Spiced and Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Sandwiches

Wrap your hands around hearty and healthy Spiced and Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Sandwiches for a flavorful and easy-to-make meal, perfect on a Meatless Monday.

Delight in these filling and flavorful Spiced and Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Sandwiches #MeatlessMonday #vegan

I don’t know what it is lately, but I’ve been super busy. That’s a good thing, but I think I might have a case of Spring Fever, making it hard for me to concentrate on work. The weather here in Phoenix is pretty much perfect, and I want to be outside having fun before it turns into Nature’s Oven.

In order to spend as much free time as possible outside, I’ve been making meals that take little time to toss together. Spiced and Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Sandwiches is a quickie meal that’s big on flavor.

Meal-making made easy and healthy: Spiced and Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Sandwiches #MeatlessMonday #vegan

Thanks to the creamy avocado, you don’t need cheese for these sandwiches, which also makes them a great vegan meal option (great for Meatless Monday, too). I really love the lemony flavor you’ll find in Spiced and Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Sandwiches. Not only does the lemon add brightness to these sandwiches, but it helps keep the avocado mixture from turning brown.

Fine-tune the other ingredients to your liking. Personally, I’m mad for garlic chili sauce and love how it pairs with the lemon, and I’m also pretty keen on the slight bite the purple onion adds. Top off Spiced and Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Sandwiches with a touch of tiny greens (I used radish sprouts) and serve with your favorite bread.

These sandwiches are filling, healthy, and easy to make. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some fabulous weather to enjoy!

If you love chickpeas and avocados (and sandwiches) try one of these favorites:

Chickpea Salad Sandwiches
Avocado Egg Salad 

Spiced and Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Sandwich Spread
Makes 4 sandwiches

 

Vegan Chocolate-Almond Mousse with Coconut Whipped Topping

You'll fall for this decadent Vegan Chocolate-Almond Mousse with Coconut Whipped Topping

Vegan Chocolate-Almond Mousse with Coconut Whipped Topping is a rich dessert that will be loved by anyone who is a chocolate fan. There is no stove top involved in making this decadent dessert – but you will need the microwave for about 15 seconds.

Try a decadent dessert: Vegan Chocolate-Almond Mousse with Coconut Whipped Topping

Vegan Chocolate-Almond Mousse with Coconut Whipped Topping is a dessert you want to get your hands on. I know it’s close to Valentine’s Day, so if you must, use that as an excuse to make this mousse. This recipe is so easy to make (I am not exaggerating in the tiniest bit), you’ll have plenty of time to make your sweetie a card, too. If you’re looking for a vegan dessert that doesn’t include chocolate, you might like my recipe for Vegan Strawberry Shortcake with Whipped Cream.

Dig into a bowl of Vegan Chocolate-Almond Mousse with Coconut Whipped Topping

Growing up, whenever the family would visit my grandparents who lived about an hour away (an hour in the car seemed like an eternity when I was little!), my grandpa always handed out Hershey’s Milk Chocolate with Almonds candy bars. I loved those candy bars, and to this day, they still remind me of him.

This Vegan Chocolate-Almond Mousse with Coconut Whipped Topping brings back memories of those candy bars, with its smooth, rich chocolate combined with the flavor of almonds. This mousse is indulgent and a little goes a long way, even for a chocoholic like me!

Enjoy this rich, chocolaty dessert: Vegan Chocolate-Almond Mousse with Coconut Whipped Topping

I made the whipped topping (another super-simple part of this recipe) with coconut milk from the can and confectioners’ sugar. Look for sugar that is organic, which may also be labeled as vegan. Regular confectioners’ sugar may use bone char during processing, and that is not a vegan option.

Keep in mind that to make the topping, you must use the full-fat version of coconut milk, and you must refrigerate it in the can overnight. This will cause the milk to separate and form a solid layer that hovers at the top of the can. You’ll scoop out the solid and use it for the whipped topping.

You’ll be amazed by how easy it is to make Vegan Chocolate-Almond Mousse with Coconut Whipped Topping, and by how delicious it is. No exaggeration.

Recipe for Vegan Chocolate-Almond Mousse with Coconut Whipped Topping
Serves 4

Roasted Garlic and Red Lentil Soup

A bowl of Roasted Garlic and Red Lentil Soup: Vegan and Gluetn Free

No matter how cold it is where you are, a bowl of creamy Roasted Garlic and Red Lentil Soup would make a hearty addition to a winter meal. This soup is vegan and gluten free (although when I served it, I garnished it with crisped prosciutto), not to mention easy to make. Serve it with a salad and rustic bread for a light, warming meal.

Roasted Garlic and Red Lentil Soup: A tasty, gluten-free and vegan soup

I hurried my husband out the door recently so we could check out the snowfall (dusting) here in the Phoenix area. It doesn’t happen often, so it’s exciting, but no way do I want it around for the entire winter. Today, the temps are in the 70s and that’s just fine with me. The high temps won’t last, and it really does get pretty cold here (we’re talking 30s at night, people!).

But winter is winter, and January is National Soup Month — what better time than now to make this recipe for Roasted Garlic and Red Lentil Soup?

A single bowl of Roasted Garlic and Red Lentil Soup - a gluten-free and veagn option

My love of garlic is strong, so imagine my delight with the aroma that filled the kitchen as I roasted the garlic for this soup. Plus, there’s nothing special to add to make this soup creamy — it does all the work for you. This is a super-simple soup to make, and it’s amazing how flavorful this dish is, considering a relatively short list of ingredients.

This soup is a vegan and gluten-free recipe. I chose to add crisped prosciutto as garnish, but there are so many options, like sour cream, cashew cream, green onions, or simply a sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves.

