Vegan & Gluten-Free Falafel with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce

Vegan and Gluten-Free Falafel with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce -- Epicurean VeganYou may be surprised how easy falafel is to make at home. Plus, you can play with the spices and ingredients to suit your fancy. One thing I noticed, is that they are typically sauteed in a skillet with lots of oil, which is something I try to avoid doing too often. They’re also not typically gluten-free, so I decided to go all out and create gluten-free, baked falafel. Oh, and make them tasty. I think I accomplished all of that. The yogurt-tahini sauce couldn’t be easier to make, using only a few ingredients and a food processor. Usually, falafel sandwiches will have tabbouleh, but I opted for a quick and easy meal with lettuce, tomato and red onion instead. The falafel are also delicious on their own as a protein-packed snack dipped in sauce. Either way, I think you’ll enjoy this Greek classic.

INGREDIENTS:
1 small carrot, cut into 3-4 pieces
3-4 garlic cloves
1 small white onion, chopped
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 C fresh cilantro
3/4 C fresh parsley
1-1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
3/4 C rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
Yogurt-Tahini Sauce
12-oz plain nondairy yogurt
1/3 C tahini
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
The rest
Lettuce
Tomato
Red onion
Cucumber slices would be great, too.

DIRECTIONS:
Toss the carrot pieces into the food processor and pulse just a couple of times until coarsely chopped. Add the garlic cloves and onion and pulse 2-3 more times.

Vegan and Gluten-Free Falafel with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce -- Epicurean VeganNext, add the garbanzo beans, cilantro, parsley, cumin, salt, and pepper. Blend 10-20 seconds until smooth-ish . . . you just don’t want a major chunks. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the baking powder and rice flour.
Vegan and Gluten-Free Falafel with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce -- Epicurean VeganCover and refrigerate for about 20-30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat oven to 350 and then make the sauce. In your newly cleaned-out food processor bowl, combine all of the sauce ingredients and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and set aside, along with your prepared veggies:
Vegan and Gluten-Free Falafel with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce -- Epicurean VeganTo make the falafel, line a large baking sheet with foil and spray it with a little cooking spray. Using your hands, scoop out about a 1/4 cup of the batter and create a mini patty; place onto the baking sheet. I ended up with 15:
Vegan and Gluten-Free Falafel with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce -- Epicurean VeganBake for 15-20 minutes, then turn them over and cook another 15-20 minutes. Fill a pita with some lettuce, sauce, tomato slices, red onion slices, 2-3 falafel and top them off with a bit more sauce. Enjoy!

Vegan & Gluten-Free Falafel with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 small carrot, cut into 3-4 pieces
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¾ C fresh cilantro
  • ¾ C fresh parsley
  • 1-1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¾ C rice flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • .
  • Yogurt-Tahini Sauce
  • .
  • 12-oz plain nondairy yogurt
  • ⅓ C tahini
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • .
  • The rest
  • .
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Red onion
  • Cucumber slices would be great, too.
Directions
  1. Toss the carrot pieces into the food processor and pulse just a couple of times until coarsely chopped. Add the garlic cloves and onion and pulse 2-3 more times.
  2. Next, add the garbanzo beans, cilantro, parsley, cumin, salt, and pepper. Blend 10-20 seconds until smooth-ish . . . you just don't want a major chunks. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the baking powder and rice flour. Cover and refrigerate for about 20-30 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, preheat oven to 350 and then make the sauce. In your newly cleaned-out food processor bowl, combine all of the sauce ingredients and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and set aside, along with your prepared veggies.
  4. To make the falafel, line a large baking sheet with foil and spray it with a little cooking spray. Using your hands, scoop out about a ¼ cup of the batter and create a mini patty; place onto the baking sheet. I ended up with 15.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, then turn them over and cook another 15-20 minutes. Fill a pita with some lettuce, sauce, tomato slices, red onion slices, 2-3 falafel and top them off with a bit more sauce. Enjoy!

 

 

A Spectacular Superfood Salad

A Spectacular Superfood Salad -- Epicurean Vegan

So what’s a superfood, you might ask? Well, according to the online dictionary, it’s “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.” That sounds about right. Chances are, your fridge and pantry are stocked with these very ingredients and a salad is a great way to make the most of them—all in one bite. You won’t find meat and dairy labeled as superfoods. Ever. (Okay, some people consider salmon a superfood, but it’s really the omegas they’re after, which are readily found in plant foods). I made a very light dressing to coat the salad, also packed with immune-boosting deliciousness, so dig in and feel super energized, super healthy, and super happy with this spectacular superfood salad!

