Showing posts with label pita. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pita. Show all posts

Jan 20, 2017

moroccan chickpea salad

The final amazing meal in this Prep Ahead Week 4 menu is Moroccan Chickpea Salad.  This salad features chickpeas marinated with dried apricots in a garam masala sauce. It is then added to greens and steamed rapini. The salad is served with Seasoned Pita Wedges and is completely unique and delicious.

The sweetness of the apricots mingled with the spices from the marinade, meld perfectly with the bitterness of the rapini. There is plenty of sauce to act as a marinade and a dressing and everything is whole foods plant-based.

I loved this salad and even my husband, who does not care for fruit in his savory dishes, loved this as well. The almonds add a light crunch and the pita wedges help scoop everything up.

This is very easy to throw together on the Prep Ahead menu, but in this case, I recommend allowing the chickpeas to marinade overnight.

Moroccan Chickpea Salad
Serves 4 

Marinade ingredients:
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon tahini
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon sweetener
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup parsley (1/4 bunch), minced
1/4 medium onion, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (about 2 cups, cooked)

1 bunch rapini (or see below for substitute)
Marinade chickpeas
3/4 cup almonds or 1/2 cup pepitas
2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped

4 pita breads.
1 tablespoon vegetable broth

1. In a medium storage container, combine the lemon juice, vegetable broth, tahini, garam masala, smoked paprika and sweetener. Mix very well. Add the apricots, the parsley, the onion
and the chickpeas. Mix well and cover. Refrigerate overnight. 
2. Steam until tender, about 5 minutes, and chop. 
3. Taste and adjust seasoning of marinated chickpeas.
4. Toast the almonds, if desired. Chop the almonds (not pepitas). 
5. Divide lettuce among 4 bowls. Add the steamed rapini. Add the chickpea salad and the almonds. 
6. Brush the pitas with the broth. Season with salt and pepper. Add to a baking dish and broil until toasty. Cut into wedges. Serve the salad with the pita.

Substitute 1 bunch watercress for the rapini. Do not steam the watercress. Add it on top of the romaine lettuce.

© 2017 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

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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Apr 1, 2015

greek pita with fennel and spring onion

I simply adore fennel that is shaved and sauteed until it practically melts in your mouth. Really delicious! I have a few bulbs of the vegetable in my fridge and received some spring onions in my CSA box yesterday; it was time to make good use of them.

Since I wanted something relatively easy and not have to make anything too fussy, I decided on a Greek-inspired pita sandwich. It was ready relatively fast and it was a breath of fresh air - anything with lemon and fennel will usually bring that to mind.

If you are leery of using fennel, fear not. Cut off about 1/4-inch of the base (where it is browning) and simply use a mandoline to shave the bulb into almost paper thin slices. No need to remove the core since you are cooking it until the fennel is soft. Use the mandoline to shave the onions, too, and they will cook up tender and sweet in no time.

I used Beyond Meat Grilled Strips for ease, but homemade seitan would work well, too. Even portobello mushrooms would rock this recipe; be sure to remove the gills of the mushroom first by scrapping it out with a spoon.

I made the hummus using the recipe from Everyday Vegan Eats, which Vegan Heritage Press has published right here, but I added about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika to the mixture. I also didn't bother removing the skins of the chickpeas this time and just let the machine run a bit longer for a smoother puree. Sometimes, speed and ease is of the essence.

Greek Pita with Fennel and Spring Onion
Serves 4 to 6

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon fresh or dried Rosemary
12 ounces Beyond Meat strips or chopped seitan

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 spring onions, shaved
1 medium fennel, shaved
Sea salt and black pepper

Pita bread
Hummus (stir in ½ teaspoon smoked paprika per 1 cup of hummus)

1. Protein: Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano, and rosemary in a shallow dish. Add the protein and season with salt and black pepper  and set aside to marinate for 15 minutes. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the protein strips only. Cook until golden on both sides, about 3 minutes. Add the marinade, including the garlic, and cook until the garlic is golden. Remove from the heat and set aside.
2. Vegetables: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and fennel, cover, and cook until completely tender, about 5 to 8 minutes, stirring as needed. Season with salt and black pepper.
3. Assembly: Toast the pita, cut in half and split into pockets. Spread about 2 tablespoons of hummus in the pockets, add protein strips and a generous portion of the sauteed vegetables. Serve.

Tip: Cook the vegetables while the protein marinates. Transfer the vegetables to a container and cook the protein in the same skillet.

