All posts tagged vegan

  • freekeh with chickpeas and pomegranates

    Pomegranate season is drawing to a close. I’m trying to make the most of it, sprinkling arils over a bowl of hummus, substituting it for tomatoes in tabbouleh, adding handfuls to bowls of yogurt, and including it in simple grain dishes like this one with freekeh. This is a perfect make ahead sort of lunch that can be prepped the night before and enjoyed over the next few days. Freekeh, a whole grain made from green wheat, has an earthy and nutty taste with a chewy texture. It’s worth picking up if available in your neck of the woods. Freekeh can be found at specialty and Middle Eastern groceries. Here in Portland, I’ve spotted it at three stores with mysteriously similar names – World Foods (love this place!), Whole Foods, and World Market. If freekeh isn’t available in your area, farro, wheat berry, bulgur, and even brown rice would make good substitutes.

    freekeh with chickpeas and pomegranates

    Freekeh with Chickpeas and Pomegranates

    1 cup freekeh
    1 onion, chopped
    1 clove garlic, finely minced
    1 1/2 cups broccoli florets, roasted
    1 cup cooked chickpeas
    1/2 cup pomegranate arils
    1/4 cup chopped nuts (I used pistachios and walnuts)
    2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    salt & pepper, to taste

    Preheat oven to 400F. In a small baking dish, coat the broccoli florets lightly in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and place it in the oven. Set an alarm for 15 minutes.

    Fill water in a medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat. Once boiling, add a couple pinches of salt to the water and add the freekeh. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook according to package directions. Set aside once it’s ready.

    Once the kitchen timer/alarm goes off, check on the broccoli. If the broccoli has caramelized around the edges, it’s ready. If not, pop it in the oven and set the timer for 5 minutes. Once the broccoli is ready, set it aside and let it cool.

    In a medium sized skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Meanwhile, chop an onion. Add the onion to the skillet, and stir frequently while chopping the garlic, prepping the pomegranate, rinsing the chickpeas, chopping the nuts and parsley. Add the garlic to the skillet stir until fragrant, or about 15 seconds. Transfer the onion and garlic mixture to the sauce pan containing the cooked freekeh. Add the broccoli florets, chickpeas, pomegranate arils, nuts, parsley, olive oil, salt, and pepper to the sauce pan as well. Mix thoroughly. Turn the heat on medium-low and heat until warm. Season to taste, and add more olive oil, salt, and pepper, if necessary. Serve immediately.

    Serves 4 as a main dish or 6 as a side

  • roasted delicata squash with pearl couscous

    roasted delicata squash pearl couscous kale cranberries

    Persimmons, quinces, chestnuts, pomegranates, apples, and squash. I’m pretty much over the moon for fall produce. It’s a little like being reunited with old friends — except uh, I get to eat them. Squash has been a mainstay in our kitchen the last few weeks. My little kitchen cart has been overflowing with pumpkins, acorn squash, butternut squash, and I can’t seem to get enough of delicata squash. Delicata squash is similar to butternut squash, but smaller and the skins are thinner. No need for peeling, just slice them in half, scoop out the seeds, let them roast for a half hour, and before you know it you’ll be eating creamy and delicious winter squash.

    For the most part, I’ve just been roasting squash with butter or olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Here though, I’ve roasted delicata squash into little crescents and tossed them with pearl couscous and chickpeas, all coated together in a fragrant slightly sweet and spicy olive oil dressing. It’s like autumn in a bowl. Kale can be tough to chew, so I massaged it with my hands with just a little olive oil for about 30 seconds until it softened.

    Roasted Delicata Squash with Pearl Couscous

    1 delicata squash, halved and sliced into 1/3″ crescents
    1 cup pearl couscous
    1 cup chickpeas
    8 kale leaves, torn into small pieces and massaged with olive oil
    1/2 teaspoon coriander
    1 teaspoon dried mint
    2 teaspoons harissa or hot sauce
    2 teaspoons maple syrup
    salt and pepper, to taste
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
    2 tablespoons cranberries

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and pat dry the squash, lay on a cutting board, cut in half, scrape out the seeds, and cut into crescents that are about 1/3″ thick. Lay on a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper in place in the oven. Set the kitchen timer for 30 minutes.

    Meanwhile, prepare the couscous. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. It should take about 10 minutes for the pearl couscous to be ready, but will vary depending on the size of the couscous, so check the package directions. Once done, drain and set aside. Measure out one cup of cooked chickpeas and set aside.

    While the pearl couscous is draining in a colander, take the pot you boiled the couscous in, and add the kale. Drizzle just a little bit of olive oil over the kale and massage gently with your hands until the kale softens.

    Check on the delicata squash and turn the pieces over.

