Beans, Main Dishes, Other, Recipes, Rice, Sauces, Sides

SRC: Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice

Panfried falafel served up with lots of creamy tzatziki [cucumber sauce] and a tangy Greek rice. No one said vegetarian food had to be boring!

Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice | thepajamachef.com #SRC #vegetarian

I’m so glad it’s a Secret Recipe Club [SRC] day! What’s SRC? Basically a fun blogging group where you’re secretly paired up with another blogger. Everyone makes a recipe from their assigned blog and posts on the same day. The club has grown over the years and now has four groups. Since I first joined a few years[!] ago, I’ve been in group A. But when I had the chance to switch groups, I got SO excited because–hello!–new blogs to explore! 🙂 So now I’m in group C and loving it! This month I was assigned to Jamie’s blog, Our Eating Habits. Jamie lives in Canada and like any food blogger, loves food. She says on her about page: “Eating is a big part of my life, so I make sure everything that goes into my mouth is tasty.” A sentiment I agree with! [And that is EXACTLY why I bought jalapeno cheetos on Saturday at the grocery store. Those are SO good. Anyway…] Jamie loves cooking and baking for her family and has an impressive number of recipes on her blog. It was so fun to browse her recipes! I was tempted to make these red velvet M&M cake mix bars for Valentine’s Day, and will make this Butterscotch Confetti at Christmastime this year! I was all set to make those red velvet bars when I saw that Jamie had a falafel recipe…and I was sold!

Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice | thepajamachef.com #SRC #vegetarian

Though I love falafel, sometimes I’m hesitant to order it at restaurants because it’s easy to make it too dry since it’s basically deep-fried chickpea balls/patties. Chickpeas are a drier bean anyway, so it makes sense. That’s why I’ve been excited to see so many pan-fried recipes for falafel lately. This recipe doesn’t disappoint! It’s so flavorful and moist [sorry!]. I changed the recipe a little from Jamie’s version, using lime juice instead of lemon, and adding the zest in for a little something special. Jamie used an egg as a binder and I decided to exclude it just so I didn’t have to worry about not cooking the falafel enough. I compensated for the lack of egg by using more chickpeas and less bread crumbs. Served up with some creamy tzatziki, chopped tomatoes and red onion, on a pita or lettuce-wrap style, this is an awesome meal! I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make this tasty vegetarian meal. Jamie added mayo to her tzatziki sauce and I thought that was genius! The mayo made the sauce a little creamier and added a little extra zip, but it also tasted good without.

Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice | thepajamachef.com #SRC #vegetarian

As a side, I made a super easy lemon rice. It has just four ingredients: jasmine rice, chicken broth, rosemary, and lemon juice and is SO addictive. The bright, fresh flavor was perfect alongside the falafel. This is not a meal to be missed! Hope you try it today. 🙂 Thanks, Jamie, for a great recipe!

one year ago: Fresh Cranberry Coffee Cake
two years ago: Go-To Pancakes
three years ago: Sunrise Muffins
four years ago: Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes

Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice

  • Servings: 4
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Falafel and Tzatziki from Our Eating Habits; Greek Lemon Rice from Thank Your Body

Ingredients:

for falafel

  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • zest of 1 lime
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1/2-1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1-2 cans chickpeas [15 ounces each]
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • oil for cooking

for Tzatziki

  • 2 cups plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cucumber, seeded and grated, pressed dry with a clean dish towel
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill [or 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped]
  • 1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste

for Greek Lemon Rice

  • 1 cup jasmine or basmati rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • juice of 1 lemon [approximately 1/4 cup]
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste

for serving

  • pita bread
  • chopped red onions
  • chopped tomato
  • romaine lettuce

Directions:

Begin by making the tzatziki. In a medium bowl, stir together yogurt, cucumber, dill, and mayo. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate while cooking falafel and rice.

