Quick Cauliflower Chickpea Curry [vegan]

Quick, easy and nutrient-filled this warming and satisfying curry makes the perfect weekday meal. Vegan, naturally gluten-free and packed with nutrients and flavour.

More often than not my recipe posts turn into confessional ones. I figure everybody’s got a way to rid themselves of their sins so if mine’s a way of producing content: two birds with one stone, right? And if it means you’re getting a recipe that way maybe three birds? Oh well, I honestly don’t know where I’m getting here. A little birdy told me to …? Okay, moving onto food. Or: confessions. And delicious curries that don’t require you to stock up on every spice available at the Indian grocery.

Cauliflower Chickpea Curry_3

You might remember I’m a produce overbuyer in rehab. Only rehab means trying to stop the habit, it working for some time – and then going downwards again. Once more, a recent grocery store trip ended with me carrying home a monstrous head of cauliflower with no intention on how to use it. I know … Typical. Despite having a million ideas on how to turn cauliflower from bland into absolutely amazing  Plus, it’s a nutritional powerhouse so maybe that’s why it lures me in time and time again?!

close-up_cauliflower chickpea curry

I’m more often than not too overwhelmed to decide on a recipe. Add to the dilemma that I somehow manage to ignore the cauliflower’s existence [as if that was possible with a huge head staring at you every time you open your vegetable drawyer …] until it’s on its last legs. And it was one of those situations when this recipe came about. I was hungry. I had cauliflower to use. Indian food sounded good so Cauliflower Chickpea Curry it was. Though you obviously know I’m not guaranteeing any authenticity with my recipes. Indian-inspired curry.

Cauliflower Chickpea Curry_2

Whenever I cook brown rice I immediately think of Lee. Why? Because some time last year she posted a delicious-looking recipe calling for it and I lamented the fact I was unable to locate short-grain brown rice [still living in the middle of nowhere then]. Imagine my delight – heureka! – when I finally found a bag back then. The obsession is back again at the moment and this curry just calls for brown rice as a side. Or your favourite grain, really. But bonus points for brown rice. And coconut chips that I only thought of adding post photo. Blogger fail. Oh well, that’s another confession on my part so we’d better fet onto the recipe now.

 

Quick Cauliflower Chickpea Curry

  • 200 g cauliflower [2 cups, chopped into small florets]
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup chickpeas (125 g)
  • ¼ cup passata/tomato sauce
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4-1 tsp cumin seeds [I always use the larger amount]
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • Coconut chips [not shredded coconut!] for topping
  • cooked [short-grain] brown rice to serve

 

  1. Start by sautéing the onion until lightly browned. Add the garlic and fry for another minute.
  2. While it’s cooking mix the spices to keep at hand when ready. Add to the onion mixture and toast the spices for about two minutes on medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning them.
  3. Add the cauliflower florets, stir well to combine them with the onions and cover the pot. Let cook for around five minutes.
  4. Mix in the bok choy stems, stir and cover again for a minute. Add the chopped tomato, chickpeas and tomato sauce.
    Just before turning off the heat, stir in the bok choy leaves and let them wilt.
  5. To serve, plate with some the brown rice cooked/reheated with coconut milk/soy creamer and some coconut chips.

Cauliflower Chickpea Curry_4

Because I know everybody appreciates some quick and easy dishes I’m sharing this recipe with Gluten-Free Tuesdays, Strange but good, RecipeFriday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Recipe of the Week, Allergy-Free Wednesdays and Tasty Tuesdays.

 

Happiness-inducing today: An interesting conversation with a ‘colleague’ at the kids’ book club I’m currently assisting at.

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Your turn: Share a [kitchen] confession!

What is one vegetable you’re constantly buying too much of? Don’t pretend I was the only one doing it!

