Tag Archives: Middle Eastern cuisine

What do I do with hummus?

Going vegan can be bewildering for many people. You’re discovering all these enticing new foods, and you have no idea what to do with them. In particular, you’re seeing hummus everywhere but have no idea what to do with it.

Hummus is a spread or dip made from chickpeas, garlic and tahini that is a mainstay of Middle Eastern and eastern Mediterranean cuisine, and can be used in many different ways. There are countless varieties of hummus, some that are very lemony, some more garlicy, and some that are very spicy.

While many people just use it as a dip for chips or bread as an appetizer, you can make some delicious, more elaborate meals from it.

Here’s some suggestions.

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A hummus-chickpea-arugula wrap: Just use a tortilla wrap or pita bread and stuff it with hummus, chickpeas, tomatoes, onions, tahini sauce, harissa(Tunisian hot pepper sauce), olives, fresh parsley, lemon juice and black pepper. The hummus is there, it just got buried under all the other ingredients. Not only is this very tangy and delicious, it’s also very nutritious.

Screenshot from 2017-11-08 08:15:50

Not in the mood for a wrap? Another suggestion is to make a hummus platter with stuffed grape leaves(dolma), tomatoes, romaine lettuce, tahini sauce, hot sauce, lemon juice, and black pepper. Another delicious, easy to make(unless you make the dolma from scratch) Middle Eastern meal that’s totally vegan.

This barely scratches the surface of all the things you can do with hummus, and Middle Eastern cuisine has so much to offer vegans. Have fun!

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Dinner at Andy’s Pure Foods

IMG_1993After that 22 mile run yesterday up to Millwood yesterday, I needed some super-nourishment. So I eventually made my way down to Rye, New York and had an early dinner at Andy’s Pure Foods, which is located in the heart of Rye village on Purchase Street. No, I didn’t run there, I drove.

Andy’s Pure Foods specializes in fresh, organic vegan food. They have a very large selection of delicious legume based meals and fresh salads, and sandwiches, as well as fresh juices, smoothies, and even some vegan deserts. They also have many raw vegan meals.

I decided to have the butter beans with dolmades(stuffed grape leaves) and falafel. The dolmades are very fresh and tasty, almost as good as the ones my family makes. The falafel was delicious too. They have a lot of other Middle Eastern vegan food, like hummus, and various chickpea dishes and I can’t even remember the rest.

IMG_1989All in all, it was a fantastic recovery meal. I even think I could run today if I really wanted to, but my legs need a rest. I highly recommend Andy’s if you’re in the area.

Lentils with bulgur wheat

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I adore lentils. They are little gems of protein and so versatile, I can eat them every day. They are commonly eaten in the Middle East and adjacent regions, usually with rice, but I decided to use bulgur wheat instead. Bulgur wheat is also a staple of many Middle Eastern countries. I am minimizing my rice consumption(both white and brown) these days due it possibly playing a role in diabetes, and because other grains, like bulgur wheat, have a far superior nutritional value.

Bulgur wheat is often confused with cracked wheat. This may help clear up any confusion – GRAIN BASICS – BULGHUR (BULGAR) AND
CRACKED WHEAT

It took about 30 minutes to cook the entire meal, boiling the green lentils(which require more cooking time) first in half water/half vegetable broth. I then added some red pepper powder, black pepper, and garlic powder. I also added chopped onions, along with chopped garlic, and a dash of olive oil. It tasted great, though I think it would have been better if I had added some cumin.

As a side dish/appetizer, I had some Korean kimchi(or Korean pickle), which helps stimulate digestion due to its spiciness and friendly bacteria. Koreans eat kimchi with almost every meal. The kimchi wasn’t homemade(it was Sunja’s Medium Spicy Kimchi), but it is vegan. Kimchi in Asian restaurants usually has shrimp or fish added to it. I occasionally make my own sauerkraut, but every time I try to make kimchi it doesn’t turn out well. The ingredients in this kimchi are: cabbage, carrots, red peppers, leeks, green onions, garlic, ginger, sea salt.

Lentils with bulgur wheat can also be considered an example of “Mediterranean” cuisine, besides “Middle Eastern”, depending on your definition of “Mediterranean”(many Middle Eastern countries have Mediterranean coasts, so I see no reason why they they can’t be considered both). The Mediterranean diet is back in the news these days due to recent research reaffirming how healthy it is, in part due to legumes like lentils being an important protein source in many Mediterranean countries. So you can’t go wrong by consuming more lentils. The east Asian diet is also similarly healthy, so combining the two has a uniquely healthful synergism to it.

All in all, a delicious vegan power meal that is a fusion of the best of Middle Eastern and Korean cuisine.

Vegan lunch – Spicy red lentils with rice and kale.

IMG_0540This is how I usually eat. There are few dishes I love as much as rice with lentils. I just threw whatever I had into a pot without any precise measuring since I kind of know by sight how much of each ingredient to use. It required about 20 minutes cooking time.

The ingredients in this are:

Red lentils(at 13g per 1/4 cup, an excellent source of protein – I used about 1/2 cup)

White Basmati rice

Chopped kale

A splash of olive oil

Curry powder

Red cayenne pepper powder

Garlic powder

And I used water instead of vegetable broth. I would have used vegetable broth if I had some.

It came out alright, though a little on the mushy side. It was kind of Indian or Middle Easternish. I joggled for an hour this morning and this vegan, gluten-free meal was a great way to refuel. If anyone has any good ideas for improving this, let me know.

This dish is kind of part of my heritage – my ancestors lived close to where this was and is commonly eaten.