Pan-Fried Falafel with Stir-Fried Veggies and Couscous (vegan, easily gluten-free)

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I was walking home from uni the other day, and suddenly my brain and stomach connected and said:

I really want falafel right now.

So I made falafel. Plot twist am I right?! Haha…ha…

I’ve never made falafel before, but I sure do love it.

I have a very strong memory of eating falafel while in New York City. I was on a school trip with my concert band, and we were wandering around Grand Central Station in search of something, anything to eat because the starvation was very real. Our noses led us to a stand where fresh falafel was being cooked on the grill. YUM.

The piping hot falafel seemed to just melt in my mouth. Even though I wolfed it down in only a few minutes, I still remember its delicious taste.

This falafel is simple, fresh and flavourful. When paired with lots of veggies and a spoonful of couscous, it is perfect for when you are craving a lighter meal.

PAN-FRIED FALAFEL WITH STIR-FRIED VEGGIES AND COUSCOUS ~makes 3-4 servings

To make this dish gluten-free: Use a gluten-free version of couscous, or serve with quinoa or just more vegetables.

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 TB fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 3-4 TB olive oil

Add all the above ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth.

Place 2 cups water, 1 cup dry couscous and 1 TB of salted butter into a small pot and bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside until ready to serve.

Heat 1 TB olive oil in a non-stick skillet set over medium heat. Using 2 TB of falafel mixture, form patties and place into the heated pan (it will be sticky). Cook for 7-10 minutes on each side, or until golden and crispy. Carefully flip and repeat on other side. 

In the same non-stick skillet, stir-fry whatever medley of vegetables you like. I chopped up 4 mushrooms, 1/2 a green pepper, 1/2 a zucchini and some leftover broccoli.

Plate and serve!

Pan-Fried Eggplant + Tomato Roll with Steamed Broccoli (gluten and grain free, vegetarian)

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Sometimes foods speak to me. That’s what happened this weekend. I was just roaming the grocery store and out of the corner of my eye I saw a heaping pile of eggplant, their beautiful colour and sheen seeming to sparkle under the store’s halogens. They were just So. Darn. Attractive. I couldn’t leave without one, and I’m very glad I didn’t!

On another note, FALL IS HERE GUYS, YAY! It’s time to cozy up in my slippers and eat all the comfort foods within my grasp. Comfort foods that top my list are definitely anything absolutely covered in tomato sauce. I’ll seriously eat anything if it’s covered in tomato sauce, I’ve got a little bit of an obsession.

I’ve never actually had or cooked eggplant before, so I thought if I smothered it with two of my favourite things/comfort foods, (tomato sauce + melty cheese) that I’d like it. Logic.

I was right!

This dish is extremely delicious, and a great alternative for pasta if you’re looking for a gluten-free or grain free alternative.

PAN FRIED EGGPLANT + TOMATO ROLL WITH STEAMED BROCCOLI ~I ate the whole thing cause I was super hungry, but it’s definitely enough for two if served with more broccoli, and maybe a side of herbed couscous or quinoa.

The proportions are also very flexible, so if you don’t want your eggplant very saucy or cheesy, feel free to use less or even more!

  • 1 long purple eggplant
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce (store bought or homemade)
  • 3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp fresh or dried basil
  • 1 small head of broccoli

Cut off top and tail of eggplant and slice lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick strips. Brush both sides of eggplant strips with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.

Cut broccoli into small crowns.

In a pan set over medium heat, place eggplant in and fry until golden and softened, 7-10 minutes on each side. (It’s totally fine to crowd your pan and fit as much eggplant in as possible)

Put tomato sauce on the stove to heat, and begin steaming broccoli.

Remove eggplant from pan and lay side by side lengthwise, overlapping each piece by about 1/2 an inch. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Using both hands, carefully roll the eggplant into a large roll.

Turn pan heat down to low and transfer your eggplant roll to the pan with a spatula. Fry on one side until golden (2-3 minutes) and then flip and repeat on the other side until cheese is all melted.

To serve: Place half the hot tomato sauce on your plate and set the eggplant on top. Pour other half of sauce overtop and sprinkle with basil. Place broccoli on the edges and enjoy!

