Meatless Monday Challenge week #3 (Can you feel the power of the plant?)

Raise your hand if  you tried something new on these past Monday’s that you never tried before? If you’re hand is up, not only are you obedient, you’re more intelligent too as studies show that if you try new experiences it makes your brain grow.

By the end of this challenge, you might need a bigger skull.

This week I bring you banana pancakes, farinata (yes, I’m taking you out of your comfort zone and we’re heading to Europe.  for those of you in Europe, please disregard.) and for dinner, black bean burgers with dijon asparagus. Please also check out what Flo has cooking at her blog.

Breakfast comes from one of the sweetest bloggers out there, LiveLearnLoveEat.   I hate to admit it, but sometimes, my daughter and I eat these for dinner…..

photo courtesy of LiveLearnLovEeat

photo courtesy of LiveLearnLovEeat


  • 3 mashed bananas
  • 1 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips (or regular if you’re eating dairy)
  • 1 2/3 cup wheat flour (but it’s OK to use non-bleached white if you wish)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


Heat skillet on medium heat. In a medium sized mixing bowl, mash bananas until there are no lumps then whisk in the oil, vanilla and add chocolate chips.

In a separate mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and sea salt. Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture and mix until just combined. (careful not to over mix the batter or the pancakes will not be very fluffy)

Pour the batter about 3/4 cups at a time into the heated skillet. Cook pancake for a few minutes until small bubbles begin to show through the batter, then flip it over and cook a few minutes more until golden.

Serve with plant-based butter and warm pure maple syrup.

Lunch is a versatile and European chickpea “pancake” of sorts but it’s more like a “pizza”.  This recipe can be made to include what you like.  You can use the base to act like a pizza crust and top it with your favorite veggies and/or sauce before you broil it, or you can top it with a pasta salad after it’s cooked, you can just eat it with herbs and sea salt. Either way it’s probably one of my most favorite things to make and you can make it differently every day!  I got this recipe from my friend who spends a lot of time in Italy, but I then saw this post by one of my favorite bloggers, Kellie at Food to Glow.  She gives some great background on this delicious European favorite.



  • 1 cup chickpea flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill chickpea and fava flour)
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon room temp water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp salt (I like sea salt)
  • 1 tsp chopped rosemary, thyme or oregano leaves (fresh really makes a difference here)
  • a good pinch of freshly ground pepper
  • optional thinly sliced onion, chopped sun dried tomatoes, chopped spinach, tomatoes, or whatever else you want to put in/on

Sift the flour into a bowl.  Add the water a bit at a time, making a paste at first, then add the rest of the water and oil and whisk until smooth. Mix in the rosemary salt and pepper.

chick pea cake

Cover with a dishcloth or plate and leave it to absorb anywhere from 30 minutes  to overnight.  My friend, Mara, told me that in Italy, you can’t buy these until later in the afternoon, because they are all absorbing during the morning hours…a very important part of any farinata.  I sometimes will make the batter and let it sit covered overnight. Then I can make it whenever I like the next day.    If I just can’t wait, 30 minutes will have to do.

This makes 2 cakes in a 12 inch skillet or 4 cakes in an 8 inch skillet .

Heat cast iron  skillet over medium heat. Also heat your oven broiler with the rack in the middle position. Lay thinly sliced onions on the bottom of the skillet as you want (you can skip this step if you don’t like onions) and allow to cook for about 3-5 minutes untouched. Then pour the batter to cover the bottom of the pan. For an 8 inch skillet it’s about 1/3 cup.  Cook without disturbing the pan for about 6-8 minutes.  watch for the edges to brown.


You can add things to the farinata on top at this point, like spinach, thinly sliced tomatoes, olives, peppers etc. or you can just leave it plain. Gently press your toppings onto the batter.

chick pea cake

I chose roasted red peppers on mine

Place iron skillet under broiler for about 5 minutes until golden brown on top.  Take out of the oven and work one corner until you can get a spatula underneath and push onto a plate.  You can season with additional salt and pepper if you want.

I couldn’t get mine out perfectly (lucky for me I am not obsessive about these sorts of things) so I just flipped it over on the plate.  You can see the oinions that were hidden under the batter now.

chick pea cake

You can have this with a cup of soup or side salad but it can stand alone with some great toppings.

Molto delizioso!!

Dinner is black bean burgers with steamed dijon asparagus

Better burgers

Better burgers

After eating cooked black beans, I just can’t eat them from a can anymore.  The taste is far superior and I love the avoidance of the BPA that is in those can liners.

