Friday Delights: Vegan Keftedes

Matt comes from a Greek family that is quickly helping me become well-versed in Greek cuisine. Greek food is delicious, fresh, unique, and I rarely get tired of it. Greek food also seems to have two sides: naughty and nice. On the one hand we have tzatziki, Greek salads, melitzanosalta, plenty of grilled seafood, souvlaki, etc. On the other hand we have heavier things like moussaka, taramasalata (MY FAVORITE!), gyros, and… Keftedes. Keftedes are deliciously seasoned fried meatballs that are perfect paired with some creamy tzatziki. In the past I have replaced ground beef with lentils when I want to turn a traditionally meat dish vegan, so I decided to use this method and attempt a vegan keftede. The result was tasty, healthy, and easy enough to add to my weekday dinner line-up.

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Vegan Keftedes

2 cups of cooked lentils (these can be plain or seasoned, just watch the salt if they’re already seasoned)

1/2 cup of ground flaxseed

1/3 cup of water

2 TSB of olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp of dry oregano

1/4 cup of chopped fresh mint

1/4 cup of chopped fresh parsley

salt and pepper to taste

polenta or cornmeal for rolling

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F
  2. Place the lentils, flaxseed, water, and olive oil in bowl and mash until you have a consistency that is malleable but still has some whole lentils for texture.
  3. Add the minced garlic, oregano, mint, and parsley and mix together with a spoon. Then add the salt and pepper and taste. It’s ok to go a little over salty on this one as the saltiness will lessen once they are cooked.
  4. Pour some polenta on a working space and roll 1-2TBS size balls of the mixture in your hands and then in the polenta to give the exterior a nice crunch coat.
  5. Grease a baking sheet, line up the balls, and bake for 20 minutes, turning the keftedes halfway through.
  6. Serve with tzatziki and enjoy!

These are high in fiber, vegan, gluten-free, and naturally healthy. We enjoyed ours with tzatziki, a salad, and rice 🙂

Hope you have a happy Friday!

xo,

Natalia

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Focus On: Buckwheat

I have a new lover… Buckwheat.

buckwheat

Despite its name, Buckwheat is not a grain or wheat, it is in fact a seed that has grain-like qualities and can be used as a grain substitute in many dishes. Some benefits:

1. Buckwheat is gluten-free.

2. Buckwheat is a complete protein in terms of amino acids, easily digestible and highly nutritious.

3. Buckwheat can reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol.

4. Buckwheat grows quickly and does not require chemicals or pesticides, therefore it is generally chemical-free.

5. Buckwheat ranks low on the glycemic index.

6. Buckwheat is high in iron, zinc, copper, selenium, and manganese.

7. Buckwheat is high in fiber.

8. Buckwheat can help regulate blood sugar.

9. Buckwheat can aid in weight loss.

What a doll. I seriously can’t get enough. Currently my favorite way to enjoy this superfood, is by sprouting it and turning it into Essene bread. Below is my go-to recipe for a plain and simple Essene bread base. To spice this up you can add herbs, olives, honey, etc and vary the flavor. This bread is very healthy and high in protein. Should you wish to dehydrate it instead of bake it, I recommend dehydrating for 12 hours, just keep an eye on it and take it out once there’s a nice crust.

Sprouted Buckwheat and Lentil Essene Bread

2 cups of sprouted Buckwheat

2 cups of sprouted Lentils or Chickpeas (or both)

1/4 cup ground flax seed (linseed)

1 tsp of sea salt

2/3 cup of water

any add-ins (fresh rosemary, chopped olives, garlic, sunflower seeds, etc)

1. Blend the sprouts, flax seed, salt and water in a food processor until a “dough” is formed. This should be slightly sticky and firm enough to form a loaf. If you haven’t already sprouted the buckwheat and lentils, soak them in water over night, and then sprout in a sieve, occasionally rinsing, for at least 1 day. They will be ready when you see little white sprouts coming out of each seed and are soft enough to chew.

2. Fold in any add-ins.

3. Grease a baking sheet with a bit of coconut oil and spoon out the dough. Form a long loaf-like shape. This dough will look a bit like ciabatta, flat and rectangular. Mine is usually about 2 inches in height.

4. Either bake at 275 F/140 C for 2 hours, or dehydrate for 12 hours.
This can be enjoyed as you would enjoy any bread (with avocado, hummus, butter, honey, etc). I sometimes like to cut mine up into cubes and enjoy it in salads as croutons (you can toast these pieces for extra crunch if you’d like).

rawbread2(Buckwheat and Lentils… grainy)

rawbread1(Buckwheat and Chickpea/Mung mix… feel free to experiment)

I really really love bread, so this spin is a nice and healthy alternative that can be enjoyed all day every day.

Snack time!

xo,

Natalia