Chickpea Salad Sandwiches

Chickpea salad with tomatoes and avocado
On Wednesdays there’s a small farmers’ market in our neighborhood. Right on my way home, it has become a regular stop after work. A couple of firsts of the season today, sweet corn and tomatoes. Although we’d been patiently waiting, I was a bit surprised to see both. The tomatoes were deeply red and quite large, which made me question how they could be local. The friendly vendor explained they certainly were, but greenhouse-grown; in soil, as opposed to hydroponically. She assured me they’d be just as flavorful as the ones grown outdoors we’d be seeing at the market next month. A sample proved she wasn’t exaggerating! Tomatoes bursting with that taste of late summer I wasn’t expecting in July.

My wheels were spinning and in my mind those tomatoes were sliced, salted & peppered, and topping off a splendid summer sandwich. How convenient that right in front of me was the Grateful Bread stand! Out of River Falls, Wisconsin (with no website I could find to link to), they make delicious breads with unique ingredient blends. Last time I bought a loaf that included spent grain from the beer brewing process at River Falls’ Rush River Brewing Company. Today it was a whole wheat that included quinoa, amaranth, millet, buckwheat, flax seed, oats, rye, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds. Fresh and soft, perfect for a sandwich.

Lately I’ve been putting lots of farmers’ market veggies to use in a chickpea salad. It’s sort of tuna salad’s hippie vegetarian cousin. Mashed chickpeas, onion, radishes, garlic scapes (when I can get them), fennel, hot peppers, cabbage, and celery seed. A versatile salad, you can use whatever you have on hand beyond the chickpeas. It’s all mixed together with salt, pepper and a little mayo (once again, I’ll mention the outstanding and vegan Earth Balance Mindful Mayo—so, so good!), but, if you’re mayo-averse, you could use Greek yogurt or a mixture of mashed avocado with a little lime juice in its place.
Chickpea salad on crusty roll

On a crusty roll or good quality bread with peppery arugula and sliced ripe tomatoes, this is a meal of a sandwich. Or for a gluten-free option, spoon some chickpea salad on top a bed of wild rice. Finish it off with avocado slices or maybe some micro greens. Enjoy!
Chickpea salad on wild rice

Chickpea Salad Sandwiches

1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans) or 1 can, rinsed and drained

½ cup chopped white or sweet onion

2-3 garlic scapes, chopped

3 radishes, diced

1-2 fennel stalks, chopped (or one celery stalk, chopped)

½ cup shredded green cabbage

1 tablespoon chopped hot pepper (jalapeño or hot cherry peppers work well)

¼ teaspoon celery seed

A couple tablespoons mayo, Greek yogurt, or mashed avocado sprinkled with fresh lime juice

Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Topping options: Arugula, lettuce, avocado, tomato, micro greens, sunflower seeds

Place chickpeas in a medium bowl and mash with a potato masher or fork. Add onion, scapes, radish, fennel, cabbage, hot pepper, and celery seed. Mix to combine. Stir in mayo. Season with salt and pepper and mix again.

Serve on crusty rolls, good quality bread, or a bed of wild rice. Makes about 4 servings.



Blueberry Peach Galette

Galette and gelato!
Living somewhere without the four distinct seasons would not be a happy place for me. I love them equally and enjoy the unique experiences, memories, sights, smells, and most of all, foods, that make each distinct.

The freshness that summer brings to our food here in Minnesota makes me practically giddy! This time of year, almost everything in my kitchen comes from the farmers market, picked just the day before. And each week the selection changes a little, with a few things rotating out as the new comes in. Not just vegetables; delightful breads, eggs, maple syrup and honey, too. And fruit! Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, rhubarb (yes, I know, technically not a fruit), and closer to fall, apples and pears.

Fruit makes its way into my cooking, in both sweet and savory dishes, much more often in the summer and fall. In recent years, much to my surprise, I’ve even started to prefer fruit-based desserts over ooey-gooey decadent chocolate ones (scandalizing my chocoholic mother!).