Next, mix up the falafel. In a food processor, pulse together onion, parsley, garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne, lime zest, and lime juice. Then add 1/4 cup bread crumbs and 1 can chickpeas and pulse together, being careful to not completely pulverize the chickpeas. Check to see if mixture holds together, then add additional bread crumbs and/or chickpeas, pulsing gently, until mixture can be shaped into patties. I used 1/2 cup bread crumbs and 1 1/2 cans chickpeas [approximately 2 1/4 cups chickpeas]. Season to taste with pepper and salt. Shape into small patties–I used about 1/4 cup for each. Place on a plate or baking sheet and pop in the fridge to chill while starting the rice.

In a small saucepan set over high heat, combine rice, chicken broth, rosemary, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then stir. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer, cooking for 15-20 minutes until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Fluff with a fork and season with pepper and salt to taste.

While rice is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and when hot, cook falafel patties, about 3-4 minutes per side until heated through and browned on each side.

Serve falafel in a pita or with lettuce, topping with onions, tomato, and tzatziki. Rice is great on the side or in the pita too!

Be sure to see what other SRC members made this week:

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Main Dishes, Recipes, Reviews, Salads, Sides, Vegetables

#TripleSBites: Caesar Salad with Fried Chickpeas

This caesar salad, made with tender spring mix and hearty kale, is full of flavor and spice! A perfect starter to any meal.

Caesar Salad with Fried Chickpeas | thepajamachef.com #TripleSBItes

Welcome to #TripleSBites! For the next week, I’ll be sharing some fun, romantic recipes. Now, my definition of romantic might be a little nontraditional, but my husband LOVED every recipe I’m sharing so that works for me. 🙂 For more details about this week, and to enter the giveaway, go here now!

#TripleSBites | thepajamachef.com

To start things off, I thought I’d share a salad. Salads have a reputation of being a boring way to eat veggies, especially if they are just a side salad. They don’t have to be boring though! I think it’s all in the toppings and dressing! To set the stage for this caesar salad, I made a fresh dressing that is just out of this world… just lemon juice, dijon mustard, garlic, olive oil, and some seasoning. Simple and fresh, just how I like it. [The recipe is from Melissa D’Arabian’s new cookbook so you know it has to be good!!] After tossing the dressing with my greens of choice [this time, spring mix and kale], I added the star of the show: fried chickpeas. [And gigantic shreds of parmesan cheese. Ben was in charge of that, haha. :)]

Caesar Salad with Fried Chickpeas | thepajamachef.com #TripleSBItes

Now, for these fried chickpeas I used one of our sponsor products: Acala Farms Chili Cumin Oil. This oil is awesome! It’s an infused cottonseed oil and is slightly spicy, so it gives a great flavor to those chickpeas as you fry them up in a skillet. I also seasoned them with dried parsley so they’d look a little prettier and to cut that spice a bit. Acala Farms also sent me a Cilantro Oil to try and I can’t wait to play around with that!  If you don’t have time to fry up some chickpeas as a salad topper, did you know that you can buy crispy chickpeas that are kinda sorta the same thing?!? Another #TripleSBites sponsor is 2 Armadillos [what a fun name, btw!] and they make all sorts of flavored crispy chickpeas: rosemary, spicy cayenne, tomato basil, and cinnamon toast. So far, rosemary is my fave but I haven’t tried cinnamon toast yet so we will see! They’re perfect for a snack or to put on salad. I’m wondering about trying to bake with them too… as a crust or in granola or something?! Hmmmm… Since the package arrived the other night I just want to snack on them all. the. time! Who would’ve guessed chickpeas would be so tasty?! I truly loved the oil and the chickpeas, and don’t want my blog to read like an ad but simply must say… you need to try these products! I love buying from small businesses and really appreciate how the internet has made purchasing from smaller companies SO much easier. Hope you check them out! 2 Armadillos is on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Acala Farms can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Thanks to these great sponsors! 

