I haven’t used my panini press in years. I guess I always thought it would need oil, or at least in the past I always sprayed it with oil. Little did I realize I could get that same crisp outer crust without oil. I have also made this recipe on vacation (because its so easy) and used a skillet to brown the outside and amazingly did not need oil.
This recipe reminds me a bit of my “chicken salad” recipe. Once again the chickpeas all need to be smashed. I am continually trying to find an easy way to smash them. They must be smashed to get the consistency that works best. I was recently asked if the chickpeas need to be peeled….the answer is no just leave those little peels in there. The recipe calls for two cucumbers, one of them is shredded and one of them is diced. The amounts of tomato, red onion, and green pepper are based on my family and can be changed to fit your family preferences.
Along with the tomato, red onion, and green pepper, my family is fond of adding pickles (your choice dill or sweet) , hot peppers, mustard, homemade mayo. Play with the recipe and make it your own.
I have been using a rice cookers for several years and I am currently on my second one. The one I have has two setting, one for white rice and one for brown rice. I have consistently cooked either brown or white rice and nothing else, it does have a steaming basket but I have yet to try it. A few weeks ago my son purchased a rice cooker for his apartment and read the instruction book, something I had neglected to do since mine only had two buttons and I think I can tell if its brown or white rice. He informed me that his rice cooker could also cook quinoa and had a button specifically for that purpose. I curiously went to my stash of instruction manuals and fished out the one for my rice cooker, but there was no mention of quinoa or any other grains that could be cooked in there. Having burned quinoa on my stove top before I was anxious to give my rice cooker a try. Using a 2/1 ratio, 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa, I clicked the white rice button and waited.
Quinoa is a seed related to the beet and chard families that looks and tastes like a grain but packs as much protein as meat. It is versatile and can go almost anywhere a grain can go. It can replace rice in a stir-fry or couscous in a salad. You can even eat it in the morning instead of oatmeal. Quinoa is gluten free and easy to digest. Quinoa is native to Andean cultures and the Incas referred to is as “mother of all grains”.
The light on my rice cooker clicked from red to green indicating that it was finished. Tentatively opening the lid I found to my delight that it was fluffy and steamy, and a success. No longer will I accidentally burn quinoa to the bottom of my pans, my rice cooker has a new purpose.
This is an amazing vegan substitute for chicken salad. I usually serve it on buns, as a “chicken” salad sandwich, with some lettuce, sliced tomato, mustard, vegan mayo, whatever else your heart desires in a sandwich. It can be served as a dip or spread with whole grain crackers or chips. I have also served it over a bed of spinach, one of my personal favorites .The hardest part of this whole process is the smashing of the chickpeas. Yes, they have to be smashed to give just the right texture. If you toss them in your food processor it will blend them up too much.
I try to keep the whole rinsed chickpeas separate in my bowl from the ones I’ve already smashed. In this photo I doubled the recipe. There is one can of chickpeas that have been smashed on the right side and my second can rinsed, drained and ready to be smashed is on the left side.
This is what your bowl looks like once you have gone through and smashed each and every chickpea. I leave the skins on my chickpeas, as of yet I have never peeled a chickpea.
This is the finished “chicken” salad once you add the rest of the ingredients.