This dessert, utilizing seasonal fruit, is extremely versatile, and about as quick and easy as can be. Include just one fruit, or a combination of several; drizzle with a cinnamon-spiked glaze; serve with whipped cream (whipped coconut cream is my dairy-free fav!); or top with a scoop of good quality ice-cream or gelato. A very pretty dessert, this will elicit oohs and aahs from your dinner guests when they see it and once again when they eat it. I love telling people how simple this is to make! Enjoy!

Inspired by this recipe from Relishing It, one of my favorite food blogs, written by a fellow Minnesotan.

Blueberry Peach Galette

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

2 ½ cups fruit of choice, leave raspberries and blueberries whole, cut strawberries and rhubarb into bite-sized pieces, and slice apples, pears, or peaches

1/4 – 1/3 cup sugar (less if your fruit is super sweet, more if it’s on the tart side)

1 tablespoon arrowroot powder or cornstarch

¼ teaspoon cinnamon if you’re using a cinnamon-friendly fruit

A pinch of salt

1 egg, mixed with 1 teaspoon water (for egg wash)

A tablespoon of turbinado or demerara sugar, for sprinkling (add a little cinnamon too, if you’d like)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place puff pastry on a flour-dusted piece of parchment paper that will fit onto a large baking sheet. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll pastry into a 12”x14” rectangle.

In a medium bowl, mix fruit, sugar, arrowroot/cornstarch, cinnamon (if using), and salt. Pour fruit mixture into the center of pastry. Carefully fold edges of pastry over fruit mixture, leaving the center exposed and pressing edges together so fruit mixture doesn’t leak out as it bakes. Gently move the parchment paper onto a large baking sheet. Brush pastry with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling. Carefully move parchment and galette to a cooling rack and let cool completely. If you are going to glaze it, wait until it’s cool to do so. Cut into wedges and serve with topping of choice. Makes about 6 generous servings.

New Potato Salad with Arugula and Dijon Vinaigrette

New Potato Salad with Arugula
Certain things just have to be part of my 4
th of July weekend. Grilling, catching a fireworks show, a good long run or bike ride, time with friends/family, and potato salad. It’s just not 4th of July without potato salad.

Years ago, my potato salad was the mayo, egg, yellow mustard type. Nothing wrong with that, but my PS cravings now lean toward the vinaigrette kind, and since it’s healthier and vegan, I’m giving in to those cravings. Many variations have graced our Independence Day table, but this recipe, with the addition of peppery arugula and the kick of Dijon mustard, caught my eye this year. From Food52, I have deemed it the “Best Potato Salad EVER!” I hope you agree. Enjoy!
Bowl of Potato Salad

Potato Salad with Arugula and Dijon Vinaigrette

½ of a small red onion, roughly chopped

2 pounds small new potatoes, cut in half or quartered (you want them bite-sized)


1 tablespoon rice vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons finely chopped chives

3 cups arugula, stems removed, washed, dried, and roughly chopped

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

5 tablespoons good quality extra-virgin olive oil

Put the chopped red onion in a small bowl and cover with cold water (this will remove some of the bite). Put the potatoes in a large pot of generously salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat so the water is simmering and cook, covered, about 10 minutes, until the potatoes are just tender. Drain the potatoes well and place them in a large bowl.

Gently toss the warm potatoes with the rice vinegar, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Add the chives, arugula, and drained red onion and stir to combine.

Whisk together the red wine vinegar, mustard, and olive oil in a small bowl. Add salt & pepper to taste. Pour about half over potato mixture and toss to combine. Taste and add more dressing, if needed (I didn’t use all the dressing).

Serve warm or at room temperature. Bonus—leftovers taste great from the fridge the next day too! Makes about 8 servings.

Rhubarb Strawberry Streusel Bars

Rhubarb Strawberry Streusel Bars
Last Sunday morning was my first foray of the year to the farmers’ market. Weekends have been so busy—there hadn’t been time to venture to the charming downtown St. Paul market, but now that the local Sunday market is open on my grocery shopping loop, it will be part of my weekly routine through October. Oh, how I’ve missed it!

