Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Chickpea Avocado Salad

This recipe is my new favorite. The flavors of spiced up chickpeas and avocado are great! This chickpea and avocado spreadable salad is great on its own as a side or can be spread on toast for a great breakfast or lunch sandwich.  A hint of lemon juice enhances the flavor or do not leave that out.

I made this chickpeas avocado spreadable for my daughter last week. She used it on her toast for breakfast. It is a great alternative to egg salad or avocado toast. It is nutrient rich and keeps you satiated for a long time. That makes it a perfect recipe for breakfast. It is not messy and travels well so it can be used for school lunches as well. It is best kept refrigerated.

You will need
1/2 cup dry chickpeas or 1 can of garbanzo beans
1 avocado
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper powder (increase quantity to taste)
juice of 1/2 a lime
salt and pepper

Soak the dry chickpeas overnight and cook them in a pressure cooker the next day. I usually cook them in the instant pot for 17 minutes on the manual setting. Alternately, you can use canned peas. Rinse and drain the water.

Mash the chickpeas with a fork. Make sure you leave a few chunks.

Wash and rinse the avocado. Cut it into half, remove the seed and the peel. Dice finely.

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.



This is my entry for week one, day three of BM #101 for the theme Pick an ingredient. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#101

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas No Oil (#WFPB)

Healthy nutritious snack options are always on my list of recipes to try. Spicy roasted chickpeas were on my list for a long time. I finally got a chance to post the recipe today. I keep this recipe simple for a spicy tart taste. You can increase the amount of spice or use your favorite spice mix for the flavors you love.

The question I get asked a lot is can you bake without oil? The trick to baking without oil is to keep the temperature lower than the recipes with oil. This prevents the food from burning up. If I were to use oil I would roast these peas at 400 F. Without oil 375 or even 350 F will suffice. Keep them longer to get them dry and crunchy.

You will need
1/2 cup dry chickpeas or 1 can of garbanzo beans
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper powder

Spice mix
1 tsp. Chaat masala
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. coriander powder
1 tsp. cumin powder

Soak the chickpeas overnight and cook in a pressure cooker until fork tender. I use my instant pot and it takes me 17 minutes manual to get them fully cooked. Alternately, you can use canned chickpeas. Just rinse and drain the water.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Blot dry the chickpeas on a paper towel. Combine with the seasoning and spices. Spread on a baking sheet evenly and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Mix them up with a spatula and put them back for another 20 minutes.



This is my entry for week one, day two of BM #101 for the theme Pick an ingredient. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#101

Monday, June 3, 2019

Channa Masala No Oil (#WFPB)

Today I am posting a tried and tested recipe for channa masala without oil. If you have ever eaten channa masala in a restaurant you had to have seen the oil. You may then wonder how it is possible to make this dish without oil. The reality is oil does not add as much flavor. As long as the onion tomato mix is thoroughly cooked with the spices the channa masala turns out perfect. You will never miss the oil.

I made this channa masala after my daughter returned home for summer. She wanted some of her favorites and this dish places somewhere at the top of her list.

You will need
1 cup dry chickpeas or garbanzo beans (or 1 can)
1 small onion
1 medium tomato
1 tbsp. ginger garlic paste
1 tbsp. tamarind paste
1 tbsp. channa masala spice mix
1 tsp. turmeric powder
salt to taste

Soak the dry beans overnight. Next day pressure cook the beans under fork tender. For me it is 15 minutes under pressure or if using the instant pot then 17 minutes manual mode under pressure. If using a can rinse and drain the water. Keep aside.

Mince the onion. Add a 1/4 cup of water to a pan and bring it to a boil. Add the onion and let it cook on medium heat until it is pink and translucent. In the meantime dice the tomato.

Add all the other ingredients, a half cup of water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and let it simmer until it is cooked and the water is almost gone.

Add the reserved beans, salt to taste and a half cup of water. Bring to a boil and let it simmer on medium heat until the gravy reaches a consistency you like.

The channa masala with no oil is done.

Enjoy with a flatbread or rice!


This is my entry for week one, day one of BM #101 for the theme Pick an ingredient. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#101

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Stew with Quinoa and Orange Lentils (No oil) WFPB and Vegan

One pot meals are a favorite in my house. But they have taken on a whole new form lately. About 3 months back I decided to stop using oil or processed food. The family was not really on board so I made small portions for myself. To make it easy on myself I would cook one pot meals. As the recipes evolved everyone in the house wanted what I was having. We all love fresh vegetables and with the right spices and legumes for flavor these one pot meals are delicious. I add a whole grain to the pot to make it it a complete nutritious meal. There is so much variety in beans, lentils and whole grain, there are endless flavorful combinations. Try it, you will love it.

