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Should You Go Vegan Before 6?

Food writer Mark Bittman, author of a new book on plant-based eating, tells you why he doesn’t think you need all that animal protein—and gives a day’s worth of his VB6 recipes.

LUNCH: Baked Falafel with Tahini Sauce

Makes: 8 servings

Time: 45 minutes, plus up to 24 hours to soak chickpeas

Ingredients:

  • 1¾ cups dried chickpeas
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 tbps cumin
  • Scant tsp cayenne, or to taste
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
  • 1½ tsp salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ tsp black pepper, plus more to taste
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup tahini

Instructions:

  1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with water by 3 or 4 inches—the beans will triple in volume as they soak. Soak for 12 to 24 hours, checking once or twice to see if you need to add more water to keep the beans submerged. (If the soaking time is inconvenient for you, just leave them in the water until they’re ready; you should be able to break them apart between your fingers.)
  2. Heat the oven to 375°F. Drain the chickpeas and transfer them to a food processor with the garlic, onion, cumin, cayenne, herb, 1 teaspoon of salt, pepper, baking soda, and lemon juice. Pulse until everything is minced but not pureed, stopping the machine and scraping down the sides if necessary; add water tablespoon by tablespoon if necessary to allow the machine to do its work, but keep the mixture as dry as possible. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, or cayenne as needed.
  3. Grease a large rimmed baking sheet with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Roll the bean mixture into 20 balls, about 1½ inches each, then flatten them into thick patties. Put the falafel on the prepared pan and brush the tops with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Bake until golden all over, 10 to 15 minutes on each side.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk the tahini and remaining salt with ½ cup water in a small bowl until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning and serve the falafel drizzled with the sauce.

Variation: Nutty Falafel — Replace ½ cup of the beans with an equal amount of walnuts, almonds, peanuts, or hazelnuts (don’t soak the nuts). Omit the cumin and cayenne and use the cilantro instead of the parsley or try a tablespoon or so of thyme leaves. Proceed with the recipe.

Nutritional Info (with 1 whole wheat pita): 502 calories; 0mg cholesterol; 20g fat; 3g saturated fat; 18g protein; 68g carbs; 813mg sodium; 14g fiber; 0g trans fat; 6g sugars.

Reprinted from the book VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health…for Good copyright © 2013 by Mark Bittman. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc. Photo is a stock image not associated with the book and does not represent the recipe's exact finished product.

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