Easy Snack: Roasted Chickpeas

Easy snack: Roasted ChickpeasA month of foods that make me feel like coming home - Cadry's KitchenThis month I’m sharing recipes that are familiar and cozy.

I definitely go through food obsessions. I’ve been that way my whole life. Sometime in junior high I started making ramen noodles from those 25-cent packages, and I made them almost every day. I had my own special method for cooking them – light on the broth, noodles slightly al dente. I ate them and ate them until I became sick of them. By the time people were going to college and living on ramen, the mere thought of them was stomach turning to me.

Since then I’ve gone through artichoke phases, hot sauce phases, mushroom phases… For the past few years, I’ve been deeply entrenched in a sauerkraut and pickled jalapeño phase.

Roasted chickpeas: an easy snackBut there was a period about 7 years ago when I could not get enough roasted chickpeas. I wanted them as a snack instead of popcorn. I put them in salads. I threw them into pasta. I topped sautéed collard greens with them. Thankfully, I learned my lesson with the ramen, and I didn’t eat the roasted chickpeas to the point of nausea. Even though that phase has passed, I still love roasted chickpeas and eat them at least once or twice a month.

I don’t follow any kind of recipe for them. (Although, I’ll share one at the bottom of this post to make it easy for folks trying roasted chickpeas for the first time.) I just take drained and rinsed chickpeas, put them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, drizzle them lightly with oil, add a bit of salt and a generous helping of nutritional yeast flakes and bake them at 400 degrees for about twenty minutes, shaking the pan once or twice during baking.

The chickpeas brown a bit better if you dry them first with a towel before putting them on the baking sheet, but honestly, I don’t do that most of the time. If you prefer crunchier chickpeas, you can leave them in the oven a little longer. I like them with a bit of crunch on the outside but still creamy on the inside.

Roasted chickpeas: perfect topping for an easy saladI made roasted chickpeas this week to go with a lunch of a simple salad.

Nibbly night with roasted chickpeasStill not in the mood to cook, we finished them off later that evening for a nibbly night. I roasted the chickpeas again in the oven, just long enough to heat them, and added another sprinkling of nutritional yeast flakes.

Nibbly night with easy roasted chickpeasThen I served them with a couple of ripe summer tomatoes that had been sliced, Castelvetrano olives, pepperoncinis, orange bell pepper slices, grapes, and dolmas (another food that very much feels like home to me even though I didn’t discover it until my twenties). I also had a container of local olive tapenade and grilled garlic bread to round out the meal for an easy and tasty supper.

Roasted Chickpeas: Easy snack & salad topper

Roasted Chickpeas

Yield: 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Toss chickpeas in extra virgin olive oil, nutritional yeast flakes, and salt on baking sheet. Spread the chickpeas evenly across the sheet for even baking, making sure the chickpeas aren't touching.
  4. Put baking sheet in the oven and roast chickpeas for 20 minutes, stopping once or twice to shake the pan so that the chickpeas roast evenly.
  5. Remove from oven and serve.
http://cadryskitchen.com/2014/09/20/easy-snack-roasted-chickpeas/

Do you have any current vegan food obsessions?

Fried Puffy Tacos – Seitan Chorizo & Black Bean

Vegan chorizo & black bean puffy tacosA month of foods that make me feel like coming home - Cadry's KitchenThis month I’m sharing recipes that feel like coming home.

I still remember the first time I ever had a flour taco from Tasty Tacos, a Des Moines institution. I was a preteen visiting one of my aunts and cousin. My cousin was older, and he’d just gone to pick up tacos. I looked at his bag of them, and they were unlike any tacos I’d ever seen before. They had fluffy, puffy shells that were entirely different from the hard corn shells or floppy tortillas I was used to seeing.

Noticing my increasing interest, he asked if I’d like to have one of them, and I quickly agreed. The warm, soft bread, fried and packed with taco fillings was an instant hit. It was love at first bite.

Now like I said, I was a preteen at that time. I didn’t have any access to a car, and furthermore, I didn’t even know the name of the restaurant where he’d purchased them. We didn’t see that cousin often, and so I began a blind search to find them again. I went to Taco John’s, Taco Bell, Taco Time… Nada. My parents hadn’t tried the tacos, and they were no help in getting me any closer to taco glory. If only Google had existed back then. I kept explaining the tacos to anyone who would listen… “See, it’s made of thick, fried bread…” But it was no use.

Vegan fried flour tacos - chorizo & black beanIt literally took years until I found them – at a location just a few blocks from my high school. Inside, there were simple booths, and you paid at the counter. On all of their styrofoam cups were the words, “Nada es imposible.” During last year’s MoFo I wrote about their nachos, but this time I’m sharing a vegan version of the food for which Tasty Tacos is known – the flour taco.

By the time I was a high school upperclassman, I was visiting Tasty Tacos multiple times a week to get my fix. My senior year, I was the food columnist for our school newspaper. My column was called Always Use a Condiment, and Tasty Tacos earned a four star rating. I’d become friendly with the owner, and he cut out my review and taped it to their window. I loved seeing it hanging every time that I visited. On my last day of high school, he treated me to lunch – two flour tacos.

