To go vegan or not to? Vegetarianism or meat eater? High carb or low carb? Paleo or Mediterranean? How do we answer these questions? What you will find is that depending upon what you are reading or with whom you are speaking, the answer to these questions will vary drastically, not only from person to person, but at different seasons of ones life. We all evolve and what serves us best today may not be what serves us best down the road. My personal opinion on the matter (and to the questions above) is to let go of doing what every one around you is doing. Remove the need to look like, eat like, exercise like and feel like your best friend, your sister, or that other person who is constantly causing doubt in your mind and challenging your self confidence. Eliminate the words “should” and “I wish” and “if only” and embrace the YOU that you were created to be. Use words like “I will”, “I can” and “I am” more often!
In order to discover the diet that suits you best means paying very close attention to your patterns. Not only experimenting with different foods and eliminating ingredients, but keeping track of your physical well-being as well as your emotions during the changes will draw you closer to your own answer. With diligence and documentation you will in time discover the diet that suits you best. Keep in mind there is no “best way” or “one way” as we are all created differently and have a unique set of genetics, digestive abilities, preferences, blood types, activity level, gender, age, metabolism, sensitivities and lifestyles. And so, while I would go head to head with anyone who questions the overall benefits of eating more plants in our diets (fruit, veggies, whole grains, legumes), I am a firm believer that some of the most nutrient rich foods in general could be detrimental for an individual with specific conditions and so I am very careful not to generalize and provide suggestions to all my clients just because we know that vegetables are a key component in building immunity, reducing inflammation, balancing blood sugar, improving skin and longevity.
This recipe is loaded with nutrition by substituting chickpeas and artichokes for crab, vegan mayo for eggs, and by no means am I suggesting that seafood and poultry are unhealthy. I ascribe to a lifestyle and diet of balance. I love just about all types of foods as long as the ingredients are clean and the majority of my foods are sustainably sourced, plant based and nutrient rich (fresh, ripe, raw). I hope you try these little appetizers and discover an appreciation for some yummy vegan food. In the meantime, enjoy your own journey to discover the most comfortable, beautiful and joyful YOU that you can!
Vegan Crab Cakes with Artichokes & Chickpeas
For the crab cakes:
· ½ cup roughly chopped shallot (about 1 medium sized shallot)
· 2 garlic cloves
· 2 (10-ounce) jars artichoke hearts in water, drained
· 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
· 3 Tbs. non-dairy mayonnaise (not vegan? Use regular mayo)
· 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
· 1 Tbs. lemon juice (about ½ lemon)
· 2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
· 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
· Extra virgin olive oil for cooking
· Mixed greens and lemon wedges for serving
For the Sriracha dipping sauce:
· ¼ cup mayonnaise
· ½ tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
· 1 tsp. lemon juice
· 1+ tsp. Sriracha hot sauce
1. In a food processor, add the shallot and garlic. Pulse until finely chopped for about 5 seconds. Next add the artichoke hearts and chickpeas. Blend for about 7 seconds, scrape down the sides and the bottom, then blend again for another 7 seconds until everything is finely chopped. You should be able to press the mixture between your fingers and have it stick together.
2. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add the mayo, mustard, lemon juice, Old Bay and panko. Stir until evenly combined.
3. In a large skillet, warm up the olive oil over medium heat. Using your hands, scoop about ¼ cup of the mixture at a time and form patties. Cook in the skillet on each side for about 7 minutes. Alternatively you can bake for 7 min. on each side in the oven at 350, but this variation won’t be as brown or crispy.
4. Enjoy as an appetizer, over a bed of sautéed kale or spinach (my favorite version!) or as a burger-alternative and pair with your favorite burger toppings (tomato and avocado!).