When I shared a prior post on My Story, I got several questions from readers, a few of them asking how I come up with my recipes. I will try to explain my style and process a little bit on this post. Having a blog that focuses on creating recipes with just 8 ingredients or less is sometimes overwhelmingly, challenging. When I felt led to create this blog, I didn’t think too long about how I would be able to do it…..I honestly just knew in my heart I would make it happen. I just knew it was destined, if you will. My hubby was so supportive and encouraging, even when I expressed my self-doubt at moments. Blogging can be tough and it can really play with your head. I thank my Mom for always being there for me and to help me refocus when I call her in a panic.
When I have a goal, I don’t spend days and hours thinking about how I will get it done, I just take action immediately and know I will make it work. Sounds probably totally crazy to some of y’all, but that is how I have always been. If I think too much about it, I may not be bold enough and would possibly let fear creep in. So, to avoid that, I dive in head first all the time.
With each recipe, I get extremely excited over certain ideas that pop into my head and then the challenge (with some of them) is how I am going to keep it at 8 ingredients. Making it vegan, gluten-free and oil-free makes it rather difficult sometimes. The main reason is that gluten-free baking is never just one flour (like all-purpose) which makes the ingredient list build quickly. Then you add vegan to the mix and oil-free and 8 ingredients, and it can be chaotic sometimes. I’ve started so many recipes, only to come back to them a month or more later to figure it out.
I have to figure out how to make them have the same richness and moisture without eggs, oil or gluten. It takes several trials and changing things to get it there, but it makes me a better, more experienced baker that way. When making desserts, I strive for richness.
I recently read on another site where somebody posted about the vegan dessert not tasting all that great, “but it was healthy”. Um, what is the point of that? Having a healthy tasting dessert is pointless to me. It’s not going to satisfy your craving and you will just want more. If I want to taste something healthy, I will eat veggies. But when I want dessert, I want to enjoy it and not feel like it’s missing something. To me, dessert should not be obvious that it’s made with different ingredients. It should just be absolutely delicious and people love it so much, they don’t care if it’s vegan or not. Now, of course, some desserts are both rich tasting and on the healthy lines.
One major difference with my homemade desserts, is that they never make me feel sick afterwards, like traditional butter/sugar filled recipes used to. I know that is because the ingredients I use are whole food ingredients and do have some great nutrients/vitamins in them…they aren’t just garbage ingredients. I love that I can eat them, feel satisfied and not feel sick afterwards or guilty! You should never feel guilty after eating, you should enjoy your food. If you make it homemade and with good ingredients, then you can really feel good about it!
So, all this talk about dessert and I am sharing a healthy savory recipe, hahaha! Sorry! But, hey, just go back to my previous post if you like and see my Pumpkin Pie Chocolate Chip Ice cream Sandwiches.
For this recipe, I chose chickpeas and flavored them simply with a smoky flair. I chose kalamata olives for the strong, bold salty and red wine flavor. I chose red bell peppers and roasted them for a slightly, sweet flavor and then avocado for the creaminess. All of these components are simply delicious together. I couldn’t stop eating it.
The best part of this recipe is how versatile it is. You can use it in a tortilla wrap, or with chips as a “dip” (above), in a salad or as a filling in the mini baked pie crusts I did here in some of the photos. (That recipe will be coming too!) The mini pie crusts were a last minute idea and it turned out so delicious and would be great for a party because they are handheld and so pretty. I was sooooo thrilled to come up with this pie crust recipe finally, and I have both the savory version and a sweet version to share coming up. It’s so easy too and rolls out just like regular dough. Or you can just use a 3.5 inch round cookie cutter to cut out premade tortillas. Press them into a greased muffin pan and bake for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees and then fill the cups!
I even drizzled a garlic tahini dressing on top of a couple of them…not needed, but so delicious!
So, whatever way you decide to use this recipe, I’d LOVE to hear about it! Come back here and leave feedback please, as I really love to keep permanent track of them. Also, I’d love to see your creative way to use this, so take a photo and tag me on Instagram @thevegan8 and don’t forget my hashtag #thevegan8. I am getting totally blown away by all of your creativity. This past week, my lovely reader Liz made a double-layered cake out of my Sweet Potato Cinnamon Muffins and frosted it with cashew frosting, coconut sugar and walnuts. It was amazing!
Smoky Chickpeas with Olive-Cado Relish
- 2 red bell peppers chopped
- Two 13.5 oz boxes of chickpeas or 3 cups cooked chickpeas, I buy mine from Whole Foods from a box and not a can
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2-3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt adjust to taste
- 1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper adjust to taste
Remaining relish ingredients
- 1 avocado chopped
- 20 Kalamata olives chopped
- Preheat an oven to 415 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Chop the bell peppers and spread out evenly on the pan. Sprinkle salt and pepper over them generously. Bake for 10-15 minutes until tender, but still firm. I removed mine at 12 minutes and they were perfect.
- While the bell peppers are roasting, prepare the chickpeas. Drain and rinse the chickpeas and add them to a small pot with all the spices and 1/4 cup of water. Stir well until mixed. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook just to heat through and remove once the water has basically evaporated. Taste and add any more seasoning if desired.Set aside.
- Chop the avocado and olives.
- Different ways to serve: 1. You can add everything to a bowl and toss together and eat with chips as a "dip". So good. 2. You can fill a tortilla wrap with the mixture and eat as tacos. 3. You can add the mixture to a salad to jazz it up. 4. Or, as in my photos, you can fill little baked pie crusts and serve as elegant appetizers, or just eat them yourself. I will be sharing my mini baked pie crust recipe soon, but in the meantime you can just get some regular tortillas and cut out circles with a 3.5 inch cookie cutter. Press them into a muffin pan and bake them at 400 degrees for about 5-10 minutes until they become crispy. Or add your own creative spin!