Welcome to the Neighborhood: Chickpea, Avocado, and Nori Spread

by Gena on June 17, 2011

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One of the things I’ve always loved most about being a New Yorker is the smug assurance that, sooner or later, everyone will come to me. When you live in New York, there’s a good chance that the people you grew up with will be as inclined as you are to stick around. When go to college in New York, you feel pretty certain that your fellow alums will want to stay in the city after graduation to find jobs. When you live in New York, and there’s a writer you love, or a band you like, or a new tenor you’re dying to see in Turandot, you can rest assured that they’ll all come passing through at some point. One of New York’s peculiar ironies is that, although it’s easy to lose yourself in the anonymity of the city, it’s also easy to feel as though your status as an NYC resident puts you at the center of the world.

The thing about leaving New York is that—even if you relocate to another big city—you may have to start seeking out the things you took for granted at home. You may have to check newspaper listings to find some of the shows and readings you’re interested in. You may have to sign into Facebook once in a while to see if anyone you know is close by. And maybe, for the first time ever, you’ll have to seek out friendships, and learn to ask people for help. Asking for help isn’t my strong suit, but I’m getting better at it—with a little help, that is, from my friends.

It’s tradition for neighbors to welcome each other to the neighborhood with offerings of fruit baskets and pies. Two weeks ago, my friend Andrea welcomed me with some killer high-raw, vegan pad thai. That following weekend, Katie welcomed me by coming to a little birthday get-together, and then continued to welcome me in a small chain of sweet, hilarious, unplugged and uncensored emails. Last week, Chloe welcomed me by joining me at Busboys and Poets. Last night, my family here in DC (my Mom’s brother, his wife, and my two rad cousins) welcomed me by preparing a meal that included three of Heidi’s vegan recipes.

Just this morning, Lori and Michelle welcomed me by sending me a bunch of their amazing goodies:

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…including my favorite raw flatbreads on the planet:

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And some of their amazing new raw biscotti!

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I immediately enjoyed a piece of the flatbread, along with some homemade bean dip and veggies, as one of my post-lab snacks:

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To all of this, add the steadfast and wise care of Valerie, who has been my guardian angel since I got here, checking in on me with supportive texts and emails, taking me out for Sweet Green or Chop’t when some restorative salad was in order, introducing me (just this evening) to the yoga at Tranquil Space, and donating some of her excess frozen juice pulp to my kitchen. (If that’s not health-freak friendship at it’s finest, I don’t know what is.)

She also gave me some of her juice pulp crackers last week. They’re actually based on my recipe, but ya know? They’re better. (Sidenote: why does everyone outdo me at my own juice crackers? Diana’s are way better, too.) In addition to gobbling them up between labs, I also put them to good use in my post-lab snack plates (usually 2:30 or 3:00 pm). And with them, I made the following spread. Maybe Katie and Andrea and Val will like it, and it can be a little “thank you” present for all they’ve done for me.

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Chickpea, Avocado, and Nori Spread (Vegan, GF)

Makes 4 servings

1 small avocado
1 can BPA-free, organic chickpeas (or 2 cups freshly cooked), drained
1-2 tbsp tamari (adjust to taste)
1 tbsp low sodium rice wine vinegar (if you don’t have low sodium, decrease your tamari to 1 tbsp maximum)
1/2 cup nori crinkles (I used the Eden brand)

1) Scoop avocado into your food processor. Add drained beans and pulse a few times to get it going.

2) Add the tamari and vinegar, and turn motor on to process until mix is very creamy.

3) When dip is ready, add nori crinkles and pulse to combine them.

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And you’re done!

I know what you’re thinking: chickpeas, avocado, and seaweed: how did I never combine these, pretty much my three favorite things, before? The answer is, I don’t know. I’m just dense like that sometimes. Thank goodness I wised up, because I suspect that my snack time will never be the same again:

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Look at Val’s pretty crackers! And the amazing spread paired with them perfectly:

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I’m really glad that the standard neighborly welcome gift is no longer a casserole. Raw crackers and pad thai are way more fun. Thank you, Valerie, for everything!

