Chickpea Salad with Savory Meringue

For years I searched google for a decent vegan meringue recipe, but never dared attempt one because of the lackluster results reported. A few months ago I found a YouTube video that showed how to make an excellent meringue using flax seeds. The process took HOURS. Somehow I just never quite had the time for that. But recently I heard about a new technique. Making meringue from the syrupy liquid in a can of beans. Huh? It’s true. Now, I didn’t have all the ingredients to make a sweet meringue, so I decided to make a fluff for my salad.

You can do all kinds of interesting things with one single can of beans – in this case, chickpeas. You see, we have the garbanzo beans themselves, the liquid, and even the skins – they’re best removed for most recipes to give a more appealing texture.

By adding just a few simple ingredients to a can of beans, you can have a fancy schmancy gourmet meal!

For the salad, I have used my fingers to lightly crush the drained & peeled chickpeas. Minced onion and red bell pepper are added, along with vegan mayo (I prefer Just Mayo), sweet pickle relish, a squirt of mustard, and salt & pepper to taste. It’s similar to an egg salad.

Now for the fun part. Pour 1/2 C of the chickpea brine into a medium size bowl and beat it with a handmixer. Start out at a slow speed so it doesn’t go flying. Once it gets good and foamy, turn it up to high speed.

Keep going! Make sure you get all the edges.

Finally you have a nice, thick FLUFF.

As for the chickpea skins, they don’t have to go to waste. I tossed mine with olive oil and sprinkled them with salt, pepper, garlic, and smoked paprika and baked them to a crisp. They make a pretty garnish, although they get soft the minute they touch the foam. Then they get a little chewy 🙂 You can also eat them as a snack.

But they were so pretty. I put a scoop of foam on my salad and sprinkled the crispy chickpea skins on top. The foam is light and fluffy with a hint of salt, perfect with the faux egg salad.

The fluff will not, unfortunately, stay fluffy forever. After an hour or so you’ll notice it has deteriorated, going back to its liquid state with nothing more than foamy bubbles floating around on top. Best to whip it up and serve immediately.

Recipe Recap
Chickpea Salad
1 can of chickpeas, drained & peeled (reserve liquid & skins)
1/4 C minced onion
1/4 C minced red bell pepper
1 heaping Tbsp Just Mayo (or other vegan mayo)
1 – 2 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt & pepper to taste

Lightly mash the chickpeas with your fingers or a fork, it is fine to have big chunks. Add onion and bell pepper, mayo, relish, and mustard. Stir. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Chickpea Fluff
1/2 C chickpea brine

Pour chickpea brine into a medium size bowl and whip with a handmixer, starting at a low speed. As the brine thickens and foams, turn up the speed slowly until you reach the highest setting. Beat the brine for approximately 3 to 5 minutes, until it resembles shaving cream.

Crispy Chickpea Skins
Skins of one can of chickpeas
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt, black pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika to taste

Preheat oven to 350
In a small mixing bowl, toss skins with olive oil. Season to taste. Place in a single layer on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes, or until skins are crispy and golden brown. If they appear to be getting done too quickly on top, you may carefully turn them over with a spatula.

Serve salad with a spoonful of fluff on top. If you like, you may garnish with crispy chickpea skins. Makes a great light lunch for two.

2015 Lenten Potluck #2: Mock Tuna Salad with Avocado Mayo

I was very bad Tuesday night and neglected to make my potluck dish ahead. That meant all day Wednesday I was trying to plan what to make, and how I’d make it in the very tiny window of time from the time I leave work to the time I get back to the church. I have a mere two hours, and I also needed to stop at the store! Luckily I already had a plan to use up two more avocados, so I just had to figure out what I wanted to cover in Avocado Mayo, a recipe I found at Girl Makes Food.

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I decided to do yet another version of mock tuna using chickpeas, and I even had a little bag of dried seaweed flakes from my last haul at the Asian market.

