Tuna Chickpea Salad

I 've seen tuna chickpea salad recipes online for years but doubted they could really taste like tuna salad. So I never try any of them but I started to think maybe they could be onto something because I know both my Crabless Cakes (soy free) and Mock Maryland Crab Cakes really do taste like seafood. So when I saw Hot for Food had posted a Tuna Chickpea Salad recipe I just knew I had to give it a try. Conclusion....Yes it really does taste like tuna salad!!!!!!
The biggest change I made to their recipe was adding nori seaweed it. I really don't know how it would have tasted like tuna if you don't any seaweed flavour to it. Other changes I made were.... relish instead of dill pickle that's maybe why I needed to use less than they did. I used green onions instead of red onions because raw red onions can be a little strong and upset some peoples stomachs, like my husband. I'm not a huge fan of celery so I would have a lot of unused celery left over since I would only use it for this recipe so I decided to use dry celery seed instead.
1/3 cup relish
2 Tbsp green onions, chopped (green and white parts)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp nori seaweed, ground (use a coffee grinder)*
1/2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning*
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp celery seed
1 can (19 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
In a medium bowl add all the ingredients (except chickpeas) and mix. Put chickpeas in food processor and pulse a few times. Leave half the chickpeas whole. You can also mash them by hand if you don't have a food processor. Add chickpeas to the rest of the ingredients and stir till well blended. Store in the fridge. I think it tastes best for only 2 days.
*Or you could use kelp powder instead or nori seaweed. I've been told that kelp powder is stronger than nori seaweed so try 1/4 tsp first. Then taste to see if more is needed.
*You can find Old Bay Seasoning at Metro Supermarkets in the live seafood section.

Lentil Chili Nachos or Salad

This is so good it has to go on my favorites list. It's another winner from  Hot For Food
This recipe does take sometime to make, but it’s so worth it. Changes I made… increased the chili mixture, increased the nacho cheese sauce too. Add more taco seasoning because I found the lentil chill mixture a little on the bland side. Add more nutritional yeast based on someone’s suggestion in the comment section. I reduced jalapenos and the pickled jalapeno juice dramatically in cheese sauce. Use cooked lentils please don’t use canned lentils they are always so mushy and lacking in flavor. Besides they only take about 20 minutes to cook, they can be cooking while you're preparing other things. I also decide to add a low salt and calorie option by making this recipe into a salad.

Package taco seasoning has a lot of salt in it, as does vegetable stock and tortilla chips. I’ve listen low salt options after them.

Nacho Cheese Sauce:

1 1/2 cup potatoes peeled, cubed & cooked, then cooled 
3/4 cup carrots, peeled, cubed & cooked, then cooled 
1/3 cup grapeseed oil (or any other light tasting oil)
1/3 cup water
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp jalapeno pickling liquid, or more to taste
1 Tbsp pickled jalapeno peppers, or more to taste
1 1/2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp sea salt

Put ingredients into food processor. Slowly add some extra water to thin out the cheese sauce to your desired consistency. Then pour into a small pot and heat. Pour over nachos when ready to use.
Lentil Chili:

2 Tbsp grapeseed oil (or other light tasting oil)
1 cup onions, finely chopped
1 cup red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped or 1/2 tsp celery seed powder
2 tsp garlic, grated 
1 package spicy taco seasoning + 2 Tbsp or 3 Tbsp no salt homemade taco seasoning*
3 cups cooked green or brown lentils
1 1/4 cup crushed tomatoes, or no salt added tomatoes, drained & blended
1/3 cup vegetable stock or low sodium vegetable broth or water 
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper  
1/2 tsp cayenne (if you want it spicy)

Other Ingredients:

tortilla chips (or crushed tortilla chips on a salad (posted below)
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup green onions

In a large frying pan or wide pan heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onions, red pepper and celery for 3 minutes until soft and fragrant. Add taco seasoning and garlic and stir constantly for 3 minutes. Then add the lentils, crushed tomatoes, vegetable stock, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer for a couple of minutes, then reduce heat to low-medium and cook for 12 minutes, stirring frequently. Keep chill warm until ready to serve. Arrange platter with a layer of tortilla chips, layer with chili then add other ingredients then drizzle with nacho cheese sauce. Instead of a platter you can do individual bowls. Serves 8

                                      Lentil Chili Salad

I have to say I saw a disappointed look on my husband’s face when I said we were going to have lentil chili as a salad instead of over nachos. Once he tasted it he said it was good. He still got to have some tortilla chips, just in a much smaller amount, crushed on top of his salad.

head lettuce, chopped
spinach, chopped
lentil chili, lightly heated
nacho cheese sauce, lightly heated
chopped green onions
tortilla chips, crushed

Going in the order above, spread out each ingredient, layering till done

Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix (no salt) 

1/3 cup chili powder 
3 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp oregano
1 Tbsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp chili flakes (or more to taste, optional)

Mix ingredients together.  Store the taco seasoning in an air-tight container in a cool dark place until ready to use.

No Soy, No Salt - Soy Sauce

My husband recently has been having problems with high blood pressure. Also, he was having heart arrhythmia symptoms several times a week. After doing some research I realized it was time to reduce the sodium in his diet. Although, I don't feel that diet alone is the only change he needed since we both eat most of the same foods. A regular exercise routine was also needed, which I do. He lead such a sentry lifestyle that I use to think of him as a sloth. Thankfully that has changed and he has started using a treadmill on a regular basis. I'm hoping he will start lifting weights too. Since its so good for bone health. Its estimated that 1 in 6 men get osteoporosis.

I tried 3 other no salt, soy sauce recipes on line before I found this one. It's not as strong tasting as soy sauce but the flavor is pretty darn close.  This gem of a recipe comes from Hacking Salt. 
I have made some changes to his original recipe. I double the recipe. Only use 1/2 the amount of liquid smoke because I felt using more would be too over powering. Added just a little less of the ginger. Of course I did not add the beef stock. You could use vegetable stock if you want to make this a low sodium soy sauce instead of just a no salt one. I left it out because this way I would be able to use as much as I needed without worrying about the salt amount creeping up.

Tbsp toasted sesame
clove garlic, minced
2 large cap Portobello mushroom
or 6 baby bellos, stems and ribs removed, finely chopped

cup water
Tbsp balsamic vinegar 
1 Tbsp liquid smoke (Wright's brand that is sodium free)
tsp molasses
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

In a medium saucepan or skillet, heat sesame oil. Sauté garlic and mushrooms over medium to high heat for 6 minutes, watch to make sure you don't burn the garlic. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer. Allow the mixture to simmer for 8 minutes then reduce heat to low. With a slotted spoon, remove the mushrooms and garlic, and place them into a strainer or cheesecloth, where you can press or squeeze as much juice as possible from the mushrooms and garlic back into the sauce. Increase the heat to medium and allow the sauce to reduce by 1/4 (about another 6 minutes). 

When substituting this soy sauce with the normal one I usually use double the amount the recipe calls for.  As I mentioned in the beginning of this post I don't find its as strong tasting as normal soy sauce. I also try to accommodate the extra liquid by reducing the amount of water or other liquids used in a recipe.

Store in small containers in the freezer. I use 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoon measurements.

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