tahini

Entrée

ASIAN NUGGETS WITH SAUTEED VEGGIES + TAHINI SAUCE

Asian Nuggets with Sauteed Greens & Tahini Sauce . Sprouted Kitchen
Asian Nuggets with Sauteed Greens & Tahini Sauce . Sprouted Kitchen

“It's funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools - friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty - and said 'do the best you can with these, they will have to do'. And mostly, against all odds, they do.”

―Anne Lamott

I feel very adult this week. We bought a crib and we made an offer on another house and our health care got more complicated and expensive and I'm trying to read books about birth without my chest tightening so much I feel faint and that quote makes me feel better about the normality of all this. There is a beautiful mess in the figuring out of things. I'm scared. About everything, and mostly without reason, but when I do get stressed, I can typically trace it back to fear. Fear of failing, of loosing or of being in pain. My dad met with me a few nights back so I could show him my numbers for our potential house purchase and he could confirm it was a good idea... at least on paper. I think I just wanted his blessing for the biggest purchase of our lives, even if this whole thing doesn't go through. I get a lot of my worry tendencies from my dad, and it felt nice to have someone of like mind, 30 years ahead in this game, tell me it was going to be OK. Maybe we'll have super tight months or there will be a huge leak in the floor or our new neighbor will be creepy or maybe this will be the house we slowly make ours and grow old in, but no matter how the story goes, it will all be OK. How come that is so easy to overlook? Today, I will believe it.

A sweet mom-to-be asked me for a few suggestions on freezer meals she could prepare in advance while waiting for her wee one to arrive. I realized that while clicking through our site, I don't have many options. A good handful of breakfast baked goods that could freeze well, but a limited amount of stone cold meals as I look back. I had a pretty good response to the lentil meatballs from years ago which also made it into the last cookbook, so I figured I'd try something similar to that. In the same way I make my veggie patties, I start with nearly a 1:1 ratio of cooked grains and legumes (in this case, brown rice and lentils) and then I build from there. Always garlic. Usually onion, either raw or cooked. I use egg to help bind here, but I'll often use cheese for binding power as well. I blitz in a ton of herbs, a cooked vegetable and bold spices and flavor to doctor them up. For this Asian nugget, I went with soy sauce, sesame seeds and chili sauce. Miso would be great in there too but I wanted to save that for the sauce. All veggie balls need a good sauce. A veggie ball is really only good with a sauce, if you ask me, but I think you could put them along with anything that sounds good to you. 

Asian Nuggets with Sauteed Greens & Tahini Sauce . Sprouted Kitchen
Asian Nuggets with Sauteed Greens & Tahini Sauce . Sprouted Kitchen

ASIAN NUGGETS WITH SAUTEED VEGGIES + TAHINI SAUCE // Serves 4-6

The Asian nuggets can be completely cooled and frozen in plastic bags until needed. I got about 26 nuggets. This just leaves you with needing to prepare veggies and sauce which could be whipped up in 15 minutes. 

As for substitutes, I think you may be able to replace the egg with flax meal and a little water but they may come out a little drier. To keep them gluten free, replace the panko with a coarse oat flour but note they will be more delicate to work with. If going the GF route, I would try to keep the egg in, if possible, to keep everything together. 

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 a yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons sambal oelek (chili paste)
  • 2 cups cooked and completely cooled brown rice
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked and cooled lentils (a few varieties will do though I'd avoid red and green, they get too soft)
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • pinch of salt
  • sesame seeds, for garnish
  •  / veggies /
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil, as needed
  • 3 green onions, roughly chopped
  • 5 ounces shitake mushrooms, halved or quartered if large
  • 1 head broccoli
  • splash of rice wine vinegar
  • pinch of sea salt
  • / tahini sauce /
  • 1 minced clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 teaspoons white or yellow miso
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • squeeze of fresh lemon juice or splash of rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • fresh ground pepper
Asian Nuggets with Sauteed Greens & Tahini Sauce . Sprouted Kitchen
Asian Nuggets with Sauteed Greens & Tahini Sauce . Sprouted Kitchen

Preheat the oven to 375'. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a food processor, combine the garlic, onion, eggs, sesame oil, tamari or soy sauce and chili paste and pulse a few times until the onion and garlic are well chopped. Add the rice, lentils, panko, cilantro, pinch of salt and pulse a few more times until just combined. You want to still distinguish nubs of rice, but it should look pasty enough that you could roll it in a ball. Let the mix sit for ten minutes. 

