Archive | March 2015

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Cakes with Avocado Salsa

Chickpea Cakes

This month’s recipe is a nice change of pace from traditional vegetarian bean cakes. Variations of chickpea cakes often end up just tasting like another adaption of falafel, but this recipe is a pleasant alternative to that. The jalapeno adds a nice contrast to the sweet potato, and the acid from the lime juice leaves a fine kick of flavor at the end of every bite. These cakes are a great source of protein and fiber, and they can make for an excellent meal or snack. They can be shaped into any size you prefer, but this recipe makes 4 large burger-size servings.

 Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato, cooked and pureed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • ½ jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups cooked/canned chickpeas (garbonzo beans)
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup of Panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Preparation:

  1. The sweet potato can either be baked whole at 350 for 40 minutes to 1 hour (until soft all the way through) and peeled; or first peeled, cubed and boiled until soft. Either way, mash the finished product in a bowl.
  2. Heat a large skilled at medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the onion, jalapeno and garlic for about 3 minutes until they get fragrant and soft, but before they begin to caramelize.
  3. Combine the sweet potato, sautéed veg, and the rest of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until the chickpeas are coarsely ground and everything is thoroughly blended together. Divide into 4-6 equal portions and shape into 2-4-inch patties.
  4. Return the (cleaned) skillet to the stove at medium-high heat and add another tablespoon of olive oil. Sear the patties until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes on each side. Put skillet in the oven (if it is oven safe) or transfer to a baking sheet and finish at 400 degrees for 5-7 minutes, until cooked all the way through.

 Avocado Salsa:

  • 1 ripe (but not too soft) avocado, peeled and diced into chunks
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dash of hot sauce

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve over top of cakes.

Serving size is 1 chickpea cake or one-fourth of the mixture.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 330

Fat: 16g

Saturated Fat: 2g

Carbohydrates: 40g

Fiber: 9g

Protein: 9g

Advertisements

Green Soup

Green Soup

Each year the craze for green drinks, smoothies and juices seems to get ever more popular. There is no denying the health benefits of adding more green vegetables to the diet in the form of these smoothies/juices. However, there are other ways to consume these nutrients while still enjoying an actual meal. It may be not be the latest trend, but making a batch of soup is another avenue for ingesting an abundance of vegetables in one sitting.

This month’s recipe for green soup can be a great substitution for those that cannot (or will not) jump on the vegetable juice/smoothie wagon. Some might argue that heating the vegetables destroy some of the nutrients that are present in their raw state, however certain nutrients in vegetables are actually activated by heat. Besides, this soup recipe calls for certain antioxidant powerhouses such as garlic and onion that even the most hardcore health gurus would not blend up in their smoothie. In my opinion, the abundance of ingredients and the quick cooking time of this recipe result in a compromise of balanced nutrients.

This recipe calls for a number of optional ingredients. Also, any greens will work such as chard, escarole, bok choi, or arugula. You can prepare this one very simply, but the seasoned cook can play a bit and end up with an ethnic dish that is full of flavor. The miso paste for instance will add an extra bit of savory while still being pretty neutral, where some curry paste, a shot of fish sauce, and a handful of chopped cilantro will result in a taste of Southeast Asia. Another option might be a shot of balsamic vinegar and some chopped parsley if you are more partial to the Mediterranean. Experiment a bit and perfect a green soup of your liking.

The recipe yields about 2-3 quarts of soup. A 12oz cup is one serving.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
  • 1 large onion (yellow or red), diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup chopped scallions
  • 2 large zucchini, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • curry powder or paste (optional)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
  • 2 – 8oz bags of fresh spinach
  • 2 quarts vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons miso paste (optional)
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • dash of hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon soy or fish sauce (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley or cilantro (optional)

Preparation

  1. In a large soup pot, heat the oil at medium-high heat and add the next 5 ingredients. Stir frequently and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger, curry powder/paste (if desired) and the tomatoes. Continue stirring frequently until vegetables are soft and fragrant, about another 3-5 minutes. Season with a good pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Add the white wine and the greens and continue stirring until the greens begin to wilt. Add the stock and miso paste (if desired). Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, cover and leave it alone for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Add the lemon juice, hot sauce and other optional ingredients desired. Puree the soup in a blender or with an immersion stick blender. Adjust the seasoning as needed by adding more salt, pepper or anything else that may be lacking.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 120

Fat: 3g

Saturated Fat: 0g

Carbohydrates: 27g

Fiber: 6g

Protein: 4g