Speaking of casseroles, though, and other baked dishes that are warm and filling: thanks, all, for the response to my enchiladas! I love that you love the recipe, but I’m also mighty intrigued by the reaction to the info on iron in a vegan diet. So tell me, what other sorts of nutrition posts/spotlights would you like to see? I’d love to know!

Happy Friday.

xo

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Hannah June 17, 2011 at 9:51 pm

I’d love to see a spotlight on sugar/sweeteners and the place of desserts in a healthy vegan lifestyle. I get so confused by the fruit sugars/stevia or xylitol no calorie sweeteners/maple/agave/sucanat options. Is sugar always ultimately just sugar? Which is the sugar that our bodies need? Wendys post raised some really interesting issues, got me thinking about processed foods too and what to look out for on labels if you *do* want a healthier packaged treat – have you got any brand recommendations? Hope that’s not too much of a ramble!

Great looking spread – bet it would make a great nutrient dense salad-topper too!

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Ricki June 17, 2011 at 10:01 pm

I agree–how did I never combine those 3 before, either? But I know that I will now, in the very near future! I just discovered nori snacks last week (homemade ones, with a great green curry kick) and I could eat an entire package. Mixed with chickpeas and avocado, I know they’d be heavenly.

Glad you’re adjusting to the new neighborhood–and with so much help from your friends! Sounds like you’re in great hands. :)

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Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga June 17, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Your avo + nori + chickpea spread looks really good! That’s such a Gena recipe, it’s got all the elements. Except miso :)

Seriously SO HAPPY for you that you have friends sending you gifts in the mail and that you’re connecting with people, one way or the other.

I chuckled at your comment about “the smug assurance that, sooner or later, everyone will come to me.”– It’s probably true, huh. Sooner or later everyone DOES come there. I guess the same could kind of? be said for So Cal, but probably more LA than San Diego…but I always tell people, no, you come visit me. I’ve got better weather and better views here than you do :)

Have a great weekend enjoying your new pad, new city, new neighborhood and hope you and M are loving being in the same city finally! :)

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Shady June 17, 2011 at 10:40 pm

The recipe looks interesting. I’ll have to give it a try (when my replacement food processor arrives).

As for ‘spotlights’ I’d like to see, calcium is one of my concerns now that I’m eating a vegan diet. I feel I have the market pretty cornered on other nutrients but I do resort to a calcium supplement (when I remember to take it) and would like to figure out how to get what I need from food.

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Alyssa June 17, 2011 at 11:20 pm

That dip looks lovely! I used to make one out of avocado, lemon and wakame. It was really really good. I really hope that you start to feel more at home in your new home really soon. My mom just found out that she is low in iron, and I sent her your post immediately! I would love to see more posts on what you make to appease both yours and your boyfriends pallet. It seems you like raw food much much more than he does. Thanks Gena!

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bitt June 18, 2011 at 1:02 am

Are you posting more often? Or maybe I’m online less…hard to say. Having trouble keeping up!

So nice you have some friendly neighbors. Yes it would be awesome to be in a city where you could expect everyone to visit often. My family has stopped visiting me out here and it’s sort of sad.

The dip looks great but those carrots are looking a little sad. Maybe you can find some nice fresh ones at the farmers market or from a neighbor with a garden.

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elise June 18, 2011 at 1:54 am

that new york part is so true. and you have such nice friends already!
i clearly think your avo + chickpea + seaweed combo is the mother of all spreads!

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Remy June 18, 2011 at 2:57 am

Such a heartwarming post. I’m so happy everyone is making you feel so at home.
I agree with Hannah above: I would love a post regarding sweeteners. I feel, though, that any post you write on nutrition will be illuminating!

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JL goes Vegan June 18, 2011 at 5:55 am

Love thinking of you surrounded by new and old friends, nurturing you in your new city and no doubt being nurtured in return!