    Prepare the dressing by mixing together coriander, dried mint, harissa, maple syrup, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Add the dressing to the pot with the kale, along with the chickpeas and couscous. Mix thoroughly.

    In a small frying pan, add walnuts over medium heat and turn a couple times, until browned. I don’t recommend leaving the kitchen when toasting nuts. Whenever I’m toasting nuts and leave the kitchen, even just for a moment, they burn. Remove from heat and let cool. Once cool, chop the walnuts into small pieces.

    Check on the delicata squash, and if it’s soft and beginning to brown on both sides, it’s ready. Add the squash, walnuts, and cranberries to the pot and mix thoroughly. Turn the heat on low, and serve when the mixture is warm.

    Serves 4

  • pomegranate walnut tabbouleh

    pomegranate tabbouli parsley walnuts

    My CSA share this week included a monstrous pile of parsley. Half of it was frozen into ice cubes for future soups, some of it went into a frittata, a handful was stirred into a tomato sauce that was served with polenta, but I wanted to make sure the rest of it a chance to shine on its own. I set out to make tabbouleh, but things did not go according to plan once I went shopping. I passed on the tomatoes for a gorgeous pomegranate and bulgur was nowhere to be found, so I went home and made something that wasn’t quite authentic tabbouleh, but sort of  a transition into fall tabbouleh. Tabbouleh is a Lebanese salad, made primarily with parsley and a handful of mint, with flecks of bulgur (cracked wheat), chopped tomatoes, and coated with a lemon and olive oil dressing that begs to be sopped up with copious amounts of bread. It’s not uncommon to see tabbouleh recipes that use couscous, quinoa, or millet instead of bulgur, but I used crushed walnuts here. Since discovering pomegranate and walnut stew a few years ago, I’ve learned that pomegranates and walnuts make a great pair.

    This makes a good side dish to just about any Middle Eastern meal, but it’s especially delicious with a little tahini sauce or hummus rolled up in a piece of flat bread. I’d say this serves 6 to 8 as a side dish, but I keep sneaking into the kitchen several times a day to take bites out of it straight from the container, so who knows. It’s almost gone and I’m already itching to make another batch.

    Pomegranate Walnut Tabbouleh
    Note: to avoid soggy tabbouleh, let the parsley and mint dry before chopping. This can be done with a strainer and paper towels, but a salad spinner will be your best friend here.

    2 cups flat leaf parsley, chopped
    1/4 cup mint, chopped
    1/2 red onion, diced
    seeds (arils) of one pomegranate
    1/3 cup walnuts, crushed
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice
    1/2 teaspoon sumac
    1/8 teaspoon allspice
    salt and pepper, to taste

    Chop the parsley, mint, and onions with your sharpest knife. De-seed pomegranate. Place the walnuts in a mortar and crush them with a pestle (or give them a whirl in your food processor). Juice lemon. In a large bowl, mix together the parsley, mint, pomegranate, walnuts, olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, sumac, allspice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper until fully incorporated. Give the mixture a taste and add more lemon juice and salt, if necessary. Serve with your favorite Middle Eastern dish or as part of a mezze. Delicious both at room temperature and cold.

    Serves about 6-8 as a side

  • mujaddara deluxe

    mujaddara deluxe

    When I originally posted my mujaddara recipe 4 1/2 years ago, I was pleasantly surprised when it became one of the most popular recipes on the blog. Mujaddara is a rice and lentil pilaf and very near and dear to my heart. When I decided that once and for all I would learn how to cook at the age of 22 (!), it was the first thing I set out to make. All you need is an onion, rice, lentils, olive oil, and salt. How hard could it be? Not very, it turns out, but it took several attempts and fine tuning to get it just where I wanted. In the years since I posted the recipe, I usually don’t make it “as is” unless I’m serving it as a side dish.

    On those nights when the pantry and fridge are looking scarce and I don’t know what to make, mujaddara is a reliable friend since I almost always have the ingredients handy. The base recipe remains the same, but I like to dress it up as much as possible with whatever I can scrounge up. You know those forlorn jars that live in the fridge door? That jar of red bell peppers? Sundried tomatoes? Hearts of palm? Old hot sauce? Harissa? That almost empty bag of frozen peas? The remaining bits of cashews shoved in to a corner of the cupboard? This is their time to shine, along with any other odds and ends in your fridge, freezer, and pantry that you may have forgotten about. Feel free to play around with spices, too. A little bit of coriander or pinch of cardamom work well here. It’s a truly everything but the kitchen sink kind of dish.

    The recipe below includes my latest version of mujaddara deluxe as I call it, along with some ideas for other variations. While I prefer to caramelize one onion per serving when making mujaddara, I only had one here.