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For the mayo:
Use a fork to mash two avocados until creamy and smooth. Stir in 2 Tbsp white vinegar, juice of half a lemon, 1/8 tsp onion powder & 1/8 tsp garlic powder. Salt to taste.

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For the mock tuna:
I lightly mashed four cans of chickpeas. Of course I bought the cheapest chickpeas I could find, and they turned out to be pretty firm and didn’t mash as well as I would’ve liked. Better to go with chickpeas that are a little more tender if you can. After mashing them, season with salt and pepper (and if you like egg taste in your tuna salad, add gray salt for the sulfur taste).

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Now, depending on how fishy you want the salad, add 1/4 C to 1/2 C seaweed flakes.

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I did 1/4 C. It looked like a lot, but next time I’m upping it!

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Add avocado mayo and stir to coat.

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Add two cans of peas, drained – you can reserve a little liquid in case you want to thin down the mayo in the salad. Turn the salad very gently to incorporate the peas, you want to avoid crushing them.

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I found an antique bowl that matched the salad beautifully, it belonged to my grandmother 🙂

If I were making a smaller batch of the salad just for myself, I’d use two cans of chickpeas, one can of peas, but the same amount of mayo. I’d get it good and salty, probably use 1/4 C of seaweed flakes again (since I’d have a smaller portion of chickpeas to season), and let the salad sit over night. It should keep from browning if you cover it in plastic wrap with the plastic touching the salad. Although if it’s just for me, I don’t care if it browns a little. Just stir it up and it’s fine. On its own, the salad is both oil free & perfect for a strict fasting day, and also gluten free. Serve with pita bread for those who are gluten full.


2015-3-5 Lenten Potluck
We had way more people than usual at Presanctified Liturgy, and way more food than usual at the potluck.

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This is just the main table with the savory food, we had another counter filled with sweet stuff.

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Mjuddara with hummus and salad is a classic Lenten meal, is it not? We also had Sloppy Joe’s made with TVP and Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce, and guess what? The little buns were made using my Tasty Buns recipe! They turned out beautifully, I think they were better than mine! I also tried the pumpkin bread, and a lovely bowl of magenta-colored soup (is there any vegetable more beautiful than the beet?).

I know some of you are also enjoying Lenten potlucks in your own parishes. What are you cooking?

vegan sausage made with vital wheat gluten

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**I revised the method of preparing this recipe. Ingredients are correct, but HERE is the updated method.

Sorry for my lack of posts the past couple days, I guess I needed a little break. But not from cooking and baking, I’ve been doing a lot of that! Most of you are probably not aware some sort of vegan hotdog day was being celebrated in Athens, Greece on Saturday. I wanted to be a part of it, but didn’t want to eat rubbery store-bought vegan hotdogs. I thought I could make my own, but…they ended being really big and fat, more like sausages. And I kind of also forgot to buy buns. Oh well, close enough, right??

I looked at a ton of recipes, but none were exactly what I was looking for. I wanted to add stuff to the wheat gluten mix, but I didn’t find any recipes like that until after I finished this one…when I was trying to figure out what I did wrong. I mean, I didn’t ruin them, but they weren’t quite right, as you’ll see. I think I solved the problem, but after looking at so many recipes, I can no longer tell you which one I used for the spice blend! So everything is kind of to taste. So let’s get to the good stuff.

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I started by sauteing about 1 C mushrooms and 1/2 C onions in olive oil, with a couple chopped cloves of garlic. Cook until soft. Set aside to cool.

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For the dry ingredients: 1 1/4 C vital wheat gluten, and a spice blend of approximately 1 tsp paprika, 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp crushed fennel, 1 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp oregano, 1/4 tsp black pepper, and 1/2 – 1 tsp salt. Stir it up. (You may increase the amount of spices to give it an extra punch)

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I dissolved about 1 tsp of this vegetarian chicken-flavor bouillon in 1 C of the soak water from my mushrooms (they were dried) and 1 Tbsp liquid smoke,

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and added it to the wheat gluten & spice mix. I believe that was my big mistake. I should’ve added the veggies (and other ingredients, shown below) to the liquid, and then added the wheat gluten & spice mix. Lesson learned.