Roll the dough into 2'' balls and line them up on the baking sheet. Brush them with a thin coat of oil and sprinkle them with sesame seeds. Bake on the middle rack for 15-18 minutes until browned and dry on the outsides. 

For the veggies, in a large skillet, heat the sesame oil. Add the green onions, mushrooms and a pinch salt and saute for 4-5 minutes until just softened. Roughly chop the broccoli and add it to the pan along with a splash of rice vinegar and saute another 5-10 minutes until softened to your taste.

For the sauce, whisk all ingredients together until smooth and set aside. The sauce can be made up to three days in advance and kept covered in the fridge. 

Assemble your meal with a scoop of veggie, some asian nuggets and a generous drizzle of tahini sauce. 

* All photos in this post were shot with film

Asian Nuggets with Sauteed Greens & Tahini Sauce . Sprouted Kitchen
Asian Nuggets with Sauteed Greens & Tahini Sauce . Sprouted Kitchen
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Entrée, Spring, Summer, Fall, Gluten Free

MUSHROOM BURGERS WITH ASIAN SLAW

mushroom burgers with asian slaw . sprouted kitchen
mushroom burgers with asian slaw . sprouted kitchen

Caroline, 

I remember when I first got your email. It was the week after some negative comments had gotten the best of me, I mentioned it here and you'd written just to say hi. You appreciated my work; the food, yes, but also the way I wrote. I don't consider myself a "writer." I like writing, I can write letters, and I err on the side of vulnerability... you could classify me as a journaler, perhaps. Anyway, I keep coming back to your email because you remind me that I want to be relatable here. Even when vulnerability feels risky.

"I found your blog a year or two ago, and bookmarked it just for salad inspiration. But recently I've realized that your blog has become to me inspiration not just for salads and "bowl foods" and good food in general, but for good LIVING too. In the past 3 months, I've graduated college, gotten married, started a 9-to-5, and moved to a depressed inner-city. Our car has gotten broken into, we've started paying bills, we've learned that good communication in marriage is a full-time job, and, and, and, -- you know: real life happened. The better and the worse."

That's a lot to soak up in 3 months, lady. It wasn't the fluffy pep-you-up type of email, but the real-life-happened part of it that reminded me that we're all in a mess of things. I stop writing in fear of judgement but those aren't the people I'm writing to. We went to the beach late in the afternoon last weekend in search of a bit of perspective. I had let the prospect of a house purchase swallow me up and I needed out of my own head. I had gotten home from work in time for a late afternoon in the sun, and after a weeks-long-swell-drought there were finally some waves, so Hugh was eager to get in the water. He had been working at home all day and needed time in the waves with his buddies. I had been with people all day, so I needed to sit by myself and stare out into the ocean whose endlessness always puts things in perspective. The house was a massive decision, but not the most important we will ever make. And while it certainly comes into play, it is not the single point at which our future happiness and success will teeter upon. It is a house. Sitting there at the edge of the Pacific, so much that I had not thought about all week while I'd been wrestling with the "right decision" filled my heart.

My aunt who continues to fight cancer for the fourth time, sick and discouraged.

Friends with babies in their bellies and friends who desperately want babies in their bellies.

Health. Marriages. Lonliness. Divorce. Loss. All of it right in front of me or just a degree away.

