rainbow plate with roasted chickpeas and citrus garlic tahini sauce (vegan, gluten free)

 

As a food blogger, I want to believe that everyone will absolutely love what I create and share. One hundred percent. All the time.

This, of course, is not realistic…as my family frequently reminds me.

Take this rainbow plate, for example. Yum, right?!

Except if you don’t like red peppers, sweet potato, chickpeas, kale and/or eggplant, roasted, seasoned or dressed but not disguised in a soup or sauce. Since I happen to love all these veggies, this is a plate I want to dive into on repeat. I was hoping my family would want to do the same.

My youngest, however, “didn’t like that dinner” and it was like pulling teeth to get my other three to finish (they ate their favorite veggies first, but that is different for each of them)). Even my husband didn’t give it glowing reviews, because, well, right now I’m the only die-hard veggie lover in my family.

But despite the ho-hum, yuck reviews from my dearest ones, I’m still sharing this rainbow plate because I loved it and I know there are other veggie-lovers out there that will love it too.

It’s simple to make and balanced with protein from the chickpeas plus it gives you all the vitamins and antioxidants your body is really craving. It’s simply dressed with a citrus garlic tahini sauce (more protein +tang) and the veggies could be roasted up on the weekend to prep for a busy week ahead.

If you absolutely dislike one or more of the veggies I’ve included on this plate, just switch it up for a different vegetable of the same color. Because that’s the beauty of cooking and recipe sharing.

 

rainbow plate with roasted chickpeas
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

An easy, delicious way to "eat all the colors," this rainbow plate combines roasted veggies with raw kale to give you all the nutrients and is dressed with a tangy garlic tahini sauce.

Course: Entree, Main Course
Servings: 2 people
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
For the Rainbow Plate
  • 1-2 red pepper, cut in strips
  • 2 large sweet potato, cubed
  • 2 15-oz can chickpeas
  • kale, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 medium eggplant, diced
  • 2 tsp avocado oil
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper
For the Citrus Garlic-Tahini Dressing
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp nutritional yeast
Instructions
For the veggies:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 as you prepare the veggies. Add sweet potato and eggplant cubes to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired.

  2. Meanwhile, prepare the chickpeas by combining them in a bowl with the seasonings and toss to coat well. Spread on a baking sheet.

  3. When the sweet potatoes have cooked for 15 minutes, remove from oven and rotate for even cooking. Add the eggplant and red peppers to the baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired and return to the oven for another 25-30 minutes or until all the veggies are tender and roasted.

  4. At the same time, add the pan of chickpeas to a different rack in the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes or until they are slightly crispy. It's helpful to stir them a couple times during baking for even crisping.

For the dressing:
  1. While the veggies are roasting, mix all the dressing ingredients in a blender or small food processor, blending until thoroughly combined. Dressing can be stored in an air tight jar in the fridge for one week.

To assemble the rainbow plate:
  1. Add veggies and chickpeas in rainbow order to each plate, using as much kale as desired. Drizzle dressing over each serving.

 

south-of-the-border party dip (vegan, oil free, added sugar free)

 

I could happily eat Mexican-style foods most days of the week. It’s one of the few cuisines that easily adapts to a plant-based diet without extraordinary effort or feeling like something is missing. Meat- and cheese-lovers might disagree, but as a former meat- and cheese-lover, this is my story and I’m sticking to it.

While this dip is made for the party scene, I also love it as a main, side or lunch any day of the week. It’s best when eaten within the first day, but can hold up in the fridge for a couple of days, although the avocado isn’t too happy about that.

This south-of-the-border party dip was inspired by one shared at a friend’s, but I “beefed” the recipe up with the addition of chickpeas plus a couple south-of-the-border ingredients: jalapenos and jicama.

 

 

 

If you’ve never tried jicama (pronounced hee-cama), it’s a root vegetable that has a pleasant crunchy texture and the flavor reminds me of apples, although not as sweet or pungent. To prepare it, all you do is peel it and slice as desired – for this recipe, I diced it. See the “Shop the Recipe” guide under the recipe for where you can find it.

This is a recipe where you can play with the ratios of ingredients and choose what to include and what to leave out, but of course, I recommend trying the whole kit and caboodle first as suggested in the recipe below. Since most of my family like foods on the mild side, I kept the jalapeno peppers to a minimum – really just enough to hint at some heat, but if you like things spicy, you’ll want to toss in more.

 

South-of-the-Border Party Dip
Prep Time
15 mins
 

A hearty, refreshing dip that is easy to pull together especially for large gatherings or when you want to whip up a quick meal.

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Ingredients
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 12-14 green onions, diced
  • 1-1.5 cups corn kernals
  • 1-1.5 cups diced cherry tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 avocados, diced
  • 1 cup, packed cilantro
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, diced fine (optional)
  • 3/4-1 cup jicama, diced (optional)
Dressing Ingredients
  • 2-3 T veggie stock
  • 1-2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • ground pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. With the exception of the avocado, add all the dip ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly to combine. Add the avocado just before serving, coating it with extra lime juice to slow the browning.

  2. Combine the dressing ingredients, pour over the dip and stir to coat.

Serve with organic tortilla chips or combine it with lettuce for a hearty salad.

