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The Most Authentic Hummus Recipe You Will Ever Find (Vegan)
Growing up in a Palestinian-American family, hummus was such a staple. My mother used to make sure plenty of tahini and chickpeas were readily available in the kitchen for when it was time to whip up a fresh batch for visiting family and friends. I ate hummus while I watched Saturday morning cartoons. I ate hummus at birthday parties, graduation parties, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter Sunday. I ate hummus in sandwiches or as a dip with carrot sticks and cucumbers. It was even a great alternative for onion dip when I needed something to dip my pretzels in. I recently 're-stumbled' across a book one of my cousins typed up from scribbled down Palestinian-style recipes passed around in my family for several generations. I figured there were probably tons of fellow hummus lovers on Vingle, so I've decided this would be a good opportunity to share the family recipe with others! --------------------------------------------------------- Chick Pea Dip (Hummus bi Tahineh) 1 lb. can of chick peas 1/3 cup tahineh Juice of 1 or 2 lemons 1 clove garlic Salt to taste 3 tbsp. olive oil A pinch of sumac (Note: Sumac is a dark-colored spice used in a lot of Arabic cooking. It's optional in this recipe, but if you're wanting to find some for yourself, I'd suggest looking in the ethnic ingredients section of your supermarket.) Boil chick peas in juice for 5 minutes on medium heat. Drain. Place chick peas, Tahineh, lemon juice, garlic, and salt in blender. Blend for 15 seconds to make an almost smooth, thick paste. Place Hummus in a plate and garnish with parsley, radishes, red pepper, and pickles. Cover dish with olive oil and sprinkle sumac. Or brown 3 tbsp. pine nuts in 2 tbsp. butter, and pour over Hummus instead of olive oil. --------------------------------------------------------- You can customize the garnish to your own personal tastes. I usually like to use olive oil, sumac, fresh chopped mint, whole chickpeas, and/or whole kalamata olives. The recipe is really easy and really inexpensive to make. (I'd suggest trying some in a fresh falafel sandwich!)
How to Make Apricot Fruit Leather Roll-Ups (Vegan)
Apricot fruit leather - called 'lavashak' throughout the Middle East - is a favorite snack of children of the region similar to the appeal of Fruit Roll-Ups here in the United States. They're chewy, sweet, and made with virtually 100% fruit, making them a much healthier alternative to most other snacks out there. Growing up, my mother used to buy lavashak in huge packages at the Arabic market. But this was far before Internet recipes, the trend of dehydrating fruit, and the 21st century DIY ambition. (I'm dating myself a little, but I digress.) Basically, what I'm trying to say is making your own lavashak at home is so easy and probably much easier than my family had realized. And not only does this recipe work great with the traditional choice of apricots, but pretty much all stone fruits, including peaches, cherries, and plums! ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Apricot Fruit Leather (Lavashak) 1 teaspoon lemon juice 2 cups pitted and diced fresh apricots 1/2 cup sugar (or to taste, depending on the sweetness of the apricots) 1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees F (165 degrees C), or the lowest setting you have. 2. Combine the lemon juice, apricots and sugar in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugar has dissolved. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. 3. Cover an 11x17 inch pan or cookie sheet with a layer of plastic wrap. Pour the pureed fruit onto the plastic and spread evenly to within 1 inch of the edge. 4. Bake for 4 to 6 hours in the preheated oven, using a spoon or a pair of tongs to keep the door slightly ajar, or until the puree has dried and is no longer sticky. Once dry, you can cut it into strips and store in an airtight container.
