Since working with more plant based proteins, I’m finding alternatives for popular dishes that work well. Depending on your diet, these substitutions will never be as good as the original protein in the recipe (some things shouldn’t be changed), but i’m learning to adapt well to these changes if I want to continue on a healthier lifestyle journey. One common plant based protein that I have been working with more often is the chickpea, a type of legume that is high in protein and very popular in Middle Eastern cuisine.
You might love the chickpea in one of my favorite snacks, hummus or perhaps you’ve had it in a good Indian dish. I’ve always loved this plant and have never had a problem finding new ways to add it into my cooking. More commonly when you think of vegetarian BBQ dishes, the protein that is used is one I worked with a month ago in my taco recipe, the Jackfruit. I determined that although Jackfruit is a delicious alternative to pork in a sandwich recipe, BBQ itself is not the best condiment choice for a taco. I wanted to make a dish with a twist on pulled pork with BBQ so I began flipping the pages of multiple vegetarian cookbooks for inspiration. A fun sandwich I think of when I hear BBQ is a Sloppy Joe. It’s been years since I’ve bit into one of those big gooey messy burgers, the one recipe it seemed like the cafeteria in Elementary school always got right. Not much of an exciting thing to eat as an adult but when it’s packed with protein, why not?
This recipe is very similar to the one from a book “But I could never go Vegan!” I was curious to see just how well chickpeas would work with BBQ. So I put a twist on this Vegan version to create my own “Sloppy Sammie” (not Vegan). I finished it with Cheese and pickles for some extra flare on the sandwich. Overall, I enjoyed this recipe and would consider using it again. Great for a summer picnic if you have any vegetarian friends/family members!
Mise en Place:
- (2) 15 Oz Cans Chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 Red Onion, small dice
- 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1/2 Orange or Red Bell Pepper, small dice
- (1) 15 Oz Can Diced Tomatoes
- 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- 8oz Mustard Based BBQ Sauce (vinegar base)
- S&P, TT
- Hamburger Buns
- Toppings of choice
Method of Prep:
- Drain and rinse chickpeas. Using a food processor, lightly pulse beans until mashed (don’t puree, you still want the mix a little chunky)
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in a shallow sauce pan on medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about two minutes.
- Add bell pepper and chickpeas. combine, cook for two minutes. Mix in tomatoes, sugar and tomato paste, season with Salt and Pepper.
- Add in BBQ sauce, mix well. Simmer stirring occasionally for 15 minutes or until chickpeas are tender. If mixture begins to stick, add in more BBQ sauce or water to deglaze the pan, reduce heat if needed.
- Scoop filling onto prepared buns and add toppings if needed. Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.
Happy New Year to you & yours! 2019 marks 7 years having this blog. Woah, it seems like only yesterday I was sitting in a new apartment in sunny West Palm Beach, FL in front of my 2010 HP Laptop trying to figure out how to start a blog with the vision of capturing an audience who give a damn to read my words and feel inspired to want to cook my food. This blog just like the food world, has changed a lot over the course of time. I began this website because food blogs were trending. As a writer and food buff, I considered this a way to spend my down time where I can start a personal food journal of recipes that I can share with others in hopes they would embark on the same journey as me. I was uncertain of the direction for this blog until I began writing more. In due time, I understood the meaning behind what I wanted from my audience and that was to encourage taking control of the food you put in your body. I want the public to spend less on going out to eat and more at home in their own kitchens. I wanted to give simple, low cost, healthier food to help create a beneficial lifestyle. With this being said, not every one of my recipe’s is the healthiest but it’s all about balance. When you discipline yourself to eat better every day, it’s okay to reward yourself and indulge in something good, kind of like a treat yo self day.
I sit here now at a desk in front of my 20″ HP monitor in my first post of 2019 and couldn’t be more excited to head into another year of taking care of myself, for myself. I am going to try new foods and cuisines. You wont see (hardly any) meat recipes in my posts going forward (Please feel free to substitute protein of your choice in any of these recipes!). I made the change last year to eliminate most proteins (with the exception of seafood) so I could focus on higher protein foods with fewer calories and saturated fat. I want more Vitamin and mineral rich meals. Heart disease runs in my family and consuming more heart healthy foods are great start to prevent having to undergo future heart surgeries, etc. Once you turn 30, you start to realize it’s time to take care of yourself better.
As with a new year, comes a new product I’ve never worked with and have only tried once before, the Jackfruit. A very hipster, trendy plant based fruit exceedingly popular with Vegans as a meat alternative. Once cooked it takes on a texture and resemblance of pulled pork. This young, unripe fruit soaks up flavor well and is truly versatile. Jackfruit is packed with fiber and antioxidants along with great benefits for your body. More information on this miracle fruit here. This recipe was adapted from the cookbook “But I could never go Vegan!” The outcome of this was tasty, however I am not sold on BBQ as a taco condiment. I would love to make these as tacos again but next time just using a classic taco seasoning for the Jackfruit.
Mise en Place:
- (2) Avocados, halved, pitted and peeled
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Cilantro
- (1) Lime, juiced
- (1) Garlic Clove, minced
- 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
- S&P, TT
- (1) 6 oz Can Jackfruit, packed in brine (not syrup)
- (1) Cup Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce
- (1) Tablespoon Tomato Paste
- (1) Tablespoon Hot Sauce
- S&P, TT
- (1) Medium Yellow Onion, Sliced
- (1) Orange Bell Pepper, Sliced
- (1) Yellow Bell Pepper, Sliced
- Tacos Toppings of Choice
- Corn OR Flour Tortillas
Method of Prep:
- Rinse the Jackfruit thoroughly in a colander. Use your fingers to tear into shreds, set aside.
- Mix BBQ sauce, tomato paste and hot sauce in a small bowl. Season with S&P if needed. Set aside.
- Heat a Tablespoon of Oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent.
- Add the Jackfruit and bell pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the sauce mixture, reduce heat to medium low and cook for 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Add more salt and pepper if desired.
- While the Jackfruit is cooking, prepare the guacamole. In a large bowl mash the avocados until creamy leaving a few chunks. Add in remaining ingredients and mix until combined. Cover and chill until ready to use.
- Heat up a small saute pan. Cook one tortilla at a time 30-60 seconds on both sides or until lightly browned.
- Prepare tacos with garnish of choice.
*I cooked up rice, added in fresh chopped cilantro and added cooked black beans as well. Both make great sides or garnish!