DSC_0039If you’ve never cooked black beans before, I suggest you buy a bag of dried black beans and try it.    I usually buy a big bag, cook the beans, and then store them in 2 cup portions in the freezer for when a recipe calls for a “can” of black beans.

DSC_0040 2

Start the asparagus (see below)

makes 4 burgers


  • 2 cups of cooked black beans (or if you must…one can of black beans drained and rinsed)
  • 1 flax egg (see below) or 1 egg
  • 1/2 sweet or yellow onion chopped
  • 1 cup bread crumbs of choice
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste (I don’t eat a lot of salt and I didn’t need any)
  • hot sauce to taste (I’m not a hot sauce person, but it does ad a kick…1 tsp is a good starting place.
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 buns
  • toppings of choice…sliced onion, tomato, lettuce, cole slaw, etc.

Place beans in a bowl and mash with a masher or fork.

DSC_0033 2

Make a flax egg by grinding 1 tablespoon whole flax seeds very well. (I use a coffee grinder) and pouring it into 2 1/2 tablespoons warm water. Mix well and let sit for 5 minutes.  Keep the flax seeds whole until just before you grind them or you’ll lose all of the beneficial Omega -3’s that make flax seeds so healthy. Once ground, the seeds lose their “pow”.


Meanwhile cook chopped onions over medium heat in 1 tablespoon of live oil for about 8-10 minutes until limp and transparent.

Combine beans, egg of choice, basil, oregano, salt & pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onions, and hot sauce (if using).  Mix well. Burger mix will be slightly dry, you can add 2 teaspoons of water if needed.  Surprisingly, even though they look dry, they stay together nicely.

DSC_0034 3

With wet hands, form into 4 patties making tight burger shape and flatten a bit by pressing it down against the plate.


Cook in heated skillet over medium heat about 8 minutes until bottom is golden brown then flip and cook other side.  Serve with vegan or regular mayo or ketchup.  I highly recommend Annie’s organic ketchup. Sometimes, I think of things to cook just so I can use the ketchup…it’s that good.  I don’t know what Annie does to it, but I could drink this stuff.  Ok, enough about my sick obsession.

I heart Annies' organic ketchup

I heart Annies’ organic ketchup

Steamed asparagus


  • one bunch, about a pound of fresh asparagus
  • 1/2 cup vegan or regular mayo
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard

Wash and trim asparagus.  I don’t know the “official way to trim” but I like to break off the bottom of the asparagus with my hands.  if I can’t break it, I move up a bit on the stalk.  if I can’t snap it, it will be tough to chew, so that’s how I get the best part of the stalk.

I don’t have a steamer, so I set one up on the stove using a metal colander and a large sauce pot.  Place 6 inches or so of water in the sauce pot.  Place the colander on top. Place the washed and trimmed asparagus in the colander and cover.  Boil the water in the pot as you steam the asparagus for about 20-25 minutes until tender.  I cook lots of veggies this way….sweet potatoes, acorn squash, carrots, green beans, onions, etc.


Make the sauce by mixing mayo and mustard. Spoon sauce over asparagus or just season asparagus with a little salt, pepper and lemon juice.

DSC_0036 3

I’ll be posting a dessert later in the week…….or you can just make that fudge that we posted 2 weeks ago that you are now addicted to.

If none of these work, scroll down to the bottom of week #1 for more sources for meatless meals.

Enjoy!! Please let me know how you like everything!

And for a visual feast I will post my very first camellia bloom!

camellia bloom

Available in all major bookstores in the USA and Canada and on in August 2013

Available in all major bookstores in the USA and Canada and on in August 2013

Categories: health

14 replies

  1. I haven’t tried anything new lately even though I live in a foreign country. That sounds bad. Ok, I will try to stimulate my brain in the near future.

  2. The burger looks yummy! What I love about living in the U.S. is that the ingredients are so easy to get and cheap! I guess I can try the bean burgers here in Jakarta, too. You inspired me! The pancakes. Yum, yum.

  3. I tried new things this week 3 times! I am a European & I never tasted a chickpea pizza before! Your burgers rock! I must make them tomorrow! Thos banana ccchip pancakes look tasty too!

  4. Bean burgers make my world go round, and there is NOTHING wrong with pancakes for dinner!

  5. I can’t wait to try those burgers!

  6. I like the look of your burgers!

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