How To Build An Authentic Falafel Sandwich (Vegan)
Visiting the Getty Museum is probably my most favorite reasons to drive out to Los Angeles with my friends. It's like Disneyland for art nerds, where every large building houses an immeasurable amount of visual history and work by many of the famed masters. However, all Rembrandts aside, the Getty Museum is also really close to a Zankou Chicken, a Lebanese 'fast food' restaurant that serves up bang-for-your-buck hot shwarma and falafel sandwiches. It's become a tradition of mine to stop off at Zankou after a full day of art-viewing to get tasty sandwich with my friends. So good! One of the things that makes Zankou my favorite is how they build their sandwiches - much more traditionally than most other places that serve falafel. (And while things like the 'falafel burger' might be fun every once in a while, sometimes you just want to eat something that tastes like your Mom made it, you know?) So, inspired by Zankou Chicken's falafel sandwichy goodness, I've decided I wanted to give you all a recipe showing how to make some delicious (and not dry!) traditional falafel sandwiches. Try it the next time you want to get a little more 'international' with your lunch! ------------------------------------------------------------------ Falafel Sandwiches (serves 4) 4 cups chickpeas, dried 2 large onions 1 whole head of garlic 2 bunches parsley Hot banana peppers to suit your taste Pickled turnips to suit your taste 1/2 a medium-sized cucumber, sliced 1/2 a tomato, sliced 2 tsp. cumin powder Salt and pepper to taste 1 tsp. baking powder 1/4 tsp. baking soda 2 - 3 loaves of pita bread 1 cup tahini paste 1/4 cup lemon juice 1/2 - 3/4 cup water, as needed 1/2 - 3/4 tsp. salt To Make Tahini Sauce: 1. Combine tahini, lemon juice, and two cloves of minced garlic in a bowl and stir to combine. 2. Add the water a little at a time as needed to form a smooth, creamy sauce approximately the thickness of heavy cream. 3. Season to taste with salt and more lemon juice, if necessary. To Make Falafel: 1. Soak the chickpeas overnight. Drain. 2. Combine beans, onions, garlic, parsley, and hot pepper in a food processor. Add salt, pepper, cumin, and baking powder. Mix thoroughly. 3. When ready to fry the Falafel, add baking soda. Shape into patties in 1 1/2" in diameter and 1/2" thick. (Small 'meatball' sizes are okay too!) Fry in deep hot oil until light brown and crisp. 4. Serve hot with tomato slices, cucumber slices, banana peppers, onion slices, and/or pickled turnip in pita bread in the form of a sandwich. Add the tahini sauce. ------------------------------------------------------------------ If you don't have four people to share this with, no worries! The falafel batter can be easily frozen and stored for the next time you want to make yourself a falafel sandwich. Just remember to thaw and add the baking soda just before frying.
Falafel Burgers with Tahini Sauce, an American Favorite with a Mid-East Twist!
One of my favorite local restaurants is called The Roxy in the small beach community of Leucadia. A staple stop on the historic Pacific Coast Highway, the Roxy serves anything from American to Italian to Greek to Mexican - even freshly made ice cream! But they are probably most famous for their fresh falafel balls, which they prepare is an assortment of ways. You can get falafel as an appetizer, in a pita, or on a salad, but their falafel burgers are what hits The Roxy's menu out of the park! Here is a recipe inspired by the Roxy's falafel burgers. Fresh falafel is not only incredibly delicious, but also extremely good for you! Make these burgers the next time you want to put a little fusion in your standard burger spread. You won't regret it! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Falafel Burgers with Tahini Sauce 2 cans of chickpeas 1 cup of onion 3-4 garlic cloves 2 tablespoons lemon 4 teaspoons olive oil 1 tsp. salt 1 tsp. black pepper 1 tsp. ground coriander 1 tsp. ground cumin 1 tsp. all-spice 1 cup of breadcrumbs, divided For the Tahini Paste 1/4 cup ground sesame paste (tahini) 1/4 cup hot water 3 tablespoons of lemon juice 2 cloves of garlic salt to taste For the falafel burgers: 1. Chop onions and garlic and throw them into a mixing device with lemon juice, olive oil, chickpeas, and seasonings. 2. Pour mixture into a large bowl with 1/2 of the breadcrumbs and mix until firm. 3. Form patties and then dip into leftover breadcrumbs on both sides. 4. Heat a skillet with some olive oil and cook on 2-4 minutes on each side, or until falafel burger is golden brown. 5. Serve with buns and toppings of your choice. For the Tahini paste: 1, Add ingredients for tahini paste into a blender and blend until creamy. 2. Serve with your falafel burger.