This early in the season the selection is limited, which is probably a good thing because I still ended up buying way too much for a household of only two. Needless to say, I’ve been spending lots of time in the kitchen this week—and have loved it! It started with herb-scallion eggs and veggie hash for Sunday’s breakfast, followed by broccoli soup, lettuce-based salads with every meal, potato salad, and finally, what to do with the rhubarb and strawberries? I used some of the rhubarb in a savory dish, roasted golden beets and rhubarb topped with toasted walnuts. While it was a very pretty dish, the unsweetened rhubarb still has a bit too much tang for my liking, even when taken with a bite of sweet beet. Probably not a combination I’d do again, but it did make an attractive photo!
Roasted Rhubarb & Golden Beets

In a moment of whimsy, I imagined my will power strong enough to turn the remaining rhubarb and fragrant strawberries into something sweet, but of course (in my whimsical world), I wouldn’t eat any. It would just be for Pete, who never gains an ounce. Snapping back to reality, I reasoned that if I made a healthy sweet treat, I could say, “Will power could be damned!”

The result is these sweet-tart, gooey, crunchy, good-for-you, and delicious Rhubarb Strawberry Streusel Bars. Adapted from Robin Asbell’s Big Vegan, fruit, nuts, coconut oil, and hemp milk combined with a few other ingredients for healthy treat with just a hint of decadence. Enjoy!
Streusel Bar Stack

Rhubarb Strawberry Streusel Bars

Canola or grapeseed oil (for greasing baking pan)

2 cups rolled oats

2 cups white whole wheat flour (up to half of that could be whole wheat pastry flour, if you’d like, or use all gluten-free flour)

1 cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup coconut oil, melted

¼ cup non-dairy milk, plus 3 tablespoons (I used hemp, but almond, soy, rice, etc. would work)

5 cups total, chopped rhubarb and strawberries

1 cup organic sugar (such as Florida Crystals), adding another ¼ cup if using only rhubarb

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup chopped, toasted walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and grease a 13x9x2 pan.

In large bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar, and salt. Mix in the melted coconut oil, then the ¼ cup non-dairy milk. Mix with your hands to make crumbly chunks.

Measure out 2 cups of the biggest chunks and set aside. Drizzle in another tablespoon of milk if the remaining mixture is too dry to make a dough that will hold together. Transfer the dough to the baking pan and press over the bottom to form a crust.

Combine the rhubarb, strawberries, and sugar in a large saucepan. Over high heat, stir until the mixture bubbles. Turn down heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, 5-10 minutes until the fruit is tender. Stir in the cinnamon.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons non-dairy milk with the arrowroot. Pour the arrowroot mixture into the fruit and cook, stirring, until mixture is thickened and glossy. Cool the mixture slightly and then pour it over the bottom crust. Sprinkle the reserved chunky crumbs over the fruit.

Bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle toasted walnuts on top, and bake for another 10 minutes or so until the fruit bubbles around the edges. Cool in pan on wire rack, then cut into bars. Makes about 24 bars.


Red Quinoa Mushroom Burgers

Red Quinoa Mushroom Burger
In my quest for a perfect meatless, but meaty, burger, I’ve tried many concoctions. After making this recipe twice in recent weeks, including for our Father’s Day barbeque, I can say it truly gives that grilled burger satisfaction I crave, and it can even be eaten on a bun without feeling you are on grain or carb overload. For those eating gluten-free, it’s that rare veggie burger you can actually relish (pun intended!).

The combination of quinoa and mushrooms, along with the binders of egg and cheese (sorry, my vegan friends), makes for the moistest, meatiest, burger I’ve had in years. Grilling somewhat chars the quinoa giving it that outer crispiness, with a flavor-filled interior that doesn’t dry out. Served with melted sharp cheddar on a grilled whole wheat bun and topped with traditional burger fixings, any hankering for a hearty, hot, two-fisted sandwich will be wonderfully sated. Enjoy!
Grilled burgers with cheeseReady to eat!

Red Quinoa Mushroom Burgers

Red quinoa makes for a more burger-looking burger, than its white counterpart, but if you can’t find red, white will still taste great. Inspired by this Eating Well recipe.

