Thursday, March 10, 2011

Beans and Walnut Spread--Totally Vegan

Since my previous post was about bread, today I would like to suggest something to put on it, which is always easy if you are not a vegan, but can be a challenge if you are.

I have many vegetarian friends, but only one who is a vegan. She does this for health reasons and believes that following such a strict diet keeps her healthy and makes her feel young. She does not eat any meat or dairy products and replaced milk with soy milk. When she was visiting us, I had no problem whatsoever to cook vegan dinners. I just prepared some of my many vegetarian recipes, omitting dairy products, and served with that a large bowl of salad that usually makes any vegetarian happy.

But for lunch she liked to have a piece bread. I love breads too, but I like to eat them with cheese or meats and salads and I was not prepared to make a vegan sandwich. She did not want to be a burden and simply ate her bread with sliced tomatoes. She did not even want to use any vegetable oil spreads instead of butter, fearing that it was something too chemical. But, as a good host, I did not feel comfortable not being able to offer her anything for lunch beyond bread and tomatoes.

This past summer, while going through my old recipes that I clipped from some magazines years ago, I found this recipe for a bread spread, coming from the Georgian cuisine. That discovery led to many more Georgian recipes that I found very interesting and will share in the future.

This spread, based on beans and walnuts, is a simple and rich in protein alternative to meats and cheese. The two ingredients combined can deliver absolutely all nutrients that can be found in meat and dairy.

The other day, after baking bread, I made this spread with my vegan friend in mind. It tasted pretty good especially on a fresh, still warm piece of bread. For those who are not vegan but are just open to trying something new, it could be an interesting addition to your menu, if you just tired of the usual thing you eat with your sandwich.I added also a couple tbsp of extra virgin oil,to replace a need for butter on the bread and after tasting I was quite happy with the result. I hope my vegan friend will be too next time she visits.

Beans and Walnut Spread

1 can 12 oz, red bean,
1/2 cup chopped walnuts,
4 garlic cloves,
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil,
1/3 cup fresh coriander leaves chopped,
1 tbsp lemon juice,
freshly ground pepper and sea salt for taste,
1/3 tsp fenugreek seeds (optional--only if you like it).

1. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and run it using the purée option button.

I think it is an excellent spicy and aromatic alternative to peanut butter, not only for vegans.

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