Sweet Potato Falafel Wraps

Sweet potato falafels may sound like an abomination to falafel (or at least it did to me when I first tried it), but it is incredible! The flavor combinations are delicious, balanced, and it’s easier for me to make than traditional falafels due to the sweet potatoes. When you combine the sweet potato falafel (which are packed with protein) with onions, peppers, and a special tahini sauce all wrapped up, you will wish you tried this sooner. This is my go to recipe for falafel right now, and it is to die for.

Ingredients for Falafel

  • 2/3 c dried chickpeas
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • half lime
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce*
  • 2 tbsp coriander powder*
  • 1 tbsp paprika*
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne*
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp jeera/cumin seeds*
  • 1/4 onion*
  • 1 handful coriander/cilantro

Ingredients for Toppings

  • 3/4 onion (use leftovers from above)
  • 1/2 bell pepper
  • 1/2 jalepeno*
  • bunch of spinach
  • tortilla, pita, rice, roti, greens

Ingredients for Tahini Sauce

  • 5 heaping tbsp tahini
  • half lime
  • 8 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp agave
  • handful of fresh mint

Recipe for Sweet Potato Falafels

Rinse and soak your chickpeas overnight, and when the chickpeas are swollen, boil your sweet potato until soft. In a blender or food processor, grind the chickpeas until they’re the consistency of bread crumbs. You don’t want a paste, but you don’t want whole or half chickpeas in your falafels. Dump the chickpeas in a large bowl. Mash the sweet potato into the chickpeas until combined.

Finely chop the garlic and onion before adding to the mix. Go ahead and add the dark soy sauce, lime juice, and spices to the falafel mixture as well. Once all of this is mixed thoroughly, incorporate the fresh coriander (we wait to add it until the end as it tends to be fragile).

Heat a nonstick pan with a little oil to medium-high heat. Use your hands or a pair of spoons to make the mixture into little balls or patties. Now, you’re ready to fry or bake them. I opt to cook them with a little oil to make them healthier, but still seem slightly fried. Each falafel will need to cook on each side around 3-5 minutes or until browned and crispy.

Recipe for Toppings

For the toppings, all you need to do is saute the onions, bell pepper, and jalepeno until the onions are browned. Wash and set aside a handful of spinach or greens of your choosing.

Recipe for Tahini Sauce

Combine your tahini, lime juice, agave, and water in a small bowl or cup. Whisk everything together until it forms a velvety smooth sauce or paste. Once it has reached a smooth consistency, add finely chopped mint leaves and let sit as that allows the flavors to develop together.

Assembly!!!

Throw the toppings and sweet potato falafels on your preferred carb or greens, and top with the tahini sauce. It blew my mind; I hope it does the same to yours.

**Inspired by the Happy Pear brothers recipe for Sweet potato falafel nuggets**

*As always friends, use what you have. If you happen to not have an ingredient that’s not a main part, it’s ok. I encourage you to substitute it! This makes an excellent recipe to meal prep, as you can reheat the little falafels throughout the week!

Banana Oat Choco Bread

Banana bread is one of my most favorite recipes. This banana bread is moist and delicious, and with the chocolate chips, it’s to die for. Like most of my other recipes as well, it took me a lot of experimenting to get this recipe right. My banana oat choco bread is easy, delicious, and heavenly; your coworkers, family, or friends will love it so much they will be begging for your more!

Wet Ingredients

  • 3 large ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 8 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter soft*
  • 1/2 c white sugar
  • 1/2-3/4 c brown sugar
  • 2 eggs*
  • 1/2 c evaporated milk*
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 c all purpose flour (AP)
  • 1 c bread flour (if unavailable, use AP)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon*
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg*

Add Ins

  • 1 c rolled oats*
  • 3/4 c chocolate chips*
  • 3/4 c walnuts*

Recipe

Preheat your oven to 325 F and butter 2 small bread pans with the wrapper from your butter, non-stick cooking spray, or oil.

