Aug 10, 2016

pantry+ blackened moroccan chickpea patty

Last year I began creating Dump Dinner recipes, but as a wise person pointed out, "dump" anything just doesn’t sound that appetizing. Besides that, I felt that Dump Dinner recipes were more of a rut than a liberation. All of a sudden, I had to come up with ideas where you would throw all the ingredients into a single pot and come out with a gourmet meal. It sounds appealing theoretically, but it is actually pretty limiting.

As you may know, I’ve recently reviewed a few easy and quick cookbooks (Vegan-ease by Laura Theodore and Cook the Pantry by Robin Robertson). While both books are amazing, I want to take this next segment of recipes a bit further.

Although I didn’t mean to blab about it so soon, it turns out I need something to say, so why not this?

Here’s the skinny: I introduce you to a limited pantry of dry goods and then, with a few (five or six) fresh ingredients (or ingredients not on the Pantry list), I create a simple and easy recipe, good for lunch or dinner. If you’ve heard of this already, it’s because Michael Symon features this on the TV show The Chew (I haven't actually seen the show, but I have seen the cookbook).

It is no secret that Michael is in no way, shape or form anywhere near vegetarian, so his recipes are useless, but the idea of cooking with a limited pantry along with a few fresh ingredients sounds grand! I’ve decided to apply it to vegan cooking. Although it does present more challenges because, while a piece of steak is “food” onto itself, a bit of work goes into preparing a delicious slab of, say, tofu. In fact, I often wonder how these “chefs” can call themselves worthy of the title when they run scared from a cake of soybeans.

So, I am completely serious about this way of cooking, to the point that I’ve created a page for the pantry and am dubbing this “Pantry+.” (read: Pantry Plus, because you need a limited pantry plus a few fresh ingredients.) Fingers crossed it goes over well!

Enough prattling! My first recipe:

Blackened Moroccan Chickpea Patties.

For the Moroccan part of the recipe you will need Ras el Hanout spice mixture. This is one of the seven global spice mixtures I’ll be using for Pantry+ recipes. My recipe is a simplified version of it, so if you would like more depth or you can easily find it at a local grocer, awesome! If not, mix up this batch (it makes about ¼ cup), store it in your pantry and have it ready for next time.

Food processor
Cast iron pan

Pantry ingredients are:
Ras el Hanout spice mix
Bread crumbs
Vegetable broth (if needed)
Olive oil or vegan mayonnaise (optional)

Fresh ingredients are:
Bell pepper
Pita bread

Sweet, right?!?
Limited prep work, limited ingredients and still big on taste! Let's get cooking!

First things first, let's make the spice mixture. You will need:

After toasting the whole ingredients (cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, peppercorn and cumin), add the rest of the ingredients (including paprika, which I forgot to add to the photo :0 ) and process in a small blender or spice grinder. Then you will end up with this:

And now for the recipe, you will need:

After grinding the chickpeas and breadcrumbs, they are formed into 4 patties and dredged in the Ras el Hanout spice mixture. The patties are then blackened in a dry cast iron skillet (or one that is lightly oiled). The onion and pepper are sliced thin and dry cooked in the pan until charred and crisp tender.

Season the lettuce and tomaotes with lemon juice, salt and pepper, and serve in pita bread. That pita bread right there, btw, is homemade. I'm watching my consumption of plastic and this is something I can bake relatively easily. Stay tuned for overnight refrigerated whole wheat bread - this will help prepare fresh bread easily in the morning before running to work. At least that is my hope!

Now for the announcement of the winner of the Jazzy Vegetarian DVD set! The winner is Susan Smoaks! Congratulations! Susan, please contact me at zsu [at] zsusveganpantry [dot] com. Thank you!

Blackened Moroccan Chickpea Patties Pita
Makes 4 sandwiches

Olive oil (optional)
1 medium onion
1 medium bell pepper
1 3/4 to 2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons Ras el Hanout spice mix
4 pita breads, warmed
8 pieces lettuce leaves 
8 tomato slices
1/2 lemon, juiced

1. Heat the oil (or the dry pan) in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cut the top and bottom off the onion, cut in half, peel and slice into thin half moons. Cut the sides and bottom off the bell pepper and cut into thin slices. Add the onion, bell pepper and some salt and pepper (to taste) to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until charred and crisp tender, about 5 to 8 minutes.
2. Add the chickpeas and salt to a food processor and grind into a coarse meal. Add the breadcrumbs and pulse to combine.  Form the chickpeas into 4 patties (adding a few splashes of vegetable broth if the patties don’t hold together). Dredge the patties in the spice mixture and set aside.
3. Remove the onion mixture from the skillet and set aside. Add the patties and cook until blackened, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook for 2 minutes on the other side.
4. Season the lettuce and tomato with the lemon juice, olive oil (if desired) and salt. Stuff the pita with the onion, pepper, lettuce, tomato and a patty. Serve.  

© 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

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  1. LOVE this idea. You are off to a great start with the yummy sounding and looking first recipe!

    1. Thank you, in2insight! You know that you are my impetus whenever I think of things like this :)

  2. This looks wonderful! Anxiously waiting for your Aquafaba book, and now this one will be on my list too! What are the quantities to make our own spice mix?

    1. Thank you, Natalie! And thank you for pointing out the missing link. I linked to the homemade spice mix in the print version of the recipe, but neglected to link in the web version. I have fixed my omission and the link is now above. Thanks again!

  3. Love this idea. I started categorizing my recipes a while ago along similar lines: Pantry, Pantry-Plus, Pantry On Ice, etc. Will be looking out for future posts about this!

  4. I've picked up Ras el Hanout in World Market and put it back, because I didn't have a specific recipe in mind. I will definitely buy the spice on my next trip. I'm looking forward to trying this recipe.

    1. I find that happens to me a lot. I'll see a specialty thing in a store, wonder what to use it for, PUT IT BACK and then come home and see a recipe that calls for it. Kismet.


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