Nice title, huh? Are you super intrigued?
Well, let me explain.
It’s been a little crazy at our house for the past couple of weeks. See, in our spare time (cough), Brette and I help our wonderful friends, Dave and Amanda, put on a little triathlon named Trinona. Okay, that’s a lie. It’ not a little triathlon. It’s big and it’s a big deal. This was our second year and by April we had hit our registration cap of 500 triathletes. I could spend a whole post talking about how we got into this and how cool of an event it is (it really is – you need to check it out), but I will stick to the point I was starting to make.
Although we have been working on this event all year, the last few weeks are always the craziest. We did not have time for much else. It was all Trinona all the time…except for our day jobs. For Brette it was more than just the planning. He was also training to compete in the sprint distance of the event – his very first triathlon.
So, even in the wake of all the craziness, I was pretty focused on making sure he was eating well. I believe very strongly that diet plays a HUGE role when training for events like triathlons, marathons, etc. It is not an excuse to eat lots of excess crap. It’s a reason to eat really good food that will help you perform to your potential.
On top of all of this, I have not been cooking meat because of my summer challenge. Although Brette is not participating in the challenge, he is getting the benefits of me finding great vegetarian fuel. Like my granola which I think was instrumental in his training. The man can not get enough of the granola. In fact, he brought it along for his pre-race breakfast. It is definitely working for him.
These chickpea cutlets are a another great example of great non-meat fuel. They are one of my favorite vegetarian recipes. They are very easy to make and I think kids would love them as well – especially if you eat them like I do….by dipping them in ketchup first. :)
And they were very helpful for Brette. He kicked major tail at Trinona. In his first triathlon, he placed 4th in his age group and 38th out of 231 people in the sprint distance. I’m so proud of him!
Even more amazing was that after his stellar finish, he changed his clothes and went back to work on the event. He is such a rock star.
Back to these cutlets. The main ingredients are chickpeas, bread crumbs and vital wheat gluten.
The wheat gluten is what holds it all together and turns it into the cutlet. Can you see the strands? It’s pretty cool.
adapted very slightly from Veganomicon (I think to many vegans, this is the bible)
Makes 4 cutlets (for those of you scoring on weight watchers – 1 cutlet is 5 points)
1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup plain panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, pressed or grated
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
1/4 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
Preheat oven to 375.
In a mixing bowl, mash the chickpeas together with the olive oil until no whole chickpeas are left. Add the remaining ingredients and knead for about 3 minutes, until gluten strings appear.
Divide cutlet dough into four equal pieces. Knead each piece in your hand for a few moments and then flatten and stretch each one into a rectangle cutlet shape. I do what I can in my hand and then press it out on the baking sheet.
Spray or oil a baking sheet with olive oil. Brush or spray cutlets with olive oil and place on tray. Bake for about 20 minutes. Flip cutlets and bake for 8-10 minutes or until they are firm and golden-brown.
I served mine with roasted asparagus, roasted potatoes, and some carrots and snap peas. I liked the combo of ketchup and garlic mustard for dipping. Brette preferred BBQ sauce. Go with your favorite condiment.
Coming up…my reflections of my first two weeks as a vegetarian. Stay tuned!