For my last time cooking at the artist's residency where I spent the last month cohabiting, co-creating and co-cooking (?) with 13 other people, I decided to make a healthy, vegan (shocker! I know!) fun, "fast food-inspired" meal. What came to mind? Burgers. Fries. Cookies. Done.
The meal started off with a vegan caesar salad inspired by The Kind Diet, that I topped with gluten-free rosemary-polenta croutons
For the dressing (serves 6-8 people):
2 Tbs almonds
3 Cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbs Dijon mustard
2 Tbs Tamari soy sauce
1 Tbs tahini
3 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs extra-vergin olive oil
2 or 3 large heads of romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
For the croutons:
1 Cup polenta
2 Cups water
Bring the water to a boil, then slowly add the polenta whisking briskly to avoid any clumps from forming. Lower flame and allow to simmer, stirring continuously for about 5 minutes. Turn off heat, stir in salt and herbs and then pour into a square, heat-proof dish. Allow to cool completely while you make other components of the salad.
To make the dressing, place all the ingredients into a food processor; process until smooth and well blended. Add water if need.
Sweet Potato Fries:
5 big sweet potatoes
Cajun spice seasoning + a bit of salt to taste
Simply wash and slice the potatoes into french fry shape. Lay them down on a baking sheet (will need multiple if making a big batch) making sure they don't touch; this will allow them to crisp up. Coat them evenly in coconut oil (if the oil has turned to a solid, simply scoop some out and rub it between your hands) and then dowse them in cajun seasoning. Bake for approximately 40 minutes at 400 degrees, or unit they have reached desired crispiness!
Black Bean Burgers (via GOOP curtesy of Candle 79) (Makes 6-8 burgers)
2 cans black beans
2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
2 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
cumin to taste
1 1/2 cups brown rice
3 cups water
1 Tbs olive oil
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 Tbs smoked paprika
sliced red onion, tomato and lettuce for serving
whole grain burger buns, toasted
Bring the water to a boil and add brown rice, lower to a simmer and cover until rice is tender and all the water is absorbed, about 40 minutes. Add the chopped onion and cover for 10 minutes. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the pumpkin seeds, paprika and 1tsp of salt and season with pepper. Cook the seeds, stirring and shaking the pan until they are lightly toasted, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Combine the drained beans, rice and pumpkin seeds in a large bowl, add the remaining spice and stir. Place half the mixture into the food processor until smooth. Return the processed mix to the big bowl and stir into the unprocessed mix. Form patties about 3 1/2 inch in diameter and 1 inch thick. Brush a baking sheet with olive oil and bake at 350 degrees until browned, about 20 to 30 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking. Alternatively, you can pan fry them in olive oil, about 4 minute per side. Slather in condiments as you desire and enjoy!
And finally...if you aren't already bursting at the seams...
Gluten-free and Sugar-free Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie (via Chocolate Covered Katie)
2 cans white beans or garbanzos (drained and rinsed well) (500g total, once drained)
1 cup quick oats (or certified-gf quick oats)
2 cups pitted dates
4 stevia packs, or 1/8 tsp uncut
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2/3 cup milk of choice (I used almond)
3 tbsp oil (canola, veg, or coconut)
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 F, and grease a 10-in springform pan (or two 8-in round pans). Combine all dry ingredients (except chips) in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients. Place dry and then wet ingredients into a food processor and blend until super-smooth (where there are no date pieces to be seen). Stir in the chocolate chips, and pour into the pan or pans. Bake 35-40 minutes, then let cool at least 15 minutes before trying to remove it. Slice and devour!