 

Sweet and cheesy. Cheesy. And sweet. [WIAW]

Alternative title: The three cheese edition. Cheese has been back in action lately. While I didn’t eat all of them in the same day there are three kinds of cheese in three meals today.  I’m writing the intro after finishing the remaining post – typical – so as I’ll get wordy enough below I’ll keep it short and sweet [not cheesy] here. It’s What I ate Wednesday so let’s talk food!

WIAW

Sweet and cheesy [cream cheese at breakfast]

There’s a new sweet breakfast favourite in town. Pretty much the day after he posted it – but still sneakily including it in my good good links  – I tried Arman’s Cinnamon Roll Oatmeal Pudding.  Unlike what the name suggests it’s prepared with oat branmy favourite. Not following Arman’s suggestion I’ve been eating this hot because that way it reminds me of the cinnamon-topped semolina pudding of my childhood. I -did- follow the original idea of using cream cheese for the topping instead of my vegan substitute this time, though. Wow. I never new how much I’d missed cream cheese before plus it perfectly complemented the hot cinnamon oat bran here.  Unfortunately, breakfast is the hardest to photograph meal for me. No high expectations here especially if you know my preferred way of eating it.

Cinnamon Roll Oat Bran

Something about not being hungry when I wake up but then suddenly feeling very much so once the scent of whatever I prepare fills the room. Trust me: you wouldn’t want to spend another minute waiting to eat if you smelled this. Not only does this scent heavenly – who doesn’t like cinnamon?! – but it also wins in the taste department. Granted, I’ve never had a Cinnamon Bun yet I can say it Maybe I should come up with a more elaborate rating system for recipes I tried?! Polkadots instead of stars to keep it unique? Kidding. Until then: two thumbs up.

Cheesy [Romadur at lunch]
Cheese and I have been on-off since I reintroduced it into my diet. Most lunches are still vegan but lately I’ve found myself craving cheese and after playing it down for a while caved. To stink spice things up I branched out of my safe and known – admittedly even pre-vegetarian very limited – cheese territory and bought a new-to-me kind.

Romadur_Cauliflower

Romadur is a more aromatic – some might say ‘stinky’– cheese typical in a certain area of Germany. Yesterday I threw together some favourites for an easy casserole using it. Caramelized onions, cauliflower, speltberries,  peas and fresh parsley topped with the Romadur. Hit the spot. A newfound cheese favourite and I’m tempted to go back to the fridge for another slice as a snack once I finish this sentence post. Hey, I need to get my calcium in after all.

Sweet [cottage cheese]

A sweet snack I actually tried weeks ago already for the first time was Amanda’s Cookies ‘n’ Cream Cheesecake Dip. In three words: Try it now! I’m usually not a fan of actual baked cheesecake and don’t think I ever was but I do like all kinds of dips. Most of that time they’re of the savoury variety so it was a welcome change to go the sweet route here. Especially since it’s summer and while eating plain fruit is delicious already pairing it with ‘cheesecake’ takes snack time up a notch.

July 2nd 029

Thumbs up for this recipe, too. Okay, don’t let the picture below fool you. I actually ate most of the dip straight up with a spoon. Another win for not having to share. A little more detailed: the combination of Greek yogurt and blended cottage cheese makes for a creamy, slightly tangy base which – once sweetened – is a perfect blank sheet for further flavor experimentation. But what more than Cookies & Cream could you want? So good. The perfect use for the mini Oreos I’d bought a while back an,  noticed I didn’t enjoy much on their own.

Oreo cheesecake dip

Talking about all of that cheese I’m hungy again so I’ll track down a snack and then settle for some What I ate Wednesday reading over at Jenn’sprocrastination at its finest. I’ll see you again tomorrow for Thinking out loud. Until then:

Happy Wednesday and happy [cheese] eating!

Happiness-inducing today: Talking to my grandma – even if just on the phone – in the morning.

Stay in touch!

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Do you eat ‘dessert for breakfast’-type oats? If yes: what are your favourites?

Have you ever eaten fruit with some kind of [sweet] dip – aside from peanut butter? Let me know any good recipes.

What are your favourite kinds of cheese? 

