Ajvar, Patties, and Chickpeas
The weather hasn’t changed much lately. I’m sweating while typing this and it’s not even 10 a.m. Melted brain, anyone? We’re on a fruit, salad, and cereal diet most of the time, but sometimes I get fed up with cold food and I turn on the stove or oven. Yesterday I made Terry’s steamed white seitan (from Viva Vegan) and grilled two cut loaves after they had cooled down. Terry’s seitan recipes are the best! I marinated the seitan in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, liquid smoke, and soy sauce. Before steaming the seitan, I added 2-3 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley to the dough and later grilled it indoors in a pan.
We served this wich ajvar chickpeas: chickpeas, olive oil, fresh parsley, a couple of tablespoons ajvar. Ajvar is a Serbian red pepper and eggplant relish, which can be bought in almost every supermarket over here. But it can also easily be made at home. For a traditional version, the vegetables are cooked until they fall apart and get all mushy. I skipped that step and just grilled the vegetables. Ajvar can be used as a spread for bread, a dip for grilling, a pasta or pizza sauce, etc…My version is a bit hot and I added onions, which are not part of a traditional ajvar. But I like them in the spread.
3 red bell peppers, halved and seeded
1/2 medium eggplant
1/2 small onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 dried piri-piri peppers or a small fresh red chili
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1-1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper for taste
Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place peppers and eggplant on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, until the skin of the peppers starts to turn black and the eggplant is soft. Set aside to cool. Tip: If you place the hot peppers in a bowl and cover it with a lid or plate, the skin can be easily removed afterwards.
Fry onion and garlic in one tablespoon olive oil and set aside. Peel the peppers and scoop out eggplant flesh. Purée in a food processor. Combine with remaining ingredients (and remaining oil) and season with salt and pepper. Store in the fridge.
We use the ajvar as a spread for bread or even for burgers. I made these broccoli butter bean burgers with some leftover broccoli and they came out amazing. I added some ajvar to the burger itself and used some more as a spread. Delicious!
Broccoli Butter Bean Patties (makes 8 patties)
250 g cooked broccoli (9 oz.)
1 14 oz. can butter beans (mature lima beans), drained and rinsed
2-3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh sage
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons roasted and salted peanuts
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
2 tablespoons hot sauce
1 tablespoon ajvar
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
50 g (1 cup) panko breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste
Combine broccoli, butter beans and 2 tablespoons water in a food processor. Process until smooth. Add remaining water, if necessary. Add sage, garlic, peanuts, liquid smoke, hot sauce, and ajvar and process again until smooth. Stir in nutritional yeast and panko. Season with salt and pepper. Form 8 patties. To fry them with a minimal amount of oil, spray a non-stick pan with a thin layer of oil and heat the pan. Fry the patties slowly, over medium heat for about 5 minutes on one side. Flip around and fry for 5 more minutes. Repeat with both sides. These patties keep well in the fridge for a couple of days.
If you leave out the panko bread crumbs, this makes a wonderful spread too. You know, if you don’t feel like frying while the heat melts everything.