Cream your butter and sugars together in a large bowl; mash your bananas separately. Now add together along with the rest of the wet ingredients. Combine well.

Place a sifter over the bowl containing your wet ingredients. Begin measuring out your dry ingredients into the sifter and sift into the wet ingredients. If you don’t have a sifter, just combine the dry ingredients in another bowl and then dump them into the wet ingredients. (I just find a sifter easier to clean and, hey, your dry ingredients are sifted now!) Go ahead and throw in your add ins as well.

Now take a spatula, fork, wooden spoon, your hands, whatever you have and mix everything together. DO NOT OVER MIX. If you over mix, your banana bread will not be moist; pretty much just don’t work too hard.

Now, pour your batter into the pans as evenly as possible and place in the oven to bake for approximately 45 minutes. Or you can dump the batter into 1 large pan and bake around 1 1/2 hours.

Depending on your oven, you may want to pull out the banana bread sooner or later, so begin checking your banana bread at the 30 minute mark. You can insert a tooth pick into the bread to see if it is cooked in the center. If it comes out clean you’re good; if dirty, you need to bake your banana bread some more. I do this with a fork or knife as I don’t keep toothpicks around, and it seems to work just fine.

Alright, once your delicious Banana Oat Choco Bread is done, it’s ready to eat. It is recommended to let any bread cool before you eat it, but I can never wait that long. I don’t think it hurts the integrity of the bread at all to eat it sooner either, so enjoy!!

Get in my tummy! (Took it to work the next day, and all of it disappeared!)

P.S. This bread is delicious with some extra butter, peanut butter, or tahini on it!!

*Substitute these ingredients for whatever you enjoy or can eat. I made this recipe with flax eggs instead of real ones, and it turned out fantastic as always! Also, as you can tell, there are no chocolate chips in mine because I was out, which is incredibly sad.

Omelette and Oatmeal

Good morning everyone! Today I don’t have to work, so I’m going to take my time making a breakfast I enjoy. Omelettes are a favorite of mine, as is oatmeal. Plus, both are incredibly easy and cost effective to make. I’m sure everyone has their own recipes for omelettes and oatmeal, but here’s mine. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients for Omelette

  • 1/4 onion*
  • 1/4 bell pepper*
  • 1/2 jalepeno
  • 2 handfuls spinach*
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper*

Ingredients for Oatmeal

  • 1/4 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 water
  • pinch salt*
  • handful frozen blueberries*
  • chia seeds*
  • flax seeds*
  • agave or preferred sweetener*
  • almond milk*
  • cinnamon*
  • walnuts or any other nuts*
  • tahini or nut butter*

Recipe for Omelette

Heat a pan over medium heat with a little oil. Slice your onion, bell pepper, and jalepeno before adding your onion and jalepeno to the pan. Wait around 3-5 minutes before adding your bell pepper. (I used some leftover sauted onion/bell pepper/garlic/jalepeno and was able to skip this cooking process.)

Once your veggies are cooked, add the spinach and cook for about a minute, allowing it to wilt. Whisk your eggs together and add to the pan after the spinach has wilted. Cook the omelette for about 3 minutes on the first side and 1 minute on the other side as most of the egg will have cooked through from cooking the first side longer. Your omelette is ready! Definitely add some cheese and/or hot sauce to this if you like.

Omelette with hot sauce!

Recipe for Oatmeal

Take a small pot and put it over medium/high heat. Place your oats, water, and the just a little bit of salt in the pot. Let it cook for around 5 minutes, and then it will be done.

Everything else is a topping; so add everything to a bowl and mix together. If you choose to add the tahini or a nut butter, this will help your oatmeal to be extremely creamy and rich.

Yummy!

*So much of this is optional. You can make this “bare bones” with just the eggs, oats, and water if that’s what you have, or you can use even more vegetables in the omelette and more toppings in the oatmeal. It is all up to you and your preferences. Cherry tomatoes, arugula, fresh herbs, and goat cheese would be beautiful additions to the omelette. Dried fruit, hemp seeds, or fresh seasonal fruit would be lovely additions to the oatmeal. Choose what you enjoy!

