Sriracha Chickpea Salad Wraps

Here’s a little quickie for you today from week 1 of my 31 Day Vegetarian Challenge! These creamy and spicy Sriracha Chickpea Salad Wraps are super fast and easy to make, perfect for cold lunches to bring to work, and can be customized to include whatever vegetables you have hanging out in the fridge. #sweepthekitchen and leave no vegetables behind!

Sriracha Chickpea Salad Wraps

A Sriracha Chickpea Salad Wrap cut open, with open sides facing viewer.

P.S. I jazzed my Sriracha Chickpea Salad up a bit with cilantro and lemon juice, but if you only have mayo and sriracha on hand, this still makes a really easy and delicious chickpea salad.

Sriracha Chickpea Salad Wraps

Creamy, spicy, and filling, these Sriracha Chickpea Salad Wraps are an easy option for your brown bag lunch. Customize to use whatever vegetables you have!

Sriracha Chickpea Salad

  • 1 15oz. can chickpeas ($0.59)
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise ($0.55)
  • 1.5 Tbsp sriracha (or to taste) ($0.09)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro ($0.25)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice ($0.04)
  • 1/8 tsp salt ($0.01)

Wrap Ingredients

  • 2 large flour tortillas ($0.48)
  • 2 cups spinach ($0.50)
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced or shredded ($0.11)
  • 1/2 bell pepper ($0.75)
  1. Drain the chickpeas, then add them to a bowl with the mayonnaise, sriracha, cilantro, lemon juice, and salt. (You may want to start with less sriracha and add more to taste if you are sensitive to heat). Mash the chickpeas until they are fairly broken down and the dressing ingredients have combined.

  2. To build the wraps, place the tortillas on a work surface and add half of the spinach, carrot sticks, bell pepper, and sriracha chickpea salad to each one. Fold the sides in toward the center, then roll from the bottom up, like a burrito. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

You can use any vegetables that you have on hand. I happened to have carrots and bell pepper, but you could use cucumber, shredded cabbage, avocado, tomatoes, or anything else you’d like.

Step by Step Photos

Sriracha Chickpea Salad Ingredients

Drain one 15oz. can of chickpeas, then add them to a bowl along with 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 1.5 Tbsp sriracha (or less to start, you can add more later to taste), about 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro, 1 tsp lemon juice, and 1/8 tsp salt.

Mashed Sriracha Chickpea Salad

Mash the chickpeas until they are fairly broken down and the dressing ingredients have combined.

Vegetables on Tortilla for Sriracha Chickpea Salad Wraps

Now it’s time to build the wraps! On each large tortilla place a handful or a loosely packed cup of spinach, a few thin carrot strips (or shredded carrot), and a few strips of bell pepper.

Sriracha Chickpea Salad on the Wrap

Add half of the sriracha chickpea salad (about 1 cup) on top of the vegetables.

Rolled Sriracha Chickpea Salad Wrap

Fold the sides of the tortilla in toward the center, then roll it from the bottom up like a burrito. Your Sriracha Chickpea Salad Wrap is now ready to eat! You can eat it immediately or refrigerate it for later.

A Sriracha Chickpea Salad Wrap cut open, with open sides facing viewer.

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Sweet and Spicy Tempeh Bowls

Happy New Year! My 31 Day Vegetarian Challenge officially starts today and I have to say, the first recipe I made for the challenge, Sweet and Spicy Tempeh Bowls, is pretty killer. I chose a bowl meal for my first meal of the month because they’re just so easy and filling, they pack up great for leftovers, and they’re flexible enough to accommodate using leftover refrigerator ingredients. This particular bowl meal features my favorite sweet and spicy spice blend, creamy polenta, black beans, cheddar, avocado, green onion, and a tiny drizzle of tangy ranch dressing. The combo of sweet, spicy, and creamy in this bowl is absolutely to die for!

Sweet and Spicy Tempeh Bowls

A Sweet and Spicy Tempeh bowl with a ranch drizzle, about to be eaten.

What is Tempeh?

Tempeh is basically a block of fermented soy beans, but you can also find tempeh made with other beans and grains, which is great news for people with soy allergies. When it comes to vegetarian protein sources, tempeh is just as versatile as tofu, but has a much better texture (IMHO). Tempeh has a very slight nutty flavor and readily absorbs the flavors of any sauce or marinade it is cooked with, making it extremely versatile. The texture is similar to firm beans, but because they’re in block form you can slice and cut it into a variety of shapes. Want more info on Tempeh? Thekitchn.com has a great article about tempeh.

