Pistachio Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Pistachio Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I'm neither gluten-intolerant nor a strict vegan, but I find that making treats or desserts without flour or dairy is not just an enjoyable and challenging departure from the kind of baking I learned growing up, but it's also deliciously rewarding. These easy chewy little pistachio cookies with dark chocolate chunks are just as tasty as any cookie you could make with flour, eggs or milk, but they don't have any of those ingredients at all. And they're loaded with protein and fiber from nuts, nut butter and sesame seeds, so you can feel good about enjoying them as well.
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Spanish-Style Saffron Rice with Black Beans

Spanish-Style Saffron Rice with Black Beans

Even those of us who are avid cooks sometimes desire a meal without fuss, but one that is nourshing and satisfying all the same. This colorful and hearty dish is a vegetarian twist on paella. Although there's neither meat nor seafood, the common component of paella, it's very much inspired by traditional paellas with short grain rice, vegetables and beans seasoned with saffron — from which the dish gets its reddish and glowing color — and spices, all cooked in a single large skillet, from which paella, "frying pan" in Valencian, gets its name. A generous helping of black olives stirred in at the end adds a final twist of robust yet complimentary flavor.

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Crumbled Paneer with Fresh Mint, Cilantro and Spiced Green Peas


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Crumbled Paneer with Fresh Mint, Cilantro and Spiced Green Peas

Although I'm not a vegan, I do find as the years go by that I have been moving away from including dairy in many of my meals. But one dairy food that I can never see myself giving up is paneer cheese — also known as Indian cottage cheese, it's a soft but firm, creamy and succulent fresh cheese that doesn't melt when cooked, making it a wonderful addition to curries and other hot foods, or the main feature in its own dish.

Paneer cheese is the star ingredient of this vibrant but simple curry that you can put together in half an hour. The paneer is crumbled and simmered with tomatoes, fresh herbs, tender sweet green peas, and crushed seeds. Crushing the cumin and coriander seeds adds distinction to this dish, as the aromatic flavors of the seeds assert their presence with the bold flavors of fresh mint and cilantro. All the tastes mingle so nicely with the creamy paneer cheese in a dish that dances with flavor, fragrance and color.

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Chickpeas in a Coconut Milk Karhi Sauce


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Chickpeas in a Coconut Milk Karhi Sauce

A treasured dish for many years in my kitchen, I decided to mix things up a bit with a vegan version of this recipe for Tender Chickpeas in Golden Karhi Sauce. Karhi or Kadhi sauce is a creamy gravy with the primary base being chickpea flour to thicken the sauce. Traditionally made with yogurt and buttermilk which results in a slightly sour flavor, the sauce is usually thinner when such savories such as pakoras or kofta are featured, and commonly served with rice and/or Indian flatbreads on the side, such as roti or paratha. I've used chickpeas to fill out the dish in this case, and instead of yogurt and cream, I used coconut milk, and cut down on the amount of liquid used for a slightly thicker sauce. It is not quite as sour, but if you want a slightly more sour taste, then consider adding a scant teaspoon of amchoor power or a few teaspoons of lemon juice near the end of the cooking time. I think I might like this version even better than the original one, but either way, whether you wish to use yogurt or coconut milk, it's a dish that very well might become a staple one in your kitchen too.

Another advantage of this dish is the ease of preparation. With little chopping, it comes together in hardly anytime at all, especially if you skip using dried chickpeas, though with a little planning the night before, I recommend using dried beans, as they are more economical and better for you, as sadly so many canned varieties include salt or other preservatives, and I much prefer adding my own seasonings.

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