Vegan Life Changing Masala with Beef & Chickpeas

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

So – flipping around the internet, I came across a recipe from a blog I love.  The blog is Pinch of Yum.  I love the blog because the photographs are mercilessly lush & gorgeous.  About a year ago, she posted her “life-changing 30 minute masala sauceand the photos are so great – I just could not get the recipe out of my mind – so – I made it!  She offers the recipe for a masala paste & then how to make a sauce from the paste.  She served the sauce over her “30-minute vegetarian meatballs.”  I did not have the ingredients for the meatballs so I decided to serve my sauce over Gardein beefless tips & chickpeas.

The paste is SUPER easy.  You just whip it up in a food processor.  The sauce is super easy, too, and she is right!  It is delicious!  You could serve the sauce over any meat or meatless meat or veggie or even rice or pasta you desire.  The paste makes a lot so maybe freeze some.

I did not have onions so I used shallots & scallions.  I used two tomatoes & some tomato paste in place of her suggested 1½ cups tomato puree + ½ cup water or broth – just because that was all I had.  Worked out great!  I recommend you make this sauce & follow her blog.  It is really wonderful!

Vegan Life Changing Masala with Beef & Chickpeas

Serves 4 with rice

INGREDIENTS

9 oz vegan beef (or other vegan meat)
1 15-ounce can chickpeas – drained
for the masala paste
2 onions
5 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, crushed
3 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon cumin
1½ teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
a small pile of of cilantro stems
a fistful of almonds
juice of one lemon
for the masala sauc
1½ cups tomato puree + ½ cup water or broth
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
½ teaspoon salt (taste and adjust)
GARNISH – cooked rice & cilantro
DIRECTIONS
Pulse all the ingredients for the Masala Paste in a food processor until smooth.  Put it into a container for storage in the fridge or freezer – reserving only 1/4 cup of the paste for this recipe.  The rest is extra!
Heat a drizzle of oil in a skillet. Add 1/4 cup masala paste to the skillet and with a little bit of oil and stir around in the pan until fragrant (3-5 minutes).  Add the tomato puree and water and simmer until t’s a rusty-deep-red color – about 5-10 minutes.  Add the beef & chickpeas.  Add the coconut milk; simmer for 10 minutes or so until thick and creamy.  Longer simmer = thicker and better flavor.
Serve over warm rice & garnish with chopped cilantro.

Vegan Moroccan Chicken, Chickpeas & Butternut Squash with Preserved Lemons for the Slow Cooker (or Not)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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OK – in order to make this recipe – you really will need two important ingredients – seen above – preserved lemons & ras el hanout.  The preserved lemons will give the dish its distinctive Moroccan flair and the ras el hanout will keep this stew from tasting like a curry.   You can make the ras el hanout – as it is just a blend of other spices – but buying it will be so much cheaper & easier.  See the package below – list the spices involved in that particular brand.

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I used saffron – because I had it – but saffron can be very expensive so – if you don’t have any & don’t want to shell out the funds – blow the saffron off.  Same with the harissa (a hot sauce).  The two things I really suggest you not blow off are the preserved lemons & the ras el hanout – both of which can be purchased on Amazon.

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Preserved lemons come in a jar (see above) & are simply lemons pickled in brine.  They maintain all their sharp lemon flavor but are quite salty & very soft.   The flavor they give this dish is critical – so – be patient – and get some before making this.

Other than that – this is a straight-forward slow cooker dish (which could be made by simmering on the stove, too) with ingredients that are easy to come by.  I served mine with this Trader Joe’s blend of grains but couscous is more traditional.  I like this stuff from Trader Joe’s because it is pretty & offers lots of textures.  You can serve yours with whatever grain you prefer.

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I used Beyond Meat chicken because I think it is the best on the market.  I thawed & shredded it because it breaks down in stews better that way & because – visually – it really looks like shredded chicken.   I am convinced you could slip this by meat-eaters with no complaints.