The super benefits:

Kale: high in fiber, iron, Vitamin K, C, and A; an anti-inflammatory food, supports cardiovascular health and is full of antioxidants.
Spinach: high in Vitamin A, K, D and E; good source of omega-3 fatty acids, loaded with antioxidants (fights cancer & inflammation), rich in calcium and magnesium, as well as carotenoids for eye health.
Pepitas (pumpkin seeds): high in magnesium, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber and anti-inflammatory properties. They’re also high in tryptophan—you know, the “sleep hormone” found in turkey? Sprinkle some pepitas on your next Thanksgiving dish and enjoy the same post-meal nap without the dead bird.
Walnuts: cancer-fighting properties, heart health benefits, extremely high in antioxidants, as well as Vitamin E, folate, melatonin and omega-3 fatty acids.
Red onion: high in quercetin, a bioflavonoid with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.
Blueberries: said to help with memory decline, reduce heart attack risk, and are full of antioxidants. Also high in Vitamin K, manganese and fiber.
Chia seeds: high in protein, fiber, phosphorus, manganese, calcium and potassium. They also contain healthy antioxidants and are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Garbanzo beans (chickpeas): high in fiber, protein, manganese, and iron. They can also stabilize blood sugar and help lower one’s cholesterol.

A Spectacular Superfood Salad
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • 2 heads of kale, stems removed and discarded, leaves chopped small
  • 3 C spinach, chopped small
  • 2 C fresh or dried blueberries
  • 1 C red onion, diced small
  • 1 15-oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ C pepitas
  • 1 C walnuts, chopped
  • .
  • Dressing
  • .
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs yellow miso
  • 1 Tbs tahini
  • 1 Tbs nutritional yeast
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • ½ tsp chia seeds
  • ¼ C water
Directions
  1. Toss all of the salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Let the dressing sit about 10 minutes to allow the chia seeds to thicken the dressing just a bit.
  3. Add the dressing to the salad and toss to coat thoroughly. Enjoy!

 

Garbanzo-White Bean Truffle Spread

Garbanzo-White Bean Truffle Spread -- Epicurean Vegan

This is a variation on the white bean truffle spread that I decided to whip up for our July 4th party. I’ve made the original version several times, but I wanted to change things up a little and I’m thinking I like this new version even better!

INGREDIENTS:
1 15-oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1 15-oz can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 large (or two medium) clove of garlic, halved or quartered
1 tsp salt
5-6 large green onions (white and green parts) sliced
4 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs truffle oil

DIRECTIONS:
Add the salt and garlic to a food processor and process until the garlic is pretty well chopped up. Add the beans, lemon juice, salt, and green onions; puree until smooth. While the machine is running, add the truffle oil; blend well. If you have time, let it chill for an hour or two before serving. Enjoy on crackers, toasted baguette slices, or veggies.

Garbanzo-White Bean Truffle Spread -- Epicurean Vegan

Mock Tuna Salad

Mock Tuna Salad -- Epicurean Vegan

I never like to spend a lot of time preparing lunch, which can make it difficult to come up with something. Not only is this easy to throw together, but it makes plenty for a few lunches. The recipe is adapted from 1000 Vegan Recipes. If you’re not a fan of garbanzo beans, I suggest trying white beans instead. I also added chopped cashews, but sunflower seeds, chopped almonds, or pepitas would also be great. Cucumber can be subbed in for the celery as well and a tablespoon of nutritional yeast wouldn’t hurt either. Miss the omegas? Toss in some flax seeds! The recipe calls for 1 tsp of kelp powder and of course, the only amount I could buy was a pound. A pound of kelp powder?! Sure! I put that on . . . and . . .What do you use kelp powder for? (besides mock tuna salads)? Well first of all, it helps to know that kelp powder is loaded with health benefits. According to Livestrong.com it helps lower LDL cholesterol, lowers breast cancer risk, lowers blood sugar, and is a great source of iodine. After some research, I found it’s great to throw it in  your smoothie, sprinkle it on your veggie sushi rice, add it to bread dough, and even use it as a seasoning—in place of salt. What do you use kelp powder for? 

Organic Kelp Powder -- Epicurean Vegan

INGREDIENTS:

2 cans garbanzo or white beans
2 stalks celery or 1/2 C cucumber, chopped small
1/4 C minced onion
1/2 C cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, or pepitas, chopped
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 tsp capers, drained and chopped
1/2 C Vegenaise (or other vegan mayo)
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp kelp powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
Lettuce leaves
Tomato slices
8 slices of bread

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium bowl, coarsely mash the beans, or chopped them up on a cutting board. Add the celery (or cucumber), onions, nuts, capers, mayo, lemon juice, mustard, nutritional yeast, and kelp powder. Season with salt and pepper if you’d like. Combine thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Serve on bread with the lettuce and tomato and enjoy!