Caesar Salad with Fried Chickpeas | thepajamachef.com #TripleSBItes

Well, that’s all I have today but be sure to come back later this week for more #TripleSBites recipes, and check out the linkup below for more recipes from other #TripleSBites gals! Happy Monday!

one year ago: Chili Relleno Casserole
two years ago: Baked Jalapeno Popper Ranch Dip
three years ago: Fried Eggs on Pesto-Parmesan Toast
four years ago: Mini Meatloaf

Caesar Salad with Fried Chickpeas

  • Servings: 2
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dressing recipe from Supermarket Healthy by Melissa D’Arabian

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon Acala Farms Chili Cumin Oil
  • 15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained and patted dry
  • 1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes
  • 4 cups lettuce, kale, or spinach [I used half spring mix and half kale]
  • shaved parmesan

for dressing

  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. When hot, add chickpeas [make sure they are dry!]. Season with parsley and fry for 10-12 minutes, tossing occasionally and allowing all sides to get browned.

Meanwhile, prepare dressing. Whisk together lemon juice, dijon, and garlic. While whisking, pour in 1 tablespoon oil. Season with red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Add extra oil and/or water to thin as necessary.

Toss dressing with lettuce. Serve with shaved parmesan and fried chickpeas.

Check out these other yummy #TripleSBites recipes!

 

Disclosure: I received some infused cottonseed oil from Acala Farms and some chickpea samples from 2 Armadillos as part of my participation in #TripleSBites. I was not compensated in any way–for my time, to create a recipe, or to publish positive comments. I was not required to use these products as part of my recipe. My opinions are my own. 

 

 

Bars, Desserts, Recipes

Dark Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Blondies

These blondies have all of your favorite flavors: chocolate, peanut butter, and honey… and are healthy too! They’re a great gluten free and/or vegan dessert. 🙂

Dark Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Blondies - Gluten Free, Vegan Option | thepajamachef

Growing up, my little sister Kathleen would always copy me. Drove me nuts! Whatever I had, she wanted. Clothes, friends, privileges, etc. Man. We’re five years apart, so in my world, this was totally awful. I considered her quite the little pest for many years… but she did too, so I guess we’re even. And let’s not even get into bathroom wars. Can any other sisters relate?! 🙂

Thankfully, today Kathleen and I aren’t antagonistic towards each other anymore, and Ben and I love to hang out with Kathleen and her husband Grant. Too bad we live five hours apart! Kathleen copied me a year or so ago and made her own food blog, Two Happy Bellies. For pretty much the first time ever [in older sister speak], this copying benefited me as I could finally see all her yummy recipes in one place! Before, she’d just email/Facebook/instagram/pin them to me. Now it’s my turn to copy her with these delicious blondies!

Dark Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Blondies - Gluten Free, Vegan Option | thepajamachef

These blondies are the closest thing to a healthy dessert  you can have without it being fruit or something else super natural [read: WEIRD]. There’s no flour, white sugar, oil, or butter in them… they’re gluten free, and can be made vegan in a snap. The chickpea base may weird some people out, but if you don’t tell ’em, they probably won’t even know. #totallyserious These blondies are completely delicious though, and are so simple to make that they’re sure to become part of your regular rotation. Enjoy y’all!

Dark Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Blondies - Gluten Free, Vegan Option | thepajamachef
P.S. I just realized that my sister is the ultimate copycat… she copies me, and her nickname is Kat. Get it?!?? CopyKat! Lol I crack myself up. I should go now. 🙂 Love ya booboo!

one year ago: Eggplant Potato Frittata 
two years ago: Baked Flounder
three years ago: Brown Sugar Fruit Dip

Dark Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Blondies - Gluten Free, Vegan Option

  • Servings: 16
  • Print

from Two Happy Bellies

Ingredients:
  • 1 can [15 oz] garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter [or other nut butter]
  • 1/3 cup honey [or pure maple syrup or agave nectar for vegan option]
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3.5 oz dark chocolate bar, chopped or broken into chunks OR 1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp chocolate chips [regular or vegan]
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease an 8×8 inch pan with cooking spray or shortening and line with parchment paper.
Using a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients except chocolate and blend until smooth. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan then top with chocolate, pressing in to incorporate.
Bake for 15-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean AND edges are just beginning to brown. My sister took hers out at 18 minutes and I did at about 20. They might look underdone but they will firm up as they cool.
Cool in pan for at least 20 minutes before slicing. Keep refrigerated.
Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.
Main Dishes, Recipes, Salads, Sides, Vegetables

Roasted Chickpea, Carrot, & Radish Salad with Lemon-Dijon Dressing

Last week was my spring break, and Ben and I took a quick four-day/three-night trip down to Cumberland Gap, TN.