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Vegan Moroccan Chicken, Chickpeas & Butternut Squash with Preserved Lemons for the Slow Cooker (or Not)

Serves 4-6 with couscous or rice

INGREDIENTS

9-12 oz vegan chicken

1 onion – diced

2-4 garlic cloves – chopped

2 (15 oz) cans of chickpeas – drained

4 cups vegetable stock

1 TBS ras el hanout

1/4 – 1 preserved lemon (depending on hpw large it is) – diced small (start with less & add more as you go – just so that this flavor doesn’t get to overpowering for you) – I used the entire 1/2 lemon using all parts

Saffron (a large pinch or more) – optional

Green and/or black olives – I used half Kalamata & half large martini olives – in a quantity to suit your taste for olives – optional

1 TBS harissa (or other hot sauce) – optional

1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes

3 carrots – chopped

1 butternut squash – peeled, seeded & cubed

1/2 – 1 red bell pepper – diced

1 lemon – peeled & sliced

1 handful cilantro

GARNISH – chopped cilantro or parsley, lemon wedges/slices

Cooked couscous or other grain

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DIRECTIONS

Put everything into a slow cooker & cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8.  If you started light with the preserved lemon – taste occasionally & add more – if you like the flavor.  Overall – it should have a strong lemon flavor.  It should not need salt – because the preserved lemons, olives & stock should have that covered.

Stove top – just bring to a boil & simmer everything until the vegetables are soft – likely less than an hour.  If you started light with the preserved lemon – taste occasionally & add more – if you like the flavor.  Overall – it should have a strong lemon flavor.  It should not need salt – because the preserved lemons, olives & stock should have that covered.

In both cases – add water if it gets too thick.

Serve with whatever grain you chose & garnish with cilantro or parsley & lemon wedges.

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Spicy Vegan Southern Chickpea Stew with Rice

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I know I say a lot of my dishes are easy – but – if I say that is true.  And not just true for experienced cooks but easy for beginners & those in a hurry.  EASY.  This one is impossible to mess up – short of burning it or over-salting it.  Beyond that – really fucking easy.

Simple & easy-to-find ingredients.  You control the spice.  If I were to make this again – I would use maybe only half the can of tomatoes – but that is because I prefer the chickpeas to the tomatoes. Or – maybe I’d add a second can of chickpeas.  Whatever.  The point is – you can play with this & customize it to your tastes.   Better yet – the stew will be done before you rice is – that is how fast & easy this is.

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Spicy Vegan Southern Chickpea Stew with Rice

Serves 2 with rice

INGREDIENTS

Cooked rice for 2

Olive oil

1 (14.5 oz) can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes

1 (15.5 oz) can chickpeas – drained

1 jalapeno – seeded & diced (optional)

1 red (or other color) bell pepper – seeded & chopped

1-3 cloves garlic – minced

2 tsp Cajun (or Creole) seasoning

1/2-1 tsp chipotle pepper (less if you don’t tolerate heat well)

Liquid Smoke (very optional)

S&P

Parsley – chopped as garish

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the rice.

Meanwhile, heat a TBS or two of olive oil over high heat & cook the bell pepper & jalapeno until soft.

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Add the garlic & stir for one minute.  Add the chickpeas & tomatoes (maybe not all the can of tomatoes – if you like a less tomato-heavy stew.  These photos show an entire can) & spices.  If you are using liquid smoke – start with one or two drops & increase according to your taste for this stuff.  I find it goes from “barely noticeable” to “OmyGod – this whole dish is ruined” very quickly.  Too much liquid smoke is fucking nasty.  Trust.  So – go easy.

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Heat through & serve over rice garnished with parsley.

Told you it was fucking easy, didn’t I?

Enjoy!

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Vegan Butter Chicken and Chickpea Burrito with Pickled Onions and Mint Cilantro Chutney

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Did you perhaps make my Vegan Butter Chicken and Chickpeas for the Slow Cooker – seen above?  Do you have boat loads left over – like I do?  Why not try this Indian take on a burrito?    The Mint & Cilantro chutney is genuinely spicy & insanely delicious & takes this curry to new heights.   The pickled onions add a little snap & they are SO EASY to make.  You could add paneer or feta or cotija or some cheese to this – if you eat cheese – but it really doesn’t need it.

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The recipe for that mint & cilantro chutney above is HERE.

