chick peas

Healthy Darkest Double Chocolate Flourless Cookie Bites

carob chickpea cookieI can’t stop baking with beans, and not baked beans or pulse based curries but sweet nutty desserts bursting with the humble chick pea or fudge like black bean. It’s a pretty good feeling knowing that your sweet, dark and decadent cookie is actually 75% chick pea! Or your chocolate fudge brownie is crammed with black beans and you know that creamy cookie dough butter, yep you guessed it – it’s mainly white beans! Is it wrong to get excited over carob, chocolate, almondy, chickpea based goodies? Even the raw dough is hard to resist.

Cookie dough that's good enough to eat

Baking with beans is the way forward – who needs margarine and white flour when any pulse would do a better job, mega boost the nutritional content higher than you can imagine and transform a pretty unhealthy dessert to one which is plant based and truly good for us. Good news.Plate of cookies

And here’s a bit more good news:

flourless, no grain whatsoever so yep they’re gluten free
no dairy and entirely plant powered
so rich and chocolatey it almost hurts
so easy to make, literally throw it all in the blender and adjust ingredients for correct consistency
they really are healthy with such a tiny amount of sugar
less than 50 calories per cookie, eat lots
carob, ummmmStack them cookies up!

Technically carob isn’t chocolate but it does have a chocolatey taste with a sweeter, nuttier flavour than cocoa and it is super delicious. Also packed full of antioxidants and unlike cocoa contains zero caffiene. I absolutely love it. I use carob purely for a change of flavour as cocoa is one of my favourite ingredients ever and would work equally well in this recipe too. I do feel guilty cheating on cocoa but carob is so worth it. A plate of cookies for you!

Healthy darkest double chocolate flourless cookie bites

(makes 15-20 cookies)

1 can chickpeas, rinsed + drained (240 grams)
1 banana, peeled + chopped
3 teaspoons non dairy butter or coconut oil
1 flax egg (1 tablespoon of flaxmeal to 3 of water)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons carob powder (or cocoa powder)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons almond meal or almond flour
4 tablespoons dark chocolate chips

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180ºC. Add all the ingredients except chocolate chips to a food processor or blender until smooth. Stir through the chocolate chips. The mixture should be a cookie dough consistency so you may need to adjust almond flour to make it drier or add a dash of almond milk to loosen it.
2. Lightly grease a baking tray + form 15-20 small cookies from the mixture. They will not spread so allow enough room to remove once baked. Flatten slightly with a fork.
3. Bake for 20 minutes until crisp on the outside. Allow to cool fully before removing from the baking tray + get stuck right in. Store in an airtight container for 7 days.

Pistachio, Pumpkin Seed + Herb Falafel (Gluten Free + Vegan)

Pistachio, Pumpkin Seed + Herb FalafelFor me falafel is a full on, fill me up, give it to me now crave food. It’s pure comfort food. When I want something filling, fresh, warming and healthy yet satisfying this is it. The thing is I rarely make falafel and it’s not like it’s easy to get in fast food joints around here either. Oh, what I would do to have a little local cafe nearby that baked me falafel when I needed it most, now that would be good. Until my make believe plant based Arab inspired fast food joint opens I’ll be making this myself and more often.

I am in love with North African flavours so naturally falafel is pretty high up there on the favourites list, I definitely ate my fair share (ok, more than is fair!) in Egypt. Were they better? Ummmm, not necesserily! The trouble is most falafel is deep fried as that’s in fact the traditional way of preparing it but it’s way toooo oily for me and so unnecessary as IMO they taste so much better baked. These pistachio, pumpkin seed + herb falafel are fragrant, lightly spiced, fresh, crispy on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside and devastatingly good, in taste and for health! Yes, every recipe on this blog is healthy………

This here is falafel, just how it should be.Green falafel + yoghurt mint dressing

Baked not fried.Green falafel + yoghurt mint dressing

Russ was on ball making duty as it’s not my forte and his balls are so uniform, round and smooth (humour me). And green, nice and green thanks to the mint, coriander, pistachio and pumpkin seeds. Not only does this add a nice touch visually it really ramps up the nutritional density too. This pistachio, pumpkin seed + herb falafel is high in protein, contains only heart healthy fats, low in sodium and the herbs provide immense anti-inflammatory and ant-bacterial benefits. You just gotta love fresh green herbs. Russ making falafel

These little blighters are super easy to put together and can be whipped up in 15 minutes flat,  get somebody else to roll your balls and it’ll be quicker than that! I’ll send Russ round?Easy recipe....

Extra tasty served in fresh crisp lettuce leaves, the best way. Gone are the days when I felt self conscious eating from a lettuce or cabbage leaf, where others would sometimes make comments in confused wonder or assume I was just a weird eater. I’m not sure why either as it’s one of the most delicious ways to eat food minus the heavy carb and gluten load, just ask the Koreans. Since living in Korea for a year I soon learnt to love the leaf wrapping as they wrap everything in a fresh lettuce leaf, a crunchy wad of cabbage or a crisp sheet of seaweed. Oh I do miss that place and it’s food, but not the soups so much, particularly the ones where they sneak tiny bits of pork into it and tell you it’s vegetarian! Back to the leaf, Korean supermarkets have entire refrigerators dedicated to housing the most pristine, organised and colour coordinated lettuce leaves you have ever seen. Our local store even had a designated lettuce leaf handler (nice guy too), in charge of bagging, weighing and most importantly keeping the green, purple and red (yes, they put a lot of love and affection into their lettuce!) display looking beautiful. Tangent….yes falafel…..eating out of a lettuce leaf = good.

Falafel, lettuce wraps + salad

So, although I’m no longer leaf wrapping on a daily basis I always take up any opportunity to use fresh plant- powered wraps, especially if there’s falafel involved. I do wonder if I’ll ever be able to eat from a leaf again without thinking about Korea!! Good times.A whole lotta lettuce wrap

Falafel is a classic veggie staple and is delicious served with a big salad and if lettuce leaf wraps aren’t for you a wholewheat pitta would be amaze-balls (get it?) too. I like both, falafel wrapped in lettuce and stuffed in a pitta, finished off with generous dollops of minty dressing. Oh dear, now that is delicious.Falafel in hand

Pistachio, pumpkin seed + herb falafel

(10 balls)

1 can drained chickpeas (240 grams)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 small onion, chopped
small handful fresh mint
small handful fresh coriander
1/4 cup pistachios, shelled
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon cumin
salt & pepper

mint dressing:
small handful mint, finely chopped
2 tablespoons yoghurt + 1 of water

Method:

1. Rinse + drain chickpeas, set aside. Place garlic, onion + green herbs into a food processor or blender + pulse until roughly chopped. Add the nuts + seeds + pulse to a rough texture. Add the chickpeas, cumin + salt/pepper + blend until fully combined so that it retains a rough like texture. You may need to redistribute the mixture with a spoon in between blending.
2. Form 10-12 balls from the mixture + place on a baking tray lined with grease proof paper. Bake falafel in the oven for 20 minutes until firm + crispy on the outside. Combine the mint dressing ingredients in a small bowl or cup + set aside.
3. Serve in lettuce with a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds + a drizzle of mint yoghurt dressing.