Cumberland Gap Trip | The Pajama Chef

It’s just a short five hour drive from Bloomington, and if you’re not familiar with this area, three states come together in the park–Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky. We had never been before but had a blast. Even though winter is still lingering, hiking up in the woods and trails was just beautiful. The toughest hike was a 7 mile round trip hike up to White Rocks, a site that was a landmark to pioneers making the westward trek demonstrating that the Cumberland Gap pass was just a day’s walk ahead. Up top in the White Rocks area it was frosty, snowy, and terribly cold. I was so glad I chose to wear my vest instead of leaving it in the car!!

Cumberland Gap Trip | The Pajama Chef

Aside from hiking, we had fun just hanging out together… reading, relaxing, and exploring a few of the nearby towns. We stayed at the Olde Mille Inn Bed & Breakfast, which I highly recommend if you’re ever in the area. It is so cute, and even though it was built in the 1800s, everything was very modern and comfortable inside. I never wanted to leave our room! It was so nice, and the breakfast everyday was amazing. Upside down pancakes, sausage gravy & biscuits, french toast, and the best steel cut oats I have ever had! We were the youngest guests by a longshot [at least 30 years] but breakfasts were served together, and it was really fun to chat with the other guests. Can I just say that I love southern accents? 🙂

Cumberland Gap Trip | The Pajama Chef

We ate lunch everyday at this adorable cottage turned coffeshop–Gap Creek Coffee. My favorite drink was their Peanut Butter Cup. PB in coffee sounds a lil weird, but you can bet I’ll be looking for that on coffeshop menus in the future. Our dinners were nothing compared to the other meals of the day, but we did enjoy some good Tennessee BBQ! This area of the country definitely wasn’t gourmet restaurant central, but the area’s natural beauty sure made up for it!! Be sure to visit Cumberland Gap if you can! We’d love to go back someday.

Cumberland Gap Trip | The Pajama Chef

Before we left, I made this wonderful salad as an excuse to use up as much of my produce as I could before going out of town. But seriously, you shouldn’t wait til you need to use things up… adding hot roasted, crisp veggies and chickpeas on cold salad greens is my new favorite thing!

Roasted Chickpea, Carrot, & Radish Salad with Lemon-Dijon Dressing | The Pajama Chef

The contrasting temperatures are just perfect! I didn’t really measure the seasonings used to roast the chickpeas, carrots, and radishes but just used a little cumin, garlic powder, black pepper, ginger, and allspice to make a spicy-sweet spice mixture to rub on with EVOO.

Roasted Chickpea, Carrot, & Radish Salad with Lemon-Dijon Dressing | The Pajama Chef

The dressing is a very basic lemon-olive oil-dijon mustard mixture, which paired so well with the light greens and crispy toppings. I thought about adding some vinegar to make more of a vinaigrette, but decided against it. You certainly could if you wanted, though–I just liked the tartness of the lemony dressing with the vinegary tang.

Roasted Chickpea, Carrot, & Radish Salad with Lemon-Dijon Dressing | The Pajama Chef

This is just a great salad! I meant to add some cheese, nuts, or avocado as my inspiration recipe suggested… but I forgot about the cheese and nuts after the roasted veggies came out of the oven, and my avocado was nasty inside. Sad day. But the good news is that none of those things are needed for this awesome salad. It’s a crunchy, hearty, flavorful salad that I am sure you will just adore!! Enjoy! 🙂

Roasted Chickpea, Carrot, & Radish Salad with Lemon-Dijon Dressing | The Pajama Chef

Roasted Chickpea, Carrot, & Radish Salad with Lemon-Dijon Dressing [adapted from Baker by Nature]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed, drained, and patted dry
  • 3 large carrots, scrubbed and chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • 8 radishes, scrubbed and sliced into thirds
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • cumin
  • garlic powder
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ginger
  • allspice
  • baby spring mix

for Lemon-Dijon Dressing

  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • crushed red pepper

for topping, optional

  • avocado
  • feta or parmesan cheese
  • nuts

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a large baking sheet, combine chickpeas, carrots, and radishes. Pour olive oil over top, then season with cumin, garlic, black pepper, ginger, and allspice. I didn’t measure these, but was heavy on the cumin, garlic, and black pepper, and a little lighter on ginger and allspice. Use your hands to mix oil and seasoning on chickpeas, carrots, and radishes. Bake for 30 minutes, turning once or twice.