This is a very nutrient rich dish. Each serving is rich is protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and complex carbs. When you eat this kind of food you have to remember that a large volume accounts for a relatively small amount of calories. Each serving of a large filling bowl of food is about 140 calories.

Note: Cook the legumes and grains first. Then add the vegetables for the last few minutes of cooking time. This way the vegetables will not get mushy, they will retain their shape and color but will be fully cooked.

You will need (5 servings)
1/2 cup rainbow quinoa
1/2 cup orange lentils (masoor dal)
1/4 onion
3 shitake mushrooms, diced
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup zucchini, diced
1/2 cup green beans, diced
1/2 cup yellow squash, diced
1/2 cup red bell pepper
1 large tomato
1 handful each of spinach, arugula and kale
1 tbsp. cumin coriander powder
3 tbsp. sambar or dal masala (I added rasam masala)
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1 1/2 tbsp. nutritional yeast (source of B12 for vegans, you can skip if you want)
salt to taste

Wash and rinse the quinoa and lentils. Soak in a about a 1/4 cup water and keep aside until needed.

Bring about 3 cups of water to a boil in a large pan. Add the diced onion and the soaked quinoa and lentils. Cover and let it cook, about 5-8 minutes. The lentils and quinoa should be cooked completely. Add salt to taste and the spices (the last 5 ingredients on the list).

Now begin adding the vegetables. Place them one by one in the center of pan starting with the mushrooms in the order listed. Push down in the center as you add them. This will create a well for the vegetables in the center pushing the cooked lentils and quinoa to the sides of the pan. Add all the vegetables except the greens, sprinkle with a little salt, cover and let it cook on medium-low heat for a 2 couple of minutes.

Uncover and stir the vegetables in the center of the pan leaving the ring of quinoa and lentils on the side. The fresh vegetables will release juices and cook in them. Cover and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

Then add the greens. Combine all the ingredients in the pan and let them simmer for a couple of minutes. If it feels too dry add a little water warmed in the microwave.

Turn off the heat and serve hot. Optionally, top it with roasted sesame seeds or seeds of your choice to increase the fat content.



This is my entry for week two, day three of BM #100 for the theme Pick an Alphabet. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#100

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Sweet and Sour Tofu

This Sweet and Sour Tofu recipe is a favorite in my house. The flavors are so good together. The roasted sesame seeds enhance that flavor and best of all it is baked. The recipe itself is very simple. The sauce adds all the flavor and is made with ingredients you should have around the house. Baking simplifies the cooking process even further.

I rarely prepare tofu at home. I usually never get around to buying it. But when I do this is one of the recipes I make. Here in the US, Tofu is often used in restaurants as a vegetarian/vegan substitute for animal based add-ins, fondly called 'protein'. I have always found that weird. Protein is not a food group, it is a macro. And we know there is protein in all plant based foods, even potato. But I digress. I like tofu and so does my family. We prefer the extra firm kind that holds its shape.

You can eat this Sweet and Sour Tofu as a snack, a side to a stir fry or you can eat it as a main to side of fried rice.

You will need
1 packet extra firm tofu

2 tbsp. soy sauce
3 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. sesame oil
salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. corn starch
1 tsp. sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Drain the block of tofu under some heavy weight being careful not to crush it. Discard the water and chop the tofu in bite size chunks. Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl. Add the tofu cubes to it. Let is rest for 30 minutes.

Even place the tofu chunks on a baking sheet. Save the marinade. I do not line the sheet nor do I use oil to prep it. Bake for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip the cubes over and bake another 10 minutes.

During the last few minutes of baking Add all the topping ingredients except the sesame seeds to the saved marinade. Transfer to a pan and cook on low heat to thicken. Take it off the heat and keep aside. Add the sesame seeds to a small dry pan and roast on low heat until they till color slightly and are fragrant. Take it off the heat.

Take the baked tofu out of the oven and transfer it to a serving dish. Pour the thickened sauce over the top. Sprinkle the sesame seeds.



This is my entry for week two, day two of BM #100 for the theme Pick an Alphabet. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#100

Friday, May 10, 2019

Simple Vegan Breakfast Oatmeal with the Works

Breakfast is usually a busy time of the day in most homes and my house is no exception. Fixing lunch, getting ready for work, feeding the cats and taking them for a stroll in the garden are some of the things that have to get done. When everything is done, I like to sit down with the family for breakfast. Oatmeal is my go to breakfast. It is the easiest breakfast to put together with a variety of ways to cook it.

Last year I posted my favorite oatmeal recipe. That was before I cut dairy out of my diet. Today I am posting my current favorite vegan oatmeal recipe. I had toyed with using water instead of milk for a long time but I have a problem with mushy texture so I was not sure it would work for me. If you do not like mushy food try this recipe.