Traditional Lebanese Spinach Pies (Vegan)
I was a weird little girl. I wanted to be 'Macho Man' Randy Savage when I grew up, had an imaginary friend named Ruth, and I could never eat enough spinach. Spinach was my favorite food! My mother would keep our refrigerator stocked up with boxes upon boxes of frozen spinach for when my fussy little kid palette turned down peas, brussels sprouts, and broccoli. ("The president and I don't eat broccoli," I once told my parents when they pleaded with me at the table. It's true! President Bush Sr. hates broccoli. Google it.) Perhaps my love for spinach stems from these freshly baked spinach pies, a common indulgence my mother would come home with after spending the day in the Middle Eastern market district where we lived. These spinach pies, much like any of the bread items at Fattal's Bakery (our preferred pita bread spot), were moist, chewy, fluffy, and perfect even if you had to reheat them later. If you're a fan of spankopita (Greek spinach pie) and want to try something new with the leafy green, try out this recipe and you'll have a beautiful spread of Middle Eastern comfort food at your disposal. So tasty (and vegan)! -------------------------------------------------------- Lebanese Spinach Pies (Fatayer) For the Dough: 5 lbs. all-purpose flour 3 envelopes dry yeast 5 cups lukewarm water (approximately) 2 tbsp. salt 1/2 tsp. sugar 1. Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water. Sprinkle with sugar. Cover and let rise. 2. In a large pan, mix flour and salt. Add the yeast mixture. Gradually add the lukewarm water, mixing and kneading until dough is smooth. (This dough has to be firm enough to roll with a rolling pin.) Cover with a blanket and put in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours, or until the dough rises. 3. Cut dough into sections the size of an orange. Form into balls by tucking the dough underneath to make them round and smooth. Let rest for 30 minutes between blankets. To make Spinach Stuffing: 2 lbs. spinach 2 large onions, chopped Juice of 2 lemons 3/4 cup oil 1/2 tsp. sumac Salt and pepper to taste 1. Wash spinach. Chop. Sprinkle with salt. Let stand for 15 minutes, then squeeze out the excess moisture. 2. Mix with all the ingredients and set aside. 3. Pinch off 2 1/2" balls of dough and roll out to 4" circles. 4. Put a heaping tablespoon of filling on each circle. 5. Fold up from the bottom to the middle and bring in sides to center to form triangle. Press down seams firmly and pinch ends together. 6. Grease pan. Place pies on pan and brush tops with olive oil. 7. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven until pies are golden brown.
Walnut Baklawah Rolls (Arabic Baklava)
Baklawah is one of those Middle Eastern recipes that is truly a labor of love. It takes a couple hours to prepare, so it is often reserved for special occasions. Baklawah is best paired with some Arabic style coffee with just the right amount of cardamom. Impress your friends by bringing freshly baked Baklawah rolls to your next get-together! ------------------------------------------------------- Baklawah Sticks To Make Attar (Syrup): 2 cups sugar 1 cup water 1 tbsp. lemon juice 1 tsp. orange blossom water (Mazaher), optional 1. Mix sugar and water and bring to boil. 2. Add lemon juice and boil for 7 more minutes. 3. When cool, add orange blossom water (optional). Makes 2 cups of Attar. To Make Baklawah: 1 lb. Filo Dough 3 cups walnuts, chopped 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 1/4 tsp. nutmeg 1 cup rendered (clarified) butter 1 1/2 cups Attar 1. Mix nuts, sugar, and spices. 2. Cut rolled Filo Dough int 3 parts. 3. Place 3 sheets lengthwise on the table and brush butter between layers. Place 2 tbsp. nut mixture on the narrow side of sheets, folding 1/2" from each side and roll. 4. Repeat the process with the rest of the dough, placing the sticks in a greased pan. 5. Brush with butter. Bake from 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until golden brown, in an oven preheated to 275 degrees. 6. Cool for ten minutes and pour Attar. ------------------------------------------------------- Cheese Variation: Use 1 1/2 lbs. of Syrian sweet cheese or Ricotta in place of nuts and spices. Follow the same procedure, and pinch rolls with a fork before baking. If desired, add 1 tsp. of orange blossom water and 2 tbsp. of sugar to cheese.
