Vegetable and bean wraps are sometimes the perfect solution for a summer meal. Cool and refreshing, wraps involve raising very little heat in the kitchen — an optimal result when the temperatures are soaring outside. But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy some added heat in the wraps, which I like no matter the time of year.
These wraps make a perfectly balanced protein-packed meal with buttery chickpeas, nourishing quinoa and crunchy vegetables combined with spices in a zesty filling made with a creamy cashew and sriracha sauce. Layers of texture and flavor abound, and serving them with chopped lettuce, pea sprouts and slices of avocado provide a wonderful fresh taste. They don't take long to prepare either, once the chickpeas and quinoa are all cooked up. I made sure not to overcook the vegetables to preserve their freshness and crunchy texture. Soggy wraps are not especially appealing! The thick and creamy cashew sauce provides an extra dose of nutrients, and it complements all of the other flavors to near perfection.
Easy bean salads are a perfect choice for summer meals and quite portable too, making them a good choice for potluck dinners and outdoor picnics. When it's hot, many of us don't care to fuss too much over dinner, and this is one of those dishes that comes together in hardly any time at all. This is not a bland salad either as many of the store-bought bean salads so often are. It's no wonder that some folks say they don't like beans — it's all in the preparation and seasoning and imaginative touch that goes into the food, and bean snubbers just might change their minds after feasting on this colorful and refreshing salad.
When I came up with the idea, I had an Indian twist in mind, hence the cumin and homemade chaat masala included in the tangy and zesty lime dressing. The earthiness of the black beans also makes a nice contrast to the succulent and sweet mango and crisp red pepper. There is a medley of color and flavor in this salad and each bite is a pleasing contrast of healthy and refreshing tastes and textures.
If I were to host a dinner party with friends, Ethiopian might just be my first choice, next to Indian cuisine of course. What is so refreshing about both cuisines is that it really is a communal dining experience. If there enough dishes on the table, everyone gets to try some of each.
I've only been to Ethiopian restaurants a small number of times, but it's always been a unique and pleasurable experience. Typically the diners are presented with an array of dishes of their choosing, served over a large round of injera bread (a spongey sourdough bread usually made with teff flour). You scoop up bits of the dishes with parts of the bread and can try whatever suits your fancy.
Having Indian meals with friends is very much enjoyable for much the same reason. Order more dishes and have a taste of everything, alongside rice and savory flat breads.
I cooked up this simple dish of mixed vegetables simmered in a hot, tangy and fragrant Ethiopian tomato and berbere spice sauce and served it up with some Ethiopian-style hummus and injera bread.
Hummus is a delight any time of year, but when it's hot outside it appears much more often because it's so quick and easy to make and a pleasure to enjoy on the patio on a lazy day. This particular recipe was a bit different as it has an Ethiopian twist. I made up a homemade batch of a hot and aromatic spice blend, berbere, that is often the key ingredient in Ethiopian cooking. I don't have a lot of experience with Ethiopian cuisine, but my background in Indian cooking certainly made the introduction easier than expected.
Berbere is spicy, but not overly so. It adds a distinctive blend of chili and aromatic spice flavor to this hummus. But it's not just the berbere that gives this hummus a unique taste. Classic hummus is made with tahini in addition to chickpeas, but this version uses toasted ground sunflower seeds ground to a butter instead of tahini. The sunflower seeds provide a wonderful rich nutty flavor behind the hot and fragrant berbere.