Posts tagged vegan appetizer

Sweet Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas

“Thoughts of lack manifest as limitation. Thoughts of abundance manifest as success and happiness. Failure and success are but two ends of the same stick.”

~Ernest Holmes

Happy Friday everyone! No, this quote doesn’t have much to do with chickpeas unless you think about all the creative ways in which chickpeas can be used in a plant-based diet. Plant-based eaters tend to think abundantly! After all, we have so many wonderful foods to choose from, it’s hard not to. I also believe the standard American diet tends to lend a hand in people not thinking about their food at all. Not caring where their food comes from and certainly taking it all for granted. At least this used to be me and it’s what I observe in others. Now I savor everything and appreciate the hell out of it! I appreciate colors, flavors, textures and good ethics that go along with creating it.

So have you ever heard of roasted chickpeas? I recently discovered this idea online and so I made these a few weeks back for the Forks Over Knives movie review and discussion I hosted. I didn’t exactly make them correctly, yet one of the guests couldn’t stop eating them! She even took them to go! So even if you screw them up a bit, like I did. They will still taste good. Practice makes perfect, but I think if you follow the directions you won’t screw up. I was in a bit of a hurry.

The key is to roast them until crispy on the outside. I didn’t quite get them that crispy on the first try because I was afraid of burning them. You just have to keep tossing them while baking. I used my toaster oven the second time around which seemed to help. I could see them a little better. Less distance. Maybe I need more Vitamin A for my eyesight?!

Chickpeas are a staple food in a plant-based diet. Think hummus. I do have a wonderful homemade fat-free roasted red pepper hummus that I will be posting soon. YUM! We go through hummus like water around here!

I like that we can switch things up regarding chickpeas. I actually used a chickpea oil blend in place of eggs for gluten free brownie recipe and it was amazing! They were like brownie protein bars! But in regards to this recipe, think about all the different spice combos to be tried. Many fun possibilities.

Roasted chickpeas, especially the spicy, salty ones, remind me of bar nuts, minus the musty bar smell, neon Miller sign and beer goggles.

Not only fun to eat, here is what you can expect from a cup of chickpeas: 14 grams of protein, 12 grams of fiber, 45 grams of good carbs. Of course lots of vitamins and minerals… not going to get into details because it’s Friday. Just trust me. It’s all good.

Sweet Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas

Ingredients

  • 1 can of Chickpeas, rinsed and drained, (patted dry with a paper towel) and laid out to dry on a towel for at least 30 minutes
  • 1 Tablespoon of melted Coconut Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons of Raw Organic Sugar. I used Coconut Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Cinnamon
  • Dash of Sea Salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly mist with oil.

Mix the sugar, cinnamon and dash of sea salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Coat the beans in melted coconut butter and sprinkle evenly with the sugar/cinnamon mixture.

Spread the beans out evenly onto your baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, tossing every five or ten minutes, all while checking that they are not burning , just getting nice and crispy on the outside.

Let cool and enjoy. Have a great weekend!

~The Karmatarian

Ps. I certainly want to hear your comments, especially if you make these!

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Nut Cheese and Chive Black Beluga Lentil Crostini’s

Most likely you are running around with last minute details for that fabulous costume. Well that’s what I’ve been up to. Halloween is my favorite! I’ve been quite low key for the last few years though. Maybe because I’m letting my little one be the shining star, that and I don’t want to scare him with my spooky ideas. I’m all about SCARY. Isn’t that what Halloween is supposed to be? When did it all change? What’s up with sexy this and sexy that? I feel forced into the concept. Try costume shopping… Oh, you know. I’d like to think I’m sexy 365 days a year, but maybe that’s just me trying to take the power back for us women. Can’t I be spooky and scary and theatrical just one night? If I choose to be spooky, why is it that I feel I don’t fit in? Hmmm. What oh what has our world come to?

Anyway…

This year, I get to dress up twice. Princess Leia (a classy costume to go along with my little Jawa with light up eyes!) and I also finally get to be a Witch! Although, I do a terrific job playing the part once a month without costume. Ha ha. Just kidding… or am I? I do have an idea in mind for a festive witch hat and I would love to win a prize (for best hat) at one of my events. I was running around gathering the props and then was forced to take a break due to a sick kid. Gotta love Preschool.

So what better to do than experiment in the kitchen…

So, let me tell you about my nut cheese and chive black beluga lentil crostini’s. They are gooooood! I know this because I ate every one of them! Thankfully I only made a few… I made these just as an experiment, looking for a gourmet Halloween appetizer. But I have to recommend these for any holiday or any time. They sure look the festive Halloween part though. The lentils here remind me of caviar, dahhling. But caviar is not so appealing these days. Not sure it ever was. These look different and fancy which is my point here.

These can be assembled the day before the big event and the left over’s hold well and can be reheated. Serve warm or room temp. If you start ’em out warm and they turn cold waiting for your guests to arrive… no worries. They will still taste great!

I experimented adding an orange lentil layer. Very pretty. But the texture was not as good served cold. Even warmed, it toned down the other flavors too much. I also experimented adding vegan bacon bits…VERY GOOD. But the smoked flavor does over power the more delicate flavor of the ‘cheese’ and chives. I say leave the orange lentils out of it, they just looked good for my photos. This was a hard call but I would leave the Bac’Uns out of it too, unless bacon flavor is what you prefer. 

