As you may have noticed, a lot of my recipes work well for a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. One of my friends suggested that I write some #Meatless Monday posts so I am going to do just that. I am calling my Meatless Monday celebration “Meatless Meals in Minutes” because I try to make plant based eating easy to do. This was a name that I came up with when I worked as a wellness registered dietitian nutritionist in Wilson, NC when we did a big employee appreciate event. I hope that you like some of my favorite vegetarian meals that I highlight and remember you can check out the rest of my blog, recipe section and my book Farm Fresh Nutrition
The first recipe I want to share to kick off Meatless Monday is to share a different way to eat your carrots. Where we live in Western North Carolina, locally grown carrots are available in the spring, summer and fall. Twenty years ago, I never realized that a home grown carrot or one from the farmers’ market was so much sweeter and tastier than those that my we purchased at the store.
When we think about carrots, most of us think of them one of the foods that help our eyesight, however there are so many other parts of our body that benefit from the beta-carotene. Carrots also have potassium, vitamin vitamin C, and vitamin B6. Because they are sweet and crunchy, they made a great low fat snack with hummus or a creamy, light ranch dressing.
Some of my favorite ways to eat carrots are in salads, soups, stir fries, pasta primavera, veggie patties and of course carrot cake. My husband, Bruce has even made pickled carrots which are great on a sandwich. If you haven’t been in the habit of adding orange in your daily meal plan, these are a great vegetable to have on hand, they also come in purple or cream color varieties!
Plant your own carrots in full full sun about 2-4 inches deep after you have made your soil workable. organic gardening You can sow carrot every few weeks to get an ongoing supply and you can have a nice crop until late fall. Carrots stay fresh in your refrigerator for several weeks if you store them properly.
Here is a fun and different type of recipe that you may not have ever eaten. It is called a kofta which is an Indian type of vegetarian patty which tastes great served in a pita, tortilla wrap or on top of a grain pilaf or a salad.
Carrot and Chickpea Koftas
I love new ideas for what to cook for dinner! Garbanzo or chickpea flour can be found in most larger stores or health food markets. It is high in protein and has a great flavor used in recipes. It is high fiber and gluten free! They make a great alternative to meat. For a lower fat version, you could rub with a little oil and bake at 425 degrees until browned on both sides!
1 medium grated carrot
1 cup garbanzo bean flour
1 teaspoon freshly, ground cumin seed
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro
1/3 cup chopped onion
Enough water to make a soft dough/paste
In a large mixing bowl add grated carrot, garbanzo bean flour, seasonings, onion and chopped cilantro. Add enough water to make it the consistency of a soft dough/paste. Heat the a small amount of oil in a large frying pan, and add dollops of the kofta mixture. Leaving room in the pan to flip- you may need to do a couple of batches. Cook the koftas for a few minutes and flip until each side is golden brown and crispy. Continue to turn until they are golden brown on all sides. About 10 or 15 minutes and drain well on paper towels.
Makes four servings at 3-4 koftas each.
I hope that you enjoy this recipe and pick up some carrots and other local produce from your local farmers’ market over the weekend. As a registered dietitian in Asheville, it is always a lot of fun to teach clients new ways to cook common foods like a carrot. Many people who do not enjoy certain foods may begin eating them in new ways. And of course the fresher the ingredients the better it tastes and the more nutritious it is!