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Angela June 18, 2011 at 6:20 am

I would actually like to learn more about fiber. I know that those of us who eat a whole foods, vegan diet are probably getting enough fiber. But can you ever get too much? It seems like fiber can have a range of effects on the body. Also, how can we encourage our omni family and friends to include more fiber rich foods in their diet?

Vitamin D is a pretty popular health topic in the media these days. How do the concerns regarding this nutrient specifically impact those on a vegan or high-raw diet? I know we should be getting enough in the summer, but many people spend their time indoors and are not out in the sun as much as they should (or would like to) be.

Lastly, I don’t hear too much discussion about water and proper hydration. Even though I eat a lot of fruits and veggies with high water contents, I still feel like I’m running a deficit in the H20 department too often. I think this is especially important in the summer months and for active individuals.

Just throwing out some ideas. Have a fabulous weekend!!

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Gena June 18, 2011 at 7:18 am

All great ideas — especially hydration!

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Ilana June 18, 2011 at 7:10 am

this reads like you’re having a James Joyce moment – no matter what, you can’t leave Dublin (or New York in your case).

I’m obsessed with nori right now, I *have* to try it!

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Gena June 18, 2011 at 7:18 am

His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead…

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The Delicate Place June 18, 2011 at 8:54 am

i’ve never had their flatbreads but i have experienced the biscotti and it was otherworldly! glad you’re settling in and this is a recipe full of all my favorite things haha! i love wasabi toasted seaweed sheets or the one’s you can get from TJs. i have been in love with savory foods lately. i’m curious as to what a macro breakdown in a vegan diet looks like. this is a heinously vague and generalized question since no one person eats the same but in an ‘ideal’ situation where someone isn’t depending on frozen vegan amy’s meals/frankenfoods for sustenance.

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Lauren June 18, 2011 at 9:17 am

That spread looks so good! And I love Lori and Michelles goodies! They are the best!

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Christine (The Raw Project) June 18, 2011 at 10:41 am

What a sweet gift from the twins, how fun. And this spread looks wonderful and I have a ton of dried chickpeas in my pantry that I need to try it with – thanks!

Interesting on New York, a very different view from where I went to school in Florida! It was a smaller, remote area that I couldn’t wait to get out of because everyone I went to school with couldn’t wait to relocate too.

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Andrea June 18, 2011 at 12:15 pm

I’m just so happy to have you here! That spread looks amazing!

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Elle June 18, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Oh my! Avocado + chickpeas = yes. Cannot wait to try this. I’m currently settling into a new place on the UWS and my beloved blender has no counter space until my new butcher’s block arrives. (The horror.)

I used to live in DC and highly encourage you to check out Cafe St. Ex when you;re near the U Street corridor. They’re good at veganizing things and have an amazing selection of local produce. The atmosphere is killer for a literature lover; it’s named for Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

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pure2raw twins June 18, 2011 at 4:35 pm

so glad the packaged arrived safely to you!! hope you enjoy all the goodies :) xoxo

And I must make that spread, looks heavenly. I have been wanting to incorporate more seaweeds into my diet besides kelp and irish moss, so nori sounds perfect :)

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Eat Hike Sleep Repeat June 18, 2011 at 6:34 pm

There’s no greater compliment to your own food, than inspiring others to create something great as well :)

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Ela June 18, 2011 at 6:53 pm

So glad that you are being welcomed into your new life with such openhearted giving: a reflection of yourself, you know that?

How is your new school? Having been at Columbia for always, it must be all kinds of ‘interesting’ getting used to a new campus. I hope it’s going well for you.
love
Ela

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Teresa June 18, 2011 at 7:46 pm

OMG ! Gena ….the dip looks wonderful. I love the way you combine different ingredients to form unique tastes. Lovely snack…..except the sad looking carrots LOL !

