornmeal  – $0.36
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour – $0.68
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast – $0.12
  • 1 can tomato paste – $1.29
  • 1 bag daiya cheddar cheese shreds – $4.49

And my total was just $22.40 (plus pizza leftovers for breakfast and lunch yesterday!) I did my best to use organic, local stuff, but I don’t get my CSA share until Wednesday so I went to my local grocery store for the veggies. Surprisingly, they had a small selection of local vegetables.

So all and all, success. And Paul got to toss the pizza dough.

Look how happy everyone is to eat a $5 vegan dinner. Take that, value meals!

Red bean and Tempeh Sausage Mexican Pizza

Hurricane pizza! I’ve been stuck inside all weekend because of hurricane “Irene.” Luckily we didn’t really feel any bad effects and just got to spend a weekend at home cooking and veggin out (sorry for the bad pun.) Since there was no going out to the grocery store to buy a pre-made crust, this one is made from scratch but was surprisingly easy, and cheaper.

And I had a few visitors surprise me as I was peeling the husks off the corn: caterpillars! That’s what you get from fresh local corn without pesticides. Good thing I ate the corn right away or they would have eaten all my kernels! But those sneaky guys left plenty for us.

I used red beans for the base because I just happened to have a batch in the fridge that I made a few days ago in the pressure cooker (see my recipe here.) But you could just as well use black or pinto beans.

The tempeh sausage is from a recipe I really like and use a lot from the Post Punk Kitchen. You can use them in a lot of different ways and add or leave out any spices you want.

Serves about 3, or 7-8 slices

Cornmeal pizza dough (adapted from this recipe, without the sugar)

  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for coating bowl
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups unbleached whole wheat flour plus more, if necessary
  • 1 cup cornmeal, plus more for dusting pan
In a large mixing bowl combine yeast with water and whisk. Set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the salt, olive oil, and half of the flour and mix well. Add the 1 cup of cornmeal and all remaining flour except 1/2 cup and mix well with your hands, working to incorporate the flour little by little. Transfer the dough over to a floured work surface and knead dough for about 5 minutes, adding enough additional flour if needed until the dough is elastic and not too sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, usually at least 2 hours.

Once the dough has risen, divide it into 2 portions (for 2 (12 to 14-inch) pizzas) and form into balls. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cover with a damp towel. Let rest for 15 minutes, then transfer to a lightly floured surface, and roll out to a 1/8-inch thickness. If you save the dough, just keep it covered with a towel in the fridge. If it’s too dry or hard when you take it out, just add some water and knead it until it’s the right consistency.

For the toppings

  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 small green bell peppers
  • 1 tomato, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups of tempeh sausage crumbles
  • 1 1/2 cups of red beans
  • 3 ears of corn, husks removed and dropped in boiling water for about 4 minutes, and kernels removed (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup daiya pepperjack cheese
  • olive oil
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
Preheat the oven to 450º. Cook the onions slowly in the olive oil with a little salt on the stove over medium-low heat for about 7-10 minutes so they begin to get soft and slightly caramelized. Add the green peppers and cook for another 4 minutes, stirring often.
Now you’re ready to assemble the pizza! Add layer of beans, followed by the tempeh, onions and peppers, corn, tomatoes, and cheese. Drizzle a little olive oil on top and put in the oven for about 12 minutes or until the crust is golden around the edges. Garnish with cilantro.

Refreshing Cucumber Salad



I’ve been getting tons of cucumbers from the CSA. I juiced some of them this weekend (cucumber mango juice is great!) but I still had some lying around. One of my friends suggested pickling them, but it’s so hot I thought they’d be perfect for a summer evening meal. Throw in some sweet corn and parsley and you get pretty much the easiest salad ever. I had alongside some hummus and pita. And minimal standing in front of the stove time, unless you use dry beans like I did for the hummus, but the pressure cooker allows you to at least go to the next room for a while and escape the hot kitchen!

For the hummus:

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (I used dry beans and cooked in pressure cooker but canned is fine, just add less salt)
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 cup water (or cooking water from pressure cooker if available)
  • crushed red pepper to taste
  • sea salt to taste
Throw everything in the food processor until it’s smooth and creamy. Garnish with some paprika and parley.
For the salad:
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1/8 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • crushed red pepper
Toss everything together in a bowl and garnish with some parsley sprigs (for prettiness, of course!)

Previous Older Entries