Crispy Cauliflower Nuggets [vegan & gluten-free]

Not your average nuggets: Crispy, slightly spicy vegan nuggets that rival the originals’ addictiveness minus unnecessary additives or deep-frying. Bye bye, McDonald’s!

Whenever my mum would allow me to get food from McDonald’s my order would be a small size of Chicken McNuggets – sans sauce. In light of that it’s surprising I had yet to recreate them in a veg-friendly way. Maybe it was because I’m not a huge fan of all those tofu mock meats. Who knew the solution was growing right on the field [or at least only a few kitchen steps away]?? Cauliflower for the win again. One of these days I’ll write an ode to this magically versatile wonder vegetable: couscous, pizza crust, mash, nuggets… Who knows the whole potential of this unsuspecting member of the crusciferous family?

Blumenkohlnuggets_cauliflower nuggets

Interestingly enough it was Juli bringing up the nugget issue for me again. Her recent decidedly not vegan plate of coconut-crusted chicken nuggets sparked a craving. Further proof that any blogger can show meal inspiration independent from their diet. So while my weekend wasn’t bad in other terms either, the most marvelous food part was this newfound snack favourite.

Cauliflower Nuggets_6

These are obviously not your average deep-fried and greasy nuggets.  However, what these have in common with their non-vegan contenders from the Golden Arches is the addictive potential. In fact, if I was you I’d make a double batch right away. That’s what I should have done because the first time I baked up a tray of these I wasn’t even able to get a proper picture. All of that ‘I wonder if they’re done already’ snacking? Well, there weren’t a lot of fully cooked bites left by the end of the baking time. Which just meant I had to whip up another pan the next day – the things I do for blogging …

Cauliflower Nuggets_1

Vegan Cauliflower Nuggets [gluten-free]

adapted from Foodie Fiasco

1 3/4 cups cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized pieces [175-200 g]

Dry mix:
1/4 cup chickpea flour [30 g]
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp onion powder
Pinch of garlic powder
1/8 cup unsweetened crispy/ popped amaranth [8-10 g; see note]*

salt and pepper to taste

‘Milk’:
Scant 1/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk [I used soy] [50 ml]
Pinch of smoked paprika powder
1 tbsp salsa

  1. Mix both the dry and wet ingredients in separate shallow bowls.
  2. Dip the cauliflower pieces into the milk. Then dip in the flour mixture and coat.
  3. Spread the auliflower on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in one single layer.
  4. Bake for ten minutes, then flip the pieces.
  5. Bake for another ten minutes to brown all around.
  6. Remove the sheet from the oven. Dip the cauliflower into the remaining milk and return to the oven for five more minutes.
  7. Serve hot or cold.

* If you can’t find this in stores here’s a tutorial on how to easily make popped amaranth at home.

Caulflower Nuggets_8

If it’s any indication for how much I like these I bought another head when there was still half of the first left Saturday night. Because you never know of any upcoming cauliflower shortages, right?!

In hopes others will save some chicken by eating cauliflower nuggets, too, I’m sharing these with Gluten-Free Tuesdays, Strange but good, RecipeFriday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Recipe of the Week, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Real Food Recipes and Tasty Tuesdays.

Have a marvelous Monday!

Happiness-inducing today: Listening to good music on a walk outside in the sunshine.

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If you had to write an ode to cauliflower or any other vegetable: what would it look like?

What was or is your typical order at McDonald’s?

Have you ever recreated any former fast food favourites [yes to unintentional alliteration!]?

 

 

 

Like it? Then you should have put a spin on it.

Maybe it’s time to overthink my strategy for Wednesdays. Or more specifically my blogging strategy for What I ate Wednesdays. Some weeks I hardly have any meals worth showing or simply haven’t felt like taking pictures. Right now it’s the opposite: I have a huge backload of pictures. Sounds good? Not so much if – like me – the organized part* of you wants to present meals aligning with an overall topic. Yes, I figure that apply for anybody doing full days of food but that’s not my style. Luckily, I can be inventive and stretch my imagination so today’s topic is all about putting my own spin on other bloggers’ recipes. Happy feasting your eyes here as well as at Jenn’s and the Vegan Wednesday board!