Have fun with the toppings. Anything that enhances the flavor works. Here is are some ideas of what I like and use frequently.

You will need
1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 scant tsp. chia seeds
1 tsp. ground flax seeds (I buy them whole and grind enough for a week)
1 tsp. unsweetened dried coconut
1 tsp. brown sugar or maple syrup
1 banana (optional)
1 tbsp raisins (optional)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon powder (optional)

Assemble all the ingredients. I have everything in a drawer for quick access in the morning.

Put the oatmeal in a microwave safe bowl with 1/4 cup of water. Cook it for 1 minute. This is the consistency I like. Cook with more or less water as per your taste. Adjust time if needed. Remember all microwave ovens are different. Start with 30 secs and go from there until you find the time that works for you.

Add all the toppings. Chop the fruit and add that to the bowl. Your bowl of oatmeal is ready. I like to eat it as soon as it is done. I do not like mushy texture. I add a little water if I am unable to eat it as soon as it is done.



This is my entry for week two, day one of BM #100 for the theme Pick an Alphabet. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#100

Monday, March 18, 2019

Red Lentil Soup / Masoor Dal

This year mother nature seems to have forgotten that spring is around the corner. Most days are still cold and chilly. The cat loves to cuddle and is usually waiting for us to finish up in the kitchen and snuggle up with her. I have a little table by the window in the breakfast nook that I use to click pictures for this blog. The cat is not allowed on the dining table. She sits at the very edge of the little table and stares at us, waiting for us to be done eating so we can move to the family room. Back to the recipe.

A warm bowl of Red lentil soup or a bowl of this masoor dal with rice is perfect for a cold evening. Red lentils are very flavorful and a few vegetables and spices are enough to make a flavorful soup. I like to add a lot of vegetables as everyone in my family loves vegetables. Masoor dal turns mushy when cooked. Sometimes I let it cook until mushy and mash it with the back of the spoon. Sometimes like today I let it cook but turn off heat before it gets mushy. You can add any combination of vegetables and spices to make this dal.

You will need
1/2 cup red masoor dal
1/2 tomato
1/8th red bell pepper
1/2 cup baby kale
1/2 cup baby arugula
1 tsp. garam masala (or you favorite dal masala)
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chili pepper powder
1/2 tsp amchur powder
salt and pepper to taste

Soak the dal for about 15-20 minutes. Meantime, dice the vegetables.

Heat 1/2 a cup of water in a pan. Add the diced vegetables and let them cook until the water is almost evaporated and the greens are wilted.

Drain the soaking water and add the dal to the pan. Add the remaining ingredients and saute for 2-3 minutes on medium low heat.

Heat 2 cups water in the microwave and add it to the pan. Bring it to a boil and lower the heat to simmer. Cover and let the dal cook for about 5 minutes, checking every couple minutes to ensure there is enough water.

Turn off the heat when the soup/dal is at the desired consistency.



This is my entry for week three, day two of BM #98 for the theme Cooking for two. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#98

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Millet, Chickpea and Oats Dhirdi

Dhirdi or crepes are an easy alternative to flatbread. I usually make them once a week with different flours. Today I am posting the millet, chickpea and oats dhirdi. I made this for an easy light dinner after a long work day. One cup of flour is enough for two people. Increase the amount of flour if you want to make more servings. Usually we eat these with some dal or vegetable side. Sometimes we eat it with chutney. I had some red pepper hummus I wanted to finish so we had that instead.

This millet, chickpea and oats dhirdi is a nutritious and simple recipe made with mixed flours. I usually buy millet, buckwheat and oats in bulk bins at Whole Foods. I grind it to a flour in my Vitamix dry grinder. The flour can be stored for several weeks, longer in winter. Addition of chickpea flour makes the dhirdi very flavorful. There is no oil or soda in this recipe.

You will need (for ~6  crepes or 2 servings)
1 cup flour (I used combination of millets, buckwheat, chickpea and oats)
1 tsp cumin-coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp ova/ajwain/carom seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 strands finely diced cilantro (optional)

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Add a half cup water and whisk. Keep aside to rest for about half an hour.

Heat a pan on medium heat. Check the consistency of the batter. You should be able to pour it with a ladle but it should not be too runny.

Add a ladle of the prepared batter to the heated pan. Cover with a lid and let it cook for a couple of minutes. Uncover and flip it over. Cook the second side uncovered. Take it off the heat and repeat for the remaining dhirdi.

Enjoy with chutney or hummus!


This is my entry for week three, day one of BM #98 for the theme Cooking for two. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#98