chickpeas are cheap: an outpouring of thoughts about the garbanzo and dried beans.

Roasted Chickpeas with Nutritional Yeast, Oregano and Sea Salt

As usual, my history with using dried beans is linked to the Post Punk Kitchen.  I remember a blog post years ago, challenging people to soak their own beans and base meals around the outcome.  When I finally had the balls to soak my own, I was thrilled x 40 at the results, and most importantly, how far it stretched my initial, mere investment. It’s so resourceful, healthy and cost-effective!

There are definitely occasions I’m short on time or stockpiling a bit for an apocalypse, and I’ve yet to make the move for a pressure cooker, but a simple colander, large pot and time are all I need to bring beans to life in my kitchen. FYI, they’ve never spoke to me.

Quick & obvious notes on using dried beans:

  1. Buy dried beans in bulk. In Portland, you can go to co-ops, farmers markets, New Seasons, Fred Meyer, and I think even Safeway has a bulk area.  You can buy dried beans in bags  at most stores, of course, but it’s more fun and economical to buy them by the pound.
  2. Pick out any really noticeable crud. I just give my beans a quick look over, and toss a couple times.
  3. Soak them during the day, 4-8 hours, while you’re out working or counting leaves (clearly the only two things I think people do during the day).
  4. Rinse in a colander (one the beans won’t fall through).
  5. Cook according to bean specifications. There’s a guide halfway down this page, and one in Veganomicon, which I’m sure you own. I normally don’ t need more than 1.5 hours for chickpeas.  I usually just cook in water, but you can always play with broth with herbs and alliums.

I spent this past Friday night wildly cooking chickpeas and prepping for the next day’s event.  FYI, I store my cooked beans in pitchers, and change the water every couple days.

Over the course of the weekend, the chickpeas went into Yellow Curry & Sweet Potato hummus, 40 Cloves Chickpea & Broccoli, and Chickpea Cutlets.  I try and save money, bringing lunch to work, as boring as it can be.  I’m sure I’ll do much more  with these little pieces of protein over the next week or so, and extra will go bagged into my freezer!

Ten Chickpea-y Ideas:

  1. Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon. I always bake these, and I’ve been known to mold them into ball-form as well to serve with marinara. There are gluten-free versions floating around the internet.  I’ve had ones my friend Michelle has made, they’re really good!
  2. Roasted Chickpeas. This was the first way I ever cooked chickpeas, back in college, when I spent a lot of time playing around on Vegweb.com.  Dreena Burton’s Tamari Roasted Chickpeas is an easy way to start if you’ve never made them before.
  3. Chickpea Quinoa Pilaf - again, from Veganomicon! Really versatile. Quinoa + Chickpeas = nutrition!
  4. One word: Falafel
  5. Pasta: There are recipes for this on every cooking website that exists. Lightly saute in extra virgin olive oil with minced garlic, crushed red pepper, and spinach, and serve over pasta with sea salt, fresh pepper and nutritional yeast to your liking.
  6. Add to Bowls: ala Joanna’s Almighty Bowl style post or Blossoming Lotus
  7. Another one word: Hummus. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are entire cults based around this dip. I’m going to post the recipe for the Yellow Curry inspired hummus this week.
  8. Gravy: I’ve actually never made the famous Punkrock Chickpea in Vegan with a Vengeance, but I have made a Silky Chickpea Gravy in testing for Isa’s new low-fat book.
  9. Chana Masala: The Indian Classic. I love when this is in the lunch special at Bombay Chaat House!
  10. Add to Soups: add to any soup that calls for beans, or you’d think would work in. Who makes vegetable soup without beans?  huh? Years ago, I tried and liked this recipe for Chickpea Garlic Soup from The Angelica Home Kitchen.

Runner Up: Chickpea salads. These aren’t really my thing, but I have caught myself with no time and lack of ingredients, snacking on chickpeas + nooch + sea salt…

Fun fact: There are white, green and black chickpeas.

Wow, that was so About.com of me.

Chickpea-usage, the photos!