Check out my next post to see the coffee recipe for that cup o’ jo!

Veggie Burger Forever

I love veggie burgers. When I was younger, I would make my own veggie patties to fry and use on my burger, but these days I just grab some at the store. Fake meat burgers are great for this recipe; but use whatever you have. If it’s just a burger and bread, that works. If you have some greens that are about to go bad, and some leftover vegetables from the other night, use them! It’s hard to f*ck this one up.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 onion*
  • 1 bell pepper*
  • 1 clove garlic*
  • 1 veggie burger
  • 1 egg*
  • 1/4 c hummus*
  • handful spinach*
  • zaatar*
  • 2 slices of bread, or a bun*

Recipe

This is a quick recipe! Fifteen minutes, and you’re ready to eat. Slice up your onion, bell pepper, and garlic while you have a pan warming on medium heat with oil. Throw your onions in the pan when it’s hot. Wait about 5 minutes for them to cook, before adding the garlic and bell pepper (we add them later so they don’t overcook or burn).

While you’re cooking your veggies, either microwave your veggie burger or put it on another skillet on medium heat to warm. As the burger is warming and if there is room, put some oil or butter down and fry an egg. The burger and the egg should cook within 5 minutes or so.

After the burger is done cooking, I throw a couple scoops of hummus on top and place a lid on the pan after turning off the heat; this way, the hummus warms without having to microwave it in a separate dish or anything. Toast your bread and prepare to plate.

Take your bread of choice and spread some more hummus on it (helps it not to be dry). Throw down your egg, burger, cooked veggies, and greens after which I like to shake a little zaatar on top. Zaatar helps give everything a bit more flavor! Now you’re ready to eat.

*Everything except the burger is optional here. Swap the veggies for ones you enjoy like squash, chilis, and mushrooms. Use whatever condiments you prefer. You can definitely take the bread out of this recipe and make your burger on just greens, tortillas, or anything you have. This recipe can absolutely be made vegan!

Hummus

Great hummus is amazing, and it can be life altering. It has been an obsession for me, for the entirety of my adult life. However, most people haven’t had great hummus; they’ve had store bought versions or their own homemade types that aren’t necessarily true to traditional flavors. You can choose to eat it from the store, or you can make this incredible recipe that you will much prefer as I have poured years of time, passion, and love into this hummus.

Ingredients

  • 32 oz canned chickpeas (best if you start fresh, soak, and cook, but canned are more convenient for me at the moment)
  • 1+ c tahini
  • 1 lemon (or lime in a pinch)
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • salt to taste (1/4-1/2 tsp)
  • chickpea water from cooking
  • olive oil for garnish*
  • paprika, zaatar, cumin, harissa for garnish*

Recipe

It’s not so much the ingredients that make a good hummus, but the method and ratios. To begin, drain and rinse your chickpeas until there are no more bubbles. Plop them in a pot on medium heat with the garlic. Fill the empty can with water 1 1/2 times and add to the pot. Make sure to boil the chickpeas until they smoosh between your fingers VERY easily, but not until they disintegrate. (Approximately 30 minutes.)

Chickpeas once cooked and looking about to burst.

Once the chickpeas are cooked, take a utensil with slots and fish them out of the water, so you can keep the water for later use.

Into the blender or food processor goes your lemon, tahini, and some (about 1/3 c) of the hot chickpea water. Blend until you get a smooth, light, and fluffy consistency. It may take a little extra water or tahini here or there until you get to that point, which is ok. One cannot have too much tahini.

Shown above is the evolution of the sauce (enlarged so you can see it clearly), from the ingredients and first blend to the second blend after adding more chickpea water. The picture to the far right is the end consistency you want (this sauce doubles as a salad dressing :0 ).

