I Never Met a Chickpea I Didn't Like
I Never Met a Chickpea I Didn’t Like!
So often when I chat with new vegans or those who are investigating a plant-based diet, I hear time and time again, “Vegan/plant-based recipes are too hard, too expensive, bland and take a long time to prepare.” This situation leads to dissatisfaction and frustration, and ultimately throwing in the towel on a desire to live a vegan lifestyle that is healthier, respects animals and our environment.
Vegan/plant-based recipes may look hard, but you have to keep in mind that your regular recipes were also probably a bit difficult to start out with, but naturally, as you became more familiar with them, they became easier – you gave yourself the time to learn and become accustom to your longstanding recipes, so you need to give yourself some slack to develop 6 or 8 go-to vegan/plant-based recipes that you’ll feel comfortable with as well. And let’s face it, any recipe can be easy or complicated – whether vegan/plant-based or not.
Vegan/plant-based recipes can be seen as expensive because they often include ingredients that we have never heard of before, for example “nooch” (a term for nutritional yeast used in many vegan/plant-based recipes to add a cheesy flavour). When anyone starts a new eating regime, it can be more expensive upfront because you do have to buy items that may not be sitting on your pantry shelf. But, once again, in developing 6 or 8 go-to vegan/plant-based recipes you’ll know the ingredients and you’ll know what to have on hand so you are not buying all kinds of ingredients that you may only use once or twice.
“Vegan/plant-based recipes are so bland”. Well, they’re only as bland as you make them. When you’re making your favourite spaghetti sauce, do you use all kinds of aromatic and mouth-watering seasonings to make it appealing? The same goes for vegan/plant-based recipes – they need seasonings and additives like onions, garlic, turmeric, ginger, cayenne, and cinnamon (to name just a few) to enliven them with zest and appeal.
And then there is the ever-popular, “Vegan/plant-based foods take too long to prepare and I don’t have the time.” Sure, there may be some upfront work that is needed to cut up vegetables and fruits, but it seems that this might come back to the issue discussed earlier – being familiar with certain recipes. For those that we have been returning to time and time again, we have the prep down – we know what’s needed, but for a new recipe, our routine is disrupted – but only for a while until we become familiar with our new, healthy, tasty vegan/plant-based recipes.
So, what’s a simple solution that can help you in your journey to have easy, tasty and inexpensive meals as you get started?
Well my friends, I’d like to introduce you to the humble chickpea. Here’s a legume that’s the answer to all your concerns.
It’s one of those foods that you can dress up or dress down, and it won’t let you down.
The chickpea is inexpensive, a fabulous source of protein, and many of the recipes are easy and very tasty. Chickpeas can be found in wonderful hummus recipes, roasted as a tasty treat (either sweet or savory), the substance for many delicious casseroles, topping for salads and the foundation of a lovely sandwich.
It’s the latter that I wish to place in the spotlight right now.
A nice chickpea salad sandwich spread can offer anyone of any age a tasty and enjoyable meal.
Take a can of drained chickpeas - either place them in a food processor/blender or take a potato masher to them to break them down. Place them in a bowl and add vegan mayo to them along with some green onions and/or celery. I also add a dash of hot sauce to them to give them a little extra something. Add salt/pepper to your liking; grab some bread and spread on the chickpea mixture with a leafy green if you so desire. For an added kick, I shake some smoked paprika over the spread. Easy, tasty, inexpensive - everything one could ask for in a vegan recipe!
TIP: The liquid you drain off the chickpeas is known as aquafaba and can be used as an egg substitute in recipes. You need to whip it just a wee bit until it’s foamy. 3 tablespoons = 1 egg
Just sayin’ is all!
By Lou Hooper
For more information on my online course for new and/or struggling vegans entitled, “The Vegan Journey: A Beginner’s Pathway (tips/tools/support)”, please go to the menu item Vegan Support Pathway.