The Weekday Vegetarian experiment at our home continues to go well. We’ve now completed three weeks and my vegetarian cooking skills are improving, as our meals are getting progressively tastier. After gorging ourselves on meat last weekend, thanks to a wedding and two amazing barbecues, it surprisingly didn’t make me miss eating meat daily. In fact, it solidified my belief that this dietary path is a good one for us. Cutting back on meat consumption and focusing on plant-based food and whole grains is making me feel better than ever. I have significantly more energy throughout the day and my digestive tract is thanking me. This is what we’ve been eating:
1. Vegetable Burrito Bake (layered dish of rice, black beans, sautéed spinach, served in a tortilla with salsa and avocado)
2. Stir-fried vegetables and tofu served with soba noodles tossed with kale pesto
3. Stacked eggplant burgers (made from grilled marinated eggplant layered with Swiss cheese, tomato, and fresh basil), served in crusty rolls with potato salad
4. Cream of asparagus soup
5. Curried kolhrabi and peas with rice and garden salad
Here’s a wonderful recipe for Falafel, as requested by a friend. I made these a few weeks ago and they would definitely become a household staple if I owned a decent food processor. Instead, I spent 20 minutes battling with our ancient blender to make a recipe that should have taken 5 minutes. In this recipe, the chickpeas are just soaked overnight before grinding. The cooking stage is eliminated completely, which saves time and apparently gives better texture. Try it and let me know what you think.
Falafel (from Bonnie Stern’s Friday Night Dinners)
1-1/2 cups dried chickpeas
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
3 tbsp panko or fresh breadcrumbs
1 tbsp ground cumin (preferably toasted)
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cayenne, hot red pepper sauce, or aleppo pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Tahini Sauce (find it in this recipe)
Tomato Lime Salsa
1. In a large bowl, cover chickpeas generously with cold water. Refrigerate overnight. Drain well.
2. In a food processor, chop garlic and onion until very fine. Add uncooked soaked chickpeas, breadcrumbs, cumin, coriander, salt, and cayenne and pulse on/off until mixture starts to get pasty and holds together when you pinch it. Add cilantro and process on/off until finely chopped.
3. With a general tablespoon, shape mixture into about 30 balls and flatten slightly.
4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add falafel and cook 3-4 minutes per side, or until crispy. Drain on paper towels. Repeat until all are cooked. Serve with whole wheat pita, tahini sauce, and/or salsa.