Once you have achieved this, dump in your salt and chickpeas (they must hot out of the pot), except a couple spoonfuls chickpeas to serve on top of the finished yumminess. Blend everything together until you reach a fluffy light consistency again; it may take more tahini (1-2 tbsp) and hot chickpea water (1/4 c) to reach this point. Do not despair; it took me YEARS to get to this recipe. All you need to do is tweak your ratios a bit.

This is the consistency you want: velvet.

After reaching that light, fluffy, and creamy heavenly goodness, plate it while hot and fresh, top with the leftover hot chickpeas, olive oil, and your choice of spices. Serve with naan, pita, roti, flatbread of some sort, potatoes, roasted vegetables, pulaos, biryani, chorizo potatoes, huevos rancheros, fresh greens, rice, etc; seriously, whatever you have! You can even use hummus as a pasta sauce if you cook the pasta and add it to the hummus with some pasta water to thin it out. I’ve done it with pasta and broccoli; it was delicious. Whatever you do, I highly, highly recommend that you eat this fresh instead of popping it in the fridge. It may be good cold, but it will be amazing fresh.

*None of these ingredients are optional except the garnishes if you want quality hummus, otherwise it will be mediocre.

The tahini I buy at a middle eastern market. The seeds aren’t toasted as much for this tahini (making it lighter and less bitter) than the seeds in the tahini you find at American chain grocery stores.

Mattar Pulao

Let’s play a game of spot the whole spices… I bet you can’t find the cardamom!
Comment if you can find it!

Mattar Pulao, or Peas Pulao is a rice based Indian recipe with peas as its star ingredient. As I always have rice and a bag of frozen peas, this is a great recipe for when you’re running low on fresh veggies or groceries in general. While it does incorporate spices, they can be easily purchased in small amounts at places like Sprouts or in bulk at Indian markets to save money.

Ingredients

  • oil or ghee*
  • 1/2 tsp jeera or cumin
  • 4 small or 2 large bay leaves
  • 1 elaichi or cardamom pod
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 c frozen peas
  • 1 heaping tsp pulao masala or garam masala
  • 1 heaping tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder*
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 c basmati or long grain rice
  • 2 c water or stock
  • 1/2-1 tsp salt*

Recipe

Begin by rinsing your rice and soaking it for 30 minutes. Chop your onions, gather your whole spices, and gather your powder spices. Heat a large/deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add your oil and ghee and allow to warm a little.

Add your whole spices to the hot oil and listen for them to make popping sounds and release they’re smells. Once the spices begin to turn golden, add your onions and ginger garlic paste, so the spices don’t burn. Cook the onions until golden or translucent.

As the onions brown, add the peas and powdered spices and mix well. Saute everything together for about 3 minutes. At this point incorporate your soaked and drained rice; mix it in well and allow to toast for 2 minutes. Now add the water and salt, and mix it all before covering with a lid.

  • Cook on high heat for 5 minutes.
  • Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.
  • Cook on low heat for 15 minutes.
  • Turn heat off and allow to sit with lid on for 10 minutes.
See that brown? It’s crispy deliciousness; you’ll be wishing there was more!

By cooking your mattar pulao on these different heats, the underside of the pulao will be browned, crispy, and flavorful – not burnt! The rice will steam properly, be evenly cooked all the way through, and the peas won’t be too mushy. Make sure to take out your whole spices (if you can find them) before eating unless you want a cardamom bomb in your mouth! Enjoy…

*For the most part, everything in this recipe is necessary for the composition of mattar pulao; without those spices and ingredients, this would no longer be mattar pulao. But with that said, make this what you want. If you have another spice that you like better and are curious if it will work in here, give it a go! Cooking is trial and error and fun.

**As this recipe has little protein, my favorites to serve this with are: fried eggs, boiled eggs, hummus, chana/chickpea masala, tofu, etc.