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Because when I suddenly remembered I needed to add the veggies, along with a couple tablespoons each of split chickpeas and freekah (smoked baby wheat), the wheat gluten was already turning into a weird, meaty texture. Before I even stirred!

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Well, I mixed it with my hands the best I could,
(Revised Method HERE)

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then shaped it into 5 long rolls the best I could.

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I wrapped them individually in foil and twisted the ends, then steamed them for 40 minutes. They smelled SO good.

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It looks pretty nice, actually.

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The only problem was the extras were all more on the outside of the sausage. Next time I’m going to pop all the extras in the food processor and grind them up a little before adding them to the liquid, and then I’ll add the wheat gluten mix to it.

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Sunday is pretty much always the day I eat tons and tons of carbs at Tete’s house. I just heated a sausage in a skillet, without oil, sliced it up and ate it with mashed potatoes covered in a tahini-split chickpea sauce (something like This, season as you like). Everyone wanted to know why the sauce was bright yellow. I almost always add turmeric powder to bland colored foods because I like my food to be bright and cheerful looking whenever possible. Turmeric has such a mild flavor, it doesn’t make much of a difference. Or maybe I’m just used to it. But anyway. No, I did not cover my mashed potatoes in mustard!

CSA soup and split chickpea puree

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Amanda invited me over for dinner again last night, she had a ton of CSA veggies and made a huge pot of soup. I dug around the cupboard for something gluten free, and found a great big bag of split chickpeas.

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I started by sauteing a ton of onions in olive oil until they were clear,

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then added 1 1/2 C split chickpeas,

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then 2 1/2 C water. I added 1/4 tsp baking soda to the water, I read it should speed up the cooking process (be sure to add it before the water begins to boil, apparently that makes a difference). I brought the water to a boil and boiled for about 5 minutes, then turned the temp down, covered the pot, and let the chickpeas simmer for close to two hours. Keep an eye on them to make sure all the water doesn’t evaporate, or you’ll be left with burnt chickpeas stuck to the bottom of your pot. (Okay, so I burned mine a little)

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After a couple hours they were very soft, they started mushing together when I stirred them.

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I added a little more water to thin them down, and stirred hard with a wooden spoon to break down the chickpeas as much as possible.

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Then I got sick of stirring and put them in the food processor. Processed until nice and smooth. You can skip this step if you like it thick & chunky.

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I made rice to go with it – just jasmine rice with olive oil and a little salt. I also made an apple puree – it was supposed to be sauce, but it was really thick. I think I overcooked the apples. I’ll get you a recipe once I have it just how I want it.

The chickpeas were pretty good, I thought. The only problem is they really taste better hot, and, well…the heat stopped working in my car. And it’s freezing here. So by the time I got to Amanda’s, they were cold 🙁 Not my favorite. Sorry Amanda! I found another great use for them tonight, and I shall post that recipe tomorrow. But moving along…

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This is Amanda’s vegetable soup. She claims it was her first time ever making vegetable soup, but I’m not sure if I believe her. How did it turn out so well on the first try? I’m not sure what was in the broth, I just know I wanted to keep eating it. It’s a good thing we always do this on a work night, otherwise I would’ve stayed until I finished the whole pot. I think there were about 27 different vegetables in my bowl.

Dinner with friends is the best. What’s the best meal you’ve shared with a friend?

Mock Tuna Chickpea Salad Three Ways

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A couple weeks ago I saw Sophia’s Mock Tuna Salad over at Silk and Spice. I decided to try it the next day, but it was one of those things where after I got started I realized I didn’t quite have everything I needed. It still turned out so well, though, I decided to do some experimenting.

Each recipe begins with one can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed.

Mock Tuna Lemon Salad
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Basically, this one came about because I had less than half the amount mayo the original recipes call for, and I added a ton of lemon juice.

