Grain-Free Chickpea Gnocchi w/ Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

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Chickpea Gnocchi! The easiest, less labor- intensive pasta you’ll ever make.  No pasta machine needed.  Just you and the dough.  I enjoy making homemade pasta.  It tastes amazing, is fun to make with your kids, and has a unique texture that you can’t get with dry pasta. But, wait Corynne.  Are gnocchi pasta?  Yes and No-ish.  I’ll start with the no.  No, because it is mostly made with potato, however you can use any type of flour, as in this recipe.  Not all gnocchi are created equal, but they’re equally delicious.  The yes is that it is served much the same way as pasta in Italy.  As I mentioned, they are traditionally made with potato producing a light, airy texture.  I highly encourage you to make your own and freeze the remaining, as the store-bought kind often tastes acidic due to lactic acid.  However, if you know of a less acidic tasting brand, please comment in the section below.  As a mom, I completely understand the need for shortcuts, especially on weeknights.

For this recipe, no potato was used.  I wanted a completely plant-based recipe and was inspired by Renee Byrd of Will Frolic for Food’s recipe Grain-Free Chickpea Ravioli with Almond Ricotta Filling.   Though not as enveloped as Renee’s recipe, I chose instead to create my favorite, gnocchi. For this recipe I used a food processor to blend the chickpeas and to incorporate the remaining ingredients.  Everything comes together quickly.  If you find your dough a bit sticky, add additional flour until a shaggy, firm dough starts to form. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and begin kneading to produce a smooth and elastic ball, about 10 minutes.  Cut your dough into six pieces (refrigerate/freeze unused) and begin rolling each piece into a rope.  Cut into 1-inch pieces and with a slotted spoon, slowly place in a pot of boiling water.  You’ll know the gnocchi are done as they will rise to the top.  Remove the gnocchi with the slotted spoon, spoon into bowls and top with the Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, additional olive oil and parsley.  Enjoy!

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Chickpea Gnocchi w/ Roasted Cherry Tomatoes//serves 4

gnocchi
2-15.5 oz can chickpeas, drained
1 cup chickpea flour
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free flour
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon fresh nutmeg, grated
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

roasted cherry tomatoes
2 pints cherry tomatoes
6 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt

To start gnocchi, place chickpeas in a food processor and process until no large pieces remain.  Add chickpea flour, gluten free flour, eggs, olive oil and salt.  Process until mixture comes together and begins to form a ball.

Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface.  Begin kneading the dough until the texture holds together and is pliable.  If the dough is too sticky, add additional flour until firm.  Divide dough into 6 pieces.  If not using all the dough, wrap extra pieces in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for one to two days or freeze for two to three months.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Roll each piece of dough into a rope about ½ inches in diameter.  Cut into ¾ inches to 1-inch pieces.  Place gnocchi on a lightly-floured parchment lined baking sheet.  Repeat the process with the remaining pieces of dough.  To cook the gnocchi, using a slotted spoon, lower a couple of gnocchi at a time in the boiling water.  Note: Do not drop the gnocchi in the water, as this will cause the water to splash.  Save yourself the pain.  Once all the gnocchi are cooked, (they will float to the top indicating they are done), remove with the slotted spoon.  Place the gnocchi in serving bowls.  Sprinkle olive oil on to gnocchi to prevent sticking.

For the roasted tomatoes, preheat oven to 450° F.  Toss the cherry tomatoes with garlic and olive oil until evenly coated.  Bake the tomatoes in the preheated oven until the skins pop and start to brown 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven.  Split the tomatoes between the bowls of gnocchi.  Drizzle additional olive oil on top.  Garnish with parsley.  Serve.

 

Caribbean-Style Banana Bread w/ Sweet Orange Blossom Cashew Cream

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I’ve been wanting to make this Banana Bread recipe for a few weeks, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to top it with.  I knew I wanted something creamy but what flavor….?  That was the question.  Time was ticking as my bananas were at their ripest and I didn’t want to start over with a new batch of bananas to ripen.  As you can tell, I was very determined to get the perfect topping for it.  And then it happened…that aha! moment. I was looking through a couple of cookbooks searching for a dinner recipe, when I came across Bryant Terry’s Afro-Vegan Cookbook.  Let me just say, this book is amazing.  It a cookbook bursting with African and Caribbean flavors that are vibrant, colorful…a celebration if you will of plant-based foods with a taste of tradition.  I came across Bryant’s Sweet Orange Blossom Cream and I got my a ha! moment.  It was serendipity. 

Let me just say that I love banana bread.  It is a quick and simple classic quick bread, however I wanted to zhuzh it up a bit.  Give it life.  And life I did give it.  The orange blossom cream was heavenly on top of it.  I made a few changes.  Instead of silken tofu, I used soaked cashews, thereby making a cashew cream.  I opted out of using bourbon (the original recipe) as I wanted it to be more for breakfast or a snack.  However, if you feel the need to add the bourbon (Bryant uses 1 Tablespoon), go for it.  I also used maple syrup instead of agave, but feel free to use your favorite sweetener.  The absolute best part about this recipe is the Orange Blossom Water or Orange Flower Water.  It is a clear and perfumed essence made by the distillation of fresh bitter orange blossoms.  Get a bottle and take a whiff.  You’ll want to put it in your food, put it in your favorite drinks, spray your sheets, etc.  You can find Orange Flower Water at Middle Eastern markets or buy it here.  It is used in a lot of desserts such as baklava and Mexican Wedding cakes. 

Enjoy!

 

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Caribbean Style Banana Bread w/ Sweet Orange Blossom Cashew Cream//makes 1 loaf
Adapted from B. Smith's Entertaining and Cooking for Friends

¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ cup white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon allspice
½ cup vegan butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 ¼ cup mashed ripe banana
½ cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Sweet Orange Blossom Cream//1 cup
Adapted from Afro-Vegan

1 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours, drained, and rinsed
¼ cup agave or maple syrup
¼ cup non-dairy milk or water (I used almond milk)
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
¼ cup freshly squeezed navel orange juice
Finely grated zest of 1 navel orange
1 teaspoon orange blossom water

To prepare the frosting, place the cashews, syrup, non-dairy milk or water, salt, and extract in a high-speed blender or food processor. Blend or process until the mixture is mostly smooth; in a high-speed blender, this will be about 2 minutes once you get to high speed, and in a food processor it should take about 4 minutes, with a few breaks to scrape the bowl down. Then, with the machine running, drizzle in the coconut oil. Continue blending till the frosting is smooth and emulsified. Transfer it to an airtight container to chill for at least 2 hours. It will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.

For the banana bread, preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan.  In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice.  In another large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Then fold in the flour mixture, alternating with mashed banana, yogurt, and vanilla.  Stir in the nuts.  Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer the bread to a wire rack to cool.  

Vegan Chocolate Espresso Mousse

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I couldn't let the year come to an end without a chocolate recipe.  So, here it is.  Vegan Chocolate Espresso Mousse with Goji Berries & Hemp Seeds.  This is by far THE simplest, creamiest recipe that you can put together.  Once you make it, you'll always make it AND it's healthy AND it will look awesome on your holiday dessert table.   

Enjoy your holiday's and Happy New Year!!!

 

 

 

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chocolate mousse
2 ripe avocados
1/4 cup Cacao powder
2 teaspoons espresso powder
1/4 cup coconut nectar sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup plant-based milk (I used almond milk)

In a food processor or blender, blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour into individual serving bowls. Garnish with goji berries and hemp seeds. Serve immediately.