Bean + Potato Tacos

I love tacos – especially since moving to Austin, TX, but since I’m a vegetarian, it’s not always an easy chore making them. This recipe is fairly easy, simple, and delicious, and will satisfy your cravings for delicious tacos!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste*
  • 1 16 oz. can of black beans
  • 1 tbsp chili powder*
  • 1 c water
  • 2 potatoes or rice*
  • 1 onion*
  • 1 bell pepper*
  • 1 zucchini*
  • cheese*
  • tortillas/rice/quinoa
  • 1 lime*
  • hot sauce

Recipe

Cut the potatoes into small cubes and soak in cold water for about 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 400 F, and once the potatoes are done soaking, place them on baking sheets will oil and seasonings to cook for around 45 minutes or until golden brown. Alternatively, you can cook some rice instead and use it as the filler in the tacos instead of potatoes! 🙂

After you place the potatoes in the oven, drain and rinse the beans. Add some oil to a pot on medium heat, throw in your ginger garlic paste, and shortly after throw in your beans. Now add your chili powder, water, and salt to taste. Cook for around 10 minutes with the lid on and another 5-10 without the lid until most of the water evaporates. You will want to mash the beans a little into the pan, so they form a chunky paste instead of being whole beans.

While your beans are cooking, slice your vegetables, heat a pan on high heat, and add some oil. Begin by placing your onions in the pan and allowing to saute for around 5-10 minutes. Add some salt and pepper, and any other spices you may wish. Now, incorporate your zucchini and bell pepper, and saute for another 5 minutes before turning off the heat.

Once all the above are almost done cooking, heat your tortillas in the oven wrapped in foil. Now assemble everything, and sqeeze the lime over. Enjoy!!

*Absolutely put whatever you want into this recipe. If you like broccoli or artichokes or greens like spinach and kale, put that in! Or in my case, I used some of my leftover chorizo mixture; it makes the tacos even heartier. Eat this for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and take it to work as this will definitely get you coworkers asking: “Can I have some?”This recipe can be made vegan, vegetarian, or neither. Have fun exploring!

Creamy Miso Ramen

Ramen is delicious – especially miso ramen with some creaminess. That’s what I’m making on this stormy night, something warm and soupy. It has been my go-to ever since I became a vegetarian and chicken noodle soup went out the window, fast. At least to me, ramen is so much more complex and warming.

Ingredients

  • Leftover tofu from the Thai red curry (if you have any)*
  • 1-2 medium boiled eggs left over from the egg curry*
  • 2 tbsp red or dark miso
  • 2 tsp ginger garlic paste*
  • 1 tbsp chili flakes or sambal*
  • 1/2 tsp dark soy*
  • 1 1/2 c water or vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp vegetable bullion powder or paste
  • handful of fresh or packaged ramen noodles
  • evaporated milk or soy milk*

Recipe

Heat a small pot over medium heat and add the miso and ginger garlic paste to combine and cook for a minute. Next, add the chili flakes and soy sauce until it becomes a thick creamy consistency. Don’t add salt at any point until the end if it isn’t salty enough for you, as the miso is quite salty in and of itself.

Now add your broth or water mixed with bullion and bring to a boil. Preferably, cook your noodles in your broth as I think this adds more flavor to them. The fresh ramen noodles only need to cook for 2-3 minutes and will be done, so you can add your tofu and eggs at the same time as the noodles.

However, the packed noodles will take longer, and you may need to add more water to make up for the water the noodles soak up. Then, add your tofu and eggs once the noodles are ready about 5-7 minutes later.

At this point, you can be done, but I like to add just a little splash of soy milk to make it silky smooth and creamy. Yum!

I buy fresh noodles typically at an Asian market, and freeze whatever I have leftover in single portions which makes things a lot easier!

*All optional, but I highly recommend as the recipe won’t taste the same without them.

Please let me know what you think of the recipe, pics, everything in the comments, so I can work on making Panda Eats Food better! Thanks!

