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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Chickpea Vegetable "Omelette" (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free)

I am a breakfast person, through and through. I could eat breakfast foods for every meal. As a matter of fact, I'm having leftover steel-cut oatmeal this afternoon as part of my lunch! Someone asked me once if I miss eggs and what I use as a substitute as a vegan. The first question was easy to answer because I don't miss eggs at all taste wise, nor do I crave them. What gets tricky is finding egg substitutes for baking but luckily, I've found some good ones. The second question stumped me. I didn't have an answer at that time. You'd think because I don't miss eggs that I wouldn't find it necessary to search for an alternative for an egg-containing breakfast such as scrambled eggs, quiche or an omelette. The truth is, I'd be fine without an alternative. However, I found something better! And I'm all for that.

Whether it's similar to an egg omelette or not, this chickpea vegetable "omelette" is undeniably tasty, nutritious and most importantly, cruelty-free. The combination of flavors is to die for!

Today's ingredient spotlight goes to...

• Garbanzo beans/chickpeas - Chickpeas are a wonderful legume for many reasons. They are naturally low in fat, high in soluble and insoluble fiber, protein, manganese, folate, iron, and magnesium. Fiber is essential for optimal colon health. It rids the body of bile (which contains cholesterol), important for heart health, and prevents constipation, which is crucial for preventing colon cancer and other digestive disorders. 1 cup of chickpeas contains 12.5 grams of fiber! To put that into perspective, it's recommended that women consume 25 grams of fiber per day and 38 grams for men per day, though if you're eating lots of vegetables, fruits, seeds, legumes, and whole grains, you're getting much more than that (yay!). Fiber also helps to prevent diabetes by slowing digestion, which helps to stabilize blood sugar levels resulting in slow-burning energy and appetite control, ideal for weight loss. In addition, 1 cup of chickpeas contains 15 grams of protein. Needless to say, they are an awesome source of plant-based protein for vegans. 

Chickpeas have a nutty flavor and a creamy texture. They can be used in a variety of ways such as in soups when pureed, in salads, veggie burgers, hummus, Indian dishes like curries, and more. Chickpea flour is so great because it lends a creamy, smooth texture to the dish at hand.

Chickpea Vegetable "Omelette"
YIELD: 1 large serving or 2 small servings

• 2/3 cup garbanzo bean/chickpea flour 
• 3 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
• 1/4 tsp unrefined coconut oil
• 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp garlic powder
• 1/2 tsp onion powder
• 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
• A pinch of black pepper
• 2/3 cup + 2 Tbs water
• 1/3 cup red bell pepper, chopped
• 2 Tbs basil, chopped
• 2 Tbs oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
• 2 Tbs kalmatta olives (green or black would be fine too. I just find that Kalmatta olives have the best flavor!)
• Recommended toppings: salsa, avocado/guacamole, cilantro or basil, Daiya cheddar "cheese", hummus

1. Pre-heat a 10" non-stick pan/skillet over medium heat. Add 1/4 tsp coconut oil to the pan.
2. In a large bowl, combine the chickpea flour, baking powder, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt, and black pepper and whisk well. Then, add in the water and whisk again until there are no clumps.
3. Add in the red bell pepper, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives and stir gently.
4. Pour the chickpea vegetable mixture into the pan and quickly spread evenly around the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, or until a spatula/wooden spoon can easily flip it (when it's ready, you'll see bubbles form in the batter shown in the picture above). Then, carefully flip it over (I usually use both a spatula and a wooden spoon to pick it up and flip it so it doesn't fall apart) and cook for another 5 minutes.

• Feel free to make any substitutions or add more of another ingredient if you don't like one of the ingredients I've included above. Other good options would be: green/orange/yellow bell pepper, red onion, sweet or white onion, spinach, asparagus, mushroom, fresh tomatoes. Just be sure to chop up all ingredients finely and keep the same measurements and number of add-ins as in the recipe so it's not overloaded.
• I found all ingredients at Whole Foods. I couldn't find chickpea flour in the bulk aisle at the Whole Foods I went to so I bought the Bob's Red Mill chickpea flour in the bag but I have seen it at other locations in bulk. I usually always find nutritional yeast in the bulk aisle.

"Logic will get you from A to Z. Imagination will get you everywhere." Albert Einstein


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