 

 

 

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

  • I used Eden Organics black beans and chickpeas for this recipe. I love that they are unsalted! If you can’t find them in your local store, you can get them here.
  • I always buy my corn organically because of GMOs in conventional corn. I get mine in bulk at BJs (a wholesale club), but Trader Joe’s also carries it. You also could look for the Woodstock brand in your local grocery store if they cater to an organic market. If you aren’t a member of BJs and want to check it out, use this link to sign up for a BJs membership and we’ll both get $25!
  • I bought my jicama at Whole Foods, but you could also look for it at Mexican grocery stores or larger grocery stores with an expanded selection of fruits and veggies may carry it.

weeknight tacos with tres taco “meat” (vegan, soy free, gluten free, no added sugar)

Sure it’s not Tuesday, but tacos are too good to have only one day a week dedicated to them, right?! Last week, I was pretty excited about having them for lunch leftovers two days in a row and love this new tres taco meat I whipped up featuring walnuts, chickpeas and lentils. It’s a tres-fecta of plant-based protein.

In keeping with weeknights, which typically are busy for many of us, this recipe is simple and requires quick heating or none at all in case you prepare the ingredients ahead of time.

Let me walk you through this recipe with that busy schedule in mind…

  • The night before, put the walnuts and water in a bowl, cover and place in the fridge.
  • Also, go ahead and cook those lentils (and while they’re cooking, you can tidy up from dinner, put away some laundry, help your kids with homework, read to them or just put up your feet for a well-deserved rest)
  • If you plan on serving guacamole, you’ll want to mix up it up just before you serve it.
  • The morning of…chop up some lettuce, tomatoes and any other fresh topping that won’t spoil and store in separate airtight bags or containers. Have your salsa chilling in the fridge too and set out your spices for the tres taco “meat.”
  • Dinnertime prep…prepare the tres taco meat according to the directions. If you want the taco meat warmed, add it to a saucepan with a some salsa and gently warm it over medium-high heat which takes less than 5 minutes. If your children are old enough, they can help set out the toppings while you do this!
  • If you’re making the guac…pull out the bowl with some the prepared ingredients, add the lime juice and then the avocado and mash away.

There you go. Dinner reading in one, two, tres!

 

Before we get to the recipe, I have a little something extra for you… 

How would you like my favorite go-to guacamole recipe, and top three guac-tips which include cutting the fat but not the flavor, how to make it easier to prep on busy weeknights PLUS the secret ingredient I like to pair it with delivered right to your inbox? You would! Super! Just click this link to receive your FREE printable guacamole recipe + tip sheet.

 

 

 

weeknight tacos with tres taco "meat"
Prep Time
6 hrs
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
7 hrs
 

This plant-protein packed taco "meat." featuring lentils, chickpeas and walnuts is simple to prepare and even with a little extra prep step. The lentils and chickpeas also keep it budget friendly. When combined with crisp organic taco shells and a few simple topping, weeknight dinners come together in one, two, tres!

Course: Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 8 tacos
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
For the Tres Taco Meat
  • 3/4 cups walnuts, soaked 6 hours or overnight
  • 1/3 cup uncooked lentils
  • 2/3 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp chiii powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup salsa or 1 medium tomato
For the toppings (suggested ingredients)
  • lettuce, chopped fine
  • tomatoes, diced fine
  • sugar free salsa*
  • jalapeno peppers
  • guacamole
Instructions
  1. Put the walnuts in a bowl with enough water to cover them completely and place in the fridge for at least 6 hours to overnight.

  2. Either the night before or at least 1 one before you want to make your taco meat, cook the lentils according to package directions.

  3. In the meantime, prepare the other taco toppings. I recommend making the guacamole just before you're ready to eat it to minimize the oxidation.

  4. When you're ready to make the taco meat, drain the walnuts and rinse, then add to a food processor along with the remaining taco meat ingredients. If you want to warm the taco meat, add to a medium saucepan along with some salsa and heat over medium-high for about 5 minutes.

  5. Assemble and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

*I usually buy Tostitos or Old El Paso salsa, but you can buy any kind that is free of sugar (read the ingredients to be sure!)

*I love Jeff's Natural's jalapeno peppers because they're free of some of the additives and dyes typically found in most prepared jalapeno pepper brands.

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

  •  Click here for my favorite food processor
  • I usually buy my taco shells at Trader Joe’s because they are organic which you can get online here!
  • I love Jeff’s Natural’s jalepeno peppers which are free from the usual additives and dyes found on store shelves. I find mine at Whole Foods Market, but you also can get them here.

 

Dinnertime fail to lunchtime win

If you follow me on Facebook, you might have seen last night’s post where I shared about a total dinner fail (vegan moussaka).

My kids definitely were not thrilled with the results and I was ho-hum about it myself. My husband came home just in time for us to leave for our small group with friends so he didn’t have the pleasure of tasting it. LOL

I was not looking forward to eating the leftovers today for lunch, either, until I discovered that I had some chana masala left over from Sunday’s dinner. BINGO!

Before switching to a plant-based diet, I never would have considered combining these two dishes. I’m much more adventurous in what I eat and try now that all the animal fats aren’t clogging up my taste buds!

The flavors of the moussaka and masala work really well together in the chickpeas give it a good boost of plant-based protein. Calling it: Chana moussaka. 

What leftovers have you mixed together for a meal-time win?