Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Besan Vegetable Frittata and a week of eats

It has been a little bit Orange around here lately.  I can assure you that there I have been cooking up a storm since getting back from holidays.  Some has been great.  Not all.  I thought today that I would reflect on a week of meals and leave you with my version of my favourite meals last week - Yogi Kitchen's besan fritatta.

Here is the evening meals that we had last week:
  • Saturday - Carrot and bean salad with boiled buckwheat
  • Sunday - Carrot and bean salad with buckwheat tossed in Mum's middle eastern vegie stew
  • Monday - Bangers and mash
  • Tuesday - Mum's cumin and tomato vegie stew with rice and steamed broccoli
  • Wednesday - Pumpkin and tofu potstickers (dumplings) with fried rice
  • Thursday - Besan fritatta with broccoli and pink chia bread
  • Friday - Besan fritatta in a salad roll on turkish bread with steamed broccoli on the side
I am not sure I would claim this is a typical week.  We don't usually have so much of my mum's stews - though when we visit she often sends us away with leftovers.  Bangers and mash are our regular Monday meal that E makes.  I do try and have leftovers for busy days.  I also made other dishes that I will post about later - the potstickers (also inspired by Yogi Kitchen) and olive oil bread with chia seeds.

Breakfasts starred a lot of berry yoghurt with Carmen's gf deluxe fruit muesli and toast.  Lunches were lots of sandwiches and pears.  My worst lunch was a pie from a petrol station on a badly organised day and my favourite was carrot soup from Animal Orchestra in Carlton.

Above is the Bean and carrot salad which came from 101 Cookbooks.  I liked it but I didn't love it.  I made some changes.  I halved the sweetner (honey) which was a good thing.  I used too many sunflower seeds and I think walnuts would be better.  Most of all, I think it would be great to try the salad with fresh dill as Heidi did.  Also the buckwheat was too dry on its own with the salad but was great when it soaked up the tomato sauce of my mum's stew.

The other recipe that didn't quite work for me last week was a Beetroot brownie that I adapted from Kari's Bite Sized Thoughts.  I made quite a few changes and mine were more like cake.  They looked nothing like Kari's fudgy brownies.  I added some buckwheat flour and then read that it can dry out a baked good so I wondered if this was what happened.  I also added eggs and oil.  We all enjoyed it nevertheless.

The besan fritatta was something that seemed simple and straightforward for a night when I am tired after work.  Yet it took me longer than I thought it should.  Convincing Sylvia to eat dinner takes a lot of energy.  She often will not eat her broccoli until reminded, at which time she will nonchalantly stuff it in her mouth.  Last week all she wanted in her mouth was a toy dummy that I bought her in a packet of doll's accessories for dolly - it had everything including a potty!

I changed some of the seasonings and vegetables.  I noticed that the besan mixture was slightly bitter and over-seasoned before mixing with the sweet vegies that added the balance it needed.  The most stressful activity was flipping the fritatta.  Never my favourite thing to do, it was even more difficult with a demanding child.  The sides on my frypan made it hard to slide the fritatta back onto into the pan.  It had a slight collapse but held together enough.
The first night I served it with steamed broccoli and pink chia seed bread.  (I used the drained liquid from tinned beetroots in juice instead of water when making the bread.)  The second night I had some fresh turkish bread rolls.  We served the besan frittata like a burger with chutney, mayonnaise, broccoli stalks, grated carrot, grated cheese and tomato.  It was delicious but as soon as I put my hands around the burger to take a mouthful, the cry went up from Sylvia: "cuggle, mumma"!  I don't remember what I did but I do know that I loved the burger.

Adam and Theresa suggest eating the frittata with rice or potatoes which would make it a great gluten free and vegan meal.  I had a wee taste of it when cold and would enjoy it on a picnic or as finger food.

I am sending this recipe to Ricki for her Wellness Weekends and to Jacqueline for her Bookmarked Recipes.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Florentines, salads and what's in a name
This time two years ago: Carrot Cake and the Lost Sock
This time three years ago: Easy as Vegetable Pie
This time four years ago: Rumbledethumps: death to the red hag!