The Octa Spider Monkey

If you’re one to use your tablet in the kitchen (think following along with online recipes), I think you’ll like the Spider Monkey from Octa. The Spider Monkey is an adaptable stand for tablets.

Use the Spider Monkey from Octa in the kitchen

It’s simple in execution, and so handy. A flexible steel skeleton serves as the base of the holder, which you can configure in so many ways. It was easy to position it to sit on my kitchen counter. I added my tablet (in its case, even) and could easily check out a few things online that I needed help with as I worked my way through this recipe. It’s not just for the kitchen, but that’s one of my favorite spots for the Spider Monkey.

Whether it’s bitter cold, snowing, or the sun is shining where you are this winter, nothing beats a warm and flavorful soup. Roasted Garlic and Red Lentil Soup is creamy and easy to make. It’s easy to double the recipe to make sure you have leftovers, or if you need to feed a few extra diners.

I was not compensated by Octa for this post, but I was provided with a Spider Monkey to try. The opinions here are my own.

Roasted Garlic and Red Lentil Soup
Serves 4

Top 10 Grab a Plate Recipes of 2014

Popular recipes from Grab a Plate for 2014

I know these tasty dishes will stand the test of time. If you didn’t get a chance to make these dishes in 2014, give them a try in 2015! These are the Top 10 Grab a Plate Recipes of 2014:

1. Meatballs are somewhat of a specialty in my Italian family. These Spanish-style Meatballs take on a bit of Spanish flair in flavor, and they’re perfect as a party appetizer.

A bowl of Spanish-style Meatballs

2. I’m giving my husband the credit for these delightful (and spicy) Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Chipotle Bacon Jam. Two words: the bomb.

Serve these Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Chipotle-Bacon Jam for a fab side dish

3. Seasonal fruit rolled up in a crunchy crust covered in cinnamon and sugar is what you get with these fun Cranberry-Apple Pie Spring Rolls.

What a treat! Cranberry-Apple Pie Spring Rolls

4. This vegetarian recipe for Roasted Tomato Bisque with Blue Cheese Croutons will warm you on a cold day.

Warming on a cold day: Roasted Tomato Bisque with Blue Cheese Croutons

5. Maybe this vegetarian recipe for Creamy Pasta with White Beans and Spinach was a favorite because it’s filling and flavorful?

A bowl of Creamy Pasta with White Beans and Spinach

6. Skillet Sweet Potato and Black Bean Migas is another vegetarian recipe that’s super popular in my house, so I’m glad you liked it, too.

A pan of Skillet Sweet Potato and Black Bean Migas - a tasty vegetarian dish

7. You’ll want to stay at home for these easy-t0-make Lentil-Kale Burritos with Roasted Red Pepper Ranch Sauce — they’re healthy, flavorful, and filling.

These vegetarian Lentil & Kale Burritos with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce are easy to make

8. The most popular tequila drink in Mexico is the Paloma Cocktail — and for good reason!

Serve a delicious tequila-based Paloma Cocktail

9. Oh, these Cinnamon Pretzel Crunch Sugar Cookies are definitely a treat!

A plateful of Cinnamon Pretzel Crunch Sugar Cookies

10. Quinoa Succotash with Spiced Tahini Dressing is a vegan and gluten-free recipe that is perfect as a side dish or main salad.

Gluten-free and vegan: Quinoa Succotash with Spiced Tahini Dressing

I hope you give one or more of these recipes a try, and look for a many more to come in 2015!

 

 

Zucchini Pasta with Fava Beans and Harissa Sauce

Bolw of zucchini pasta with fava beans and harissa sauce

Zucchini is pretty much everywhere during these days of summer. It really is a versatile veggie with so many mealtime possibilities, and I absolutely love turning zucchini into “pasta.” It’s easy to do and it gives you a fresh take on traditional pasta, not to mention another way to serve zucchini.

You can use a julienne peeler to turn your zucchini into pasta. I found that my peeler didn’t produce long strands of “pasta” and it was a little clunky. I recently bought a hand-held peeler (no room in my cupboards for a big peeler), and it couldn’t be easier to use. My GEFU Spirelli Spiral Slicer easily turns zucchini into noodle-like strands in minutes, with no fuss. This is the perfect tool if you like to turn veggies into noodles for dishes like Zucchini Pasta with Fava Beans and Harissa Sauce, and you want something small enough to store easily.

Zucchini pasta

So these fava beans you’ve heard so much about (you know…to serve with the Chianti?). What are they and how do you prep them? Well, fava beans are super-hearty, and come packaged in big, green pods. They can be served any number of ways, but when you buy them, make sure to get about a pound per serving.

Their pods are big and thick, but they only hold 3-4 beans each. Shell them (break off the tip and open up the pods), then submerge them in boiling water for about 30 seconds. Next add them to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process, then peel off the waxy outer cover. After that, the world is your oyster, so to speak.

Fava Beans in their Pos

If you’ve never had or made harissa, I highly recommend it. Harissa is a paste (or condiment, really) made using chilies, herbs, and spices, and is prevalent in North African cuisine. I made some for a recipe for work recently, and since it was so easy to make, I tossed together another, slightly different batch for this dish. Its spicy goodness goes well in so many dishes. For example, you can add it to eggs, casseroles, stews, or use it as a rub or paste for meats.

My idea was to add the harissa to some marinara sauce and toss it with the zucchini and fava beans. The added sauce was perfect over the cool zucchini “noodles” and hearty beans.

Zucchini pasta twirled up on a fork

Enjoy this summer dish of Zucchini Pasta with Fava Beans and Harissa Sauce with a glass of… well, you know.

Recipe for Zucchini Pasta with Fava Beans and Harissa Sauce
Serves 2

 

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