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Archive for the ‘Middle-Eastern’ Category

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Well, it’s been quite a roller coaster year and a half, and there have been many changes in my life! One of them was that I veered off the Vegan track, which is something I’m not very proud of… However, I am happy to say that I am back with a vengeance and excited to start blogging my favourite animal-friendly recipes once again!

Warning: These babies are addictive!! I’ve probably made them at least once a week for the last year and just can’t get enough of their crispy deliciousness. They are not only amazing on their own as a snack (think of it as protein popcorn!), but I also love sprinkling them over salads, or popping them in wraps along with some spinach, hummus, tomato and avocado (or whatever else your veggie heart desires) – yumm yumm…The spices are a rough guide, so you can add whatever you find in your spice rack and think will taste good; but I’m a huge cumin fan and wouldn’t think about leaving out the paprika either. Sometimes I have a lemon & herb spice that I like to add too, but like I said – whatever floats your herb boat!

Ingredients:

1 can of Chickpeas, drained and rinsed

generous splash of Olive Oil

about 1 tsp each of Paprika, Cumin & Cajun spice (or a favourite blend of your own)

sprinkle of Sea Salt

 

Method:

Preheat oven to 200C/400F and prepare a tray with foil.

– Dab the drained Chickpeas with a paper towel until dry and spread onto the tray.

– Drizzle Chickpeas with Olive Oil and then sprinkle with Spices & Sea Salt, tossing until evenly distributed (it will get a bit messy if you’re using your hands).

– Place tray in the oven and roast +- 30 mins or until Chickpeas are golden and crispy. Allow to cool completely before storing, if you’re not eating them right away (like that’s gonna happen!).

*Chuck into a salad or a wrap, if you haven’t already eaten them all straight out of the oven…

 

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I decided to make this traditional dish gluten-free by exchanging Quinoa for the usual Bulgur Wheat, an idea I got from the book The Gluten-Free Vegan: 150 Delicious Gluten-Free, Animal-Free Recipes. For those of you who have not discovered Quinoa yet: it’s an ancient grain who’s consumtion goes as far back as the Incas, and it has the rare property of being a complete plant protein! The Holy Grail for Vegans & Vegetarians…Make sure you rinse it first, to get rid of the bitter coating, though. This Salad is tasty & refreshing – perfect for a light Summer meal.

Ingredients: (about 4 side servings)

1 cup rinsed Quinoa

2 cups Water

1 cup chopped Cherry Tomatoes

1 cup chopped Cucumber

1/2 chopped Red Bellpepper

1/4 Red Onion, sliced thinly and chopped

handful of chopped Spring Onion

bunch of Fresh Mint, minced

bunch of Fresh Parsley, minced

juice of fresh Lime/Lemon

Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper as needed

 

Method:

Boil the Water and Quinoa in a saucepan, lower heat to a simmer and cover with lid. Let cook 12-14 mins. until Water absorbed and Quinoa ‘tails’ visible. Drain & allow to cool.

– Place all Salad ingredients in a large bowl, except Lime juice & Olive Oil. Add Quinoa to bowl and toss to combine. Add Dressing, toss again. Season & chill before serving.

*Tastes of Summer….

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My boyfriend’s sister and I share the same name – this is the dish she served me a few nights ago…I was so impressed by this yummy meal by a non-vegan that I had to ask her for the recipe, but Becca confessed to being an impulsive cook who doesn’t really measure anything so I had to take home the left-overs and dissect the ingredients one by one. After much questioning, examining & tasting, here is my replica of her Tagine! The only thing we can’t agree on is whether to use Figs or Dates (Becca insists she used Figs, where as I’m sure they were Dates), so decide for yourself – but don’t leave out the dried fruit as it is the Secret Ingredient in this dish, adding delicate sweetness. You will be pleasantly surprised at how there is so much flavour in one mouthful, without the use of even one dried herb or spice…

Ingredients:

1/2 Onion, sliced

2 cloves Garlic, minced

1 Tblsp. Ginger, minced

1 small Red Chilli, chopped

1 Eggplant, halved & sliced

1 large Carrot, halved & sliced

2 cups Cherry Tomatoes, halved

4-5 dried, pitted Dates/Figs/Apricots

1x tin of Lentils (or dry Red/Green Lentils, but add earlier & with more water)

1/2 Tblsp. Soy Sauce

1 – 2 cups Baby Spinach, torn

handful of chopped, fresh Mint

boiled Water, as needed (about 3 cups)

 

Method:

– In a large frying pan/sauce pan, sauté Onions in oil until beginning to brown. Add Garlic & Ginger, and sauté another 30 sec. then add Chilli, Eggplant & Carrots and keep cooking on medium heat until they begin to soften and brown.

– Add in Tomatoes & Dates/Figs, and cover with Water. Boil on med-high heat for about 10 mins, then lower heat to a simmer, adding more water if needed, and partially cover with a lid. You will need to keep adding water while it cooks, to prevent vegetables from sticking. Allow to simmer for  atleast 2 hours, until vegetables have cooked through, dried fruit has almost disintergrated, and sauce has reduced.

– Add in tinned Lentils about 20 mins. before serving, again increasing water if needed. Add Spinach & Soy Sauce about 10 mins. before the end of cooking time, stirring to combine.

– Fold in Mint and allow flavours to blend for about 10 mins., before serving with cous cous/farro.

*If you are using the bulbous, dark purple Eggplant (and not the long, thin, light purple one), then you will need to salt the pieces and leave them in a colander to sweat for atleast 20 mins, before rinsing, drying & cooking. This takes away its bitter flavour.

 

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Here is a basic Hummus recipe that always hits the spot! I used Great Northern beans because I find they are softer and therefore give a creamier result, but I then added some Chickpeas to bulk it up. If you can’t find those around your area, this works just as well with only one can of Chickpeas…The spiced oil isn’t necessary but adds a nice zing, and makes your Hummus look more authentic. Enjoy with some raw veggie crudites, or some toasted Pita – good on Sandwiches too, instead of Mayo!

Ingredients:

1 can Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup Chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 -2 cloves Garlic, minced (depending on size)

2 Tblsp. Olive Oil

3 Tblsp. Lemon Juice, fresh

1 Tblsp. Tahini (Sesame Paste)

1 tsp. Sea Salt

1 Tblsp. fresh Parsley, chopped

1/2 tsp. ground Cumin

1/2 tsp. Paprika

2 Tblsp. Water (if needed – depending on desired thickness)

 

Method:

– Add all ingredients (except water) into Food Processor/Blender and pulse until combined and smooth. If too thick, add water slowly while machine still running.

– Pour into bowl and refrigerate until needed. Before serving, drizzle with Spiced Oil.

Spiced Oil:

1 -2 Tblsp. Olive Oil

1/4 tsp. Paprika

1/4 tsp. Cumin

dash of Cayenne

Method:

Heat Oil in Pan and mix in spices until combined. Remove and drizzle over Hummus.

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