For Christmas this year, Isabel got me Bar Tartine. When I opened it, she immediately said that she regretted buying the book for me. She thought it looked good at first, but seemed to complicated, obscure and fussy for everyday cooking. I disagreed with her.
After owning the cookbook for several months now, I admit that – although I’ve flipped through it often – until last weekend had yet to make anything from it. The use of ingredients like black garlic powder, mushroom vinegar, pickled green walnuts and fermented honey make the book fun for weekend projects, but not very practical for everyday use.
This month’s issue of Bon Appetit included a recipe from the Bar Tartine cookbook: “Lentil Croquettes with Watercress and Kefir.” Reading over the ingredients, the recipe in the magazine seemed more accessible and easy than I remembered seeing in the book. I immediately got out my cookbook and compared. While the cookbook calls for “kombu dashi,” Bon Appetit’s version calls for vegetable broth. Fermented honey becomes regular honey, kerfir cream becomes kefir.
It wasn’t until I received this issue of Bon Appetit that I realized something about Bar Tartine: the recipes in the cookbook are written as they are prepared at Bar Tartine in San Francisco. If you prepare them as written, you will produce incredible, restaurant quality food – the type of food you think you could never make at home. I respect this book for that. April’s issue of Bon Appetit, however, made me realize that these recipes are highly adaptable for weeknight cooking. Don’t have black garlic powder? Regular garlic powder will probably work. Never heard of green walnuts? Normal brown ones should taste good too. Even though these more obscure ingredients may help elevate a recipe to a higher level, substituting more common ingredients will still produce delicious results.
Here, I’ve used Bon Appetit’s version of the recipe and adapted it a bit further to make it gluten free, dairy free and vegan. These sprouted lentil falafel use gluten free bread and a simple cashew “ricotta,” from Detoxinista, which is really just soaked cashews blended with a bit of lemon juice and garlic. The arugula sauce is completely optional and, if you’re short on time, I think serving the lentil falafel on a bed of arugula salad would be equally as good.
Another reason to respect this cookbook is for its use of traditional methods of preparing foods: fermenting, pickling and sprouting. These methods often make food more nutritious and easier to digest. Lentils contain anti-nutrients which help preserve the seed until it has a chance to germinate and grow. The soaking and sprouting process can help reduce anti-nutrients and make them easier to digest. Cultures for Health is my go-to resource for sprouting grains, seeds, nuts and beans. Mine sprouted in just a little over a day. You can also buy pre-sprouted lentils at some grocery stores.
WHY IT’S HEALTHY// These sprouted lentil falafel are gluten free, dairy free and vegan. Sprouted lentils are nutrient dense, high in fiber, protein, folate and iron. Cashews are full of healthy fats particularly oleic acid, the same heart-healthy monounsaturated fat found in olive oil. Cashews are also great for hair, skin and bone health due to their copper and magnesium content. Arugula provides a rich source of essential nutrients such as vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, vitamin K and folate. //
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut yogurt
- 1½ teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground caraway
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 cups arugula
- ½ cup low sodium vegetable broth
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 4 scallions, white and pale-green parts only
- 1 serrano chile, seeded and chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4 oz gluten free bread, toasted and torn into small pieces
- 2 oz cashew "ricotta" or regular ricotta for non-vegan
- 1 cup sprouted lentils
- ¼ cup low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- vegetable oil, for frying (about ½ cup)
- pomegranate seeds or dried goji berries, for serving (optional)
- Stir yogurt, honey, and salt in a small bowl; cover and chill.
- Purée the spices, arugula, broth, and salt in a blender until smooth. Cover and chill until ready to use.
- Toast caraway in a dry large skillet over medium-high, tossing, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Let cool; finely grind in spice mill.
- Cook scallions in same skillet, turning occasionally, until charred, 5 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop. Reserve skillet.
- Process caraway, scallions, chile, garlic, bread, cashew "ricotta", lentils, broth, onion powder, paprika, and 1 ½ tsp. salt in a food processor to a paste (some larger pieces of lentils should still be visible). Form into 12 balls, using damp hands if necessary.
- Pour oil into a large heavy skillet to a depth of ½" and heat over medium-high until oil bubbles immediately when a pinch of lentil mixture is added. Working in batches if needed, cook croquettes until deep golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels; season with salt.
- Swirl both sauces in bowls; top with croquettes. Drizzle with more coconut yogurt sauce and top with pomegranate (or dried goji berries) and finish with some arugula.