Vegan chickpea and white bean “Chicken” Parmesan

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By Corinne

These aren’t chicken. They don’t taste like chicken and they don’t feel sad about it and neither should you. They really aren’t even trying to be chicken, they are just their own delightful thing that happened to be inspired by a dish usually made with chicken.  They are crispy on the outside, tender and spiced on the inside and you will be making this again.

While tofu is the standard vegan/vegetarian meat substitute, I just don’t love it. I feel like it doesn’t really have anything going for it in the flavour or the texture department. So in searching for a reasonable substitute that wasn’t a highly processed, already premade thing, I managed to come up with these. They are delicious. I mean. I of course had to taste to adjust seasoning… but may have done more tasting than strictly necessary before even breading and frying them.

Time: about 40 minutes

Serves: makes 4-5 servings

Oven: 450F

You will need:

For “chicken”

  • 1 cup white navy beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley + more for garnish
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp sunflower or olive oil + 1tbsp additional for brushing
  • 1/2 cup high gluten flour (80%)
  • 1/2 cup veggie broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • canola oil or vegetable oil for frying
  • vegan mozzarella cheese, or regular mozza if you’re just feeling vegetarian rather than vegan
  • about 1/2 cup of your favourite marinara sauce

For breading

  • 1 cup panko
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp basil
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • several grinds of fresh pepper

Add chickpeas, navy beans, garlic, shallot, fresh parsley, nutritional yeast, basil, oregano, thyme, panko, vegetable broth, and 2 tbsp oil to a food processor. Pulse in short bursts until ingredients are combined.

 

Remove mixture to a large bowl and add 1/2 cup of high gluten flour. Mix together and knead it a bit. At this point, if you wish, you can wrap in plastic and leave overnight in the fridge. Letting the mixture rest does seem to give it an easier to work with texture(tends to stick together a bit more and is easier to flip when frying) but is not strictly necessary.

Mix breading ingredients together. A pie plate works great for this, but a shallow bowl will work as well.

Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. You want the oil to be hot enough that there is vigorous bubbling when you drop some crumbs in. If your oil is too cold, your patties won’t get that nice crisp crust and will be somewhat soggy and oily.

Divide bean dough depending on how large you would like your patties to be. I find if you do larger patties, they look more like chicken breasts, but smaller patties cook and flip a little better. So- say 8 if you want smaller patties, and 5 if you want larger ones.  Press them into an ovalish patty shape. Brush each side with the reserved oil and then place into the crumb dish. Firmly press breading onto both sides and around the edges of the patty.

 

Pan fry until golden brown on both sides, flipping once. Remove to a baking pan. When all patties are golden, top each with 1-2 tbsp of your favourite marinara (don’t spread it around,  you want those edges to stay crisp) and then top that with the cheese or cheese product of your choice. Bake in a 450F oven for 10 minutes until cheese is melted and sauce is warm.

 

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Chive Blossom Vinegar

By Corinne

This officially qualifies as my most planned blog post. I wrote this last spring/summer. Of course, by the time the vinegar is ready, the chives are long done blossoming so wouldn’t be useful to anyone. So here it is- hopefully still early enough for the folks in Southern Ontario, and in lots of time for my peeps in Thunder Bay 🙂

I actually think chive blossoms are beautiful and underrated in bouquets 🙂 There are some snuggled into this one.

 

The bees love them and I do too. Chive blossoms broken up a bit make a pretty addition to a salad, but you can also make a lovely flavoured vinegar with them.

This is a recipe that barely even qualifies as a recipe.

You will need:

  • jars
  • vinegar (I just use plain white vinegar)
  • chive blossoms (you need enough to half fill whatever jar you are using)

Snip chive blossoms and give them a good rinse and then a spin dry in a salad spinner. Fill jars about half full of blossoms, and then fill with vinegar. Affix lids to jars, then place in a cool, darkish place out of direct sunlight for a few days. At this point check them, you may need to top them up with vinegar at this point. If not, leave them for another 2-3 weeks. By this point the vinegar will be a pretty pink and the flowers will have lost most of their colour.

 

Strain the vinegar into clean jars. Discard used blossoms. Use this lightly oniony vinegar in your favourite vinaigrettes. Keeps for at least a year!

 

Fast and Easy Vegan Mini Batch Cinnamon Rolls

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By Corinne

These are an adaptation of a recipe I’ve used for my hospitality class. They make a perfectly acceptable cinnamon roll, even if you aren’t vegan. While they don’t have the richness of a yeast based recipe, the fact you can make them on a whim makes them totally worth it.