© 2015 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

Nov 12, 2012

annual gyros

It has been well over year since I have made Gyros and I can only delay in making them for the family for the sake of the blog for just so long: "Must make something new!" so goes my mantra.

For all the juicy details of what a Gyro is and my fascinating personal look into the Greek restaurants of Chicago-land, head over to last year's post.

This time around, however, I don't want to bore you with details, and instead only temp you with pictures.

I used the Simple Chicken Seitan Recipe, cooked for 4 hours as a roast instead of cutlets, and sliced it thin. 

Yeah. Still totally great! If you haven't gone here, yet, it is time to book the trip. 

Cost Breakdown

seitan: $2
pita: $2
olive oil, lemon, herbs: $1
yogurt, cucumber: $1.50
tomato, onion, lettuce: $1.50

Total to make 5 servings:

RECIPE UPDATE: this soup has been tested and revised and will be featured in the upcoming cookbook "Everyday Vegan Eats," by Zsu Dever.

Apr 18, 2011



Having lived in Chicago fifteen years ago and having worked in almost a dozen Greek restaurants, I am very familiar with the Gyro. Interestingly, having been back here for over a year now, I've yet to rediscover those familiar Greek  joints - not that I could eat at them anymore, but still, where have they gone?

Gyro is basically a bunch of meat skewered onto a vertical spit and roasted as it turns. The meat is sliced off in pieces, put on a pita with tomatoes, onions and tzaziki sauce. And please do not pronounce it as the orientation-stabilizing device, for it is not. It is not a hero, either.
It is: year-o.   

For the meat I used the Firm Seitan, but I have had delicious luck with using Tender Seitan. The seitan is cooked as a roast, is then sliced thin and marinated in olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, oregano and rosemary. Before you throw it into a pita, saute the pieces until some of it gets a little crisp.

The tzaziki sauce is soy yogurt with shredded and drained cucumbers (so your sauce isn't too thin), garlic, lemon juice, oregano and a little olive oil.

This is so worth making every time! My family loves it and if any of my old Greek bosses could taste it, they'd love it, too.

Cost Breakdown

seitan: $4
pita: $3
olive oil, lemon, herbs: $2
yogurt: $1
tomato, onion: $1.50
Total to make 7 servings:

Jan 17, 2011

harissa spiced sandwich

African Night

Harissa is a staple in North Africa, a hot pepper sauce. You can buy harissa or make your own using fresh hot peppers, oil, and other optional ingredients such as garlic, cumin, red pepper, coriander, etc.

Tonight's meal, Harissa Spiced Sandwich, was inspired by a recipe by Marcus Samuelsson using harissa coated lamb. I used rehydrated textured vegetable protein (TVP) instead of the lamb, but next time will definitely use either tofu or seitan - the TVP retained too much liquid (because of rehydration and being marinated) to crispen properly.

Using tofu (pressed or wrapped) or seitan, coating them with the harissa marinade and then browning them, is totally delicious. The protein is then cooked in a sauce with chickpeas and is then served with hummus and pita. A little extra harissa on the side is nice, too. 

Even using the TVP the dish was phenomenal and using solely chickpeas or using tofu or seitan will garner a better result. 

Cost Breakdown

TVP (use tofu or seitan instead): $2
tamari, harissa, broth: $1.50
onion, garlic, lemon, spices:
chickpeas: $2
tomato: $1
pita: $1.50
hummus: $1
Total to make 5 servings:

Aug 9, 2010

incrediburger with chipotle cream and shaved cucumber

I had these Incrediburgers in the freezer since July and needed something quick to make for lunch. These came out of the freezer, went into the toasted oven, got a little splash of olive oil and tasted fantastic.

This proves that Incrediburgers are great frozen - so go and make yourself a batch to have when you crave a burger.

In case you don't know, Incrediburgers are out of American Vegan Kitchen by Tamsin Noyes.

I made a Chipotle Cream sauce for my burgers using the peppers in adobo - again, I freeze what I don't use of the can to have when I want it - and Better Than Cream Cheese. I seasoned it, sprinkled some cilantro into it and slathered my Incrediburger with it. To keep the party cool, I added some seasoned shaved cucumbers.

They are in a pita because... you guessed it, I had some pita frozen.

You'd think I haven't been to the grocers yet this week!

Cost Breakdown
burgers: $3
cucumber: $1 (sale!)
chipotle: $.50
pita: $2
cilantro and cream cheese: $2
Total to make 5 burgers: