Meatless Monday: Vegan Falafel Wraps

Falafel WrapWhen I first became a vegetarian many moons ago I came up with these vegan falafel wraps. They are easy, flavorful and satisfying. As I read about veganism I remember saying to Harrison “I could never be vegan, the only vegan thing I make is those falafel wraps!”. Times have obviously changed, but I still love these falafel wraps. These are a fantastic Meatless Monday option if you are cooking for meat eaters wary of having a meal without meat. The falafel and hummus are familiar flavors and make a hearty meal.

Falafel Wrap

For the falafel I used to make my own. I like the falafel recipe from Appetite for Reduction in particular. These days I typically buy pre-made falafels from Whole Foods or the Farmer’s Market. Buying falafels makes this an incredibly quick meal. I tried these frozen falafels available at Whole Foods from Falafelim. They were just ok and I don’t think I would use them again. I much prefer the ones I can buy fresh at the Farmers Market.

The hummus is the same as the falafel. Feel free to make your own. This is my favorite homemade recipe from Dreena Burton. Typically I use Haig’s hummus since I always have it on hand.

Falafel Wrap

For the vegetables, or what we call the medley, I stir the following ingredients together in a large bowl:

  • 3 cups tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 cups cucumbers, peeled, seeded & chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

I put our wraps in Lavash bread. Lavash is available at both Whole Foods and Trader Joes. You can also use pita bread, but I much prefer lavash wraps. I like that the lavash can crisp up and doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the ingredients.

Falafel Wrap

Assemble the wraps:

  • Put 2 Tablespoons hummus on the left hand side of the lavash
  • Add 1/4 cup of the vegetable medley on top of the hummus
  • Add 2-3 falafels – smashed a bit -next to the medley
  • Add a dash of hot sauce (optional)
  • Roll the bottom of the lavash up 1 inch.
  • Roll entire wrap from left to right
  • Place in a hot pan to crisp up each side
  • Serve!

Falafel Wrap

Keep these ingredients on hand and you will always be ready for a last minute dinner or lunch.

Meatless Monday: Spicy Vegan Fajitas

Vegan FajitasWhen I was about Trey’s age my family moved to Dallas. In addition to the major culture shock (who knew 8 year old’s carried a purse!?!) we were introduced to Tex-Mex. My favorite Tex-Mex dish was fajitas. I loved the sizzling platter of food that arrived at the table and how you got to assemble each fajita on your own. Like most kids getting to add just the right amount of toppings for myself was ideal. I am always looking for easy weeknight meals that take less than 30 minutes to make, and vegan fajitas fit that bill. This Meatless Monday meal is a spicy, satisfying and quick meal for your family.

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Meatless Monday: Quick Curried Chickpeas

Chana Masala is my favorite meal to order when I go to a new Indian restaurant. I love the spicy, complex flavors and how each restaurant’s is slightly different. I wanted to create something similar to chana masala that I could make quickly at home. The result is this 30 minute meal that is an ideal Meatless Monday option. In my version I don’t include tomatoes, because Trey does not like chunks of tomatoes. I also include coconut milk to add some healthy fat and creamy texture to the dish. I looked at many curried chickpea recipes in books and online as I created this dish. I was inspired by recipes from Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Richa Hingle and Ree Drummond. Above all I wanted this dish to be fast and flavorful. It turned out to be just that and I am thrilled to have another 30 minute meal in my repertoire.
 Quick Curried Chickpeas Labeled

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Vegan Taco Salad for Breakfast?

Do you ever eat salad for breakfast? I know some people love to eat a fresh salad for breakfast, but what about leftover salad from the night before? This is one of my Mom’s favorite breakfasts, especially leftover taco salad. She loves it cold out of the frig with her coffee. While I can’t say I would ever eat this for breakfast I do love my Mom’s taco salad. It is the perfect mix of healthy green salad and tasty crushed chips. It has taken me many iterations to get a vegan version of this taco salad that tastes as good as my Mom’s. My version is made with Beyond Meat Crumbles, romaine hearts, tomatoes, chips, Daiya cheese, diced red onions, cilantro, chips and sliced green olives tossed in a salsa vinaigrette.  We top the vegan taco salad with avocado and sometimes Tofutti sour cream. It is delicious and still has that mix of fresh greens with crunchy chips.

Vegan Taco Salad Blog Pintrest

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Vegan Quesadillas to save your meal plan

The vegan quesadilla has been saving my meal planning lately. I grew up with my mom planning out a week’s worth of meals and she made those meals each night as planned.  No food wasted, no questions asked.  I plan out my meals just the way she did, but inevitably something comes up 1-2 nights a week that throws the whole thing off.  I need at least one meal that is fast, easy and the whole family will eat.  The vegan quesadilla has become my savior.  I keep all of the ingredients on hand.  I add 1 “free” night to my meal plan where I don’t plan anything.  I know that I can make these if needed.  It is easy to customize to everyone’s preferences and is ready in less than 20 minutes.  I can also make them ahead if Trey has a game or a late practice.  He can inhale them in the car either before or after.

Vegan Quesadilla Group

Last night was definitely a vegan quesadilla night.  I was exhausted and everyone was starving.  The first thing I did was cook a package of Beyond Meat Feisty Crumble.  It adds a lot of flavor to the quesadillas and makes them hearty enough for Harrison.  While that was cooking I made black beans using the method for my Black Bean Tostadas. Last week I used the Pacific Foods Refried Black Beans I bought at Target for the quesadillas.  That is definitely the way to go since the whole idea is to make this meal easy and streamlined.  I’ll be stocking up on those for my pantry!

