I think there are 2 types of people in this world – those who love tuna salad and those who hate it. I’ve loved it since I was a little kid, my mom made it all the time, so I definitely fall into the first category. But I’m hoping to bridge the “hater” gap with these chickpea salad lettuce wraps. If you’re not into fishy things, no worries, these are completely vegan. If you are into fishy things, I think you’ll love these just the same – mashed chickpeas combined with salty, briny flavors (i.e. good dijon mustard, capers, and cornichons) combined with crunchy celery and scallions, recreates that tuna-salad-like taste to me.
You could definitely make a great sandwich or mock-tuna melt out of this chickpea mixture, but since it’s spring and we’re trying to eat lighter and brighter I made lettuce wraps.
To balance the bright and briny flavors of the chickpea salad, I made this creamy avocado dill dip using Almond Breeze Almondmilk to whip it all together.
This is a great lunch, especially if you make the components in advance – the sauce should last 2 to 3 days, the chickpea salad will last the week. These will also make a lovely Easter brunch appetizer for the same make-ahead reasons. Plus – how pretty and springy?
The recipe below will make about 12 lettuce wraps with a little extra avocado dip. If you’re looking to use up the rest of the dip, I suggest you break out a bag of tortilla chips! Or, at the very least, slather it on a veggie sandwich the next day (#notasaddesklunch) it’s so luscious and delicious – I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
Someone recently asked me – when do you use tempeh? I responded with, “when I’m tired of tofu and chickpeas… that’s when it’s tempeh time :)” To be honest, no one really knocks down my door begging for more tempeh recipes, but since that interview, I’ve had tempeh on the brain. Its texture is so wonderfully meat-like but it only tastes as good as what’s around it. Time to marinade!
The marinade I created is a smoky mixture that includes tamari, maple syrup, ground cumin, and smoked paprika. When you first mix this together, the flavor is going to be very (very) salty and pungent, but since plain tempeh starts out with literally ZERO flavor, it’ll all balance out in the end. I bake the tempeh with most of the marinade, while reserving the excess to pour onto the strips post-bake for extra flavor. Since we’re not dealing with raw meat, it’s ok to reuse your marinade like this.
Speaking of things that aren’t bland, we’re partnering with eureka!® Organic Bread on this post. (You might remember this springy edamame sandwich from last year!). Their bread is seriously tasty. It’s vegan, non GMO, and full of good-for-you grains and seeds. Most importantly, it’s soft, chewy and delicious. Whenever I used to bring home other “healthy” breads, Jack would always give me a sideways glance because so many of them often taste like cardboard. But we both really love the taste and texture of eureka! Organic’s Breads – their Top Seed® and their Sweet Baby Grains® (pictured in this post), are our favorites.
Instead of mayo, I slathered this sandwich with 2 flavorful spreads. The first is a lemony garlic white bean spread. The second is a sun dried tomato spread that I made by blending half of the original white bean spread with a few sun dried tomatoes.
I stacked my sandwiches with peppery watercress, crisp cucumber slices, and ripe avocado slices. You can see that there are some carrots up there in my prep photos but once I started building my sandwich since I got a little carried away with avocado slices and they didn’t fit. Obviously, feel free to build your sandwiches however you like!
It’s April which means – time for carrot desserts! Or, well, in this case, carrot snacks. These lightly sweetened carrot bites are great for 3pm snacktime or an on-the-go breakfast. They’re more carroty than cakey – and by that I mean that they’re not cake-like at all and there’s no baking required (if you’re really craving cake click here). They’re chewy little balls made from a mix of carrots, sunflower seeds, dates, coconut, and cinnamon.
By popular request, I made these nut free (as long as coconut is ok) – I was very tempted to try an almond version, but I held back because sunflower seeds hold these together quite nicely. For an almond-carrot recipe, remember these cookies?
These are super simple to put together. Just pulse all of the ingredients in the food processor and roll into balls. If you like, you can roll them into some shredded coconut – they’re delicious with or without the extra coconut. Pop them in the fridge for a convenient snack all week!
There’s a macrobiotic restaurant in town called Casa de Luz that I love to go to when I’m in need a bit of a recharge… especially, the kind of recharge where I don’t feel like cooking anything myself. When you walk in, there’s an Ayurvedic proverb painted above the door that says “When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” I love this.
It’s actually feels less like a restaurant and more like a yoga retreat or commune. There’s no menu, just one meal served – it rotates daily but will always contain a grain, a legume, blanched greens, steamed vegetables, a pickled vegetable, and a delicious sauce. It may sound limiting, but I’ve honestly had some of the best sauce and vegetable pairings of my life here, so I used this basic template to build my own bowl.
For my at-home “casa bowl,” I included this delicious turmeric tahini sauce that I’ve been putting on everything. It’s my favorite type of creamy sauce in that it doesn’t require a blender so you can stir it together in no time – just be careful not to spill that turmeric on your countertops!
I steamed carrots, broccoli and kale – I think there’s so much glory these days in roasting vegetables that we sometimes forget how good nicely steamed vegetables can be. I like to steam mine until they’re just tender and far from mushy.
Usually, I would reach for chickpeas or black beans, but I went out of my comfort zone and gave mung beans a try. The nice thing about them is that they cook quickly. They have a bit of a funny taste (if you’ve never tried them before) but within this bowl they’re perfection. You could always sub in lentils or chickpeas if you like.
And that’s where the effort stopped – I took a few shortcuts by using frozen brown rice from Whole Foods and store bought (Bubbies) sauerkraut as my pickled vegetables.
These components all keep nicely in the fridge if you want to save the leftovers for lunch during the week.
A few years ago, I posted Seared Tofu Banh Mi sandwiches on the blog and to this day they are one of our most popular recipes. I love a good Banh Mi, so I’m not at all surprised. This recipe is a version of that – sans the bread. Not that I feel there’s anything wrong with a good toasty baguette here and there, but in an effort to lighten things up I present spring rolls. Or should they be called summer rolls? Either way, let’s get on with our banh-mi-like filling.
There are a few steps involved in this recipe, but up until the rolling, everything can be made in advance. The recipe starts by making banh mi pickles. After you make them, they can be stored in the fridge for at least a month, so you’ll be prepared next time a banh mi craving hits.
Next, marinate the tofu in a garlic-tamari-lime-lemongrass mixture. This post is the last in the series of our partnership with method (see post’s 1, 2, and 3). The inspiration behind this post came when method asked me to come up with a lemongrass recipe inspired by their lemongrass scented kitchen wash. I think this is my favorite of them all because I just love lemongrass. Love & Lemongrass will be our next blog’s name.
Here’s a step by step of how I tuck and roll!