The recipe for the pickled red onions above is HERE.

The recipe for the Butter Chicken & Chickpeas above is HERE.

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Vegan Butter Chicken and Chickpea Burrito with Pickled Onions and Mint Cilantro Chutney

INGREDIENTS

Mint & cilantro chutney is HERE

Pickled red onions are HERE

Butter Chicken & Chickpeas is HERE

Cooked rice

Large tortillas

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DIRECTIONS

Warm the curry.  Assemble the burrito.  Grill on a dry grill pan until it looks good to you.  Dip it in extra chutney & shove it into your motherfuckin’ pie hole.  Mmmmmmm!

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Super Easy and Extra Spicy Vegan Szechuan Chickpeas (Slow Cooker or Stove Top)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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OK.  Another SUPER DUPER easy one!!!  I just threw this shit into a two serving slow cooker, hiked for two hours – and came back to this really spicy & really yummy dish!  While Szechuan dishes are typically very greasy – this has only one TBS of sesame oil in the whole thing.  None of the ingredients are particularly exotic & if you find one in the list you don’t have because it is too exotic for your local stores – blow it off.

These dry red chilies are kind of important for flavor but I expect most big grocery stores will carry them.  If not – sub out with crushed red pepper in a quantity that suits your tolerance for heat.

Stove top – this can be ready in 20 minutes.

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Super Easy and Extra Spicy Vegan Szechuan Chickpeas (Slow Cooker or Stove Top)

serves 2 with rice

INGREDIENTS

2 (15 oz) cans of chickpeas

2 TBS hoisin sauce

2 TBS chili paste (chili garlic sauce or sambal oelek or sriracha)

2 TBS balsamic vinegar

1 TBS sesame oil

5 TBS low sodium soy sauce (or tamari)

1 TBS ginger – minced or grated

4 garlic cloves – minced

2 TBS Chinese rice cooking wine (not vinegar) or dry sherry

1/4 cup water

5-10 dry red chilies (halved or quartered) – THIS IS A LOT – so – use way less if you are not heat tolerant – the seeds are hot so discard if you hate spice.  I used 15 peppers in this – seeds & all – hence EXTRA spicy.  PS – you do not EAT these peppers once the dish is cooked.  Use crushed red pepper (to taste) if you cannot find these.

1/2 tsp Chinese Five Spice

1 tsp anise pepper (or Szechuan pepper – they are the same thing)

1 TBS cornstarch

PEANUTS as garnish

Scallions

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DIRECTIONS

Put everything except the peanuts into a slow cooker & leave on high for two hours.  Stir in the peanuts.

OR – stove top –

Put everything (except peanuts & cornstarch) in a pan & heat through.  Whisk in cornstarch & heat until it thickens.  Sir in the peanuts.

Serve over rice with sliced scallions.  REMEMBER – do NOT eat those dry red peppers.  I mean you can – but it is not advised.

See?  EASY!

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Spicy Vegan Chicken and Mushroom Curry with Cauliflower and Chickpeas

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Well – once again – I took an extended break from the blog – because my mom was in town from Boston.  We spent the week eating & drinking in public.  See?  Here are some highlights (and a few pictures of my mom, me & my pal, David J. Wayne).  I will state where they were taken beneath the images.

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Spitz (Los Feliz)

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Robbie Mac’s

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PF Changs (Sherman Oaks Galleria)

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Silverlake Ramen House

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The Thirsty Crow

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La Poubelle

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Cheesecake Factory (The Americana)

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Sushi Stop (Hollywood)

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La Poubelle

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Oh my fucking God – the awesome TOSCANA!  Treat yourselves.  Seriously.

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La Poubelle

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Figaro Bistrot

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Chi Dynasty

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La Poubelle

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The 101.

OK – so – all that happened (and more) – but now I will move on to this delicious & easy curry!

I made this, as I so often do, from stuff I had around.  I have a freezer full of Beyond Meat’s amazing vegan chicken.  I also had a head of cauliflower & some mushrooms that were on their last legs & a can of garbanzo beans (chick peas).  If you do not have any of these or loathe one of them – 86’m.   I had this gorgeous-looking harissa stuff here (that I got at TJ Maxx – a great resource for exotic but cheap ingredients):

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and a can of lite coconut milk.  If you don’t have harissa – use sriracha or another hot sauce.  And feel free to use full-fat coconut milk, if that’s what floats your boat.

