Low Fodmap Curried Chickpeas with Fresh Ginger and Cilantro

I’ve been very excited to start eating Indian food again. I got some canned chickpeas and decided to make Chana Masala. I’ve made this recipe from The Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker a number of times, though it’s been a while. But I’ve never made the recipe with canned chickpeas before and it required a bit of experimentation. The original recipe says to cook dry chickpeas in the slow cooker for 6-8 hours before adding the rest of the ingredients and cooking for another hours. I skipped the pre-cooking and just added all the ingredients together and cooked them for an hour. I also had to guess a bit with the water. The recipe calls for 6 cups of water with the dry beans. I added 2 cups to the canned beans, which turned out to be too much. Next time I’d only add 1 cup. Since I haven’t made the recipe in a while, I can’t remember if I followed the ingredients completely before. The cumin seeds called for seemed high to me. Instead of the tablespoon of cumin seeds called for, I used 2 tsp. I definitely think that was enough. The flavor of the final dish was good.

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Marinated Tofu Cabbage Salad

On a day when my feet were hurting too much to go to the store or spend much time in the kitchen, I found this simple recipe for marinated tofu cabbage salad in my old copy of Diet for a New World. Except for the celery seed, everything in the recipe, which has a very limited list of ingredients, was a already in my kitchen. It came together super fast. The tofu is just marinated and added to the salad uncooked. I was a bit skeptical of this, but it came out really tasty. The soft texture of the tofu actually works really well in the coleslaw like salad. Instead of using all sunflower seeds, I used half sunflower seeds and half pumpkin seeds, which I think added some extra interest to the dish. I halved the oil called for in the recipe and thought there was definitely enough oil in it. Even Ian who adds extra oil to a lot of things I make ate it without any amendment. This is a fantastic weeknight dish. Easy, satisfying, and surprisingly tasty for something so simple.

Summer Squash Capponata

Now that I’m a gardener, every summer I find myself scouring the internet for novel things to do with zucchini and summer squash. This recipe from the New York Times looked interesting. I love olives and capers, and since I’m avoiding beans at the moment, I liked that it included eggs as a protein source.

The recipe was simple enough to make. It does use quite a few dishes and pots, but isn’t super time consuming. I left out the red pepper flakes since I’m avoiding spice. And I used white wine vinegar instead of red wine vinegar since that’s what I had. And finally, I used maple syrup instead of sugar so that Ian would eat it (turns out he’s off maple syrup now too so that was a bust). Since the recipe give no guidance on salt, that required quite a bit of trial and error to get right. And the step where you pre-soak the capers seemed pointless to me since I ended up adding a lot of salt after.

In general I object to recipes that don’t offer at least a salt range. But otherwise, I really enjoyed this recipe. It was definitely better after it had marinated at least a day. I recommend turning it occasionally to ensure it marinates throughout. Without the red pepper flakes, it was just the tiniest bit on the bland side (maybe I’d try paprika next time?). But overall, this was a hit. I happily ate it all week without complaint. And Ian’s mom Sally ate Ian’s portion and said she liked it a lot. I’ll make this one again for sure, maybe with just a bit of tweaking on the flavors.

Tofu Larb

I was recently turned on to the miracle of tofu lettuce wraps by a friend. This recipe for a vegetarian twist on Laotian larb intrigued me. The recipe is essentially a Laotian-flavored tofu salad in leaves of lettuce. Since I’ve never eaten traditional larb, I have nothing to compare it to.

I didn’t mind these, but didn’t love them either. The tofu mixture just wasn’t quite flavorful enough to keep my attention for more than one meal. Plus, every time I saw the mixture in the fridge, it just made me crave my favorite spiced tofu salad recipe. I did enjoy the interesting texture created by the toasted rice powder and fried onions. An interesting recipe to try, but I don’t think I’ll make it for a main course again. Though it might make a nice appetizer for a Thai/Laotian dinner. One commenter recommended adding vegan fish paste. I might try that for more flavor.

Update: Weirdly, even though I didn’t love these the first time I made them, I’ve found myself craving them since then. I finally made them again, this time adding 1/2 tbsp vegan fish sauce and using crushed peanuts instead of crispy onion since I’m eating low fodmap. The fish sauce did the trick and this was oh so tasty. I’m adjusting the score to reflect the fact that I really like these now!

Wild Rice Soup with Browned Seitan Strips

For my birthday this year my friend Ellen got me a new Isa Chandra Moskowitz cookbook called Isa Does It. I’ve been very excited to try some recipes from the book. One of the first recipes I picked out to try was this recipe for soup with wild rice, white beans, and seitan. It stood out to me since I have been looking for more wild rice recipes and I really like seitan.

I used the seitan recipe in the book instead of my usual Simple Seitan recipe from Veganomicon. The seitan didn’t come out as well as it usually does. It was more loosely structured and spongy. In the future I’ll stick with my usual seitan recipe.

I enjoyed this recipe and it was indeed easy to make. It was flavorful and the seitan made it feel like more of a treat. However, I thought it had a bit too much rice and not enough broth. Next time I’d use 3/4 cup of wild rice instead of 1 cup and 7 cups of broth instead of 6.