Is Tempeh Cost Effective?

At about $3 for this 8oz. block of organic tempeh, it’s about the same price as beef, so I do use it sparingly in my recipes. As with any other expensive ingredient, I’ve paired the tempeh with several other inexpensive and bulky ingredients, like polenta and black beans, to help balance the cost and keep the total price of the recipe down.

Doesn’t the Avocado Turn Black??

Haha, if I only had a dime for every time I get this question. 😂 I often add sliced avocado to my meal prep bowls and while they do turn slightly grey on the edges over the few days that they’re in the refrigerator, they don’t totally turn black. This color change is okay with me, since the avocado still tastes the same. If that does bother you, you can add the avocado fresh to the bowls each day (they hold their color best when not sliced and still attached to the skin and pit), or squeeze some lemon or lime juice over the slices.

Sweet and Spicy Tempeh Bowls

Sweet and Spicy Tempeh Bowls are the perfect make-ahead vegetarian meal prep, with a medley of colors, textures, and bold flavors. 

Sweet and Spicy Tempeh

  • 8 oz. tempeh ($3.19)
  • 1/2 cup water ($0.00)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper ($0.05)
  • 1/ tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.08)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.16)

Polenta

  • 1 cup cornmeal ($0.24)
  • 3 cups water ($0.00)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 2 Tbsp butter ($0.12)

Bowl Toppings

  • 15 oz. black beans, rinsed ($0.49)
  • 2 oz. shredded cheddar ($0.44)
  • 1 avocado, sliced ($0.49)
  • 2 green onions, sliced ($0.20)
  • 4 Tbsp ranch dressing ($0.31)
  1. Cut the block of tempeh into 32 thin triangles. For the block I used, I first cut it into 8 equal-sized squares, then cut each square into two triangles, then cut the thickness of each triangle in half to make the pieces thinner. Add the tempeh triangles to a large non-stick skillet.

  2. Make the sweet and spicy marinade by combining the water, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cayenne, salt, brown sugar, and olive oil. Pour this mixture over the tempeh in the skillet. Turn the skillet on to medium-high and simmer the tempeh, stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates and the tempeh begins to brown just slightly (about 10 minutes). Remove the tempeh from the heat.

  3. To make the polenta, combine the cornmeal, salt, and water in a medium sauce pot. Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring it up to a boil while whisking. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to medium-low and continue to simmer 2-3 minutes more, or until the polenta has thickened. Remove the polenta from the heat and stir in the butter.

  4. To build the bowls, start with 1 cup of the polenta, add 1/4 of the sweet and spicy tempeh triangles, 1/4 of the rinsed black beans, a pinch or two of shredded cheddar (about 1/2 oz.), 1/4 of the avocado, a sprinkle of green onions, and a light drizzle of ranch. Serve immediately, or refrigerate and reheat later.

Meal prepped Sweet and Spicy Tempeh Bowls in round glass bowls

Step by Step Photos

Tempeh Package

If you’re unfamiliar with tempeh, this is what the brand I used looks like. This is the brand that I see most often in stores. It’s usually found in the refrigerated produce section, near tofu and other meat alternatives.

Cut Tempeh into Triangles

This photo shows the progression of how I cut the tempeh, from left to right. First cut the block in half, then in half again to make four rectangles. Cut the four rectangles in half horizontally to make eight squares, then cut each square diagonally to make two triangles. THEN, the most important part, turn each triangle on its side and slice it into two thinner triangles (that part isn’t shown in the photo above). You should have 32 triangles when finished.

Pour Sweet and Spicy Marinade over Tempeh

Place the tempeh in a large skillet (you probably want to use non-stick of some sort for this). Combine 1/2 cup water, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, and 1 Tbsp olive oil, then pour that mixture over the tempeh.

Sweet and Spicy Tempeh finished

Place the skillet over medium-high heat and let the tempeh simmer, stirring occasionally, until all of the liquid has evaporated and the tempeh just begins to brown slightly (about 10 minutes). Remove the tempeh from the heat.

Make Polenta

Next, make the polenta. Combine 1 cup cornmeal, 3 cups water, and 1/2 tsp salt in a medium sauce pot. Heat the mixture over medium-high while whisking until it begins to boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook and whisk until it thickens (another 2-3 minutes). Remove the polenta from the heat and stir in 2 Tbsp butter.