Egg Curry

Alright, Egg curry is South Indian comfort food, and is similar to the Thai red curry. But egg curry is a bit different and requires less thought and time for me. It is a melding of flavors in a simple yet strong way with some spice, of course. Egg curry is a staple in my home, as it requires few vegetables and ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs, boiled/steamed and peeled or tofu
  • 1/2 tsp cumin/jeera seeds
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 to 1 c water
  • 2-3 tbsp evaporated milk*

Recipe

Boil or steam your eggs until they boil, turn the heat off, and let sit for about 10 minutes. Then remove, cool them, and try pealing them successfully unlike me.

While your eggs are cooking, slice your onions, and chop your tomatoes into small cubes.

Heat some oil or ghee in a pan, add the cumin seeds, and let them splatter/pop. Now add your onions before the cumin burns. Add some salt to taste, and it will help the onions cook faster. Cook onions for about 5 minutes.

Onions with ginger garlic paste

Add the ginger garlic paste and saute for around 2 minutes before throwing in the tomatoes. When cooking your tomatoes, you want them to become mushy and break down; you can help expedite this process by adding water while you cook them.

Onions, ginger garlic, tomatoes, and spices.

Now add your spices and combine. Cook for another 2 minutes or so; then add the water to make everything into a gravy of sorts.

With the water.

Now I add in my eggs that demonstrate my inability to peel. You can also fry the eggs in a skillet before you throw them in, and that makes them even tastier. But, that doesn’t work well with messed up eggs like how I did them this time.

And the eggs.

Ok, you can be done completely at this point or like me, if you added to much chili powder, you can add some milk/cream/tahini to make your curry creamier and less spicy!

Serve by itself, with rice, or like I did with some yummy parathas (kind of a croissant tortilla) that I’ve been meaning to eat. Enjoy!

*Milk is totally optional, and if you want to substitute some spice you can, but it will definitely change the flavor. As always though, use what you have!

Thai Red Curry

Thai red curry is one of those easy meals. Plus, you use whatever is in your fridge, so it’s a perfect end-of-the-week meal. Unfortunately, I haven’t made red curry paste myself yet, but a tub you by at an Asian market lasts me months, MONTHS. Not only will the tub last me months, but this curry will last you days possibly if you’re cooking for yourself, or maybe a couple nights for several people.

Ingredients for Tofu

  • 1 block tofu
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp sambal olek*
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp agave*
  • salt to taste

Ingredients for Curry

  • 1 onion*
  • 1/2 16 oz carton of mushrooms*
  • 1 zucchini*
  • 1 bell pepper*
  • 1/3 c red curry paste
  • 1 can coconut milk*
  • 1/4 c frozen corn*
  • 1/4 c frozen peas*
  • 1 c frozen broccoli*
  • 1/2 lime

Recipe for Tofu

Preheat oven to 400 F, and combine all of the ingredients (except tofu) on a lined baking pan. Mix all the sauces together. Cut tofu into chunks, throw in the pan, and coat in the sauce. Place in oven for duration of cooking time for curry (approximately 30 minutes or until brown and crispy).

Recipe for Curry

Oil a skillet or wok and heat on high. Slice the onions and mushrooms, and add them to the pan. Let cook for 5 minutes while chopping the rest of the fresh vegetables. Add the fresh vegetables and cook for about 5 minutes.

Now add your red curry paste in the side of the pan and smash it into the side of the pan. Begin adding a little coconut milk at a time to the curry paste and mix the two until smooth. Incorporate the rest of the coconut milk if you haven’t already.

Cook for 3-5 minutes and chuck in the frozen veggies. If the curry appears too thick (mine did), add a little water until it reaches your desired consistency. Cook for around 3 minutes.

Retrieve your tofu from the oven, throw it in the curry, and squeeze the lime over everything. You’re done with a yummy and warm Thai red curry, so enjoy!

Red curry paste I found at a local Asian grocery store – ON SALE! Winning!

*Almost all the items here are optional. Substitute for vegetable or meat you find delicious!

**You can devour this curry as is, with rice, quinoa, or whatever you desire.