Easy, Four-Ingredient, Crispy Fried Chickpeas

Vegans are lacking protein. How many times have you heard that? By now, it’s a distant echo that somehow still seems to taunt all the cruelty-free eaters in the vegan-verse. But the thing is, we know it’s not true. Vegans get plenty of protein. In fact, for all the omnis out there– your meat gets its protein from plants. That’s right– you heard it here first. Well I don’t know if you actually heard it here first, but if you did, that’s freaking awesome and you’re welcome.

Some of the greatest sources of protein in the vegan world come from lentils, beans (legumes) and other foods like tofu and seitan. Not to mention the loads of seeds and nuts that are also protein-rich. As I continue to force myself to eat– I mean, journey down the road of embracing a completely whole foods diet (similar to my early vegan days when I didn’t know what to eat and had no idea that Champ’s Diner existed), I will continue to load up on more protein-rich goodies, and beans have always been one of my favorites. Mix them with rice and you’ve got a source of complete protein, meaning that all nine essential amino acids are set in that protein to help your body do all the amazing things it’s capable of doing, besides going to and from work and laying to watch Netflix (calm down, I’m pointing a finger at myself).

Chickpeas are pretty high on that bean list– also known as garbanzo beans, they are not only yummy, but really versatile in the kitchen– after all, they can turn into falafels. If that ain’t a miraculous transformation, I dunno what is. But, when you’re tired of eating them in their natural form, and don’t feel like making falafels, try out this recipe. It’s basically breaded and fried chickpeas, but the great part is, it shouldn’t take you too long to make because you don’t need anything more that a few ingredients, and a few simple steps– in less that 20 minutes, you’re in fried bean heaven.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 15.5 oz. can of chickpeas, not drained
  • 3/4-1 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs (plain or panko breadcrumbs can also be used— whichever you choose, be sure that your breadcrumbs are vegan! Many brands contain dairy and/or eggs)
  • 1/8-1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt

What to Do:

  1. Heat a medium-sized skillet over medium heat with olive oil in it.
  2. While the oil is heating, mix the breadcrumbs and salt together in a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Open the can of chickpeas, but do not drain them of the water in the can.
  4. Test that the olive oil is fully heated with a very small drop of water (do not stand over the oil because it will splatter when hot!)
  5. Using a metal spoon, transfer the wet chickpeas to the breadcrumb mixture, draining each spoonful of water but leaving the chickpeas wet (the water from the can acts as the “binding agent” and helps the breadcrumbs stick to the chickpeas fully, so you want them to remain wet!).
  6. Transfer about half the can, mixing the beans into the breadcrumbs quickly, then transferring them to the oil slowly and carefully so the oil does not splatter.
  7. Shake the pan to spread the chickpeas across evenly.
  8. Let the chickpeas fry over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes, then, turn the chickpeas and continue to fry for an additional 3-4 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
  9. Drain the fried chickpeas on a dish that has been lined with a dry cloth or paper towels.
  10. Repeat these steps with the remaining half-can of chickpeas.

Date Posted on Instagram: 2/18/2020

*Product Review*: Vegan Toona!

Tuna — a saltwater fish that is part of the mackerel family. The size of the fish can range, depending on the specific type. Are those quick, fun facts what come to your mind when you hear the word “tuna”? Yeah, me either. When we hear that word, most of us think of the minced flesh that comes in a can. But even that description may be off-putting to some– well, by some, I mean non-vegans. Because, like any sentient being, that minced mush in a can is indeed flesh.

Before going vegan, like a lot of non-vegans, I tried to eat more tuna and seafood on my initial route to health. Sea creatures do not usually contain large amounts of fat and most people view eating them as healthy– in fact, many people go pescatarian before going full-vegan. Or, they just stop there.