A prepared Sweet and Spicy Tempeh Bowl with ranch drizzle.

And then it’s time to build the bowls! Start with 1 cup cooked polenta, then top with 1/4 of the sweet and spicy tempeh, 1/4 of a sliced avocado, 1/4 of a can of black beans (rinsed), a pinch or two of shredded cheddar (about 1/2 oz.), a few sliced green onions, and a light drizzle of ranch. 

A Sweet and Spicy Tempeh Bowl being eaten, front view.

Dig in! I am SERIOUSLY looking forward to eating these Sweet and Spicy Tempeh Bowls all week (or at least for the next few days until they’re gone).

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Sprouting 101: How to Sprout Anything and Why You Should

Overhead shot of various types of sprouts in mason jars, including lentils, alfalfa, clover, mung bean, wheat, radish, pea, and mustard

The recipe was originally published in February 2013. It was retested with reader feedback, rephotographed, rewritten, and republished for your enjoyment in April 2018

Was anyone else really big into sprouting beans when you were a kid? I’m talking the whole put a bean on a damp paper towel inside of a zip-top bag kinda deal. I always loved doing that. I thought it was so much fun to see this little unassuming bean go from, well, a little unassuming bean into something alive and green. Once the beanstalk was a certain size, my parents would help me transfer the little dude into a pot with some soil and we’d continue to watch him grow.

Eventually, something more interesting would always come along (Sonic the Hedgehog! A new Ghostwriter episode! A movie where Devon Sawa shows his butt!) and my foray into horticulture would end. But fast forward to now, and my love of sprouting things comes in so handy in my kitchen!

I’ve been collecting your sprouting questions for a few months now, and we have a lot to cover in this post, so I’m going to dive right in!

What are the benefits of sprouting?

Sprouts are one of the easiest foods you can grow indoors. They require barely any space—if you can fit a Mason jar on your counter, then you have enough space. You don’t need any special equipment. And heck, you don’t even need a sunny window! Sprouts are a veggie that everyone can (and should) grow.

Aside from the fact that sprouts are an easy, cheap, and tasty vegetable anyone can grow, sprouting also has some real nutritional benefits. Sprouting legumes, grains, and seeds makes them much easier to digest by breaking down the anti-nutrients that are common in those foods. If you’ve ever had troubles digesting a particular grain or legume, I highly recommend trying it sprouted before writing it off all together. You might be pleasantly surprised that sprouted beans or grains don’t bother your body! In general, sprouting also increases the vitamin C and B content and the fiber! Sprouts rock.

Side shot of various types of sprouts in mason jars, including lentils, alfalfa, clover, mung bean, wheat, radish, pea, and mustard

Is it safe to sprout?

I know a lot of folks are worried about sprouting safety because there have been so many outbreaks of salmonella and e.coli associated with sprouts from the grocery store. Why is this the case? Well, the warm humid environment that sprouts grow in is also the prime climate for bacteria to spread. In large-scale commercial operations, it’s almost impossible to keep the environment clear from all types of pathogens.

But luckily for you, the chance of getting a food-borne illness with sprouts is greatly diminished when you sprout at home. You control the seeds you use (and if they’ve been tested to be free of salmonella and e.coli). You control if your sprouting jar is clean or not. You control how much air circulation your sprouts get. You control who touches the seeds (and if they wash their hands first). You control how long the sprouts stay in the jar before being rinsed.

Basically, I never buy sprouts from the store (or get sprouts out a restaurant), but I’ve been happily eating sprouts grown at home for a decade now without a lick of trouble. And if you’re still concerned, you can always cook your sprouts to put the final nail in the coffin of any leftover bacteria.

What can I sprout?

You can sprout almost any legume, seed, or nut. Everything from chickpeas to alfalfa to kale to onions to clover. There are a few exceptions—not because they won’t grow a sprout, but because the effort required to get it “right” isn’t really worth it or because they aren’t good for you.

Chia seeds, flax seeds, and other mucilaginous seeds (the ones that create the goo) are tricky to sprout properly. You definitely can do it, but I generally just avoid it because there are so many other seeds that are way easier to sprout.
Avoid sprouting kidney beans for raw eating. They contain a toxin that causes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in many folks. If you do choose to sprout kidney beans, make sure to boil the finished sprouts for at least 10 minutes before consuming.

Quinoa contains a high concentration of saponins, which in some folks causes a strong allergic reaction that makes them feel ill. Read the post »

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