Black Rice Salad

Black Rice Salad -- Epicurean Vegan

I was thumbing through Party Vegan for Halloween foods and I was thrilled to find this salad that was not only delicious, but gluten-free as well. It was perfect for our Halloween party. I recommend making the rice ahead of time since it needs to cool in the fridge. It also would hurt to chop up the veggies and cook the sweet potatoes ahead of time, too, so you save yourself a headache of trying to get all done right away. I doubled the recipe, but I’ll list the original recipe amounts below. Also, the original recipe suggests serving the salad on a bed of shredded lettuce, but I opted to serve it in a bowl, sans lettuce.

INGREDIENTS:

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice

1/4 C + 1 Tbs olive oil

Salt and pepper

2 medium carrots, shredded

1 medium orange bell pepper, finely chopped

1/4 C minced onion

2 Tbs fresh parsley

15-oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

3 C cold cooked black rice

3 Tbs lemon juice

1 tsp garlic, minced

1/2 tsp dry mustard

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425. Spread the sweet potatoes on a lightly greased baking sheet; drizzle with 1 Tbs of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 15 minutes. I recommend turning them once halfway through, otherwise, they’ll get too browned on one side.

In a large bowl, combine the carrots, bell pepper, onion, parsley, and garbanzo beans.

Black Rice Salad -- Epicurean Vegan

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper.

The recipe only says to combine the cooled sweet potatoes and rice together, but doesn’t indicate when to mix them in with the rest. But I think I’m a pretty smart cookie and combined everything and tossed it all with the dressing. Enjoy!

Quick and Easy Lunch: Chunky Chickpeas and Rice

Quick and Easy Lunch: Chunky Chickpeas and Rice -- Epicurean VeganNot eating wheat, it can be tough not being able to make a quick sandwich. Scouring the pantry, I found Chunky Chickpeas from Tasty Bite.

Quick and Easy Lunch: Chunky Chickpeas and Rice -- Epicurean Vegan

We’ve taken these camping because they’re so easy—just pour into a pan and heat. At home, you can heat the packet in the microwave for 90 seconds. In this case, I decided to combine the chickpeas with some cooked rice and diced mushrooms. So easy! During the last few minutes of cooking the rice, throw in some mushrooms. Then heat the chickpeas in the microwave (according to the package instructions) and stir into the rice. Voila. Lunch is served.

The ingredients in the packet are simple: water, chickpeas, onions, sunflower oil, garlic, ginger, coriander, salt, cumin, and spices. There’s even 9 grams of protein per 1/2 a packet. I don’t remember how much the packets are, but I know they’re just over $3. (The Bombay Potatoes variety is awesome)!

Chickpea Salad

Chickpea Salad -- Epicurean VeganI got this recipe from Luminous Vegans who called it “Chick-Peace Salad.” Great name—I didn’t want to steal it, so mine’s just plain old Chickpea Salad. Regardless of the name, it’s a delicious vegan version of tuna salad. LV added crumbled up nori to the mix to give it that tuna taste, but I didn’t have any. I still think it had amazing flavor without it. I did add some carrots and parsley. Just because. I also used Earth Balance’s vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free mayo that my good friend, Angela of The Veracious Vegan turned me on to. It’s fabulous!

I also served the salad on Food For Life’s brown rice tortillas.

I have to say, they’re ok. Heated up, they’re better, but you have to eat it fast before it gets crispy and falls apart. I’m wondering if steaming them would be better, or make it worse. The taste is chewy, but crunchy at the same time. Is that possible? Apparently so. Anyway, they’re not horrible, but they made eating this sandwich a bit tough because they tend to crack and split.

INGREDIENTS:

1 15-oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1-2 Tbs fresh dill, chopped
2 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped
1 carrot, shredded
2 Tbs vegan mayo
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1-1/2 tsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
Veggies, crackers, tortilla, etc

DIRECTIONS:

Mash the chickpeas. I used a pastry blender. You can also pulse them in the food processor.

Chickpea Salad -- Epicurean Vegan

Stir in all of the other ingredients and combine well. I layered the salad on some lettuce inside one of the tortillas and added some sliced cucumber and tomato.

Chickpea Salad -- Epicurean Vegan

This salad would also be great on crackers, or sliced veggies. Enjoy!