Vegan Quesadilla

Once the “beef” (or “meatish” as Trey calls Beyond Meat) was cooked and the beans were ready I started to assemble and cook.  I take flour tortillas from Trader Joe’s and spread each one with Earth Balance while I heat up my cast iron skillet.  Each of us likes different fillings.  Harrison’s started with a layer of black beans, then Papalote Salsa (available at Whole Foods), then Daiya cheddar shreds, the Beyond Meat and finally sliced avocado.  I cooked the quesadilla on the first side for 4-5 minutes and then flipped it over and cooked it for another 3 minutes until crisp.  Harrison likes his quesadillas topped with Tofutti sour cream and pickled jalapeños.

Vegan Quesadilla 2

I cooked Trey’s, decidedly more plain, quesadilla at the same time Harrison’s was cooking.  All Trey wanted in his quesadilla was black beans, salsa and cheese.  He did top his with sour cream and pickled jalapeños after we sat down.  The kid loves his spice!  He also loves to take these quesadillas to school for lunch.  I am a big fan of cooking lunch and dinner at the same time.

Vegan Quesadilla 3

I made my quesadilla on the panini press to save time.  That let all 3 of our quesadillas cook at the same time.  This panini move was a mistake though.  It makes the quesadillas too flat and gives them a weird texture.  I filled mine with beans, salsa, cheese and  sliced sweet potato that I had left over from earlier in the week.  Aside from my panini error the flavors were good.  Next time I’ll be adding the Beyond Meat to mine as well.

These quesadillas would be awesome for Cinco de Mayo next week…with margaritas of course!

Quick Black Bean Tostadas

Quick meals are a staple of a busy life.  Even before Trey arrived I liked to have a few meals planned for the week that took less than 30 minutes to get on the table.  Once he arrived it felt like all meals needed to be quick!  Over the years I have built up my repertoire of quick vegan meals.  Which is a good thing because now that we have added sports practices and homework to our plate, weeknight meals have to be fast and easy.  I came across a recipe for tostadas in our newspaper awhile ago and decided that a veganized version would make a filling, flavorful and fast meal.  The tostadas start with a crispy tortilla spread with black beans and topped with a salad tossed with a refreshing lime dressing.

TostadaThe newspaper recipe showed me how to create the crispy tortilla base in the oven with just a little oil.  In my case I use canola oil spray.  Once you spray the tortillas with canola oil on the top they go in the oven for 12-15 minutes and come out nice and crispy.  Make sure they are very crispy when they come out of the oven.  They don’t get any crispier as they cool, so if they are a bit flexible when they come out of the oven they will not be completely crispy when it is time to serve.

TortillasWhile the tortillas bake I work on making the black bean base.  The base is a mix of canned black beans, salsa and a bit of water.  For this recipe I used the Hatch Valley Salsa from Trader Joe’s.  We are loving this salsa these days.  It is very spicy and I love that it is shelf stable.  I buy a few jars at a time and store them in the pantry.

TJ SalsaI take 1/2 cup of the salsa and add it to a small pan with a can of drained black beans and 1/4 cup of water. The beans cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.

Beans before cookingAfter cooking for 10 minutes the beans are very soft and the salsa has cooked down a bit.  At this point you can smash the beans down to whatever texture you like with a spatula or wooden spoon.  In my case I like them to have some texture, but be spreadable.  You will be spreading them on top of the crisp tortillas so you don’t want the individual beans rolling around.

Cooked BeansWhile the beans and tortilla are cooking you can get the salad ready.  I place thinly sliced romaine hearts, sliced onions and minced cilantro in a large bowl.  The dressing is just lime juice, olive oil, agave nectar, salt and pepper.

Salad ToppingOnce the salad is tossed it is time to assemble the tostada.  Spread the black beans on the crisp tortillas.  Top each tortilla with salad and sliced avocados.  Of course skip the avocado for anyone who is an avocado hater, like my son Trey.  We also top ours with Tabasco, vegan sour cream and pickled jalapenos.

Tostada DInner

What are your favorite family-friendly, quick weeknight meals?

Quick Black Bean Tostadas
 
A quick, weeknight meal full of flavor that your whole family will love. The crispy tortilla, warm black beans and fresh salad are a delicious combination.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Mexican
Ingredients
  • 10 Corn Tortillas
  • ½ Tablespoon of Canola Oil or spray oil
  • 1 Can of Black Beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ Cup Salsa (use your favorite)
  • ¼ Cup Water
  • 4 Cups sliced Romaine Hearts (or your favorite crisp lettuce)
  • ¼ Cup Sliced Onions
  • ¼ Cup Cilantro, minced
  • Dressing
  • 2 Tablespoons of Lime Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Agave Nectar
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon Pepper
  • Optional Toppings
  • Sliced Avocado
  • Vegan Sour Cream
  • Pickled Jalapenos
  • Hot Sauce
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Spread tortillas on 2 large baking sheets. Brush the top of each tortilla with olive oil (or spray the top with canola oil). Bake for 12-15 minutes until crisp.
  3. Add black beans, salsa, and water to a small saucepan over medium high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, then cover and lower heat to medium low. Cook for 10 minutes.
  4. While the beans and tortillas are cooking, assemble the salad. Start by making the dressing. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake it until they are well combined.
  5. Place the lettuce, onions, and cilantro in a large bowl. Add half to ¾ of the dressing and toss. Add more dressing according to how much dressing you like on your salad.
  6. After the beans have cooked for 10 minutes they should be very soft. Remove the pan from the heat and use a wooden spoon or spatula to smash the beans. Smash the beans until they reach a spreadable consistency, but still have some texture.
  7. To assemble the tostadas spread smashed black beans on a crispy tortilla. Top with salad. Add any additional toppings you are using on top of the salad. Serve.
Notes
Double the recipe for a larger family.

For leftovers double the beans, crisp tortillas and dressing. This makes a quick and easy lunch. All you will need to do is make the salad, warm the beans, and assemble.