You could make this in a slow-cooker if you desired.  You could make it with real chicken.  It is a pretty forgiving recipe but it is delicious!!!!  And easy!

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Spicy Vegan Chicken and Mushroom Curry with Cauliflower and Chickpeas

Makes a lot – enough for 4 easy – maybe more

INGREDIENTS

9 oz vegan chicken – thawed a bit & cut into cubes

1/2 lb mushrooms – sliced

1 onion – diced

1/2 head cauliflower – broken into small florets (optional)

1 (15 oz) can chickpeas – drained & rinsed (optional)

1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk (I used lite)

2 TBS coconut oil (or olive oil)

6 oz tomato paste ( I used some leftover, homemade spicy red pasta sauce)

3 garlic cloves – minced

1 tsp ginger – minced

2-3 TBS mango chutney (or use an apricot preserve – if chutney is not available)

1 TBS harissa sauce (or sriracha or other hot sauce)

1 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp curry powder ( I used red curry powder but any will do)

2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp chili powder

S&P

Cilantro as garnish

Cornstarch (only if your curry is too thin)

Cooked rice

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DIRECTIONS

This is not rocket science.  You would have to try pretty hard to fuck this up.  Short of burning it – I can’t really think of what one could do to ruin it.   The order things are added is a guide but little more.

Cook up some rice.  I used brown basmati.

Heat the coconut (or olive) oil in a large saute pan over high heat.  Saute the onions & mushrooms until soft – stirring frequently.  This should take about 5 minutes.

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Add the garlic & ginger & stir for about a minute.  Try not to burn the garlic.  Then – add the coconut milk & combine.

Then – you can pretty much just add everything else.  Lower heat to medium & simmer for a while.  If you wanted to – once you added the garlic & ginger – you could just dump everything into a slow cooker & let it cook there on high for a few hours or more.

Either way – it is done when the cauliflower is tender.

If the curry seems too thin, maybe whisk in a TBS of cornstarch.  Mine got too thick & I ended up adding a good cup or two of water.  I imagine you will be doing the water addition, too, but the thickness is up to your personal taste.

Season with S&P & maybe more chutney or hot sauce – depending on your palate.

Serve over rice & garnish with cilantro.  And there you go!  Easy, right?   🙂

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Roasted Beet and Chickpea Salad with Dill and Arugula and Lemon Vinaigrette

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

~

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I love beets!  I love lemon!  I love arugula!  I LOVE THIS SALAD!  If you are vegan – either just lose the feta cheese or add a vegan alternative.  There is enough flavor here that the cheese is just a layer of flavor but the salad doesn’t depend on it.

I roasted the beets days ahead & just used them yesterday.  You can do this, too, or roast them as needed.  I like having them in the fridge – ready & waiting for me to be inspired to use them.  I made this dressing fresh but most any tart dressing would work.

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Lemon Vinaigrette

INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup olive oil

juice of one lemon

1 1/2 tsp Dijon

1 garlic clove – minced

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Blend the ingredients & then add more lemon or oil or S&P – to suit your taste.

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Roasted Beet and Chickpea Salad with Dill and Arugula

INGREDIENTS

The ratio here is really up to you but here are my suggestions:

2 large beets

1/2 (15 oz) can chickpeas – drained & rinsed

A few cups of arugula

1/2 cucumber – sliced thin

1 cup feta – crumbled

Fresh dill

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DIRECTIONS

Wash the beets & wrap them in foil with a little olive oil drizzled on them.   Roast, wrapped in foil, at 400 degrees for about an hour.  Allow to cool & peel.  Cut into bite-sized chunks & set aside.

Make the vinaigrette.

Now just layer your ingredients as you like & drizzle with dressing.  Lots of freshly cracked pepper adds a nice touch.  Eat it up & sit back & think about the fact that your pee will likely be pink tomorrow.  🙂

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