Tag Archives: Mediterranean

‘Falafel’ Chickpea Burgers with Arugula & Tzatziki

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I really like falafels, but I don’t like that they’re fried and tend to be greasy and then I feel guilty for eating them. Who wants to feel guilty when you’re stuffing your face?! Wait.. that’s an oxymoron. Oh well. I wanted falafel one evening so I whipped up a healthier “burger” version that is pan-seared and packed with all the Greek falafel flavors. And best of all, this recipe can be totally vegan!

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‘Falafel’ Chickpea Burger:

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  • 1 can chickpeas – drained and rinsed, patted dry
  • 1 medium red onion – finely chopped
  • 1-2 jalapenos/serranos – minced
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp fried oregano
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley or dried parsley
  • 1 clove garlic – minced
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • PAM Cooking Spray

1. Add all ingredients (except for the cornstarch) to a food processor and pulse until blended, but not totally smooth. Take out into a mixing bowl, and sprinkle in the cornstarch and mix by hand until incorporated. Make into Patties – should make 4-5 thick patties. Pat dry with a paper towel, as access moisture will slow the cooking process.

2. In a medium non-stick skillet over medium-high flame, spray with PAM and add 2-3 patties at a time. Sear 5 minutes on each side, or until dark brown and cooked through. Remove to cool.

Tzatziki:

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  • 1/4 lowfat yogurt/vegan yogurt
  • 2-3 tbsp reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh chopped dill or 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 clove garlic – minced
  • salt
  • black pepper

1. Mix all ingredients and set aside.

Arugula Salad:

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  • 1 bag/package arugula
  • 1 clove garlic – minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • couple tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of black pepper

1. In a large bowl, add in all ingredients except for the oil and arugula. Drizzle in the olive oil until the dressing emulsifies. Add in the arugula and lightly toss until coated.

Assembly ingredients:

  • crumbled feta
  • sliced roma tomatoes
  • sliced English cucumber

1. On a serving plate, add 1-2 patties, pile high with arugula salad, sliced tomato, sliced cucumber, and feta. Drizzle with Tzatziki and serve more on the side. Enjoy!

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Mediterranean Orzo

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I think orzo is underrated. It cooks really fast and acts and taste just like regular pasta, which means its absorbs any of the goodness you add to it. I also think it’s really versatile, which means it doesn’t have to be just Italian. That being said, I made a super simple Mediterranean Orzo with ingredients that you probably already have on hand.

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Mediterranean Orzo:

  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1 red onion – diced
  • 1 clove of garlic – minced
  • 1 zucchini – diced
  • 1 yellow squash – diced
  • 1-2 jalapenos – diced
  • couple tsp dried oregano
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 pencil asparagus – diced
  • 1/4 cup canned chickpeas – drained and rinsed
  • handful of kalamata olives – diced
  • red crushed pepper
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • a little less than 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey-dijon mustard
  • 1 heaping tsp of honey
  • 1 tsp dried oregano

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1. In a large pot add water, drizzle a little olive oil, sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and set over high flame to bring to a boil. Add in the orzo, and boil for about 8-10 minutes or until al dente. Strain, reserving the water and set the orzo aside.

2. In a large skillet, add in a tbsp of olive oil and heat over medium flame. Add in the onions and garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes. Then add in the jalapenos and the rest of the veggies. Saute for a few minutes until slightly soft. Add in the oregano, red crushed pepper, salt, and pepper and chickpeas. Saute for another 5-8 minutes until all the veggies are tender, but not soft and mushy. Remove from the stove.

3. In a large serving bowl, mix together the red wine vinegar, mustard, honey, oregano, some more salt and black pepper. Drizzle in about 2-3 tbsp of olive oil until emulsified. Add in the cooked orzo and sauteed veggies. Mix altogether. Also add in the chopped olives and toss, making sure the pasta is completely coated with the dressing. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Serves 3-4 

Garlic-Mint Orzo with Cumin & Capers

Even though orzo is an Italian pasta, I feel like it doesn’t have to be cooked in a traditional Italian manner. Then again, nothing has to be cooked with rules or regulations (that’s why I love to cook!). When I think of orzo I think Italian, Moroccan and a bit Middle Eastern.