Fried flour taco like Tasty Tacos - vegan chorizo & black beanAfter I moved away from Des Moines, Tasty Tacos was a must visit on every return trip. If I was in the area for a week, I’d always go at least twice on a visit – once for the nachos and once for the flour tacos.

I am so excited to share this recipe with you today. When I stopped eating meat (9 years ago this month!), Tasty Tacos was one of the things I felt most concerned about giving up. (They fry their shells in lard and have lard in the beans, and so even a bean flour taco isn’t an option.) I wouldn’t say these shells are quite as puffy as those from Tasty Tacos, but they’re pretty darned close.

How to make fried puffy tacos - with a recipe for vegan chorizo & black bean tacosYou start by making a simple dough, forming it into balls, and then pressing them in a tortilla press between two sheets of parchment paper. (I like to press them a couple of times, moving them slightly between presses, for a larger taco.) If you don’t have access to a tortilla press, just use a rolling pin and make them between 4 and 6 inches. Then put a couple tablespoons of taco filling inside. I used a combination of Upton’s Naturals chorizo seitan and black beans. I tried it first with beans alone, but the seitan gives a wonderful chewiness and bite. If you’d prefer to do a bean-only version, just omit the seitan in the recipe and add another ½ cup of beans and a pinch of salt, keeping everything else the same.

Fried puffy flour tacos - vegan chorizo & black beanThe shells are then folded and lightly pinched closed, like an empanada, and fried. After both sides are brown, remove the shells to a towel to let them drain and cool.

Fried puffy flour tacos - vegan chorizo & black beanOnce a few minutes have passed, open the pinched area of the tacos and fill them.

Now obviously a meal of fried bread is an indulgence, but I highly recommend giving into the joy of it and doing it all with these – the seitan and beans, the non-dairy cheese, plenty of crunchy green leaf lettuce, and tomatoes. All of the components come together to recreate the experience so beautifully. Eating them made me feel all warm and squishy inside.

A vegan Tasty Taco? Aaah… Like the cup says – nada es imposible.

Vegan chorizo & black bean fried puffy tacos

Fried Puffy Tacos – Seitan Chorizo & Black Bean

Serving Size: Makes 4 tacos (with extra filling)

Ingredients

    Flour shells
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon organic canola oil + more for frying
  • ¼ cup + 1-3 Tbsp cold water (add more splashes as necessary)
  • Taco filling
  • 1 teaspoon organic canola oil
  • ½ cup yellow onion, chopped small to medium
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 package Upton’s chorizo seitan
  • 1 cup black beans, drained & rinsed
  • ½ teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • Toppings: Chopped tomatoes, green leaf lettuce, non-dairy cheese (I used shredded Follow Your Heart cheddar. Daiya cheddar would also work.)

Instructions

    For the flour shells
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder with a fork until evenly mixed. In a small separate bowl, combine 1/2 teaspoon canola oil and 1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon of water.
  2. Pour the water mixture into the mixing bowl, and combine with a fork until a dough begins to form. Then use your hands to fully combine the dough. The dough should be dry with no additional leftover flour at the bottom. If needed, add one to two more tablespoons of water to form the dough. Remember, you don't want it to be wet and soggy, and so splash lightly.
  3. Break the dough apart and roll into four even-sized balls and set aside while you make the taco filling.
  4. For the taco filling
  5. In a large skillet, bring oil to a medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic a few minutes, until soft, translucent, and fragrant.
  6. Add seitan to the pan and sauté for a couple minutes more.
  7. Add the beans to the skillet along with the ancho chili powder, cumin, paprika, and water. Fully combine until the spices are spread evenly throughout.
  8. Putting it all together
  9. In a large, deep frying pan, fill the pan with at least a half inch of oil or more. It needs to be deep enough to immerse at least half of the taco. Bring the oil to a medium-high heat.
  10. While the oil is heating, between two sheets of parchment paper, press each dough ball one at a time in a tortilla press. (I like to press each tortilla twice - picking the tortilla up and moving it slightly between presses.) If you don't have a tortilla press, roll each tortilla with a rolling pin until it's 4 to 6 inches in diameter.
  11. Put 2 tablespoons of taco filling in the center of each tortilla and fold it closed, as if you were making the letter D (like the shape of an empanada). Lightly pinch the edges of the taco to seal it. Once all four taco shells are filled, move onto the next step.
  12. Test the oil to see if it's hot enough. Pinch off a little piece of dough from one of the tacos and put it into the oil. If bubbles immediately form around it, the oil is ready.
  13. Put all four tacos into the oil and fry until toasty brown, flipping once when necessary.
  14. Once both sides are brown, remove from the oil and onto a towel-lined plate to drain. Allow the tacos to cool for a couple of minutes.
  15. Carefully open the closed off section of the tacos and fill with toppings. Serve immediately.

Notes

You will definitely have extra filling leftover, easily enough for 8 tacos. So you can either double the shell recipe and make 8 tacos, or save the filling to use later in the week for more tacos or nachos.

http://cadryskitchen.com/2014/09/18/chorizo-black-bean-puffy-flour-tacos/

Vegan puffy flour taco - chorizo & black bean