Meanwhile, make the dressing. Whisk lemon juice, oil, mustard, and garlic powder together in a bowl or shake together in a jar. Season to taste with crushed red pepper.

After everything is roasted, combine baby spring mix with roasted chickpeas, carrots, and radishes as desired. Drizzle with Lemon-Dijon Dressing, and top with feta or parmesan cheese, nuts, and avocado if desired. Serve immediately.

Time: 40 minutes [10 minutes active].

Yield: 2 large salads or 4 side salads.

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.

Recipes, Rice, Sides

Brown Rice, Feta, and Tomato Salad

I can’t believe it’s almost September! Yikes! Not just because the clock is continually ticking down to when I absolutely have to, have to, HAVE TO have my thesis done (December 15th, no exceptions) but because the end of my favorite produce season is almost near. Oh summer and your juicy peaches, sweet corn reminiscent of candy, fantastic watermelon, sweet tomatoes, crunchy peppers, how I love thee! Not that I don’t like the apples and pumpkins of fall [I mean, hello, I’m a pumpkin-obsessed girl here] or anything like that… but summer means relaxing strolls through the farmer’s market while dripping in sweat because we went running beforehand getting the absolute best fruits and veggies imaginable. And I’ll be sad to see that end. However, there’s still plenty of time to gather yummy summer foods so I’m going to do my best to share all my new favorite summer dishes now, before it’s too late.

This simple rice salad is one of those fabulous summer dishes that I wanted to be sure to share.

Brown Rice, Feta, and Tomato Salad is filled with pantry staples like brown rice and chickpeas, but is spiced up with three of my favorite things on the planet: cherry tomatoes, feta, and mint. Oh goodness, that combination gets me every time!

It is so so so good. You should have seen me trying to maneuver my bites as I ate this salad for lunch on campus last week. I was sitting in the shade of a huge maple tree, balancing my Kindle on my lap while trying to carefully construct each bite to contain a piece of tomato, a chickpea, some feta, and some mint, all while avoiding the rice clusters that I ate last because they weren’t as exciting. I’m sure I looked perfectly ridiculous… and for the record, this is all 100% true, even if that might sound a bit fabricated for the sake of a blog post. Eating outside while reading is pretty much what I do everyday it’s nice outside. I’m trying to break myself of the habit of eating at the computer/while I’m working, to give myself a break in the day. So far, it’s working pretty well. I’ll be terribly sad when late fall comes and it’s too cold to do that… but maybe soon after that I’ll land a great job in a warm climate and I can eat outside year round! That would be nice!

But until then… there’s this fabulous salad, with a wonderful mix of sweet and fresh flavors, paired with hearty grains and legumes [I just looked it up, chickepeas are legumes, fyi] and a little feta for some salty flavor. I think it’s best that I make it it again before tomatoes return to their dreary out-of-seasonness… and it would be remiss of me to not encourage you to do the same!

Brown Rice, Feta, and Tomato Salad [adapted from PBS Food]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown rice, uncooked
  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Prepare brown rice according to package directions. After brown rice is ready, set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, combine chickpeas, feta, tomatoes, and mint in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and brown sugar.

Add about 2/3-3/4 of prepared rice to chickpea mixture and stir to combine. Don’t worry about being precise, just eyeball the amount. I was probably closer to the 2/3 mark. Pour dressing over and toss to coat. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Serve warm or refrigerate for a cold lunch or side salad.

Time: 45 minutes [10 minutes active]

Yield: 4-5 servings.