I've re-read your email a dozen times now, Caroline. I keep the entirity of it in my personal email folder to remind me why I love this space and the awesome people I'd have never met if not for this website. Thank you for reminding me that there are people on the other side of this blog - some of whom are here for recipes or maybe the pretty photos, but most that are simply other people doing their best to craft a beautiful, meaningful life. 

I hope more better than worse for you, lovely.

Best,

me.

mushroom burgers with asian slaw . sprouted kitchen
mushroom burgers with asian slaw . sprouted kitchen
mushroom burgers with asian slaw . sprouted kitchen
mushroom burgers with asian slaw . sprouted kitchen

MUSHROOM BURGERS WITH ASIAN SLAW // Serves 4

For the slaw, I have this julienne peeler and think the quality is excellent. It is easiest to use when the vegetables are fresh and cold, the firmer the better for peeling purposes. A regular vegetable peeler works fine as well, your shreds will just be thicker. A great thing about marinating vegetables or tofu is that unlike meat, you can put them back into the marinade after cooking to soak up a bit more of the flavors. That said, chicken or fish, salmon maybe, could work here too if you're making food for a more omnivorous crowd.  

  • 4 large portobello mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce/tamari
  • 2 Tbsp. maple 
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil/ extra virgin olive oil
  • squeeze of lemon or lime
  • pinch of pepper
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 small english cucumber
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. tahini
  • 1 tsp. low sodium soy sauce/tamari
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 avocado
  • sriracha mayo*
  • 4 buns
mushroom burgers with asian slaw . sprouted kitchen
mushroom burgers with asian slaw . sprouted kitchen

Wipe the mushrooms clean and remove the tough stem. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium heat. In a shallow pan, mix together the soy sauce/tamari, maple, oil, splash of citrus and pepper. Add the mushrooms and rub the marinade into all of the surfaces. Let them sit for 5-10 minutes to soak it up. 

Using a julienne peeler or vegetable peeler, shave the carrots and cucumber into thin or thick shreds respectively. Put them in a large mixing bowl with the red onion. Make a quick dressing by whisking together the tahini, soy sauce/tamari, sesame oil and vinegar. Pour it over the vegetables and toss to coat. Add the chopped mint and cilantro and give it all one more toss. 

Grill the mushrooms for 5 minutes on each side or until they are soft throughout. Grill or warm the buns.

To assemble the burger, smash half of an avocado on the bottom of the bun, top with the grilled mushroom and a big scoop of the asian slaw. Spread a bit of sriracha mayo on the top side bun and enjoy. 

* For the sriracha mayo, I use 1 part homemade sriracha to 2 parts veganaise or mayonaise. Stir and spread. The bottled stuff works just fine but try the homemade stuff at some point, it's a treat and has no preservatives. 

mushroom burgers with asian slaw . sprouted kitchen
mushroom burgers with asian slaw . sprouted kitchen
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Appetizer, Entrée, Fall, Gluten Free, Spring, Summer

BAKED HERB + PISTACHIO FALAFEL

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We ate our last lunch of a quick trip to NYC at Carnegie Deli. There was a line outside, which I'm guessing is due to an Anthony Bourdain or Seinfield episode because I know there is better food in New York. My dad, as you'll gather from a few headnotes in our cookbook and snippets here, likes his food straight forward (although, I did bring raw chia date brownies for plane snacks and he LIKED them! Heavens to Betsy). A few days in New York for this man necessitates pretzels, pizza and a hot pastrami sandwich.