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Emilia @ Namaste Gurl June 19, 2011 at 12:31 am

You’re so creative when it comes to food things going together. I never know what you’ll be posting whether its peanut butter and tomato or the classic vegan chili :) That spread looks amazing- i’m quite fond of chickpeas and avocado together! :)
I’d love for you to do more vitamin/ mineral posts maybe on calcium, b12, phosphorus, etc…

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Just Audrey June 19, 2011 at 7:10 pm

I’d love to learn more about A) calcium, and B) if it’s dangerous/possible to get too much of certain vitamins and minerals–like iodine (I’ve heard conflicting opinions on this one),vitamin A, and vitamin D.

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Sarah June 19, 2011 at 8:38 pm

I’d like to hear your thoughts on zinc! I have a hard time getting enough of this nutrient in my diet, even when I make a concerted effort (and I love me some pumpkin seeds, but not every day). The supplements make me really nauseous, so it’d be great to hear if you have any tips.

Another thing I would be curious about is your thoughts on when to take certain supplements. For example, if you are taking, say, B12 and a calcium/D/mag supplement, should you take them at different times of day? With which foods? Obviously iron and Vitamin C go together, and fat with your fat soluble vitamins, but is there more to it than that? I know you are keen to have people get their vitamins and minerals from food, so a discussion of this from a whole foods perspective (rather than supplements) would be useful as well.

Perhaps I am just super Type A about this sort of thing, but I have trouble absorbing vitamins and minerals (and sometimes getting sick if I take things the wrong time of day), so any little boost can’t hurt!

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Victoria June 19, 2011 at 8:49 pm

I’d love a spotlight on B-12 and vitamin D. Those are the two that I’m currently taking supplements for because my doctor told me it wasn’t possible to get those two with a vegan diet.

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Amy June 19, 2011 at 9:30 pm

I’ve got Florida Avocados here and they’re not as intensely flavorful has the Haas most people are used to (a few varieties are comparable, others are not). This dip would be great for the more flavorful ones (and for the others, I’m grateful to the raw community for turning me on to avocado-based chocolate pudding!)

As for nutrients, I’ve heard that the Vit. D recommendations are currently in a state of flux right now, but I probably could use getting more in my diet – along with E. Thanks for the great source of info here on your blog!

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Valerie @ City|Life|Eats June 19, 2011 at 10:45 pm

So glad I have helped make you feel welcome. Thank you for this post – I am very touched. And you are always welcome to the excess juice pulp in my freezer – despite making raw burgers and crackers and using it to make veggie broth, I still manage to have extra. I am working on a grain-free vegan savory muffin recipe (with blanched almond flour) but after two batches, I needed to take a break from those too.

I must order the Twins’ flatbreads – off to look at their store!

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Valerie @ City|Life|Eats June 19, 2011 at 10:45 pm

PS the dip looks amazing. It combines so many of my favorite foods :)

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Sarah June 20, 2011 at 12:04 am

I’d love a post on digestive enzymes! (surprising after my last comment question, right?). I just don’t get it- is it healthy to use them regularly, do they really help, etc. Thanks!

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carrie June 20, 2011 at 8:19 pm

many people above seem to share my questions! constant confusion over what are truly the best sweetners for your body (i try to avoid refined sugars, but my universe is just not complete with out some sort of sweet treats…). also would like to know how better to take or combine supplements for optimal absorption. and I’m as confused as Sarah above on digestive enzymes. Tried them twice and feel like they give me intestinal trouble, not the opposite! sorry if thats too much… (oh, and the garbanzo/avo/nori dip looks like heaven!)

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Diana (Soap & Chocolate) June 21, 2011 at 2:11 pm

I love this dip idea! I bought a guac-hummus combo at TJ’s last week and loved the richness and texture, but eventually tired of the Mexican flavor each and every time I dipped into it. This is a great alternative!

I wonder if the reason you like other people’s crackers better than your own is that other people’s pulp contents translate better (to you) to a cracker? If so, just juice some romaine/cuke/apple/carrots/lime next time and make your crackers from that with toasted flax. Diana crackers forever! ;)

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ste rhymes with tree June 25, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Gena! I made these as nori cigars! With liquid smoke! It was amazing!

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