Besan Vegetable Frittata
adapted from Yogi Kitchen
serves 4 with a side dish of potatoes or rice

2 tbsp cashews (optional - soaked for at least 2 hrs)
1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
1 zucchini, finely chopped
1/4 green capsicum, finely chopped
kernels of a corn cob
1 spring onion, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup besan (chickpea flour)
70g roughly crumbled tofu
handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 tbsp tamari
1 tsp seeded mustard
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp turmeric
shake of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper

If using cashews, soak them ahead of time (I did mine overnight). 

Before you start preparing the frittata, drain cashews, add 1/2 cup of water and add in chia seeds to soak. (This step is optional depending on if you decide to use cashews and chia seeds or not.)

Heat 1 tbsp of oil on a heavy bottomed frypan.  Saute celery, zucchini, capsicum and corn for about 5 minutes (or while you try and feed a distracted child).  Add spring onion and garlic.  Stir for about a minute.  I then turned off the heat and left vegies in hot frypan until I was ready to use.

While vegies are cooking, blend cashews and chia seeds with water until smooth.  (My mini blender is better for this than my food processor but the cashews are still a bit grainy.)  I then transferred to a bowl and mixed in the besan, nutritional yeast flakes, parsley and spices by hand (don't forget to add water if you don't use cashews and chia seeds).  You could also do this in your food processor.  Gently mix in fried vegetables.

Heat the frypan (I used the same one) over medium low with the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Pour the batter into the hot oil and use the back of a spoon to flatten into a large circle.  Fry frittata for about 5 minutes or until golden brown.  Flip onto a plate and slide back onto the frypan with fried side upwards.  (I didn't find this as easy as it sounds.)  Cook another 5 minutes until golden brown on the other side.  (Adam and Theresa said to cover but I think I forgot to.)  Serve hot or cold.

On the stereo:
Best of Martin Denny


  1. I liked reading about your trip to Canberra & Orange, Johanna.
    I've been told that if you want chewy brownies, the trick is to just mix the ingredients until they are just blended. If you over-beat the batter you end up with chocolate cake.
    I'm currently using a tea-towel from the Clock Museum that was in Chiltern at least 20 years ago.
    Have a good week.

  2. Mmmmmm, that fritter looks good on a roll and what a week of meals. You can cook for me anytime :)

  3. Your frittata look so good. I like the look of the brownies too - if they tasted good, it doesn't matter to me that they weren't fudgy. I am a beetroot fan, so anything that uses beetroot has my approval!

  4. oH I really love the sound of this frittata! So creative and packed with nutrients!

  5. Oh no! I'm so sorry the brownies didn't turn out! I wonder if it was the flour or...? I guess sometimes these things are experiments in adventure, but I am sorry this one didn't work for you.

    I like your list of meals though. I rarely think back on a full week like that. In an ideal world I'd plan 7 days ahead, but that rarely happens...

  6. I still haven't got around to buying besan! Which is so silly, considering how much I adore anything chickpea related!

  7. I admire you for keeping trying so many difference dinner recipes with all the other demands on your time. You put me to shame. Love the soound of the besan fritta, will try this one

  8. Wow I would not have thought to put chickpea flour in a frittata! I'm so intrigued!

  9. I love how you wrote about your week of meals! I so enjoy reading about and learning from someone's wise and scrumptious meal planning! I also adore your idea of serving this gorgeous frittata like a burger - yum!!! :-)

  10. Sorry for my irregular commenting of lately! I've had a busy week and still need to figure out how to build blogging into that because the work load won't get less! But don't think I won't be back to your blog!. :)

    This was a wonderfully inspirationally post! I love how you switch up your dinners - even if you have leftovers, you create something new around them. With me, although I cook two times every day currently (this is the benefit of working at home currently, because I have mainly reading and writing for my thesis), I always end up with the same things when my mind is busy otherwise and I don't feel like having any capacity left to make up a fancy meal. So I usually end up with roasted chicken twice a day and then throw onions and either carrots or tomatoes or some kind of cabbage into the pan. Some spices, usually chili or pepper and cinnamon and basil or chives. That's mainly it.