So I basically combined all those flavors in this dish. I made this dish quickly after work one night at 9:00pm, so that in itself tells you its fast, easy and definitely satisfying. Pair it with some tofu steaks, eggplants or soup/sandwich and you’re good to go! Most of these ingredients can be found in your pantry- trust me I had NOTHING in my kitchen when I made this, that’s why it’s such a jumble of ingredients, but surprisingly came out so good!

Garlic-Mint Orzo with Cumin & Capers:

  • 2 cups cooked orzo (not al dente)
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • PAM olive oil spray
  • 3-4 cloves garlic- chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin power
  • dash garlic powder
  • dash of dried Italian herbs
  • 1-2 tbsp capers
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp red crushed pepper (please adjust to your spice level)
  • lots of coarse black pepper
  • salt
  • handful of fresh mint- finely chopped (plus a few sprigs for garnishing)

1. In a nonstick saucepan, spray with PAM and pour oil and set over medium-high heat. Add garlic and bring the heat down to medium-low. Saute until fragrant and slightly golden- do not cook on high flame, as garlic will burn and create a very bitter taste. Add cumin and capers, saute for a few minutes.

2. Add in the cooked orzo and increase flame to medium-high and saute until covered with the capers and spices. Add garlic powder, italian herbs, lemon zest and red crushed pepper. Saute for a few minutes until orzo is completely coated with spice and fragrant. Finally add the chopped fresh mint and lots of coarsely ground black pepper. Mix lightly and quickly transfer to a serving dish. Top with whole sprig of mint for garnishing. Dig in!

Serves 2

Like This? Then you may like my other Vegan Recipes!

  Sauteed Indian Okra with Homemade Masala (featured on PETA!)

  Masala Tofu Burgers (featured on PETA!)

  Vegan Saffron Cupcakes with Rose-Cardamom Frosting

Mediterranean Hush Puppies Recipe with Olives & Feta

So it was falafel night again- if you haven’t noticed by now my family and I dislike eating the same type of food every night! And falafels are really easy to make and generally healthy. Of course I made my Roasted Garlic Baba Ghanoush and Roasted Garlic-Chili Hummus to accompany our Middle-Eastern/Mediterranean (whichever you prefer) meal. But I was also really in the mood for cornbread and I know that cornbread isn’t something that’s typically eaten in the Mediterranean or Middle-East for that matter, but I figured what the heck I don’t need to cook by any rules or standards! I let my creativity get to work (I was pretty hungry which helped too!) and I added a few ingredients that made these cornbread hushpuppies taste pretty authentic! Especially topped with the Baba Ghanoush it was delicious! I also used fat-free milk and reduced fat feta cheese in my recipe, so they’re pretty healthy! Also I used my fabulous Babycakes Machine and it was AMAZING, fast and so convenient especially for a weeknight side dish (aka these yummy hushpuppies).. Yes I am still obsessed with my babycakes machine.

Anyway, here’s my recipe for Mediterranean Hushpuppies– of course you can alter the spice to your tastebuds :p

  • 1 cup cornmeal (I used Quaker Oats Brand)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg (preferably room temperature)
  • 1 1/4 cup milk (I used skim plus)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat crumbled feta (I used Athenos Brand)
  • 6-8 Calamata Olives- finely diced
  • 3-4 tbsp red crushed pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • coarse black pepper- few grinds
  • PAM butter flavor

1. Mix together egg, milk and oil. Add cornmeal and flour and stir until moistened (do not overmix!). Add seasonings and cheese and combine.

2. Plug in babycakes machine and spray with PAM. Pour about 1 1/2 tbsp of batter into each cup (do not over fill!) Cook for about 8 minutes until golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

3. Serve with sprinkled feta, hummus and baba ghanoush, YUM!

Makes about 25-30 hushpuppies

Tempted yet…


Pri’s Baba with Roasted Garlic, Chili & Cilantro

We had falafels last night and I tend to like the condiments more than the actual falafel balls! Especially Baba Ghanoush. I’ve seen this dish made various ways- with parsley or cilantro and even with raw onions (YUCK!). I decided to make it my way. I like to roast the garlic, because combining just raw garlic with roasted eggplant tends to overpower to the rest of the ingredients (I think so at least!). And with the garlic of course I roasted some dried cayenne chilies- I need SOME spice! The baba is really easy to make, and its done with one tool- a blender! So if you’re thinking about having a Middle-Eastern, Mediterranean or Greek meal tonight, add this to your menu. You and your family are sure to enjoy it, yum!

