This is the seventh and final dish in my week-long series of WFPB recipes. With the last dish in this series I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t retreading old ground, that I wasn’t making the same dish over again, and I wasn’t just using the same “bean” over and over again. Chickpea flour has long been one of my favorite ingredients, and in this Easy Plant-Based “Clean-Out-the-Fridge” Frittata – Okonomiyaki Style (GF + Nut-Free + Oil-Free Option), it’s not only the main source of protein, it’s literally “The Matrix” that hold everything together.
As you know, I’ve been on a weight loss journey, and instead of telling myself what I can’t eat, I’ve made a list of items that I want to make sure that I get in every meal: whole grains, legumes, vegetables, greens, and whole-plant fats. I’ve “abbreviated” or short-handed this paradigm or checklist to “A Grain, A Bean, A Veggie, A Green, and A Seed”. It’s not perfect, but It’s helping me crowd out the foods I don’t want to eat with the foods that I do want to eat.
“A Grain, A Bean, A Veggie, A Green, and A Seed”
I came up with a paradigm, or a checklist to help me plan my WFPB meals. The not-so-catchy name of which is “A Grain, A Bean, A Veggie, A Green, and A Seed”. Admittedly, the name needs work, but the practice of using it has been working great.
My goal is to plan meals that have each of these components:
- A “Grain” can be any type of whole grain or starchy vegetable that adds fiber and substance to your meals. For my purposes, a “grain” can be anything from whole wheat used to make bread, to brown rice, to even quinoa, and sweet potato.
- A “Bean” can be any type of bean, legume, or pulse. Although most plant-based foods do contain some amount of protein, a “bean” represents an overt source that is both fiber and protein dense. Ideally the “bean” is in its whole form, but tofu and bean pastas check this box as well.
- A “Veggie” can be any non-starchy vegetable that adds bulk, flavor, and nutrition to the dish. Think broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, radishes, and peppers. Although starchy veggies are great, in terms of their function in the meal, they tend to fit better into the “grain” box. Mushrooms are also a great addition to meals, and for what I’m trying to accomplish, mushrooms fit into the “veggie” box as well.
- A “Green” can be any type of leafy green, added to the dish either during or after cooking, or left raw. Not only are greens great for adding nutrition to the dish, they are also great for flavor and texture. Greens can be the bulk of a meal like in the case of kale salads, or an accent to the dish in the case of spinach or arugula added to soups and curries just before serving.
- A “Seed” represents a whole-food source of overt fat. Avocados, smashed, sliced, or guac’d are great. As are various types of nuts, seeds, and their derived butters. Coconut products like milk, flakes, and butter also add a ton of flavor and body to various dishes
Now that you know the system, let’s look at what foods in this dish check which boxes:
- The “Grain” – Admittedly, this dish doesn’t need a “grain”. The “bean” holds its own very well. However, in the spirit of the paradigm, and since I in fact did have leftover Black Pearl Rice on hand when I made this dish, so the “grain” here is going to be whatever cooked grains you have on hand. Or not. Again, the dish doesn’t need a grain, but it can handle it if you’ve got one handy.
- The “Bean” – I’ve finally gotten around to using my favorite “Bean” of all time! Chickpea flour! It’s truly the coolest ingredient ever. It’s a bean, but it’s also a flour, and it does a bang-up job at holding things together in the way that egg does. Honestly, it’s in a category all on its one and there really is no substitute for it.
- The “Veggie” – When I cleaned out my fridge and made this “frittata”, I had lots of broccoli and a huge bag of carrots in my fridge. So, that’s what I used. I think there are very few items that would actually work here, but you’ll want to make sure that you’re using veggies that cook in a similar amount of time, or that you stagger them as you add them to the pan.
- The “Green” – Napa cabbage is such a great green. It’s got such a nice flavor, and texture, and it truly lasts in the vegetable drawer for ages. Green or red cabbage would be just as well, but make sure that you slice it very very thin. Napa has a nice frilly quality, and it doesn’t weigh down the frittata, so whatever greens you decide to use, make sure they have a similar quality.
- The “Seed” – Normally okonomiyaki is served with a generous squeeze of Kewpie mayo, which is a sweetened Japanese mayonnaise. I wanted something similar in flavor and texture, but I also wanted it to be plant-based. The Tangy Tahini Drizzle fits the bill, and adds depth of flavor and creaminess. If mayo sounds more your speed, go ahead and use your favorite vegan brand.
Easy Plant-Based “Clean-Out-the-Fridge” Frittata
A tasty way to use up odds and ends in your fridge, this quick and easy "frittata" is a perfect meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
- ¾ cup chickpea flour
- ¾ cup water or broth
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- pinch of baking powder
- salt and pepper to taste*
- 1 cup Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 carrot, grated or thinly sliced
- 1 green onion, roughly chopped
- ½ cup broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
- ½ cup leftover rice (optional)
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, or low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon water or broth
- green onion
- pickled radish
- bitter greens
- toasted sesame seeds
- chili sauce or sriracha
Combine all of “The Matrix” ingredients in a lidded jar, and shake until fully mixed. Allow the mixture to rest about 10 minutes before using. If it seems too thick to pour, thin it out with a bit of water before proceeding.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
On your stovetop, heat your skillet to medium. Add a tiny bit of oil (optional) if you don’t trust that your skillet won’t stick. When your skillet is thoroughly heated, add your fillings. Sauté for a minute or two, just until the veggies start to soften. Be careful not to overcook them.
- Pour on “The Matrix”, and adjust the ingredients so that “The Matrix” is touching all of your fillings, and coating the bottom of the skillet.
Transfer the pan to a preheated oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the center is firm, and the top is starting to slightly brown.
Remove from the oven, and use a spatula to make sure that the frittata is not stuck to the sides or bottom of the pan.
- Combine tahini, vinegar and liquid aminos in a bowl. Stir to combine. Add water to thin the mixture to desired consistency.
- Carefully, flip the frittata onto a large plate. Top with lots of green onion, and any other toppings you have. Drizzle with chili sauce and a generous amount of the Tangy Tahini Drizzle. Sprinkle on sesame seeds and serve immediately.