    My dinner highlights of the week are that days when I meet my friend for and afternoon and evening and we work on our book together. Then we usually have dinner together which usually is a big pan with chicken or seafood and at least 5 or six different kinds of veggies. Whee!

    And today, my neighbor from across the courtyard (she cooks mainly vegetarian for the whole family, but she knows I can eat some legumes) gave me a leftover serving of a wonderful stew she had made from beluga lentils and lots of garden vegetables - swiss chard and tomatoes - with Indian spices. Mmmmmmmm, I have to recreate that! :D

    I've also started to switch my eating up a little more recently to have a greater variety of food. I've eaten more fish and eggs. The frittata you made above looks totally appealing to me! I want to make a big pan of frittata with lots of different things in it that yields several servings and that you can cut into pieces like a pie. I also want to cook more bean and lentil stews again.

  11. I wish I had seen this recipe a while back. I had a big bag of besan flour that I didn't know what to do with. I guess it is more versatile than I thought! :P

  12. Hey Johanna,

    glad you got some inspiration from us with the fritata. I like your addition of the tofu too. Will have to try it and yes, I agree, flipping is the most nerve-wracking part. I often do this in the oven actually in a tray. This makes the whole thing even simpler.

  13. Thanks Pene - have just tried some more brownies tonight and tried to take your advice but haven't really managed it - will have to look out for a clock museum at chiltern next time - just the sort of place I love

    Thanks Jacqueline - I was quite pleased with my week's cooking - come over any time :-)

    Thanks Cakelaw - I think I would have been a lot happier if the recipe had been for chocolate beetroot cake

    Thanks Lisa - yes frittata was wonderful (and tried your besan crackers which are great)

    Thanks Kari - I think sometimes I get too confident that I can put whatever I like in a recipe and know exactly how it will come out - and I too would like to plan my meals 7 days ahead

    Thanks Hannah - you must buy besan flour - I just made some amazing crackers with it too - it even goes well in making gf brownies though it sounds crazy but it substitutes for wheat flour really well in them.

    Thanks Katie- I get bored if I don't eat some interesting stuff and my meals get quite lazy

    Thanks Joanne - it is fantastic and I know you would love all the vegetables in it

    Thanks Astra - I wish it was the result of planning - like most weeks there is a bit of planning and a lot of serendipity

    Thanks Kath - I share your wish for more time and balance for blogging - thanks for sharing your thoughts on the week's food - I loved the frittata because it was fairly quick and I need meals I can whip up quickly because these days dinnertime comes before I know it

    Thanks Lorraine - I will also post another besan recipe for crackers soon so am feeling very pally with besan - urge you to buy another bag of the stuff

    Thanks Adam and Theresa - I enjoyed the tofu - got the idea from Susan at Fat Free Vegan but also had a bit leftover from what I was feeding Sylvia - will have to try baking it - want to try a recipe that Ricki of dessert diet and dogs has for quizza that is baked besan pancake and Denis Cotter has one too. Though I fear baking it would not be as quick.

  14. A lovely list of things eaten in the week. I've got some besan flour too that needs a little kick start, thanks Johanna :-)

  15. You'll find that the Clock Museum was moved to Yarrawonga after the original owner died.
    Enjoy your weekend.

  16. Thanks Brydie - it was generally a good week of eating - good luck with your besan - it is worth using

    Thanks Pene - must try and get there some time

  17. I love what you did with the frittata leftovers. And I enjoyed reading the week's menus, too, as I am never organized enough to plan in advance! I'm not a fan of cakey brownies, either--but I guess I would have then just called them "cake." ;) And looking forward to pink bread!

    Thanks for submitting this to WW this week--it's a great recipe. :D

  18. I love your recipe round ups for the week.. I actually reallu liked Heidi's carrot and bean salad, but i uped the carrots, cut down on the oil and used fresh dill. I thought almonds worked well....

    But this frittata looks great! I love all the veggies in there! :)

  19. I'm going to have to head to the kitchen. Those brownies sound pretty amazing to me.

  20. That besan vegetable frittata looks really good! Flipping frittatas (or quesadillas or omelettes or anything large) is stressful! Too bad about the chocolate beet brownies. And I hope you'll be sharing this pink chia bread with us!!


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