I personally prefer mine without icing, as I find them sweet enough. But the icing is good, especially if you make it with a liquor instead of non-dairy milk.

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Makes: 6 rolls

Time: prep 10 minutes or less, bake 15 min, total 25 minutes

You will need

  • ¾ cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar (divided)
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt (pinch of salt)
  • 5 tablespoons non-dairy milk (75 mL)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8th tsp salt (pinch of salt)
  • 2 tbsp chopped, toasted pecans (if desired)

ICING

  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of non dairy milk (OR a liquor of your choice you think will go well with cinnamon- I like grand marnier!)

Preheat oven to 375 . Spray muffin tins (6) if you are worried about sticking. In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of white sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon. Stir until combined. Keep separate until later!

In a separate bowl, combine flour, 1 tablespoon white sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir. 

In a separate bowl, combine milk, vinegar and 2 tablespoons of the melted coconut oil.

Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until a sticky dough forms.

Lightly flour the counter. Knead the dough until no longer sticky.

Roll out into a rectangle about 6 inches (15 cm) long and about 4 inches wide. Brush 2 tablespoons of coconut oil onto the dough and spread it out. Now you get to use the sugars! Sprinkle sugars and cinnamon on top of dough. Sprinkle toasted nuts on if using. 

Roll up dough lengthwise, pinch the seam together and cut into 6 equal pieces. Place each piece in a muffin pan, brush with the last of the melted coconut oil.

Bake for 14 – 15 minutes in muffin pan.

Mix powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon of milk(or liquor!) and stir until combined. Frost the rolls.

Tabbouleh

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By Corinne

Tabbouleh is a delightfully simple and filling salad. It is traditionally made with just bulgur, but can be made with cous cous or can be made gluten free by using just quinoa.

I am a bit in love with this little box of quinoa and bulgur mix from Presidents Choice- though I recommend using vegetable (or chicken) broth to cook the bulgur/quinoa, and only using 2 cups of liquid rather than the 2 1/4 cups recommended on the box.

Serves: makes about 4 1/2 cups of salad

Time: about 20 minutes

You will need:

  • 1 box President’s Choice Blue Menu Bulgur and Quinoa Blend (225g) or 1 cup red quinoa or bulgur or cous cous- cook as needed
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (or water)
  • 1 1/2  cup fresh flat leaf (Italian) parsley, minced (about half of a large bunch)
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, minced
  • 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup red onion, small dice or minced
  • 2 large clove minced garlic
  • juice of 3 lemons
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or sunflower oil)
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Bring 2 cups of vegetable broth(or water) to boil and add quinoa and bulgur. Return to boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes until tender. Allow to cool.

Mince parsley, mint, garlic, and onion. Add to large bowl. Quarter cherry tomatoes and add to bowl. Add the juice of three lemons and the 1/4 cup of olive oil to bowl. Season generously with pepper. If you used just water to cook the bulgur/quinoa rather than vegetable broth, also season with salt.

When bulgur/quinoa mix has cooled, add to the bowl with the other ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Good served immediately, or can be made the day before serving.

 

Pomegranate and Blood Orange Salad with Greens and Lemon Vinaigrette

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By Corinne

I didn’t realize that eating pomegranates was something people struggled with until I started seeing various videos being posted about the ‘right’ way to peel them, or how to eat them without making a mess. Even still, a shocking number of these videos called for you doing this in a bowl of water? I feel like that seems like more trouble then it needs to be.  I use this method, and always have- though I’ve never really thought of it as being a ‘method’ exactly.

Pomegranates are often a bit pricy, but they are SO pretty and tasty and make such a pretty addition to dinner salads, fruit salads and drinks that I feel they are totally worth it. I also love that they are a bit of work to eat. They also keep amazingly well in the fridge. And even when the outside starts to look a little dried and sad, they are usually still perfect and bright on the inside! They are a good sort of picking at snack… for when you’re not *really* hungry, but looking for a little something.

At least around here, you can generally only find pomegranates in the winter, so they are something I associate with winter salads rather than summer ones.