Pri’s Baba Ghanoush:

  • 1 large Italian eggplant- cut in 1/4 inch thick slices (lengthwise)
  • 1 head of garlic- with the top trimmed off
  • 3-4 dried cayenne chilies
  • 3-4 tbsp cilantro– finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp tahini sauce (use a vegan substitute)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt- to taste
  • coarse black pepper- 5-6 grinds
  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (more or less depending on desired consistency)
  • PAM– olive oil spray
  • 2-3 Kalamata olives- for garnishing
  • smokey paprika- for garnishing

Tools: oven, blender

1. Spray a baking sheet with PAM, line eggplant slices and spray them, leave a little space on the sheet for your garlic. Sprinkle with a little pepper. In a sheet of tinfoil place the head of garlic, spray with PAM sprinkle with salt and pepper and place chilies. Enclose the foil to make a packet. Place on the baking sheet. Place sheet on middle or top rack of oven and set oven on broil around 350 degrees. Broil for about 20 minutes, flipping eggplant slices at 10 minute point. You want the eggplant to be fully cooked, golden brown in color. The garlic cloves should also be browned and mushy- should pop out of garlic peel easily. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

2. In a food processor/blender add eggplant- cut them in smaller pieces so they blend easily. Squeeze in about 4-5 garlic clovess, add cilantro, tahini, lemon juice and chilies (breaking them in half). Pulse for about 30 secs- 1 minutes. Stir to make sure all the pieces are broken up. Once everything is chopped up in the blender, grind on low, and stream in olive oil, until you’ve reached your desired consistency.

3. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir in. Place on a serving platter, drizzle with a few drops of oil and top with olives & paprika! Serve with pita, or slather up your falafel sandwich with this, yummy!

Serves about 4

TIP:

You can use the leftover roasted garlic to spread on bread and top with tomatoes and cheese, or mix with sour cream, mayo and basil to make a great basil-garlic sandwich spread!

Mediterranean Garlic-Dill Veggie Burger

Who needs a hamburger when you can turn a veggie burger into literally ANYTHING?! I know that a vegetarian’ freezer definitely has a package of veggie burgers. Don’t lie, you do! They’re a great source of protein and fiber and not to mention they’re really filling- great for lunchtime! I figured I’d get a little creative with my lunch today and it only took about 10 minutes! My veggie sandwich is oozing with sauteed onions and fire roasted peppers, and the feta cheese gives it a Mediterranean kick! If you like gourmet sandwiches, veggies and cheese, than you’ll LOVE this veggie burger creation!

Mediterranean Veggie Heaven:

  • 1 Ciabatta Roll- slice in half lengthwise
  • 1 veggie burger- thawed in the microwave (any brand is fine)
  • 1/2 small onion- cut in thin rounds
  • roasted red pepper- 1 slice from a jar
  • 1 tbsp light mayo (or vegan substitute)
  • 1 tsp dried dill weed
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • red crushed pepper- to taste
  • coarse black pepper
  • 2 tbsp reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese (or vegan substitute)
  • PAM-olive oil flavor

Tools: Small skillet, spatula

1. Stir the light mayo with dill weed, garlic powder, black pepper and red crushed pepper. Set aside.

2. Spray pan with PAM and set on medium flame. Add the sliced onions and sprinkle with red crushed pepper and black pepper. Saute about 2 minutes on each side, or until its smokey and cooked through. Remove from heat.

3. Spray each side of the roll, and place on the pan. Grill until golden brown. Remove from heat.

4. Place the thawed veggie burger in the hot skillet, and grill for about 2 minutes on each side. Spread one side of bread with mayo mixture, place burger on one side, top with roasted pepper, grilled onions and top with crumbled feta. Press top slice down, and holding tight, slice sandwich in half.

5. Serve with reduced-fat chips and a coke zero!

Serves 1

PS- this is great for picnics AND work! Just wrap in tin-foil and carry it to work! It’ll keep you filled ALL afternoon, so you won’t stick your hand into that company chocolate bowl! :)


Check it Out!
Mediterranean Garlic-Dill Veggie Burger on FoodistaMediterranean Garlic-Dill Veggie Burger