After last week’s indulgence in several not-so-healthy vegan meals, combined with travel staples such as fruit/nut mix and nutritional bars, I was craving a healthy salad. But I wanted a hearty salad that would fill me up for a while… more than just veggies.
If you’re a vegan blog reader, you’ve likely read the rave reviews about the Chickpea Cutlets from the vegan cookbook, Veganomicon. This recipe is wildly popular. But it contains vital wheat gluten, which I am trying to limit somewhat. Fortunately, after some digging, I found a blogger who created her own version of this famous recipe and made it gluten-free. I gave it a try, and was pleased with the results. The only thing I might change is the soy sauce. To me, the soy sauce flavor is very prominent and could be turned down a few notches. Of course, you could use any seasonings/sauces you like to vary the flavor. Next time, I may even spice it up a bit with some hot sauce and crushed red pepper.
The great thing about these cutlets is that they are so versatile! Serve them ‘naked’ (or with a bit of sauce) with a side of veggies, over a salad, on a sandwich, over pasta… there are so many possibilities. Shall we get started?
YIELDS ABOUT 24 SMALL or 9 LARGE CUTLETS
3 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained (I used two 15.5 oz. cans)
4 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil (I didn’t have toasted, so I used regular)
Juice of 1 small lemon (or ½ of a medium/large lemon)
4 large cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. gluten-free tamari (see my comments above about using less depending on your taste, I think I would just use 1 or 2 Tbsp.)
1 cup brown rice flour (I didn’t have any, so I used quinoa flour)
2 tsp. xanthan gum (you can use a little less, but don’t use more)
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. rubbed sage
1 tsp. smoked paprika
¼ tsp. chipotle powder (I didn’t have any, so I used ancho chile powder)
These ‘cutlets’ can be baked or fried. I tried both methods and liked the fried version much better (although it’s not as healthy, go figure). If you are going to bake your cutlets, preheat oven to 375° and line baking sheet with parchment paper (or coat with non-stick spray). If you’re going to fry, skip to STEP 2.
Mix the wet ingredients. Coarsely mash the chickpeas in a large mixing bowl (I microwaved them for a minute or two to make mashing easier). Add the oil, lemon juice, garlic and tamari. Mash again a couple of times to mix in the liquids. Chickpeas should be broken up; some smooth, some still partially whole.
In a separate small bowl, combine the dry ingredients and stir with a fork until thoroughly blended.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and combine well (works best if you use your hands). The mixture will be thick, sort of like cookie dough, but not as sticky. If too wet, add a bit more flour; if too dry, add a bit of water (I added about two tablespoons or so).
Form mixture into cutlets/nuggets/whatever size/shape you prefer. I formed mine into balls, just a little smaller than a tennis ball, then flattened and shaped them. They should be about ½” thick.
(Optional, but recommended: brush each cutlet with a bit of oil.) Place cutlets on prepared baking sheet, at least ½” apart. Bake for 15 minutes on one side; flip and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
If pan frying:
Choose a skillet/frying pan (preferably cast iron) with a lid. Lightly oil the skillet over medium heat. Arrange cutlets with at least ½” space between them. Cover skillet partially with lid and check cutlets in five minutes. When cutlets are lightly browned on the bottom, flip them, re-cover partially with lid and fry for an additional three minutes or so.
Serve cutlets any way you wish…
over a fresh salad… or…
in a sandwich… or…
over pasta noodles with sauce. As I said, there are countless possibilities…
I froze the extras. They re-heat really well in a toaster oven.
Don’t ya just love a versatile chickpea cutlet? ;)