Apple + Almond Couscous ~ The Perfect Fall Breakfast ~ (Easily Vegan)

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Last fall you could see me every single morning with a big bowl of oatmeal topped with diced apple, raisins, nuts, cinnamon and honey. Every. Single. Morning. I thank my dear mother for the endless supply of apples, because no apples meant no oatmeal for me.

This year I have been on a peanut butter toast streak. Every single morning it has been a piece of toast topped with a big spoonful of peanut butter and a side of fruit. Every. Single. Morning.

I thought it was time I put aside the peanut butter toast for a while.

So in comes the breakfast couscous.

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I’ve always loved couscous, but never really associated it with breakfast before. A few mornings ago I was about to grab the peanut-butter for my toast as I always do, when I spotted some leftover couscous from a stir-fry I had made the night before. I’d remembered reading somewhere about how it was a delicious breakfast, so I gave it a shot. Long story short, it was absolutely delicious.

This breakfast is so darn easy, warming, satisfying, delicious and perfect for a chilly dark morning. It will definitely keep you full and fuelled until lunchtime.

It is also very versatile, so top with whatever you have lying around! Pears, dried cranberries, walnuts, sunflower seeds…the possibilities are endless!

Apple + Almond Breakfast Couscous makes 2-3 servings

Prepare the couscous~can be made ahead and reheated in the morning or even served cold if you wish

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 TB butter (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup dry couscous

Bring water, butter and salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Add in couscous and simmer with the lid on for 5 minutes. Take off heat, fluff with a fork and serve.

Portion couscous out and top each serving generously with:

  • a sprinkle of cinnamon
  • almonds
  • diced apple
  • a drizzle of honey (leave out if vegan)
  • a splash of the milk of your choice (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk).

Enjoy!

Tofu and Vegetable Spaghetti + Cleaning out the fridge

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I find that dance breaks while doing endless hours of studying is extremely beneficial. If you haven’t tried it, then you’ll be amazed the wonders you’ll experience. Sometimes it’s dancing to a non-existent tune that includes some fantastic air guitar. Or sometimes it includes The Miracle from U2’s new album with a fabulous ball-point pen microphone, and then it turns into some Taylor Swift cause…dancing.

Then of course food is a great break from the pile of books on my desk, so into this delicious Tofu and Vegetable Spaghetti!

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Upon opening my fridge I realized that I really needed to go grocery shopping, which will be done tomorrow I promise! But by stirring together almost all the contents of my fridge, I came up with a delicious plate of pasta. It’s one of those dishes that was so yummy that it is definitely going to be made again! Plus, the possibilities are endless, you can really add whatever vegetables you have in your fridge and I’m sure it would still taste fabulous.

I also accomplished my first full week of university! So here’s a picture of my celebratory latte…and it was only $2! What a deal. (There was also a white chocolate and pistachio biscotti involved…so much deliciousness)

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Here’s to another week! And lots of dance breaks.

Tofu and Vegetable Spaghetti~makes 2-3 servings

  • Roughly 85g whole grain spaghetti
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1/2 lb tofu, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 zucchini, diced
  • 1 roma tomato, diced
  • 1/4 of a green bell pepper, diced
  • roughly 1/2 cup pasta sauce (I used store bought)
  • grated mozzarella or parmesan cheese
  • pepper to taste

Heat oil in a non-stick skillet on medium heat and add tofu. At the same time, put a pot of water on to boil for your pasta.

Fry tofu until golden and crispy, remove from pan and set aside. By this time your water should be boiling, so add your pasta and a pinch of salt ~remember to stir your pasta every few minutes

Using the same non-stick skillet you cooked your tofu in, add in the onion, garlic, zucchini, tomato and green bell pepper. Turn down heat and continue to stir. Add a few tablespoons of water to the pan and continue cooking the vegetables for 2-3 minutes. They will release their own water as well, so don’t add too much water. Turn up the heat back to medium and cook vegetables until most of the water has cooked off. Stir in the pasta sauce and cooked tofu and heat through.

By this time your pasta should be done, so drain your pasta and add it to the skillet with the vegetables and tofu. Stir together and serve topped with shredded cheese and a sprinkle of pepper.

Enjoy!