Day 21 of vegan recipe challenge: only 18 more days to go

Admission: taking on this self-imposed challenge to post a vegan recipe through the end of January is not easy for me.

The difficulty doesn’t stem from having access to excllent recipes. It all boils down to time. How I want to spend my time, how I actually spend my time, how I “should” spend my time. As I’ve mused before, I also feel much more burned out sitting in front of a computer these days. I essentially spend my working day basking in the glow of the online realm (the irony of working for the environment – not being in it enough!)

Still, it’s nice to be uncomfortable with meeting deadlines. I still feel that way, at times, with running. This past Sunday’s 14-miler didn’t feel bad physically, but it managed to suck my mental energy out completely. Perhaps it was my overwhelming tiredness of cold weather. Perhaps it was because I managed to get a little lost on the trail. I still completed the run, in my goal pace time. And next weekend’s runs will be better. Challenge is healthy.

In the ode to my lust for all things crunchy, I’m sharing another Oh She Glows recipe that I made with friend Samara for a double date night a few months ago. Cooking with friends is FUN and certainly not done enough. Not only does it make the meal taste even more satisfying, but you have dedicated time to catch-up over chopping onions and making quinoa. I already have additional cooking with friends dates scheduled for this month and hope to add more over the year.

Crispy Quinoa Cakes
Makes 12 cakes
Prep time: 25 minutes; Cook time: 25 minutes
Gluten free; vegan

quinoa cakesPhoto: Angela Liddon, Oh She Glows

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax + 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup destemmed and finely chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats, ground into a flour (use certified gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1/2 cup finely grated sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon runny tahini paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur) or regular all-purpose flour
  • red pepper flakes, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the ground flax and water in a small bowl and set aside for 5 minutes or so to thicken.
  3. Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl, including the flax mixture and the 1.5 cups cooked quinoa. Stir well until the mixture comes together. Don’t forget the flour because it helps bind the patties.
  4. Shape mixture into 1/4-cup patties with wet hands. Pack tightly so they hold together better. Place on baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, then carefully flip cakes, and bake for another 8-10 minutes until golden and firm.
  6. Cool for 5 minutes on the sheet and then enjoy!
  7. Store leftovers in a container in the fridge for up to 5-6 days. To reheat, preheat a skillet over medium heat, add a bit of oil, and cook patties for about 3 minutes per side, or until heated through.

Tips: 1) To cook quinoa, rinse 1 cup uncooked quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. Place quinoa in a medium pot and cover with 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and then cover with a tight fitting lid. Simmer covered for 14-17 minutes until most of the water is absorbed and the quinoa is light and fluffy. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and then place lid back on to steam for another 4-5 minutes. Note that this makes almost 3 cups of cooked quinoa and you only need 1 1/2 cups for this recipe, so you will have leftover quinoa (which is never a bad thing if you ask me!).

2) To make oat flour, add the oats into a high speed blender and blend on the highest speed until a fine flour forms. You can also use store-bought oat flour if desired.

We paired these cakes with a salad (if my memory recalls correctly), which provided a nice balance. Have you ever “cooked with friends”? Would you?

One thought on “Day 21 of vegan recipe challenge: only 18 more days to go

  1. I love eating a plant based diet, but I will say for more elaborate meals it is time consuming. Aren’t all more elaborate meals though?? Lately I’ve been a bit lazy with my meals and I just prep a few things at the beginning of my week to add veggies to and call it good!! Easier said than done, and also sometimes boring so it’s not for everyone!! I’m glad you’ve been sticking this out though, you’re almost there!! And with many new fun recipes under your belt for the future.

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