One of the interesting things about starting this Meat Free Monday adventure is that I’ve had to remind myself that just because I’m not eating meat on Monday specifically, it doesn’t mean it needs to be a part of all my meals every other day. Like, it’s completely OK for me to eat vegetarian meals on other days of the week. I know it seems silly, but when you get so hyper focused on a specific dietary plans, well, sometimes common sense just kind of gets pushed aside.
Anyway. Still enjoying this challenge, and really having fun exploring new recipes! (Like the homemade instant noodle cups! If I don’t included on a MFM post, I’ll be sure to share the recipe on its own.) In fact, I’m finding so many different recipes I want to try or adapt, that I’m having a hard time deciding what and when I want to make things! In fact, even for this week’s dinner I had 3 ideas going through my head and essentially waited until about an hour before dinner to make my decision. (I procrastinated by making some granola.)
As it was the first day of the spring semester, I wanted something easy. Because I need to get in the habit of easy breakfasts that keep me actually eating breakfast on a regular basis. Thankfully I only have 1 class before 11am, and that’s only one day a week. For this one, I just went with a mini bagel. A mini Maple French Toast bagel. With brown sugar cinnamon cream cheese. For something small, it was very tasty.
Even though I didn’t need to stay on campus for lunch — I don’t officially have classes on Mondays. Or Fridays — I did stay on campus so I could try to get some work done -slash- maybe get ahead on my readings for the rest of the week. Packable lunches can be a challenge, but I feel as though I’ve been getting better at it. For me the key is having specific containers just for packed lunches. It also helps with portioning and whatnot. Anyway. For the main part of my lunch I had a buffalo chickpea sandwich.
I’d made chickpea sandwich spreads before. People like to call it a replacement for tuna salad. It’s not. Chickpeas maybe have a similar color, but texture wise or even flavor wise, it’s not tuna. However, it does lend itself well for sandwich spread. The last one I made was a dill and mustard based one. Very good. But I’d been wanting something buffalo, and thought this was a good idea. These sandwiches are pretty easy, but very tasty. Mash chickpeas, add in wet stuff, and flavoring, and then make a sandwich. (Real recipe below!)
As I mentioned, I had a hard time deciding on what to do. I thought about doing one of my go-to pasta dishes. Then I had another idea — which I already forgot about, so it probably wasn’t that exciting. But even as I was starting to make my dinner, I saw another pasta dish recipe that sounded good… but, well, I was already cooking.
I’d seen a fair bit of recipes for veggie burgers, veggie nuggets, and veggie fritters. All of them sounded good. One of the reasons I wasn’t so sure I’d go with this recipe is because I kept forgetting to get buns. So, I decided to improvise. Make a pseudo brinner.
I combined a whole lot of recipes, so I can’t link a definite one for my inspiration. Not to mention, one of the ones I really liked, I couldn’t find before I even started cooking. Just as my chickpea spread isn’t a mock tuna salad, veggie burgers really shouldn’t be treated like mock hamburgers. You can blend a lot of different things and get some really neat and complex flavors. I decided for my first foray into this, to just keep it somewhat simple. Chickpeas and corn. And quinoa. Essentially you kind of have to get into the mindset that you’re going to make meatballs — you need binders. For me that was quinoa, breadcrumbs, and a couple eggs. I also chose to bake mine rather than fry. And served it up with sweet potato tots. Because if you can add tots, you should add tots. Just saying.
Originally I was going to share the recipe for this burger… However, I want to play with my ratios and perfect it a little more before I do that. Don’t get me wrong, this was a really good dinner and a great play on a burger. However, the patty on its own was just OK. Combined with the egg on top though? Yeah, I’m immensely pleased with my genius. I don’t know when I’ll get back to this recipe, but even if it’s not during MFM I’ll post it!
In fact, I’m thinking after this January run of moving these updates to Instagram and just publishing a select recipes every so often. As much as I love cooking, and I am actually doing my thesis on food, I do not plan on turning this into a food blog. But I’m kind of proud of some of the food I’ve been making.
Buffalo Chickpea Sandwich Spread
Meat-free sandwich with a little kick
- 1 can chickpeas (drained & rinsed)
- 1/3 cup mayo ((or greek yogurt if that's your thing))
- celery (chopped into small pieces)
- buffalo sauce ((as much as you'd like!))
Empty chickpeas into a bowl, and use a strong utensil to mash them. A potato masher would likely be idea, though a wooden spoon or large fork work well too.
Add mayo, celery pieces, and buffalo sauce and mix well.
Drizzle ranch or add in some blue cheese crumbles, if you like.
Serve as a sandwich, or a wrap, or eat as is!