40 Cloves Chickpea & Garlic - a tester for Isa’s new book (second time I’ve made it!)

Chickpea Cutlets - I made these in my food processor, but they’re super easy to make without it.

Chickpea Cutlets

Chickpea Cutlet Balls

Tamari Roasted Chickpeas from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan

Chickpeas in a really colorful Tofu Scramble

Baked Tofu and Chickpea Quinoa Pilaf

Chickpea Pitcher

chickpea pitcher

I wish my photo did this more justice, clearly I was in a rush to dine.

Chickpeas added to Pasta e Faglio, from The Urban Vegan

Comforty, Lower-Fat New Farm Mac & Cheeze, Gluten Free, and thickened with Chickpea Flour

Chickpeas Romesco from Veganomicon

Baked Falafel from Vegan with a Vengeance

And a plate of fresh vegetables, with store bought pita and stellar hummus from Barbur World Foods. For the record, their fresh baked pita is one of the best things in the world. Lunch@work.

P.S.

Thanks to anyone reading this who came to the presentation at the library this past weekend!  There was a huge turn out, which delighted both the library staff and myself! I had a blast talking about a topic I adore – Local & Vegan Eating in Portland, OR.  Totally makes me want to visit the People’s Farmers Market this week! I just love the Portland vegan community.

warm & comforty foods.

Brussel Sprouts Au Gratin from The Urban Vegan


brussel sprouts au gratin

here’s a showing of what I’ve been cooking in the past month or so.  colder weather & holiday season = comfort foods on the brain.  turning on the oven to roast vegetables and bake tofu is delicious and keeps the apartment warm!

they’re the type of dishes where you want to hug the plate, and then raise your fork.  truthfully, in my heart and stomach, Italian food reigns as the ruler of the comfort food kingdom, but American vegan comfort foods call out, just the same.

Whole Wheat Biscuits from The Kind Diet, Silky Chickpea Gravy from Isa’s test kitchen, roasted brussel sprouts (clearly I let the gravy sit a few minutes here!)

WW Biscuits and Tester Silky Chickpea Gravy

Spicy Collards & kidney beans, Bbq baked super firm tofu

recent dinner

The spicy collards dish above was based on the test recipe for the dish below – Spicy Black Eyed Peas & Greens from Isa’s test kitchen, served with Cornmeal & Nooch baked tofu. Perfect for the days the Bye & Bye is just too far across town from me.

PPK dinner.

More BBQ baked tofu & Brussel Sprouts Au Gratin – the lunch@work edition. I made a double batch of maple sweetened Backyard BBQ sauce from Veganomicon a few weeks ago, and it’s been handy.

lunch @work series

Baked Bean balls from Veganomicon. I eat these with steamed greens and a side of marinara, or happily over whole wheat spaghetti.

chickpea balls

Seitan roast, maple baked carrots, baked potato and mushroom croquette, silky chickpea gravy.

belated tday dinner.

The day after Thanksgiving, I felt the delayed desire to make a seitan roast.  Like my friend Joanna’s amazing seitan roast, I modeled mine after Brian P. McCarthy’s recipe.  I didn’t pull out all the stops and buy cheesecloth and string, but it was still remarkably good seitan. The potato and mushroom croquettes were a mix of leftover mashed potatoes, roasted garlic and a little extra stuffed mushroom filling, formed into patties, rolled in seasoned breadcrumbs and baked.  I remember my mom making a pan fried (mushroom-less), traditional Italian version of these a few times a year growing up. comfort foodz for the win!

Tofu Skin, Tolosana black beans, carrots and tomato with Mexican spices. Burrito filling.

tofu sheets, mexican style

Really serious warm & comforty food – Side Dish Stuffed Mushrooms from my friend Michelle’s Thanksgiving potluck.

shrooms

and…Melty Swiss Uncheese turned Ancho Uncheese Dip from the classic Uncheese Cookbook.

swiss uncheese turned spicy ancho swiss uncheese

so, what’s your comfort food of choice come winter?