I’ll get it out of the way – we’re in the midst of a pandemic – that’s nothing new by now. When I think of how we will survive this in terms of feeding ourselves in the apocalypse, there are four major skills that come to mind:
- Core Recipes
- Pantry Items
Making rice. Steaming or Roasting vegetables. Making Soup. Making Bread. These are all skills that are imperative for feeding oneself. If you can make rice, and steam or roast vegetables, congratulations! You’re going to survive! If we get a little more advanced and into soup making and then baking bread, even better. When we aren’t making these things constantly, it can be really easy to take them for granted. Yes, making recipes yourself takes time, but it also ensures that you’re self-sustainable for times precisely like these. Imagine having bread any time you want it, without having to rely on a store to give it to you. That’s a win, because who doesn’t like a sandwich or avocado toast in the morning? It ends up being better for you too, because there are less ingredients, therefore less fillers and less preservatives.
I’m not talking row crops taking up all of your front and back yards, no. If you want to get that intense though, more power to you! I’m talking pots and herbs at the very least. The less you have to go out to the grocery store for specialty items like fresh basil, or parsley the better. By specialty, I mean ingredients that greatly enhance a dish, but aren’t a recipe deal-breaker.
You could get even more serious by growing vegetables like kale, lettuce, spinach, tomato, peppers, eggplant, the list goes on! Just make sure you amend your soil so the produce has all of the nutrients it needs to grow well. Composting is another cog in the wheel of feeding ourselves, by using food scraps/waste to produce a nutrient-rich soil for our plant friends!
I’m new to foraging because we just moved to the land of foraging – the Eastern United States! In the short 1+ months we’ve lived here, I’ve found the following edible plants:
- Wild Onion/Garlic Grass
- Morel Mushrooms
- Purple Dead Nettle
In California, we had wild Elderberry trees on the mountain behind us. Nopales grow wild, although they are protected in some areas, and my favorite – Mallow, a wild “weed” that is a treat sauteed or put into salads.
If you’re interested in this sort of thing, just google ‘foraging’ for your area and see what comes up. You may be surprised!
Finally, a well-stocked pantry is essential for apocalypse survival. If you sign-up to my newsletter, you’ll get my free e-book that lists the essentials to have in a vegan pantry, but I’ll list some important things here.
- Baking Powder
- Baking Soda
- Olive Oil
- Buttery Sticks
- Flax Seeds
- Chia Seeds
- Pinto Beans
- Black Beans
- Canned Chopped Tomato
- Canned Tomato Paste
- Coconut Milk
- Garbanzo Beans
- Vegetable Shortening
- Hemp Seeds
- Nutritional Yeast
- Masa Harina (Corn Flour for Tortillas)
Amidst this pandemic, we should get used to using things that we have in our pantries. Melissa’s had sent me some of their amazing pantry offerings like their steamed series of beets / lentils / chickpeas, butternut squash, clean snax, and the star of this dish, their cooked quinoa.
I also had chia seeds, which was a great binder for these tots, nutritional yeast, bread crumbs, and something a little curious – frozen broccoli. When eating rice bowls with broccoli, I don’t much like the stems in there. I want the beautiful sauce-capturing crowns. But I also don’t like to toss perfectly good food. So, I chopped up the stems, and put them in a container to freeze for later, in case I had a brilliant idea for them. They were JUST the thing needed for these tots. Imparting nutrition and moisture to make a proper tot.
So, why are these tots super?
Quinoa is a complete protein and is one of the most complex carbohydrates in the world paving way to build muscle and having a toned body. It’s abundant in lysine, which is an amino acid responsible for tissue growth and repair. It’s also rich in fiber, which helps eliminate toxins from the body, not to mention it’s got a ton of micro- and phyto-nutrients that are essential for our bodies processes and functions.
Also, a complete protein, it’s high in soluble & insoluble fiber to help you stay full longer. Their gelatinous material that is a result of absorbing liquid promotes optimal digestion, and is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids without all toxins that come with consuming fish.
Broccoli is great for joints and connective tissue with it’s abundance of calcium, magnesium, and zinc, which also keeps your body more alkaline. That’s good because if your body is more acidic, it will leach things like calcium from your bones to make your blood more alkaline. Eat good food (Broccoli), save your bones. Folate and iron keep the blood healthy, improving circulation and keeping anemia at bay. Vitamin A along with other compounds found in Broccoli keeps skin smooth, and alleviates inflammation from sun damage.
Some people will say that oils are bad for you in general, but for me, Olive Oil is the exception. It’s one of the only oils that is minimally processed, and has all kinds of phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are a group of nutrients that are present in plants that essentially help prevent cancer and healthy cells. It reduces inflammation, protects against stroke and heart disease, and is anti-bacterial. When I visited the Temecula Olive Oil Farm, Thom told us that in the days where there was only access to non-potable water, a mixture of olive oil and vinegar was used to “wash” the veggies before consuming. That is how the classic vinaigrette was born!
Nutritional yeast is the vegan’s quick answer to cheesy goodness, but it’s also rich in B-12, and essential vitamins. Did I mention it was a complete protein as well? Maybe we should call these protein tots instead.
There you have it – Super Tots that are filled with Super Foods! Plus, they’re crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and with the Lemon Pepper Mayo, they are TO DIE FOR!
- Food Processor
- 2 Half Sheet Pans
- Silpats or Parchment Paper
- #50 Portioner (a 1 Tablespoon Cookie Scoop)
- 1 Log Melissa's Produce Cooked Quinoa
- 3 Tablespoons Chia Seeds
- 1/4 Cup + 1 Tablespoon Water
- 1 Cup Breadcrumbs
- 1 Cup Frozen Broccoli Stems processed
- 1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil Extra Virgin
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper Freshly Cracked
Lemon Pepper Mayo
- 1 Cup Grapeseed Vegenaise
- 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice Fresh
- 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper Freshly Cracked
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
For The Super Tots
- Preheat the oven to 475 F, and ready two half sheet pans, lining with either parchment paper or silpats.
- In a medium bowl, add the chia seeds, and water. Mix, and let sit for 10 minutes while you mix the remaining ingredients.
- Take one pack of frozen broccoli, and strain with a sieve under hot water until slightly defrosted. Drain as well as you can. Add to a food processor, and pulse a few times until the broccoli resembles rice. Return to the sieve, and using the back of a large spoon, press as much water out as you can. Alternately you can squeeze in a tea towel to expel all the moisture. After the water is out, perform your 1 cup measurement.
- In a large bowl, break up the Melissa's Quinoa very well, so there are no large chunks remaining. Stir the chia seeds so there are no clumps, and add to the quinoa mixture, along with the breadcrumbs, broccoli, nutritional yeast, olive oil, salt, pepper. Mix very well.
- The mixture should look crumbly, but when squeezed should stay together. Using a 1 Tablespoon measure, scoop into your hand, and shape into tot shapes, about 1.5 inches long, and .75 inches in diameter. Place on your lined sheet pans.
- Bake for 20 minutes, rotating once after 10 minutes, and until golden brown and crispy on the outside. Serve immediately.
For The Lemon Pepper Mayo
- Add all the ingredients for the Lemon Pepper Mayo in a small bowl, and whisk to combine thoroughly.