*why yes, I have an organized and a chaotic part – blogging usually brings out the former more which I’m not complaining about.

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Starting out with a dish I had weeks ago for the first time only to prepare it over and over. Amy’s Cordoba Cauliflower ‘Rice’ caught my eyes right away especially thanks to the story she dished up with it. Just reading the ingredients brought back memories of a family holiday in Malaga years ago. Actually only about a year after I’d gone vegetarian. Yet still my parents seeked out what must have been pretty much one of the only fully vegetarian restaurants around there at that time for a dinner out. That’s [one more reason] why I love my parents. It was my dad ordering a couscous that – assuming memory serves me right here – was similar to Amy’s.

Cauliflower couscous_chili

Either way, I tried the recipe putting my own spin on it by mixing in wheatberries like in this dish, subbing mulberries for the raisins because they’re my favourites  and adding chickpeas. For the simple reason that I’m obsessed with them. Not like you had noticed that already. Both plain with extra cinnamon and alongside vegan chili with double legume action this dish was really delicious. I’m partial to my add-ins but if grains or chickpeas aren’t your thing you can still try Amy’s original version and expect a great dish.

Amy's cauliflower couscous_mulberries

I keep mentioning my savoury breakfast challenge yet didn’t give an actual update yet. Did I say blogging brought out the organized part of me?! Remind me if I happen to forget it and you’re curious. Breakfast potatoes were a true novelty to me. Probably surprising given I’m German and we like our potatoes – we really do and I’m not talking sweet potatoes. Only this dish is from that time I actually didn’t have any potatoes on hand and went with sunchokes. It was delicious but not as satisfying as it’d likely be using actual potatoes. So in case you want to try the dish yourself: go with the original. Making recipes mine with crazy subs isn’t always recipe for success. The add-in of chickpeas, however? No need for any commentary on how good that was. Obsessed, yes.

Sunchoke_breakfast 'potatoes'

One recipe I’ve been making mine forever and have yet to mess up with my random substitutions are Amanda’s Rice Krispie Energy Bites. That have actually not even once contained actual [crispy] rice for me. Instead, I’ve been subbing whichever crispy grain or cereal I had on hand. This time’s main contenders were Cini Minis/ Cinnamon Toast Crunch for the US folks and Cookie Crisp cereal.

Cereal bars_cinnamon toast crunch_2

Did you know both of them are vegan? Aaah, good good memories of eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch during my childhood. I’m pretty happy with the fact there’s still half a box leftover for snacking. Back to Amanda’s bars: they were a major hit with my boss and coworker. Where can I pick up my award for intern of the month year?

Cereal bars_cinnamon toast crunch

One thing I need to confess, though, is that my substitutions here made them lethal. Or at least not Amanda-friendly who’s now convinced I’m trying to kill her ;). If my almond butter consumption didn’t cost me an arm and a leg already I’d have followed the original recipe but for now I keep making it mine with good old peanut butter. Lethal legumes…

The takeaway: Never shy away from recipes if you don’t have all ingredients but put your own spin on them. Chances you’ll end up with an awesome result are at least 50/ 50 after all. Just don’t sub out potatoes. (:

Happy Wednesday!

 

Happiness inducing today: Spontaneously going to the theatre with a friend.

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Which dishes bring back holiday memories for you?

Do you stick with recipes or make them yours by subbing and adding ingredients? My stance on this is pretty obvious.

Did you try any new blogger recipes lately?

Please tell me you got my creative 😉 title reference.

 

 

Pineapple Lentil Curry with Wheatberry Cauliflower ‘Couscous’

Creamy curried lentils with a fruity kick accompanied by a combination of chewy wheatberries and fluffy cauliflower.