Chickpea Salad -- Epicurean Vegan

Lemony Pan-Fried Chickpeas with Chard

Lemony Pan-Fried Chickpeas with Chard -- Epicurean VeganThis recipe is from Color Me Vegan and considering I love chickpeas, (a.k.a garbanzo beans) and chard, this is a new favorite. I would, however, make a few changes next time. Even though chickpeas are a great source of fiber and protein, and have no saturated fat, they do sport 90 calories per half a cup. Given this, I would use just half a can and even double the chard. So what to do with the other half of beans? Make a small batch of hummus, perfect for a few sandwiches during the week. I could have eaten the entire pan of this, which would not have been wise, so reducing the amount of chickpeas and adding more chard, I think, is a smart way to go. Otherwise, share this dish with plenty of others! (The recipe below is sans my suggestions).

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tbs olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained
1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped
1 small lemon
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
Black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook until tender. Add the chickpeas and cook 10 minutes, or until the beans begin to brown.

Lemony Pan-Fried Chickpeas with Chard -- Epicurean Vegan

Stir in the chard and cook until it begins to wilt and cook down, about 5-7 minutes. Zest the lemon over the pan, then cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice from one half over the mixture. (Watch out for seeds). Stir well to combine. Add salt, pepper, and more lemon, if desired. (If you go with my suggestions, you can use the leftover lemon—if there is any— in the hummus). Serve immediately, or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Lemony Pan-Fried Chickpeas with Chard -- Epicurean Vegan

Falafel Burgers and a Contest Winner!

Falafel Burgers -- Epicurean VeganFirst of all, congratulations to sandition of Please Pass the Tofu for being the randomly selected commenter who will receive the $25 Amazon gift card!! Thank you to everyone who left a comment about juicing. So far, I’ve made some incredible apple-kale-spinach-parsley juice that is delicious! I think giving away stuff is way too much fun, so I look forward to doing it again soon!

So onto the food. :) This recipe is another winner from The Vegan Table. You can serve these on buns, pita pockets, or open-faced like I did. Either way, I think you’ll enjoy the well-blended flavors of the patty as well as the cucumber sauce—an ideal combination.

INGREDIENTS:
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbs tahini
1-1/2 to 2 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp baking powder
1 C bread crumbs (I used panko)

For falafel sauce:
1 container (6-oz) plain nondairy yogurt
1-2 Tbs tahini (I used 1-1/2)
1/2 cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp dried dill

Optional ingredients:
hamburger buns or rolls, pita bread, tomato slices, lettuce

DIRECTIONS:
I recommend making the sauce first since it has to chill for 30 minutes. I could have made it while the patties baked, but that’s when I cleaned up the kitchen and set the table, etc. To prepare the sauce, combine all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and chill for 30 minutes.

Falafel Burgers -- Epicurean VeganPreheat oven to 400. Pulse a few times the chickpeas in the food processor until thick and pasty; transfer to a medium-sized bowl. Add the onion, garlic, parsley, tahini, cumin, corriander, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and baking powder. (I actually left the beans in the food processor and added the other ingredients and pulsed a few times to just mix them in a little–easier than using a spoon. Then I transferred to a bowl and mixed it more). Slowly add the bread crumbs—using more or less—until the mixture holds together well.

Falafel Burgers -- Epicurean Vegan

Shape into patties and place on a nonstick baking sheet. I used foil that I lightly sprayed with cooking spray. I also made 5 patties, but the recipe says you can get 8-10 patties.

Falafel Burgers -- Epicurean VeganBake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown on the bottom. Don’t expect the tops to get brown—they won’t. Flip over and bake for another 10-12 minutes. Serve with some falafel sauce, tomato, and lettuce on bun, pita, or open-face. Enjoy!

Falafel Burgers -- Epicurean Vegan

Chickpea Havarti Spread

Chickpea Havarti Spread  -- Epicurean VeganThis spread can easily be called a dip as well. It almost has a chowder-like taste to it. From the Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook, this recipe is simple and delicious! This would also make a great condiment for sandwiches or wraps, too.

INGREDIENTS:
1 C water
2 C drained cooked or canned chickpeas (one 15 or 16 oz can)
1/2 C raw cashews
1/3 C nutritional yeast flakes
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground dill seed
1/2 tsp whole celery seed
1/4 C lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:
Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Transfer to a medium sauce pan and cook over medium heat, stirring often until very thick, about 15-20 minutes.

Chickpea Havarti Spread  -- Epicurean Vegan

Remove from heat and cool a few minutes. Pour into an air tight container and chill for several hours to overnight.

Chickpea Havarti Spread  -- Epicurean Vegan

Enjoy on crackers, as a vegetable dip, or as a sandwich condiment. Makes 2 cups.