Black Bean Chocolate Chip Cookies

I can’t believe it has taken me this long to post about this delicious, protein-filled cookie recipe. My boyfriend showed it to me over a year ago, and whenever I make too many black beans, this is my go-to recipe. It has no flour in it and is easy to make. Just to clarify, I’m don’t abide by a wheat-free diet, but I try not to make all my meals and snacks centre around it. This is for the sake of variety, which is important for ensuring I am getting enough of everything else. It is super easy to reach the ideal carbohydrate limit for the day with cereals, bread, pasta, potatoes, squash, etc. So, when I think of snacks, I’m thinking about veggies, fruits, fats (oils, nuts and avocado), and protein. I like to make sure I am eating protein whenever possible, especially in snacks, and I find protein-filled snacks are the most filling and satisfying (gluten is a protein, so I am not against that). Here is the recipe.

Ingredients

1 ½ cups black beans, or one can (rinse them well to get excess salt off)
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup chocolate chips

I preheated the oven to 375*F. In a small bowl I mixed together the maple syrup, vanilla, and chia seeds. Separately, in a food processor I blended the black beans, coconut oil, and salt until smooth (you could add 1/4 tsp cayenne powder, but I prefer not to). Then I added the wet ingredients to the food processor and blended the mixture some more. I placed the batter into a medium bowl and mixed in the chocolate chips. I then spooned the cookies on a cookie sheet that was lined with parchment paper and flattened them to the size I wanted them, as they do not rise. I prefer cookies on the smaller side, so each cookie was about 2 tbsp.  The cookies were baked for 15 minutes, and once cooled were kept in the fridge.

I remember that one batch made a pretty small amount: 8-10. So, I have doubled it before and froze the extra cookies.

No picture today, sorry folks.

Asian Millet Salad

There’s nothing like a delicious salad for lunch that has you coming back for more. This salad definitely owes a lot to the dressing, which is from Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Kitchen, but the rest of the salad was created by me. I have been experimenting with millet, and wound up with a lot of leftovers last night. I decided to base this recipe off my everything salad. This is jacked with protein, from the millet, spinach, beans, edamame beans, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds.

Ingredients for the salad
1 cup millet, cooked to a rice-like consistency and cooled
1/2 red cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup carrots, shredded
1 cup spinach, shredded
1 cup black beans, rinsed
1/2 cup edamame beans
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds

Ingredients for the dressing
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sesame oil
1/8 cup tamari or soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/8 cup maple syrup
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1/4 jalapeno, diced

After lots of chopping, dicing and shredding, I mixed all the salad ingredients in a large bowl, then in a small bowl whisked the dressing ingredients, then tossed it with the salad. SO GOOD.

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Bean Burgers and Hemp Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, the vegan adventure has been going well; I am proud to say that in the three weeks that I have lived in Alberta, I have not bought any animal products from the grocery store, and have cooked all vegan meals at home. There have been a few exceptions, such as meals cooked by Tom’s parents when we visited them in Canmore, or accepting free food from my work (oh yeah, I now work at a bagel shop! I have access to free bagels, soups, cookies, and coffee. I try as hard as I can to make myself vegan lunches there), and overall my food choices are vegan. I think of myself as an opportunivore: if it is a total inconvenience for me to avoid animal products, or if the food is going to be thrown out anyway, I will eat it, but food that I buy myself is vegan. Consequently, I have been discovering a lot of new ways to make my favorite meals, and I could post about every dinner Tom and I have made in Calgary, but I have chosen to report about the bean burgers and the hemp chocolate chip cookies that I made.

Another reason for not posting more often this month is that I have been busy climbing in the Rockies. Check out this beautiful view from Echo Canyon, in Canmore, Alberta. After a seventy-minute hike up a steep trail, I got to spend all day with this view.

ImageAnyway, here is how I made the bean burgers

Ingredients
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can pinto beans, rinsed
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, shredded
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 1/2 cup quick oats
2 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp ketchup
salt

I started by frying up the onion, carrot, and garlic. In a bowl I mashed together the beans (though next time I make these I will grind them in a food processor to break them down even more), then smushed all the other ingredients together in the bowl. I formed the mixture into patties, and fried them in a bit of oil. Presto!

I served the burgers on bagels from the bagel shop I work at, and made some yam fries in the oven (tossed with oil, cumin and garlic pepper, then baked at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes). Delish!

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I had the urge to bake something today, and my sweet-tooth was hankering for some chocolate, so I found a recipe for vegan chocolate chip cookies, and added hemp seeds to them.

Ingredients
1/2 cup oil (I used canola oil)
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1/4 cup almond milk
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup vegan chocolate chips (not as hard to find as you might think)
1/2 cup hemp seeds

In a bowl I creamed together the oil and the brown sugar, then added the almond milk and vanilla. I added the dry ingredients and mixed until everything was incorporated. Then, I stirred in the hemp seeds and chocolate chips. The mixture was dry, but the recipe said that this was normal. I formed the cookies to be about 1 tbs round, pressed them down a little on the cookie sheet, then baked them at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes. They turned out really well, and hemp seeds are incredibly good for you! If you’re caught without eggs and butter, I suggest trying these and seeing how possible it is to make cookies without using animal products.
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Vegan Tacos with Quinoa and Beans

I hadn’t really used Pinterest all that much until I realized that I could pin vegan recipes to have as a reference for the vegan cooking I will be doing this summer. On my last night in Ottawa I made a Mexican meal for my dad and our friend Paula, which included vegan soft-shell tacos, homemade salsa, quinoa and beans, and vegan chocolate pudding for dessert; the linked recipes are the ones I got from Pinterest, and I can assure you that they are excellent recipes, even for a non-vegan (I left out the coffee and orange oil for the pudding). 

I filled the tacos with the bean filling, guacamole, salsa, lettuce, and vegan cheese (which was pretty good). Though, with all the textures and flavours, cheese is not necessary. 

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The Quinoa and Beans recipe is one that I learned from Tom a couple years ago, and it has become one of my favorites. 

Ingredients
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil
1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 can black beans, rinsed
1/2 can corn
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

In a pot, I sauteed the onion and garlic in the olive oil for a few minutes, then added the quinoa and vegetable broth, and let the quinoa cook at a simmer for about 20 minutes. I added the corn and black beans, letting them cook for about five minutes, then added the spices and cilantro.

Easy peasy, mighty delicious, and extremely healthy. If you have never cooked with quinoa, I highly suggest this recipe to give it a try – use it either as a side dish, or inside of a taco. 

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The salsa I made involved the chopping and mixing together of a red onion, a few tomatoes, one mango, a couple cloves of garlic, one jalapeno pepper, and salt and pepper. Letting salsa sit for a few hours makes it come together very nicely. 

To finish off, I just wanted to say that one of the main reasons why I am trying out a vegan diet is because I love to cook, and I love discovering new ways of making dishes. I learned from making this meal that I absolutely love pinto beans! But, if you’re curious about the other reasons to be come vegan, I strongly urge watching the documentary Vegucated that convinced me – I will at least eat vegan as much as I can, and perhaps one day I will be able to be one full-time. But, for now, it’s fun to experiment with some new recipes.