Pineapple lentil curry 2

Some of you might wonder: Pineapple in lentil curry? Why, yes. This is another one of those dishes where I can go into more details of its whereabouts. Like I mentioned my original intention on the day I created this dish was a very different one. Lentils would have made an appearance either way but the fruity part was a spontaneous decision. Or semi-spontaneous. I’d been craving pineapple for a while yet hesitated to buy some . Because unlike what you’d guess if you’d seen me go a little overboard when being presented with a plate of perfectly ripe one when eaten on its own pineapple doesn’t sit so well with me.

Pineapple Lentil 8

But cravings need to be satisfied – plus I’m stubbornly ignoring food sensitivities at times – so I decided cooked pineapple was fine with me. And it was. The curry would probably still taste good without them but fruit in curry is meant to be and the tropical contrast to the rustic lentils [do they feel that way to anybody else, too??] was perfect. Creamy lentils, sweet pineapple and a side of both chewy and fluffy wheatberry cauliflower ‘couscous’.

Pineapple Lentil 4

The idea for my side here was a spur-of-the-moment decision, too, when I spotted a recent favourite and now long-neglected [for no reason] grain: wheatberries. With a huge cauliflower on hand I decided to combine the two for contrasting textures – which we know I’m a fan of. The cherry on top was adding coconut butter to both the curry and the ‘couscous’. This one needs no explanation: just try it! Whether on its own or with the ‘couscous’ on the side – once more comfort food in a bowl.

Pineapple Lentil 6

Pineapple Lentil Curry with Wheatberry Cauliflower ‘Couscous’

  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 small eggplant or 1/2 a medium [about 120 g for me]
  • a handful of mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup of green lentils, canned
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • a pinch each of cinnamon and cayenne pepper
  • dash of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened pineapple chunks in their own juice [canned], juice reserved
  • 1/2 tbsp [or more] of coconut butter

For the wheatberry cauliflower ‘couscous’:

  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking wheatberries*
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups of cauliflower, riced in the food processor
  • juice from the canned pineapple
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp coconut butter
  1. Start by preparing the wheatberries according to package directions.
  2. When they’re almost done, add the cauliflower ‘couscous’ and a few tablespoons of  the pineapple juice. Cook until the cauliflower has softened. Stir in the coconut butter, season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the curry:

  1. Sauté the onion and garlic in [coconut] oil until fragrant.
  2. Stir in the cumin seeds and coriander and fry to lightly toast the spices.
  3. Add the eggplant, lower the heat and cook until the eggplant has softened.
  4. Add the mushrooms and cook for a few more minutes until they’re tender.
  5. Mix in the drained lentils, remaining spices and let simmer for about 5-6 more minutes. Shortly before it’s done cooking, add in the tomatoes.
  6. Adjust seasonings to taste.

* I use ‘Weizli’ which is similar to ‘Ebly’ – both are pre-cooked [still whole grain] wheatberries that allow for a much faster cooking time of only 20 minutes.

Fruit in curry might be a little strange [but very good] so I’m sharing this recipe with Laura as well as Kierston, Healthy Vegan Fridays and Allergy-free Wednesdays.

Happiness inducing today: Puppies! Every time I see somebody with a puppy or a grown-up cute dog I secretly wish I didn’t live in an appartment and could have a furry friend living with me, too.

Stay in touch!

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Have you ever added fruit to curry or another savoury dish?

Is there any food you can/ will only eat cooked not raw – or the other way around?

WIAW: Spontaneous success and try-hard fails

Last week’s WIAW was about some unusal breakfast creations and while I tried more interesting savoury dishes since I’m back to the -sweeter- side of life food again today. Keeping up the confessions or realizations (?) related to recent kitchen shenanigans. Because isn’t learning a little —more– about the food on other people’s plates rather than just wordless pictures what What I ate Wednesday and Vegan Wednesday are all about?