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

1 cup diced onion

1 1/2 cups finely chopped cremini (baby portabella) mushrooms

½ cup black beans (canned is fine), mashed

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced (include some or all the seeds for more heat)

1 teaspoon minced garlic

3/4 teaspoon dried marjoram

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

2 eggs

¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1/3 cup toasted almonds, finely chopped

1/3 cup rolled oats

1 tablespoon tamari (wheat-free soy sauce)

2 teaspoons vegetarian Worcestershire sauce (I use Annie’s Naturals)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Burger toppings of choice (cheese, onion, pickle, tomato, lettuce, ketchup, mustard, etc.) Whole wheat buns (or gluten-free buns), toasted on the grill before serving Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, black beans, jalapeno, garlic, marjoram and oregano; cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes.

Beat eggs in a large bowl. Add the quinoa, mushroom mixture, shredded cheddar, almonds, oats, tamari, and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper; stir to combine (it works best to use your hands for the final mixing).

Heat gas grill to medium-medium high heat (or get a charcoal grill fired up similarly). Form burger mixture into patties of desired size (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup is good). If using a pan with smaller grates designed for a grill, spray it with cooking spray and place the patties on it. Otherwise, make sure your grill grates are oiled and place patties directly on grates. Cover grill and cook burgers about 10 minutes. Test with a metal spatula to see if they will flip easily. These burgers will hold together really well if cooked long enough. If not, they will fall apart when you try to flip them. After flipping, cook another 7 minutes or so. If topping with cheese, do so, and cook another minute or two until cheese melts.

Serve  with or without buns; add burger toppings of your choice. Makes 8-10 burgers.


Red Curry and Coconut Milk Bread

We just returned from another fun and relaxing get-away to the cabin on Lake Superior. Despite fresh lake breezes and cool temperatures, the bugs were bad. Mosquitoes the size of dragon flies—I swear! And the dreaded biting flies were abundant too. As a result, our plans for several days of hiking were reworked when the buzzing and bites became unbearable.

On the bright side, there’s still plenty to do on Superior’s North Shore that doesn’t involve traipsing through the beautiful-but-buggy woods. We traversed miles and miles of logging roads in the closed-up comfort of the truck and scoped out future canoeing and picnic locations on inland lakes and rivers and were lucky enough to experience a moose-sighting along the way. A comfortable, mostly bug-free picnic spot on the big lake was found and we enjoyed a sun-soaked, albeit chilly, lunch. Wining and dining aplenty, both in Hovland (even caught some live music there!) and Grand Marais, and of course, we did a little shopping!

At Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply we were treated to a primer on stand-up paddle boards—what impressive craftsmanship (including inlaid bamboo panels!), and snagged some cute sunglasses. Anxious to check out a pet supply store I had read about, we were disappointed to find it closed. Peeking through the windows we spied a black wooden cut-out of the words “Kiss the Dog” that so now would be sitting on a side table in my living room had the store been open!

But the most-treasured souvenir of our trip was found at one of my favorite stores, Lake Superior Trading Post. After checking out the hiking supplies, maps and shoes, I always end up in the second floor book corner where they have a small, but ever-changing stock of unique cookbooks. This trip, I added to my collection with The Soup and Bread Cookbook by Beatrice Ojakangas. It contains over 100 pairings of soups and breads organized by season. Lavash, rolls, scones, focaccia, breadsticks, and loaves of all shapes and sizes—it’s a comfort food read straight from heaven, with a steaming or chilled bowl on the side.
The Soup & Bread CookbookBread dough

Intrigued by a bread containing both Thai red curry paste and coconut milk, I made this the first day back. Wow! It’s delicious and, be warned, difficult to stop with just one slice. To make it whole grain, I substituted whole wheat bread flour for almost half of the called for flour, and added a little vital wheat gluten, which I think made the texture even better. Ideal for dipping in soup, sopping up a good stew, or stuffed with sandwich fixings, this is a recipe I’ll be making often. Enjoy!
LoavesBread & Soup

Red Curry and Coconut Milk Bread

1 package (1/4 ounce) or 1 scant tablespoon active dry yeast

1 ¼ cups warm water (105-115 degrees F.)