Time: about 10 minutes

Serves: 2 as a very generous side

Dressing– makes about 1/3 cup of dressing (more than you need for 2 servings)

You will need:

  • 1/4 cup of pomegranate arils
  • 1 blood orange(or regular orange)
  • about 4 cups salad greens
  • a few shavings of a hard sharp aged cheese (parmesan, pecorino, romano, asiago – anything aged and sharp)

Dressing 

  • juice of one or two fresh lemons – you want about 1/4 cup of juice, so it will depend on the juiciness of your lemons
  • 2 tbsp olive or sunflower oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • several generous grinds of fresh pepper
  • *1 tsp apple cider vinegar if you feel it needs a bit more acid

Whisk together dressing ingredients. Taste your dressing. If you feel like it needs a bit more of an acidic punch, add 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar.  Mix greens and dressing (you probably don’t need all of it, but it depends on how dressed you like your salad)

Add dressed greens to bowls and top with pomegranate arils, blood orange slices, a few curls of a sharp salty cheese of your choice and a few grinds of fresh pepper.

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Broccoli Stuffed Baked Potatoes

By Corinne

Who would have thought a twice baked potato without cheese or bacon would be so good? I mean, technically these aren’t twice baked potatoes since I cheat and microwave them whole and then bake them once they’re stuffed. Time is money as they say, and sure, if you have time to bake your potatoes for an hour and THEN do the rest, go right ahead.

Time: 35 min (or possibly faster depending on your microwave)

Makes: 4 servings

Oven: 450F

You will need:

  • 2 large baking potatoes
  • 3/4 cup broccoli- in tiny florets
  • 1 shallot- finely minced
  • 1 clove garlic- finely minced
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted, divided
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper- several generous grinds

Give potatoes a good scrub. Microwave them whole on high heat until tender (if you gently squeeze them they will squish). I drape them in a damp paper towel, as I find it keeps the skin from getting tough. In my microwave, this takes 15 minutes. I have the smallest, cheapest microwave because I mostly use it to reheat tea (which takes 1 1/2 minutes). In your microwave it may take considerably less time.

While potatoes are cooking, preheat oven to 450F. Mince onion and garlic and set aside. Cut broccoli into tiny florets and return to measuring cup, add water until broccoli is just covered. Melt butter and set aside.

When potatoes are cooked, remove from microwave. You can let them cool a bit until they are easier to handle if desired. Cut potatoes in half and carefully remove the majority of the flesh, placing in a medium bowl. Brush the outside of the potato skin with butter.

Microwave broccoli until hot, bright green and just tender crisp (2 minutes in my microwave). Drain.

Combine potato with broccoli, 1 tbsp melted butter, 1/2 cup sour cream, shallot, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix together until combined.

Gently spoon mixture back into potato skins. Brush the top with remaining butter.

Bake for 20 minutes at 450F until potatoes have little golden peaks. Eat as a side with whatever else you happen to be making.

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Vegan (or not) Garden Pesto

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By Corinne

Basil is amazing. I am so in love with basil in the summer I can hardly help myself from adding it to everything. Basil in every salad, basil on sandwiches, basil gently rubbed between my fingers just to smell every time I go outside on my deck… Ah! Well, enough with this summer reverie. It’s February and the days (while getting longer) are still short and dark and cold and we’ve just had two weeks of -20C without a break. I’m craving summer in a bad way!

This pesto is infinitely versatile- in the summer I use much more basil than other greens, but in the winter good basil is hard to find and pricy! Tonight when I made it, I used about 15g of basil and 15g of parsley(a small handful of each)- the rest was spicy arugula, so I omitted the pepper.

While I’ve historically always used cheese, I decided to give nutritional yeast a try for this recipe. I probably could have thinned it out a BIT more, but it actually emulsified easier than the cheese version, was smoother, and as a bit of a shock to both myself and my taste tester, was the preferred version!

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Time: under 10 minutes

Makes: about 1/2- 3/4 of a cup 

You will need:

  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup olive oil or other oil of your choice (I used sunflower oil)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, outer skin removed
  • 1 ½ cup(lightly packed down) fresh herbs such as basil, parsley or greens such as spinach, kale or arugula
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp salt – to taste
  • pepper – to taste

In a food processor or using an immersion blender(I usually use my immersion blender as this is a relatively small batch and I have a large food processor), combine the herbs/greens and garlic and process for 15 seconds.

With the food processor still running, add the oil SLOWLY until the mixture is smooth – you want it to emulsify. The mixture should look almost matte, and not oily. If your pesto looks oily you rushed the emulsification process and added too much oil at once.  You are looking for the mixture to be loose, not chunky but not watery or runny at all.

Add the nutritional yeast or cheese and process for ten seconds. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

You can see in the picture that I did a better job of emulsifying the one version on the left than the one on the right today. I’m going to blame using a different container than I usually use!

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Toss with warm pasta, put on pizza, spread on a pork tenderloin or chicken… pesto is delightfully easy to use! This will stay good in the fridge for about a week. 

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