Healthy Fattoush To Save Your Fat Toosh (Vegan)
Alright, that was corny, but it's always been completely impossible to say 'fattoush' without making that joke. What IS fattoush, you ask? It's the coarsely chopped Middle-Eastern answer to a Greek salad, as the two use a fairly similar dressing and are wonderfully light alternatives to whatever that creamy ranch and bacon bits disaster you've been calling a 'lunch salad' is. What sets it apart from Greek salad, however, is what gives fattoush its edge. Broken pieces of well-toasted pita bread soak up all of that delicious flavor and give the salad a nice crunchy crouton-esque ingredient. Once you've made this once or twice, it will probably be one of the easiest dishes to freestyle when you've got a whole bunch of fresh vegetables and no bottled dressing around. ------------------------------------------------------------- Fattoush (Salad with Bread Crumbs) 2 loaves pita bread 1/2 head of Romaine lettuce 1 bunch parsley, chopped 1 bunch green onions, chopped 1 cucumber, peeled and cut in small pieces 4 tomatoes, cut in small wedges 1 green pepper, chopped 1 clove garlic, crushed Juice of 2 lemons 1/2 cup olive oil 2 tbsp. chopped mint (or 1 tbsp. dried mint) Salt and pepper to taste Toast bread. Break into small pieces and set aside. Add chopped vegetables and toss until well mixed. Add lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and oil. Toss bread with the above ingredients and mix well. Serve immediately before bread gets lumpy. ------------------------------------------------------------- Feel free to add your own ingredients! Fresh chickpeas, red onion, crumbled feta, kalamata olives, or a sprinkle of sumac seasoning are all really popular additions.
A Baba Ghannouj Recipe That Isn't Baba Ghannasty (Vegan)
Baba Ghannouj (also spelled 'gannoush' or 'ghanouj') is a tahini-based dip similar to hummus, swapping out creamy chickpeas for the smoky flavor of roasted eggplant. I'm a bit of a baba ghannouj snob, as ratio is really important in a dip like this. Too much tahini makes the consistency runny, while too much eggplant gives it a really seedy texture. ('Baba ghannasty' is actually what I used to call really seedy baba ghannouj growing up. No kid likes a lot of mushy eggplant!) Here is a traditional recipe for baba ghannouj. Pair it with some lightly toasted loaves of pita bread or sliced veggies for a healthy snack that's full of flavor! --------------------------------------------------------- Eggplant Dip (Baba Ghannouj) 1 large eggplant 1/2 cup tahineh 2 tbsp. olive oil 1 clove of garlic, minced Juice of 1 lemon Salt to taste Cut 1" slits in eggplant to prevent from splattering while baking. Bake eggplant at 500 degrees until tender (or boil in water 10 to 15 minutes). Split eggplant open and scoop the inside pulp together with the juice. Mix Tahineh, lemon juice, garlic, and salt to make Tahineh sauce. Add water, in needed, to make a thick sauce. Add mashed eggplant to Tahineh sauce. Place in salad bowl and pour oil on top. Garnish with parsley and tomato slices, if desired. --------------------------------------------------------- I hope you all enjoy making this at home! Try creating your own variations, or swapping out the eggplant with zucchini or acorn squash for a whole new flavor!