Leek and Potato Frittata

I have never made a frittata. When I studied abroad in Chile my host family only knew how to make three vegetarian dishes. One of the three was a tortilla española, which is pretty similar to a frittata. So I ate a lot of tortilla española. They would make them with a all sorts of vegetables, including lettuce. It was the only time in my life I actually moved my food around my plate to make it look like I had eaten. Needless to say, for years I had zero desire to eat anything resembling a tortilla española. But recently I had one made by a Puerto Rican friend of mine and enjoyed it, leaving me more open to re-approaching the genre.

I noticed this recipe in Peter Barley’s Fresh Food Fast for a Leek and Potato Frittata that I had previously overlooked for aforementioned reasons. I really like leeks so this seemed like the perfect way to dip my toe into the frittata waters. This was really easy to make, a great weeknight recipe.

I made a mistake when reading the recipe and failed to notice that it called for 3 tsp of coarse sea salt and instead used 3 tsp table salt. Once I realized the frittata was way way to salty, there was little I could do about it. I added two extra eggs but the frittata was still very very salty. My sister told me she always halfs the salt in Peter Barley’s recipes, but I think that 1.5 tsp of table salt probably would have been fine. Even though I added the two extra eggs to address the saltiness issue, I think this was the right ratio of veggies to eggs. Without the two extra eggs, there wouldn’t have been enough egg to fully cover the vegetables.

I used 3 tbsp of salt instead the 4 called for. I think I could probably reduce it to 2 tbsp next time. You can see in the photo that the frittata was fairly oily.

Other than the salt issue, I really liked this recipe. It was flavorful, filling, and easy to make. I’m going to try making it again with less salt and less oil.

Aguadito

I was intrigued by this recipe for the popular hangover cure soup from page 99 of The Peruvian Vegan Cookbook. I liked the idea of a cilantro broth. And the potatoes and peppers in the picture looked so hearty and satisfying.

The recipe warns that the soup should be eaten immediately after making it, because it thickens with time. I actually didn’t have the thickening issue. However, I did find that the soup was much tastier the first night I made it. I suppose with time the cilantro looses some of it’s flavor. If I was rating it from the first niht, I’d give this recipe an A-. It was so flavorful unique, and satisfying. But the score dropped on the second day. Still good, just not quite so flavorful.

Overall, I found the potatoes in the recipe were a bit bland. I think I could enhance the second-day flavor of the recipe by using broth instead of water, which is what this recipes called for. I’m going to try making it again with a high-flavor broth and see if I can up the second-day flavor factor. Overall, even with that issue though, it was very good.

Smoky Lentil Stew with Leeks and Potatoes

The way I cook- making two recipes each weekend that I eat all week- I have to find recipes that are interesting enough that I will want to eat them five days in a row. So I rarely make lentil soup. Usually, I find that I get bored with lentil soup after a couple days and it ends up in the trash. But this recipe from the New York times includes potatoes, leeks, and a lot of spices and seemed interesting enough to possibly eat for a full week.

I was right. The spices created much needed complexity and the potatoes added enough carb-induced instant gratification to make the recipe more satisfying than the average lentil soup. The fresh parsley really helped add extra flavor and texture to an already good recipe. This easy, cheap, and healthy stew is a winner in my book.

A couple notes for next time: It seemed silly to leave half a cup of tomatoes in the can. And after eating the stew, I was confident the extra tomatoes would only have added extra flavor. Next time I’ll just add the full can. Also, I think you could reduce the number of pots by cooking the potatoes in the same pot with the lentils. I’d just add them halfway through the lentil cooking time.

Seitan Porcini “Beef” Stew

I came across this recipe for a vegan “beef” stew using porcini mushrooms and vegan sausage and had to try it. I love a hearty stew, and I’d never made a vegan beef stew before. The recipe calls for homemade vegan sausage, but I was tired so I jut bought vegan sausage instead. I want to try making this again with homemade sausage, but even with the store-bought sausage, it was very very good. It took a day for the flavors to blend and come out fully, but by day two the stew was rich, flavorful, interesting, and satisfying.

Sesame Noodles with Tofu “Steaks” and Baby Bok Choy

My fall garden has been a disappointment. One of the things that has actually done really well is bok choy. I thought I’d try this recipe from Fresh Food Fast.

The method for cooking the tofu was a bit unusual to me. But the result was really great. The tofu was flavorful and crisp. I think it is very annoying to call for 1.5 lbs of tofu in a recipe, because it leaves you with half a pound. But I actually ended up running out of tofu before sesame noodles. Next time I’d just make the whole two pounds. I also ran out of bok choy. Next time I’d make 1.25 the amount called for in the recipe.

The recipe calls for kimchi. But I don’t particularly like kimchi and don’t keep it on hand. Instead, I made quick pickled cabbag and onions. I thinly sliced an onion and added 1/4 head of red cabbage and 1/4 head of napa cabbage. I added salt and enough vinegar to cover about half the veggies. I did 1/2 and 1/2 white vinegar and rice vinegar. The dish was very good with the pickled cabbage. I’d highly recommend doing this if you don’t care for kimchi or don’t have enough. Don’t leave it out altogether. The dish is bland without it.

Compared to the flavorful tofu, the noodles were a bit bland. But overall the dish worked really well together. What a great way to enjoy bok choy from my garden.

http://epicureanvegan.com/2010/04/13/sesame-noodles-with-tofu-steaks/