My dad was my date to the James Beard dinner in town - an event I attended hesitantly seeing this month is more travel heavy than average. Thanks to a few friends coaxing me, I knew I would regret it if I didn't make it happen - something I may get to experience once in a lifetime. We shopped around to find me a new dress, he found a bagel, I found a salad bar (and a dress!), we communicated mostly in sarcasm and jest, as my family does, and the day was really nice. That evening, I sat around a table of collegues from my publishing house, amid a room full of cookbook and journalism professionals. I was taking it in, but mostly just nervous, my legs shaking in high shoes I couldn't walk far in. I knew my odds were quite slim, but when you are the small fish in a big pond, the magnitude of the pond itself is enough to make your legs wobbly. Regardless of what is even happening in said pond, but you just swim anyway. Winners gave a little speech, think of a food version of the Acadamy Awards. It crossed my mind for a split second, what would I say if I did win? Every underdog has their chance, right? The people who build me up: My husband who had slipped a homemade card in my purse reminding me, albeit humorously, how proud he was, my mom checking in all day wanting the details, my sister responding to my dozens of picture texts helping me choose a dress, my dad who had made the trip across the country to go with me, and a complimentary and supportive publisher. I had encouraging notes and emails from long time friends and blog friends alike. You know the phrase moms say about raising children, "it takes a village"? I felt like I had my village cheering me on. You must listen to the village. Your own voice will question and doubt and make your legs wobbly, but your village has pom poms and megaphones and big red finger sponges telling you you're great. I am so thankful for my village.

A friend and I were emailing about cookbook business and she mentioned "the ubiquity of blogger cookbooks." While there is certainly a trend to it, I find that I garner a ton of wisdom and inspiration, both personally and food wise, from blogs. It is such a pleasure to see personal work all bound up in a pretty package. I am excited to be cooking out of the new book from Green Kitchen Stories, Vegetarian Everyday. It is every bit as wonderful as their site. Filled with super gorgeous vegetarian recipes, many vegan and gluten free. I am going to try their cauliflower pizza crust and dark danish rye bread next, and the homemade vegetable chorizo sounds so unique. I really like how light these falafel taste and feel in your tum as opposed to a breadcrumb-heavy, deep fried alternative. So glad I have leftovers.

I know you worked your buns off for this, David and Luise, and the book is absolutely lovely. Many congratulations to you! 

GKS_FALAFEL_02.jpg
GKS_FALAFEL_03.jpg

BAKED HERB + PISTACHIO FALAFEL // Makes about 20

Recipe barely adapted from Vegetarian Everyday by David Frenkiel & Luise Vindahl

David and Luise suggest a simple cashew nut dressing in their book which is a blend of soaked cashews, oil, lemon juice, and salt. I had some tahini sauce to use up, so I went that route instead. Just use half the amount of water called for. A fresh tzatziki would be refreshing here too. The original recipe uses 2 cups pistachios, I scaled it down a bit due to preference which is why mine yields a bit less than thiers. Your call. Don't be shy with the herbs, these falafels can take it. 

  • 12 sprigs of mint
  • 12 sprigs of parsley or cilantro
  • 1 cup shelled pistachio nuts
  • 2 cups chickpeas, cooked or canned
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 small yellow onion
  • 3 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 T. buckwheat flour (or another flour of choice)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • hearty pinch of salt 
  • / tomato chili salsa /
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes (I used baby tomatoes)
  • 1/2 a small red chile, seeded and finely chopped (one jalepeno works)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T. fresh chopped oregano
  • pinch of sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • collard leaves, cabbage or pita bread for serving
  • fresh herbs for garnish
GKS_FALAFEL_04.jpg
GKS_FALAFEL_05.jpg

Preheat the oven to 375'. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or oiled foil. 

Pulse the herbs in a food processor. Add the pistachio nuts and pulse again to chop. Add the chickpeas, garlic, onion, oil, cumin, flour and baking soda and blend for thirty seconds, scraping down sides when necessary. You want the mixture a bit rough. 

Using your hands, form 20 small round falafels. Place them on the parchment lined baking sheet. Bake them for about 15 minutes, flipping halfway through, until browned. 

Stir all tomato chili salsa ingredients together in another bowl. Allow ingredients to sit for flavors to blend. 

Make your wraps with the collard, cabbage or pita with a generous spread of the sauce and the tomato chili salsa. Falafels will keep for about a week covered in the fridge. 

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