I was a big fan of canned tuna in my pre-vegan days. But thinking back on it now, filling a sandwich with tuna that is loaded with mayo isn’t necessarily #healthgoals. Either way, I hadn’t had tuna in about two years– that is, I hadn’t had any form of a vegan variation since going vegan. Until recently 🙂

Vegan tuna in all it’s canned glory.

First, a bit of the back story; when I was still in my exploratory vegan days (although those days don’t ever truly end, do they?) I happened to find some mock vegan tuna as part of a vegan “starter kit” online. I bought the kit (this was over a year ago), and I tossed the tuna in the cabinet because– well, that’s me. I was excited to try it, but wanted to “wait” to showcase it for whatever weird reason. I recently cleaned out the cabinets and saw that lonely lil’ can in the back, still unused. First, I thought about why I was so weird to wait to use this canned baby for so long (yes, really), then, I made a tuna sandwich!

The canned tuna I had was made by a brand called Sophie’s Kitchen. They make plant-based seafood which is amazing, because I love seeing plant-based seafood all over Vegan IG. I hope to try a lot more of their products in the future, but for now, I’m also trying to calm down on the processed goods, so it’ll have to wait. But check them out and see what they have to offer!

Now, for the nitty gritty– how did it taste? What was the flavor like? The texture?

Before I get to all those deets, I have to preface this with saying that anything that is vegan (with the exception of the amazing things they’re doing with the Impossible and Beyond Burgers as well as some seitan-based chick’n sandwiches) is usually never going to be an exact replica of what you were used to eating on an omni diet. You have to learn to adapt your palate a bit, as well as relish in the fact that something that is reallly close to what you used to eat (especially if you prepare it the same way) is still really delicious, and now, cruelty-free.

That being said, visually, I was pleasantly surprised. It actually looked like canned tuna. Not a carbon copy, but it could fool an omni, for sure. It was packed in olive oil, which was refreshing because actual tuna packed in oil is usually packed in vegetable oil, and I always thought that was weird because veggie oil seems more appropriate for cooking and not packing. It fell apart in chunks, and just looking at, I was a happy camper.

That black shadow in the back– Trey thought he was getting some toona too. Yeah, right.

Texture-wise, I was also happy. It felt like what I was used to eating when I ate a tuna fish sandwich! But then, is it truly that hard to replicate a minced meat texture? Something to think about! It was a little bit heavier, but not overly so.

The flavor was kinda scary. I know about some products, like kelp granules, that help to mimic that seafood flavor. And although this didn’t taste exactly like tuna fish, that seafood-y flavor was definitely there. It mixed well when I added other ingredients and mayo to it, and once all that was mixed together, it legit looked like meaty tuna.

All the flavor, none of the cruelty.

As I just mentioned, when eaten on it’s own (I took a few bites before adding anything else), it was a bit heavier in my mouth–not like a fully light seafood feel. That could have been because of the pea protein and/or potato starch bases I’m assuming, because that is what this mock delicious-ness is mostly made of.

So, at the end of it all, I’d definitely give this canned delight a 8/10 and I would hands down purchase it again. I think for transitioning vegans, it might take a bit before they feel comfty mixing it plain into a salad or eating it out of the can. For me, two years in, I’d gobble the can down plain– eh, I might add a little salt and pepper.

But for transitioning vegans looking for that comfort food feel of a delicious “tuna” fish sandwich slathered in mayo on bread– just imagine, you could be eating this, completely cruelty-free:

Vegandale 2019!

Last year, during the peak of my new vegan life, I attended one of the best vegan food festivals around, Vegandale. I was extremely excited to be able to go to a vegan food festival– I’d made it my personal goal to get to as many vegan food events as I could that summer and hitting up Vegandale was an absolute dream.

One of my hands down top favorite dishes from last year’s festival— the buffalo mac and cheeze from Freakin’ Vegans, based in Jersey.

100% vegan food vendors from all over the country. It was amazing — tons of people, great vibes, music, lots of activities and lots of F O O D. Delicious and amazing food! I went in with the goal of trying foods from places that were not based in the New York City– that is, I only wanted to try food from vendors who were based in cities from around the country and outside of NYC. A nationwide food tour! I hit up spots from Chicago, Texas, Jersey, Toronto and more. It was insanity!