1 tablespoon sugar

2/3 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk, well stirred

4 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (I used Thai Kitchen brand)

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 ½ cup unbleached bread flour, plus up to 1 cup additional

1 ½ cup whole wheat bread flour

1/8 cup vital wheat gluten

Place the warm water in a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it. Stir in the sugar and let stand 5-10 minutes, until foamy. Add the coconut milk, curry paste and salt and mix to combine.

Mix 1 ½ cup of the unbleached bread flour, 1 ½ cup of the whole wheat bread flour, and vital wheat gluten in a medium bowl until well combined. Add the flour, ½ cup at a time, to the coconut milk mixture, mixing well after each addition. Add up to an additional cup of unbleached bread flour, a little at a time, until you have a stiff dough. Cover bowl and let dough rest for 15 minutes.

Turn dough out onto flour-dusted counter and knead for 5-10 minutes until you have a smooth, satiny dough. Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough in it, turning the dough over to make sure both top and bottom are oiled. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and place in a warm, draft-free spot to rise until doubled in size, about an hour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled baking sheet. Divide dough in half and shape each half into a narrow 12 inch long loaf. Cover loaves with the damp tea towel and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. With a sharp knife or razor blade, slash tops of the loaves 4 or 5 times on the diagonal. Using a spray bottle, spritz loaves with water and place in preheated oven. Spritz oven walls with water. Bake until loaves are golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Makes two loaves.

Almond Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze

Plated scone
Sometime last year I came across a recipe using almond paste. I can’t for the life of me remember what that recipe was, but I ended up not making it for some reason even though I had to go to several stores before finally finding the paste. At two different stores, the clerk insisted I must mean marzipan. Having already done some almond paste googling, I knew the two were very different and that marzipan had much more sugar and much less almond than almond paste and the two definitely weren’t interchangeable.
Almond paste

The unused almond paste has been sitting mostly forgotten in the cupboard next to the stove ever since. Recently I took a look at it and saw the expiration date was fast approaching. Time to find a recipe! Turns out the Danish maker of the almond paste, Odense, has a great website with tons of recipes. Cookie, bar, cake, pie, bread, muffin, and scone recipes that all made my mouth water. With a trip to the cabin coming up soon, I decided on scones. Because scones freeze so well, they’d be the perfect make-ahead sweet treat to have with our hearty cabin breakfasts.

This recipe makes a lot! I ended up with 25. It could easily be halved, but you could also freeze them unbaked, and just thaw a few at a time to have fresh-baked scones on a whim. To glaze or not is your choice. With only a half a cup of sugar, this is not a super sweet scone without the glaze. But the glaze adds a fresh burst of lemony sweetness, complimenting the blueberry and almond flavors so incredibly well, it was a no-brainer for me to go with the glaze! I pretty much followed the recipe as written, but did swap out 1 1/3 cups of the all-purpose flour with white whole wheat flour (and I think whole wheat pastry flour would have worked well, too) to make them a bit healthier. Enjoy!

Almond Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze

One 7 ounce box almond paste, grated on the large holes of a box grater

2 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/3 cups white whole wheat flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)

1/2 cup sugar

1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

1 egg

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, stemmed, rinsed and drained.

Lemon Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

Add grated almond paste, flours, sugar, butter, lemon rind, baking powder, baking soda and salt to a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until the texture of small crumbs. Note: This step can be done with a pastry blender.

Whisk buttermilk and egg in a large bowl. Add flour mixture and blueberries. Mix with spoon until dough comes together.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Knead one or two turns until dough is firm enough to roll out, but still delicate. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out to about 1/2-3/4 inch thickness.

Cut scones with 2 ½ inch round cookie cutter and place on cookie sheets. Gather together remaining dough and roll out again. Repeat until all dough is used. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until firm to the touch and light golden. Cool on wire rack. Makes about two dozen scones.

While scones are cooling, prepare glaze by mixing until smooth, powdered sugar, lemon juice, melted butter and lemon rind. Pour over slightly warm scones and serve.