vegan chickpea cakes with dill, spinach and pickled beets


Colin recently voiced that he's been on the hunt for vegan fritter recipes. Now the thing that usually keeps fritters from vibe-ing with vegans is the eggs that ultimately hold them together and give them their crispness in the pan. So I did an inspiration search for vegan fritters, cakes and patties and came up with my own version using ingredients we had on hand and took it one factor healthier by baking instead of frying: boom.

For this recipe, you'll need:

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup spinach, finely chopped
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, grated
1-2 flax eggs (1 tablespoon flax meal to 2 1/2 tablespoons water)
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
2-4 tablespoons whole wheat breadcrumbs
Fresh dill, chopped
The juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, make your flax eggs (simply add 1 tablespoon flax meal for every 2 1/2 tablespoons water) and set aside. In a large bowl, add your chickpeas and smash down with a fork or the back of a spoon. You don't have to completely purée them, but having an even mixture of whole and smashed will help the cakes hold together.

Stir in your onions, garlic and spinach. Add your dill (or any other herbs you might have), salt, pepper and sesame seeds. Coat the mixture with 2 tablespoons of your olive oil and 1 flax egg; fold together with a spatula. Add 2 tablespoons of your breadcrumbs and mix to incorporate. At this point, try to determine how well your cakes will hold together by attempting to form a small patty. They aren't going to be perfect, but if they completely fall apart, you'll know you need to add more olive oil/flax egg/bread crumbs. Go with 1 tablespoon of each at a time until you reach the desired consistency. They don't have to completely hold together, but they should at least resemble a circular shape. You get the idea.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Form the mixture into balls (about 2 tablespoons each) and transfer to the baking sheet. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand or a spatula, but don't completely squash. Cook for about 15 minutes then flip your cakes (caaarefully), squash down again and continue baking for another fifteen minutes.

Serve these cakes over rice, with some pickled vegetables (golden beets, anyone?) or some stir-fried snap peas. These guys also work great with a tahini sauce, maybe a little mustard orrrr if you're not entirely convinced that the vegan life is for you (I feel you), some yogurt might be nice.