I was trying to stay away from food based out of NYC, but this was an exception. I had to try the mock oxtail from Chef Rootsie and her crew over at Veggie Grub!

This year, the festival’s back! Vegandale is coming to New York City again and they’ll be back at Randall’s Island Park on Saturday, September 28th, 2019. You don’t wanna miss out on trying some of the most innovative and just downright delicious vegan food you’ve ever seen. I’m telling you, it truly is a feast for the eyes as much as the stomach. I tried so much amazing food and of course, I chronicled everything on my Instagram page — so much food that I literally had to bring containers with me so I could take food home 😀 I wasn’t complaining though; who would when you have an abundance of decadent vegan noms to nosh on for days, long after the festival is over?

One of the only vendors from outside of the United States— The Vegan Outlawz came all the way from Switzerland and bought their bomb BBQ kebab sandwiches with them!

Okay, the supply didn’t last me as long as I would have liked, but that was due to me being greedy — what can I say, I’m a true (vegan) foodie at heart!

Head over to www.vegandalefest.com to get tickets for this year’s festival at the current discounted rates! And check out their Instagram page — not only can you go gaga over all the drool-inducing noms on their page, but you can also get tickets via the link in their bio.

This beautiful scoop of fig and apple flavored ice cream topped with toasted aquafaba was brought to us by Chef Nick Di Bona over at Bona Bona Ice Cream, based in Port Chester, New York.

September 28th is right around the corner, so start preparing to experience some of the best vegan food you’ve ever tried! And I might just see you out there!

Spicy Asian Slaw

I’ve never been a fan of coleslaw. Before I was vegan, I hated coleslaw. After I became vegan, I hated coleslaw. There’s never really been any version of coleslaw that I’ve liked. Then, one day I realized that the main reason I didn’t like coleslaw was because every time I had it, it was always mushy. And I have texture issues with mushy food. As I dug deeper into my disdain for for this BBQ side dish staple, I realized another reason I didn’t like it was because I wasn’t crazy about the combo of veggies that was often found in it. So, I set out to make my own slaw, because that’s what food is all about. Creating new flavors; taking the old and breathing new life into it, reinventing dishes and creating entirely new flavors altogether. It’s taken some time, but I’m finally starting to break away from the limitations I put on myself with food. I’m making sweet tofu scrams, experimenting with the flavor of veggies and just doing whatever I want because that’s usually how the best dishes are created. A little bit of creativity, a little bit of science, and in my case, a whole lotta crazy.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1/2 cup scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup beets, spiralized (you can buy them pre-spiralized or spiralize them yourself)
  • 1/2 cup Bosc pear, diced
  • 3-4 tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped
  • Additional cilantro for garnish
  • 1/4 cup wasabi mayo*

What to Do:

  1. on a cutting board, slice the spiralized beets roughly to create smaller shreds and spirals. Leave some different lengths but try not to have any pieces that are more than 2-3 inches in length.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the beet spirals, red cabbage, scallion and pear.
  3. Mix until well blended.
  4. Add the wasabi mayo and mix again until mayo is well blended into the slaw.
  5. Add cilantro and mix into the slaw.
  6. Transfer slaw to a serving dish and garnish with more fresh cilantro; you can enjoy alone or as a side with another meal. I also used this slaw as a filling for some delicious summer rolls!**

* To make the wasabi mayo, combine 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise (I used Trader Joe’s vegan spread and dressing) and 1 heaping tbsp. of wasabi paste. Mix the two items together vigorously until well blended. You can find wasabi paste in the Asian or international foods section of your local grocery, or go to an Asian market.

