Friday, March 1, 2013

Vegan Recipe: Yellow Split-Pea Loaf with Almond-Cardamom Gravy

Welcome to the first Friday of the month ... the day we set aside for featuring a delicious vegan recipe. Why does a blog about green living include recipes? Because choosing a meatless meal is one of the easiest ways to live green. Simply put ... plant-based foods are easier on the environment than animal-based foods.

I am so pleased to introduce you to this month's guest chef ... Alaiyo of Pescetarian Journal. Wait a minute ... Pescetarian??? Yep, you heard me right ... Pescetarian! Alaiyo features both fish and vegetarian recipes which include sustainable ingredients ... and she shares important information about food choices. For example, this POST will tell you which shrimp are sustainably raised. And this ARTICLE will tell you how to find dungeness or blue crab. In addition to fish/seafood recipes, Alaiyo shares a number of vegetarian & vegan recipes ... delicious dishes like Vegan Burger Sliders, Asian Barbecue Seitan Salad and Double Pea & Rice Salad. Pescetarian Journal is a fabulous blog. But don't take my word for it ... go visit and see for yourself ... you won't be sorry!

Alaiyo has graciously agreed to share a recipe with us. I can't wait to try it!

I'm thrilled that Cyndi asked me to create a guest post for her blog, and I'm proud to be part of the "Change-the-World-Wednesday Gang." Cyndi and I met, virtually, when I asked her to be part of "The Green Group" on Triberr. We're a group of bloggers that write about strategies and solutions for green and sustainable living. I hope you enjoy my first guest post!

To assert that beans are a staple in my pantry is a kitchen cliche. They are more valuable than that. On any given Saturday, you will see me at the bulk bins at Mom's Organic Market, studying the beans and peas within their clear bins almost as intently as a jeweler studies gems. I consider color, clarity, and shape, as well as my culinary purpose. In this recipe, velvety yellow split peas are a flavor foil for the vegetable and spice ingredients in the Yellow Split-Pea Loaf.

My husband and I have vegan friends who don't feel slighted when we serve a bean loaf, and I generally make this dish for special occasions: a special dinner with guests or on holidays.

Start with two cups of cooked, yellow split peas (organic if possible). Cook the beans as you would any quick-cooking legumes, such as lentils, and include the aromatics: onion and garlic, in the cooking pot. As with lentils, yellow split peas don't need soaking prior to cooking.

Two cups of yellow split peas, plus additional ingredients in this recipe, will make enough to feed four. After years of making bean loaves, I've learned that thick loaves don't bake fully. The loaf will be full cooked on the outside, but will be too soft, even runny, on the inside--not a good discovery to make when serving.

Bulgar wheat is one of the binders in this loaf and helps to develop a delicious, crunchy crust. Add the bulgar wheat directly into a large bowl containing the yellow split peas.

Add the tomatoes, carrots, and scallions into the pea/bulgar wheat combination and mix thoroughly. Create a well in the middle of the mixture and add a dairy free egg substitute, such as the egg replacer by "Ener G" Foods, which acts as an additional binder.

Place the ingredients on a clean cutting board, rub a few drops of olive oil between your palms, and shape the loaf. The loaf should be 1.5 inches thick--and not much more--otherwise, it will not be uniformly firm throughout.

This loaf will serve four people, and the Almond-Cardamom Gravy contributes to the rich texture and flavor. I usually will make 4-6 loaves at a time and freeze several of them (they freeze beautifully). Consider making this loaf for Easter or another special holiday--or for Sunday dinner. It's worth the extra time.

Recipe: Yellow Split-Pea Loaf with Almond-Cardamom Gravy (Serves 4)


1 cup (250 ml) yellow split peas
1/2 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups water
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup bulgar wheat
2 teaspoons miso tamari (or soy sauce)
1 pinch red pepper
1 14.5 ounce can (428.816 ml) diced, canned tomatoes (unsalted)
1/2 cup carrots, minced in food processor
3 tablespoons egg substitute (I use the egg replacer by EnerG Foods.)
4 tablespoons warm water
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika powder
3 scallions, chopped
Dill for garnish

  1. Sort and rinse split peas. Place into two-quart pot with water, onion, garlic, and onion. Cook peas for 40 minutes or until tender (avoid overcooking peas--they should retain most of their shape after being cooked).
  2. In another small to medium pot, cook bulgar wheat in 1 cup of water until light and fluffy (about 15 minutes). Let stand until cool enough to handle with your hands.
  3. Spoon peas and bulgar wheat into a large mixing bowl. Add miso tamari (or soy sauce), red pepper, tomatoes, carrots, and scallions. Stir with a large wood spoon until ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
  4. In a small bowl, mix egg substitute powder with 4 tablespoons warm water. Make an indention in the center of the pea mixture and pour egg substitute into the indention (see photo above) Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Empty ingredients onto the parchment-paper-covered cookie sheet. Grease your palms with a few drops of olive oil to avoid having the pea mixture stick to your hands. Shape the loaf in a football shape that is no more than 1.5 inches thick. Place loaf in oven and bake for 1.5 hours. Check firmness of the loaf by gently prodding the middle of the loaf. If it seems too soft, bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. Remove loaf from oven and allow to "rest" (become firmer) before serving.

Recipe: Almond-Cardamom Gravy


1 cup vegetable broth, plus 1/2 additional cup of broth
2 tablespoons almond butter (no salt added)
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
pinch cayenne pepper
Dill leaves for garnish

  1. Pour 1 cup vegetable broth into saucepan. Add almond butter, cardamom powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper.
  2. Set burner on medium low heat and stir until almond butter dissolves and the gravy thickens (about three minutes). If gravy becomes thick too fast, add the remaining 1/2 cup of vegetable broth. Spoon gravy over the Yellow Split Pea Loaf Slices. Garnish with dill leaves.

Thanks so much Alaiyo for that wonderful recipe. And I hope that this is just the first of many guest appearances!!

If you have a vegan recipe which you'd like to share, please contact me HERE. And for all the recipes we've shared so far, be sure to visit our recipe page using the tabs at the top of this blog ... or by clicking HERE.