    What’s your go-to pantry meal?

    Mujaddara Deluxe

    Base:
    olive oil
    1 onion, sliced
    3/4 cup rice
    3/4 cup lentils
    salt and pepper, to taste

    Extras:
    1/4 cup frozen peas
    2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
    2 tablespoons pickled sweet peppers, chopped
    1 sundried tomato slice, chopped
    1 tablespoon almonds, chopped

    Other variations:
    Dried or fresh herbs: thyme, rosemary, parsley, basil, mint
    Spices: cumin, coriander, cardamom, paprika, sumac
    Nuts: hazelnuts, almonds, pine nuts, walnuts
    Vegetables: carrot, bell pepper, jalapeno, cucumber, zucchini, radish
    Fragrant things: dash of rosewater or pomegranate molasses
    Hot things: hot sauce, harissa, sambal
    Canned things: artichokes, hearts of palm, beets, red peppers
    Sauce: yogurt, tahini

    Heal oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium low heat. When hot, add the onions. Add the onions and a few dashes of salt, stirring every few minutes, for 30 minutes. Turn the heat up a bit and continue cooking until the onions until they are a deep, golden brown, another 15-20 minutes or so. Set skillet aside.

    In the meantime, prepare the lentils and rice according to their package directions. Some people prefer to cook the lentils and rice together in the same pot, but I find that this results in overcooked lentils, so I always cook them separately. About 30 seconds before the rice is ready, drop in the frozen peas. When the lentils and rice are ready, pour them into a colander to drain out the water.

    Mix together the lentils and rice in a big pot. Add salt, pepper, a couple glugs of olive oil, most of the caramelized onion, parsley, pickled sweet peppers, sundried tomato, and almonds. Heat until the mujaddara is warm, add more salt and pepper to taste.

    Serve in bowls and garnish with the remaining caramelized onions. Serve warm and gobble it up!

    Serves 2

  • roasted fennel and zucchini soup

    roasted fennel and zucchini soup

    Tired of zucchini yet? I’m not not ready to let go of summer vegetables yet, but I’m making batch after batch of soup as the temperatures begins to dip down. Heat, serve, and store back in the fridge — one of my favorite ways to eat. I love the gentle and sweet anise flavor of fennel, but I recommend going easy on the garlic here. Four cloves were added to this batch of soup, but I was initially tempted to toss in the entire bulb. I’m glad I didn’t, otherwise the fennel wouldn’t have had the opportunity to shine through. If your fennel includes stalks and fronds, save the fronds to make pesto. I added a little bit of of the pesto to the soup for garnish, but reserved the rest of it for pizza.

    As an aside, if you are visiting or live near Detroit, the Arab American Museum hosts a food walking tour of Dearborn. So bummed I didn’t know this tour existed until after I moved. Please eat everything ever from Shatila so I can live vicariously through your stomach.

    roasted fennel and zucchini soup 2

    Roasted Fennel and Zucchini Soup

    For the soup:

    4 medium sized zucchini, sliced in half
    2 fennel bulbs, cut in half
    1 cup new potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
    1 onion, cut into quarts
    4 cloves of garlic
    3 cups vegetable broth
    1 bay leaf
    freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
    salt and pepper, to taste

    For garnish (optional):

    a tablespoon of chopped nuts per bowl (hazelnuts or walnuts)
    fennel frond pesto
    drizzle of olive oil

    Fennel frond pesto (optional):
    2 cups fennel fronds
    2 cloves garlic
    1/4 cup pine nuts
    2 tablespoons lemon juice (add more to taste)
    salt and pepper, to taste
    1/3 cup olive oil

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, wash and prepare vegetables. Lay zucchini, fennel, potatoes, onion, and garlic on a pan. Use your hands to thoroughly coat the vegetables in olive oil. Sprinkle some salt and pepper and place in the oven. Roast for 35 minutes.

    While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the pesto (optional). Blend all the ingredients except for the oil in a food processor, scraping down the sides, processing again, and repeat until it’s formed a paste. With the machine running on low, slowly drizzle in the oil until the mixture transforms into a loose sauce. Scrape down the mixture in the food processor, as needed. Give the pesto a taste and adjust the amount of cheese, lemon, and salt to your liking.

    When the vegetables are ready, remove them from the oven and transfer them to a stock pot. Add vegetable broth and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over medium heat, lower the temperature and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Remove bay leaf from the pot. Working in batches, blend the soup in a food processor or blender, or just use an immersion blender if you have one, until the soup is smooth. Return the soup back to the pot, then add the nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Season to taste, and serve. Garnish with some chopped up nuts, olive oil, and a small dollop of pesto.

    Serves about 6