** This recipe is for a small batch of slaw that will yield about 2-3 servings. The dressing measurements also allow for the slaw to remain crunchy and not become soggy, even after sitting overnight. To make a larger batch, simply double the amounts of everything, but try to keep the ratios of dry and wet ingredients the same so you do not make the slaw too wet.

 

Date posted on Instagram: 12/16/18

“Earth” Oatmeal

Oatmeal is such a classic dish. It’s literally one of the oldest grains in the history of food, and not only that but it’s one versatile beast of food and you all know how I feel about food versatility. You can have it sweet or savory. You can have it for breakfast, lunch or even dinner. I mean, you can literally do whatever you want with oatmeal. But instead of fitting it into just one of the many options, why not mash it up some? This quick and easy oatmeal recipe creates a fun sweet and salty (or savory) bite. It’s funny because so many of my recipes are born out of last-minute epiphanies. I originally planned on making this only a sweet bowl. But toward the end I felt like it need something– I saw it was starting to look like a bunch of dirt (that’s where the “earth” name came from) and then I realized the salt crystals would work perfectly with the dirt effect and make it sweet and salty, another classic combo. This is one of the more delicious and comfty bowls I’ve had in awhile and I was eating a lot of oatmeal for a hot minute recently. Who knew something so simple could be so nourishing for the soul?

earth oatmeal

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 cup steel-cut dry oats (cheaper if you purchase them in bulk!)
  • 1/8 cup blueberries (about one handful)
  • 3-4 pitted dates, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 medium-sized ripe banana
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. nutmeg
  • 1 heaping tbsp. brown sugar*
  • 1 tsp. whole pink Himalayan sea salt crystals
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or non-dairy milk of your choice; I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk for this recipe)
  • 1 cup water

What to Do:

  1. Heat a small to medium  pot over high heat with 1 cup of water. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Add the oats and boil for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Reduce heat to a low to medium heat and stir oats.
  3. Cover pot with a lid and let oats simmer for 5-10 minutes or until all (or at least most) water has been absorbed by the oats.
  4. Let the oats sit for about 2 minutes, then, remove oats from heat and transfer to a serving bowl.
  5. Pour almond milk over oats (but do not stir milk into oats yet!).
  6. Slice the into several, even-sized slices and place them on top of the oatmeal on one side.
  7. Now, start adding the toppings; place the blueberries on top of the banana slices.
  8. Place the date pieces on top of the other fruit.
  9. Carefully sprinkle the cinnamon and nutmeg along the line of fruit (as pictured) one at a time.
  10. Carefully sprinkle the heaping amount of brown sugar on top of the other spices.
  11. Sprinkle the chia seeds over the other spices and sugar.
  12. Finally, sprinkle the pink sea salt crystals over everything else. Serve and enjoy!

* Most brown sugar (and all sugar for that matter) is not vegan, unless marked otherwise. The brown sugar I used in this recipe wasn’t vegan– I already had a bulk amount of brown sugar since before going vegan and because I don’t use brown sugar that often, that is what I’ve been using because I planned on going through all products I currently have and then purchasing vegan products after those are finished (this is for financial as well as waste reasons). If you would like to make sure that you are using vegan sugar, you can use this easy recipe for brown sugar.

Date posted on Instagram: 12/6/18

Autumn Tofu Scramble

Tofu scramble is my jam. I’ve had it every which way I can think of at this point, with every type of mix-in possible. That was until I was eating brekkie one day recently and as I was enjoying my yummy Fieldroast apple maple links I had an epiphany. I actually haven’t had tofu scram every way I can think of, and I haven’t had all the mix-ins either. Could tofu scram be enjoyed seasonally? What about sweet? My mind was spinning with such crazy ideas, but a couple of days later I made it over to the kitchen to test my theory out. The result? A delicious new take on tofu scram that my taste buds were pleasantly surprised by. It’s 50% savory, 50% sweet, and 100% bomb vegan protein.