This recipe was inspired and adapted from a Trader Joe’s recipe. It is a mix of vegan-raw. You can also make it gluten free by using a gluten free bread or cracker, preferably garlic flavored or just rub raw cut garlic on each before assembling.

What You’ll Need

For the Base~

1 Loaf of your favorite Baguette, sliced into thin rounds

1 cup olive oil

1-2 large Garlic Cloves

For the Nut Cheese~

2 Cups of Raw Macadamia Nuts

2 T Lemon Juice

2 Garlic Cloves

1 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt

2 Bunches of Chives, chopped (saving some for the garnish if desired)

About 1/2 C Plain Almond milk

For the Top~

8 oz cooked Black Beluga Lentils

(I used TJ’s fully cooked pre-packaged version of black beluga lentils because I had it on hand. It does bother me that the canola oil in this package could be GMO, so next time I will make my own lentils. Here is a bag of organic Black Beluga Lentils I found on Amazon.  If you try them let me know how they are.

What to do

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place rounds in a single layer on baking sheet. Brush each with olive oil. Bake in oven for 10 minutes or until slightly golden. Remove and cool. Peel and slice the end off a garlic clove. Holding the clove in your fingers, rub the top of each crostini.

To make the nut cheese~

In a food processor place the macadamia nuts, lemon juice, garlic cloves and salt and process until a fluffy consistency. It will be thick. Transfer cheese mixture to a bowl and add just a splash of almond milk at a time, (you may not need a full 1/2 Cup here) while mixing to create a more spreadable texture. Add the chives to taste. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Set aside

To Assemble Crostini’s

Take the crostini and spread each with the chive nut cheese, top with spoonful of beluga lentils. Serve room temperature or heat in the oven on a low setting. Garnish with chives if desired. 

Note* If using Bac’Uns, just sprinkle sparingly atop the ‘cheese’ before adding the beluga lentils. Or for a prettier end result you may consider mixing some Bac’Uns right into the nut cheese mixture so you don’t really see them and the lentils stand out.

Happy Halloween!

The Karmatarian~

Ps. Let me know what you think… did you add the bacon flavor bits or stick with just the chives? 

Here is a recipe I found for a black beluga lentil salad with goat cheese you may also enjoy… and you bet I would substitute with nut cheese! It’s an easy sub now that I know how to make nut cheese and consider myself addicted! 

Pss. I will most likely post some costume pics on my Facebook page… Join me there at www.Facebook.com/karmatarian

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Simple Mango Chutney Dip

My summer was very busy, sprinkled with a little bit of fun and unfortunately a little bit of stress. I was hoping things would slow down so I could find time to blog. No such luck on the slowing down thing. What I was really waiting and hoping for was a little inspiration which came in time for Labor day. Funny, I realize my last article was written for Memorial day. I don’t plan these things,  but I guess I did however unintentionally take the summer off from blogging. I’m back and hoping your summer was a great one!

It was time for my son’s 3rd birthday party mid August which kind of  feels like the end of summer for us. I had a blast planning his Thomas the train birthday bash and I was very inspired by this super EASY appetizer dip I made. I can’t take total credit as my girlfriend Carrie gave me the original recipe a few years ago and I’m not sure where she got it. I never thought I would enjoy this one again, but I Veganized it my friends!!! I’m happy to report it was a total hit, the first dip devoured, and if you make it, be prepared for everyone to ask you what’s in it. I almost didn’t want to tell anyone, especially those omnivores who just don’t get it yet, but I did anyway, for the shock value of course! This dip is really delicious and the flavors were just meant to be combined together!

Side note: I am not a huge fan of processed foods, especially soy products which are not organic. However, making a dip for a party doesn’t happen everyday and moderation is key. This dip sure beats the alternative… cruelty to animals, planet and your arteries!

Simple Mango Chutney Dip

What you’ll need

1  8 0z tub of Tofutti brand  Better than Cream Cheese

1 jar  of  Trader Joe’s brand Mango Ginger Chutney (or similar brand)

1 Cup or more of  Vegan Bacon Bits (I love the one Whole Foods sells in bulk)

The green section of a few Green onions (or Chives if you choose)

Wheat Thin Crackers. These are the original recipe cracker of choice but now I like Trader Joe’s version which has simpler ingredients and similar flavor.

How to prepare it

I used a 9″ round glass pie dish. First, spread the “cream cheese” on the bottom of the dish. Next, spread all the delicious Mango Ginger Chutney on top of the cream cheese to cover it (it has a spicy kick but don’t worry, the cream cheese tones it down when eaten all together, it’s perfectly balanced flavor!). Then sprinkle on the bacon bits which add a ton of flavor and a bit of needed crunch (I left no Mango Chutney uncovered). Last, cut the green section of a few green onions in about 1/4 inch pieces or smaller and sprinkle them on top for flavor and color and as much as desired (I sprinkled a much lesser amount than the Bacon bits). It’s that simple! Your dip is prepared…

 

Enjoy!

The Karmatarian~

 

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