Rockin’ Gluten Free Falafel

That’s right Sis, I got you.  In the weird world of cooking for my family, I have made some surprising discoveries.  First, my children don’t like ALL sweet things (and I am so glad). Secondly, my kids usually accept my food dicta without significant complaint and finally (drumroll) my kids will eat anything that has anything to do with chickpeas.  Errrrrrrh….. what what WHAT?  Yes, that’s right chickpeas.  I have no explanation for you.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the little buggers myself, but that discovery certainly had not happened by age 6.  There was not significant trickery to get them to try the little beans, although I admit to calling them tushies and pointing out that they look like a little pile of baby bums.  Some people might not want to eat that, but it worked for my kids… go figure.  So when trying to decide what to make for dinner the other night, and since I was feeling kind of summery and listening to great music, I thought falafel made a lot of sense (if you don’t get the connection you probably wasted less of your 20s than I did).

When I found a falafel recipe, however, I noticed that it had wheat flour and breadcrumbs in it.  Not surprising – most pattie type foods have one or both of these, but thought, I couldn’t possibly serve these to my sister’s family as written, and so I began my usual alteration dance with gluten free falafel as the goal.  And guess what? Gluten free falafel is awesome, regardless of whether or not you’re in the parking lot of a large concert venue.  Gluten free falafel rocked this suburban (okay exurban for the geography geeks – holla!) momma and Ms. Picky Pants?  She had thirds.  Yep. Thirds.  Enough said. If Ms. Picky Pants has thirds, I’m pretty convinced everyone should give this one a go. Continue reading

Tahini for Two, or 10 for Tahini

The sauce is huge.  Don’t you think?  Dressing, spicing, basting, flavoring, slathering and pouring on that scrumptious sauce can turn a few simple ingredients into what Little Sis would call “Company Good” food.  Sometimes the sauce is a simple blend of balsamic vinegar and oil, or avocado and rice vinegar.  Sometimes it is a whole production in and of itself and of course many sauces include milk, cream and/or some kind of cheese.

The elimination of dairy from my husband’s diet has narrowed the slathering-covering-dripping element of our cuisine and has sent me in search of alternates to enhance flavor and texture.  Bloggers to the rescue yet again!  I have not yet failed to find fantastic solutions to any culinary question or difficulty when searching amongst the myriad of blogs representing folks who try and share their work.  Thank you!

The following seems to me to be a combo of Angela Liddon (Oh She Glows) and Little Sis – the great deconstructionist / substitutor who can happily feed a crowd of diverse eaters.  Everyone in my family of 3 LOVES this recipe and it works with whatever I have coming out of the garden at the time (even cauliflower leaves).  It’s different every time, except for the sauce, which is truly yummy, creamy, dairy-free, and filling – good for you as well!

Here is the recipe from Angela Liddon for Protein Power Goddess Bowl.  (Some days I feel like the goddess, some days I feel like the bowl.)

Lightened Up Protein Power Goddess Bowl

Adapted from Protein Power Goddess Bowl, which was adapted from The Coup Cookbook.
Yield: 6 cups
Ingredients:
1 cup uncooked green lentils (yield 2 & 3/4 cups cooked)
1 cup uncooked speltberries (yield 2 cups cooked) OR grain of choice, like brown rice
1/2 tbsp olive oil, for sautéing
1/2 red onion (~1 & 1/3 cups), chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
3 cups spinach or kale, roughly chopped (I used Lacinato kale)
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
1 batch of Lightened Up Tahini-Lemon Dressing (recipe below)
Kosher salt & black pepper, to taste
Lemon Wedges & lemon zest, to garnish

Okay garden…. where’s the spinach, kale or red onion?
I beg your pardon… I never promised you a grocery store garden!
However, my lovely garden offered me leeks that, although a bit small were not going to get any larger in the TN sun.   I also had swiss chard.  Hello you gorgeous red stalked wonders, I believe I can get cooking now!

So with the help of a store bought pepper and garlic I did the following…

Ms. Liddon’s Directions:

1. Cook lentils and speltberries (or grain of choice) according to package directions. I did this the night before to save time. Drain and set aside.   – I (BiggSis) used quinoa instead of speltberries and am going to try lentils with rice next time.

2. Prepare the Lightened Up tahini-Lemon dressing in food processor (see below for recipe).

3. In a large skillet over low-medium heat, add your olive oil and sauté the chopped onion and minced garlic for a few minutes, being careful not to burn. Now add in the chopped red pepper and tomato and sauté for another 7-8 minutes.

Chopped leeks first for a few minutes and then I added the chopped stems of the swiss chard.

Add the pepper

– I did not use tomato this time.  First time I made this I added uncooked tomatoes at the end and thought that was awesome!

4. Stir in the chopped kale or spinach and sauté for another few minutes, just until tender.

Beautiful swiss chard!

Stir in the full batch of tahini-Lemon dressing, the cooked & drained grains and lentils, and simmer on low for another few minutes.

– To accomodate all eaters, I kept the quinoa, lentils, sauteed veggies, tahini dressing and toppers of parsley separate so that each diner could compile their own version of this wonderful dish.  Even Little Sis’ picky one would find a way to eat some of this stuff 😉

Remove from heat and stir in the minced parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with lemon wedges and zest. Makes 6 cups.

Here is the wonderful Lemon-Tahini dressing.  It seems like a lot of dressing but tahini is not a strong taste and it adds a lovely creaminess to the dish – so heap it on there!

Lightened Up Tahini-Lemon Dressing

Adapted from Tahini-Lemon Dressing.
Yield: Just under 1 cup of dressing
Ingredients:
1/4 cup Tahini
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/4 cup Nutritional yeast or a bit more, to taste
2-4 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
1 tsp kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
3 tbsp water, or as needed

Directions:
1. In a food processor, add all ingredients and process until smooth. Makes just under 1 cup. – I just put it all in a large measuring cup and stirred.  Worked just fine.

Eh Voila!  Wish I could have provided a picture before any was eaten but I was very hungry and forgot until a little nourishment got my brain working better again.

lightened up protein power goddess bowl.

Enjoy – in whatever combo works for you and those whom you nourish!