So, in the bowl of your food processor add: chickpeas, 1 heaping Tbsp vegan mayo, 4 Tbsp lemon juice (juice of one huge lemon), 1 tsp nutritional yeast, 1 tsp nori flakes, salt & pepper to taste.

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Pulse, leaving chickpeas slightly chunky. I left mine really chunky.

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1/3 C celery, finely chopped; 1/3 C pickles, finely chopped; 1/4 C onion, finely chopped.

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In a bowl, add veggies to chickpea mixture,

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stir. I let mine chill for 15 minutes.

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I made open face sandwiches so I could eat tons of the salad without so much bread. It’s supposed to make 4 to 5 sandwiches, but instead I got 2 open face sandwiches and ate the rest with a spoon! All that lemon made me think of another kind of tuna salad I used to eat sometimes before I went vegan…

Mock Syrian Tuna Salad
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I think this is one of those “Syrian” Syrian recipes – something my great-grandmother made up when she came here, not anything anyone eats in Syria. Anyway.

For this recipe, you will need about 1/3 C fresh parsley (or, to taste), 1 large lemon, 1 green onion (or, to taste).

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Finely chop the parsley, chop the green onion, juice half the lemon.

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In the bowl of your food processor, add chickpeas and 3 Tbsp olive oil,

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with 2 Tbsp nori flakes, 1 tsp nutritional yeast, lemon juice & salt to taste. Pulse as above. Place in bowl and…

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add parsley and green onions.

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Stir. Taste it – you may want to add more olive oil, and if you’re even just a little Syrian, chances are you’ll want to add more salt. This definitely benefits from being chilled.

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I ate mine with Ezekiel bread, but we’d usually have this with pita. Do as you please.

The final recipe is another way my dad likes to make it. This time I remembered to buy another jar of veganaise!

Mock Tuna Salad with Peas
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Chickpeas in the food processor with 3 Tbsp mayo, 1 tsp nutritional yeast, salt & pepper to taste. Oh, and 1 heaping Tbsp nori flakes. I used a different amount of nori in each recipe because I was trying to figure out how much of a fishy taste I like.*

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Pulse, pulse, pulse. I did make it a little creamier this time.

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Add peas – I did about half a can, but you can use as much or as little as you want. My dog is happy to eat any leftover peas.

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By this time I realized there was no point in making a sandwich because for me, the bread is just the vehicle to get this tasty salad to my mouth.
The cool thing about this last recipe is between the can of chickpeas, half a can of peas and two slices of Ezekiel bread (slightly toasted is the way to go, by the way), you get a whopping 42 grams of protein! This is great for your main meal of the day, and it’s so filling you won’t need anything else to go with it. If you have a lot of self control, you might even have enough here for two meals 🙂

*I prefer 2 Tbsp of nori flakes. I didn’t actually have the flakes, though, I had the sheets used for making sushi. I just cut them up with food scissors.

Maybe I’ll get really hardcore and try a mock tuna melt sandwich or mock tuna casserole…. Thanks for the inspiration, Sophia!

Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce, with Chickpeas

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Okay, this is my last butternut squash recipe for a while. I didn’t use all of it up in my 2nd recipe, so earlier this week I made a nice butternut squash sauce with chickpeas.

I started by sauteing the chickpeas in olive oil with onions, fresh garlic, salt, pepper and basil.

Once the chickpeas started to get a little color, I added the squash…

then a little tahini – where there are chickpeas, tahini is sure to follow! I wanted to add a little fat, and make it creamy. I also added a bit of water to thin it down to just the right consistency (you decide how thick you want it).

The tahini being a little bitter, I added a couple teaspoons of marmite to offset it with the salty sweetness.

Boiling some angel hair pasta in the meanwhile…

After thoroughly draining the pasta, I added it right to the sauce,

stirred it in, and let it cook a while longer on low so the pasta could absorb some of the flavor.

The orange-yellow color was quite lovely and fall-like.

The little green, spring-like specks of basil remind me the cold weather won’t last forever! Served hot, this is a very satisfying dish on a chilly night. Enjoy : )