IMG_8439

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/3 block of organic firm tofu, drained
  • 1/2 cup brussel sprouts, chopped (finely or roughly depending on the texture you want!)
  • 2 small to medium carrot sticks, diced
  • 1/4 green apple, diced
  • 2-3 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons pink Himalayan pink sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon agave syrup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon black salt (kala namak)*

What to Do:

  1. Heat a medium to large skillet over low-medium heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  2. Once hot, add the chopped brussel sprouts and carrots to the skillet and saute them approximately 2 minutes.
  3. Add the green apples to the skillet and continue the saute for another minute, stirring the veggies and fruit until well mixed.
  4. Reduce heat to a low simmer and add agave syrup to veggie and fruit mix.
  5. Stir syrup into mix continuously for approximately 10 seconds then let sit and simmer.
  6. Crumbled drained tofu over the top of the veggie and fruit mix to create the scram.
  7. Sprinkle turmeric over the top of the crumbled tofu, then, mix everything together until turmeric is well blended into the tofu and it is completely yellow.
  8. Return the heat to low/medium and add pink Himalayan sea salt and black pepper. Stir until well mixed into scram.
  9. Continue to saute scram until veggies and apple are slightly tender, approximately another 2-3 minutes.
  10. Remove from heat and transfer to serving dish. Enjoy alone or with some of your favorite breakfast sides.

 

 * Also, feel free to add about a teaspoon of black salt, also known as “kala namak”. This salt can give your egg substitutes a more “egg-like” taste! I recently got some and have tried adding it to some of my vegan eggs, although I still love tofu scram without it. This salt can be found in Asian or Indian markets but I found a decent size bulk amount on Amazon for a great price. Do a little research to price check!

Date posted on Instagram: 11/23/18

Cauliflower Rice Stir-fry

The first time I tried cauliflower rice was this summer during the week I ate a raw food diet. There, I said it. I am usually late to the party with trying things. I am also literally usually late to parties because I’m kind of a loser that way (but I digress, and anyway, the cool kids never show up early to parties). I am now a fan of this amazing rice substitute, and I am actually quite surprised that I haven’t had it more often. It’s filling because its a veg, and since most of eating is psychological, you can definitely feel as though you’re eating actual rice when you’re not. I’m not a big fan of substitute foods unless absolutely necessary or called for. I like real foods, with whole stuff and full everything — full -fat, whole grains and whole foods, and actual rice– no substituting anything. But, sometimes you feel like having cauliflower instead, or sometimes you wanna cut a few calories. Whatever the reason may be, this delicious stir-fry should satisfy your taste buds. And although this meal is absolutely #dumpskillet worthy, everything I used was fresh so I didn’t want to put it that category. However, this would of course still taste great with some older produce.

cauliflower rice stir fry

 

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups cauliflower rice (you can purchase it at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, or make your own)
  • 1 1/2 cups broccoli florets (fresh or frozen is fine)
  • 1-2 cups edamame
  • 2 medium-sized carrot sticks, diced
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, removed from stems
  • 1 small lime
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

 

What to Do:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat with olive oil.
  2. Once hot, add the carrots and mushroom to the skillet and saute for approximately 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add broccoli florets to skillet and continue to saute an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring the veggie mixture frequently.
  4. Add cauliflower rice to skillet and stir rice into veggies until well mixed.
  5. Let sit over heat for approximately 1-2 minutes, then add soy sauce, salt and garlic powder.
  6. Stir all seasoning thoroughly into the stir-fry, mixing rice and veggies together and stirring frequently so the veggies do not burn.
  7. Add edamame to stir-fry and reduce heat to low.
  8. Mix edamame and about half of the 1/4 cup of cilantro into stir-fry and continue to stir the mixture occasionally. Leave on low heat for approximately another 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat.
  9. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 of the lime into the stir-fry and mix well. Slice the remaining half into lime wedges.
  10. Transfer stir-fry to serving plate and garnish with remaining cilantro and lime wedges.

 

 

Date posted on Instagram: 11/4/18