WIAWbutton_1

Realisation: Cravings for certain ingredients that you don’t end up finding can lead to really good dishes. Okay, to talk a little more comprehensive: I had my mind set on trying either a savoury rhubarb and lentil dish or something featuring green asparagus. Can you guess what I wasn’t able to find in stores? Right. Neither rhubarb nor asparagus. At least no green one and white… no. The result was a dish far from what I’d had in mind: Pineapple Lentil Curry with a side of fluffy wheatberry cauliflower ‘couscous’. I couldn’t really tell you what I was doing while at it. A pinch of this, sprinkle of that, …

 

Pineapple lentil curry 2

And oh, I still have wheatberries?! Let’s see what I can use them for …  Wow, was this ever delicious. Whatever my initial lunch idea[s] might have been: this was a more than just acceptable replacement. Lentils are one of those foods I tend to forget about, then rediscover and be crazy about them for a while. It’s safe to say the latter is the case right now.
If you’re interested in sweet and spicy combinations this is the dish for you. The only downside to my freestyle cooking is that I either forget to take measurements and notes at all or manage to loose them in the process. There’s a reason why I’m no full-time food blogger…

Lentil pineapple curry

Next up is another recipe trial gone wrong. Or rather semi-fail because differently from last week’s cookies this marbled brownie cake isn’t an all-out fail. It tasted delicious pre-baking but simply turned down the unfortunate route of not entirely meeting my expectations [that you know are high – especially after trying these] after I pulled it out of the oven. Given they still tasted good I could technically post the recipe but I don’t want to unless I’m completely convinced. These are more like your healthy feel-good-about eating snack rather than the hands-and-face-covered-in-chocolate decadent brownies.

 

Marbled cashew brownies

With the second recipe fail in a short time span I wondered why they happened. Others would probably shrug their shoulders and go on with life [and okay, yes, I did, too] but that’s not the kind of person I am. Overthinking tendencies, remember? Yes. I always try to figure out the . To let you in on a secret: I expected the granola clusters to fail and the brownies to be great. Looking at the different approaches I had it only seemed logical. The granola? Mixing ingredients without rhyme or reason and hoping for the best – all while being about to dash to an appoinment. The brownies? Planned in advance, wanting to achieve a certain nutritional profile, carved out time for recipe experimentation.

 

Brownie cake

Can you spot the obvious difference? My overplanning habits got the best of me again. No matter how much I’d like it to be the other way around I have to admit recipe creation strives on spontaneity. Plus, as much as I want to create recipes that are suitable for everyone – vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free – sometimes you just can’t do it all. First and foremost, all of us – and yes, I’m just assuming everybody feels this way 😉 – should create recipes we personally enjoy. And when it comes to brownies trying to stick with a certain label [read: no refined sugar meaning no chocolate chips] is just not me. In fact, when brownies are concerned leaving out actual chocolate is – as a blend of mine agreed – a crime. Did I just admit I commited a brownie crime? Well, I’m going to call these brownie cake which totally makes a difference – and me less of a sinner ;).

 

Ice cream with Jenni

Because I needed to cheer myself up after the fail… Who am I kidding?! Ice cream doesn’t need an explanation. I finally got to try an ice cream store around the corner of my apartment with a friend on Monday evening – the perfect after work treat. We got scoops of After Eight [Mint Chocolate flavour for any of you who don’t know these popular chocolates], pistachio and dark chocolate. It wasn’t just any ice cream but vegan rice milk-based one. Germany is slowly catching up on that end. Needless to say I already have plans of going back. Because sometimes the best way of avoiding recipe fails is leaving things to the professionals. (:

Speaking of professionals: thanks to Jenn and Cara for the professional [food] party planning on their parts. Happy Wednesday to everyone!

Happiness inducing today: Finding out I’ll have Friday off this week.

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Are you a planner or spontaneous when it comes to recipe development?

Did you have any recent recipe fails you want to share to make me feel better 😉 ?

What are some of the fanciest or most unique ice cream flavours you’ve had so far?