CHICKPEA, DANDELION & APPLE SALAD

Now that apples are coming into season, I love to use them in salads whenever possible. I also love using dandelion seeds because they are great for cleansing your liver, and who doesn’t need a bit of a liver cleanse every now and again? Dandelion leaves, however, can be a bit bitter, so I like to saute them and then pair them with the sweetness of a crisp apple. This salad takes a few minutes to throw together and makes a perfect fall lunch or dinner appetizer.

1 can organic garbanzo beans*

2tbsp coconut or canola oil

1 large clove garlic, minced

1/4tsp red pepper chili flakes

2 cups dandelion leaves, washed and removed from stems

2 medium crisp apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped.

Balsamic vinegar (make sure it’s aged vinegar, as in the thick, syrupy stuff).

Sea salt and pepper

* I love Eden Foods  for canned beans because their quality is excellent and they are one of the few companies that don’t use BPA in the linings of their cans.

 

Rinse and drain the garbanzo beans

Heat the oil in a large skillet

Add the garlic, chili flakes and leaves. Saute over a medium heat until the leaves have really wilted. Remove from heat.

Arrange the garbanzo beans on a dish and top with the wilted greens. Pile the apple pieces on top and drizzle with a little fruity balsamic vinegar.

Season with flaky sea salt and pepper.

CHICKPEA FRITTERS WITH LEMONY DIP

I love Greek food, particularly a good falafel, however, a really tasty one is hard to find. There’s a great Lebanese restaurant in LA called Marroush and they make the best homemade falafels I’ve ever tasted – crispy on the outside and soft & crumbly in the center.

In the Winter I like to expand my weekend lunchtime repertoire as for most of the year in So Cal, we subsist on mainly salady stuff. These little fritters are a healthy, vegan treat. I ate them for lunch, but they’d be equally good if you did them as part of a Greek-style dinner with some oily Kalamata olives, hommous etc. They also might be good for the Holidays either as an appetizer or a warm canape with drinks around the fire (if you’re doing the latter, just make them smaller/bite-size. They are crumbly – so be warned, but I promise you – so well worth preparing.

Chickpea Fritters With Lemony Dip.

1 15 oz can garbanzo beans (AKA chickpeas,) drained

3 small or 2 medium sweet potatoes

2 tbsp garbanzo bean flour (health food store)

1tsp: sea salt, pepper, ground cumin, ground coriander

The grated zest of one lemon

1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

2 tsp smoked paprika

6 tbsp grapeseed or olive (not extra virgin) oil

1 cup thick greek yogurt

1/2 tsp paprika

1 garlic clove, minced

 

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F

 

Place the sweet potatoes in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until tender. Remove and allow to cool.

When cool enough to handle them, cut in half and scoop out the potato into the food processor. Add the beans, the flour and all the seasoning (set 1/2tsp of the lemon aside.) Pulse until everything is really well-combined, but not smooth (you’re not trying to make hummus here – you want the beans mashed but still chunky).

Place the breadcrumbs on a plate and mix in the paprika.

Scoop out walnut sized lumps of the bean mixture and press into the breadcrumbs on both sides.

Heat the oil in a frying pan until it spits. Carefully add the fritters and fry on a medium to high heat for about 4 minutes on either side or until very brown and crisp.

Drain on a paper towel.

Meanwhile mix the yogurt, paprika, remaining lemon zest and garlic in a little bowl.

Serve the fritters warm with a generous dollop of the dip, and a few crisp Romaine leaves drizzled with good olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice

MOROCCAN CHICKEN STEW

 

I’m obsessed with my 360 Cookware slow cooker now that it’s getting a bit chilly. It’s the most user-friendly model I’ve ever tried (and I’ve tested a few,) – I think it’s because it’s easy to start it off on the stove top and transfer to the base. It also works better period – I won’t go into it here – but if you want to find out about the technology of these pans- check it out.

Anyway, with Halloween coming up, I wanted to try out a really tasty stew that I could have bubbling away sending a delicious aroma throughout my home. Halloween night, we’ll probably go to a friend’s pot luck party where there’s tons of chili and cornbread, but this might be a good variation for those who prefer chicken.

After the chicken has slow-cooked for hours – it fall apart, much like pulled pork, into the rich, unctuous stew of bright orange apricots and crunchy cashews. The sweet of the fruit pairs beautifully with the salty olives. It’s perfect served with either quinoa, cous cous or brown rice and I like to serve it with a simple dark green leaf salad – I prepared a spinach and arugula salad with a balsamic fig dressing.

Although there’s a lot of ingredients in the recipe, once gathered, it’s really quick and easy to prepare – 15 minutes tops.

This recipe of for 8 so if there’s fewer of you, it freezes really well.

 

Moroccan Chicken Stew

Serves 8

1tbsp grapeseed or canola oil

1 medium onion, minced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup sweet white wine

1tbsp balsamic vinegar

1tsp of the following: turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander

1 cinnamon stick

8-10 pearl onions

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

2 bayleaves

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

2 tsp of cornstarch or Tapioca starch

2tsp cold water

1 1/2 cups dried apricots

1 1/2 cups Kalamata olives

1 15oz can garbanzo beans

1 cup raw cashew nuts

2tsp sea salt

1tsp agave nectar

1/2tsp ground pepper

 

Heat the oil and fry off the onions.

 

Add the spices and fry for a minute on a low heat.

 

Add the pearl onions and fry gently for another minute.

Add the white wine and stir until it evaporates.

Add the chicken, the broth and the bayleaves.

 

Remove pan and transfer to slow cooker and turn onto a high heat.

Mix the tapioca/cornstarch with the water in a cup and  mix into the stew.

Cook on high for 1/2 hour and then turn down heat to medium (for 4- 6 hours). If it’s a bit longer, it’ll be fine – so don’t rush back from work.

Half and hour before eating, add the apricots, olives, cashew nuts and stir in the agave , balsamic vinegar, and seasoning.

 

 

CRUNCY MEDITERRANEAN WRAP

I’m always experimenting with very-quick-to-prepare (often haven’t got time to even wash a lettuce,) tasty lunches for myself. This has become a favorite because it takes five minutes to put together. You bite through the soft flour tortilla into the creamy avocado and then healthy crunchy broccoli slaw. A perfect veggie/vegan lunch for any day of the week.

The Wrap
Serves 2

2 large organic flour tortillas
1 cup of marinated bell peppers, cut into strips (you should be able to find them in a jar at your local grocery store.)

1 bag of broccoli slaw (you can find organic broccoli slaw at Trader Joe’s market – it you don’t live near a T.J.’s just use regular undressed slaw.)

1/2 ripe, but firm avocado

Creamy Hummus Dressing

1/2 cup olive oil
1tbsp apple cider vinegar
2tbsp garbanzo beans
1tsp tahini
1 clove garlic
1tbsp lemon juice
1tsp parsley, chopped or 1/2tsp dried parsley
Salt & cracked pepper to taste

If not fresh today, gently warm the tortillas and then fill each with the a handful of slaw, followed by the strips of peppers. Arrange the avocado slices on top and drizzle generously with the dressing. Wrap tightly and serve with a side of the dressing for dipping and some crunch chips.

I love the Beanfields Chips – Rice & Bean Chips, as they’re spicy and just….ummmm!