VEGETABLE SAMOSAS +Becoming Plant-Based

Me: Mom, have you heard of samosas?

Mom: Yeah, like the drink?

Me: No, that's mimosa...but—

Mom: —Oh! The cookie.

Me: No mom that's Samoa.

Mom: Oh. Isn't that a type of dog though?

Me: ...Samoyed mom. Samoyed. 

So, do YOU know what a samosa is? 

It's a triangle shaped pastry filled with a savory mixture of lentils, vegetables and spices, which is usually folded up and deep fried. When I think of a samosa, I picture a bustling street in India, the sidewalks filled with vendors wheeling around carts piled with steaming, crispy samosas to sell, or a little girl watching her grandmother skillfully crimp the smooth dough over pockets of filling. 

But in these crisp, rosy-cheeked, gold-tinged days of late autumn, a samosa is pure and simple perfection. The months of September, October, and November are typically dominated by apple pies, cinnamon-speckled doughnuts, and the ubiquitous pumpkin spice latte, and there's nothing wrong with that. But when I'm chilly and hungry and my belly wants something wholesome and different, a samosa ticks all the right boxes. It'll leave you saying, "please, may I have sa-mo-sa?"

hehheheh.

I modified the traditional version to fit my taste, opting for a mix of whole-grain flours and baking instead of frying. I also added butternut squash to the filling for some autumn feels. 

Veggie-Lentil Samosas 

makes: about 8 dumplings

  • 1 packet instant dry yeast
  • 1 cup hot tap water 
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour (I can usually find this at local groceries, but you can also omit it and use all ww flour)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • coconut/olive oil for sauteeing
  • 1 small white onion
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 3 button mushrooms
  • 1/2 zucchini
  • 2 small red potatoes
  • 1 cup butternut squash cubes
  • 1 cup cooked lentils
  • spices: curry powder, coriander, garam masala, turmeric (use whatever combination of these you have on hand)

Start by preheating the oven to 350 F. To make the dough, combine the yeast, water, honey, and oil in a bowl and set aside for 5 minutes until foamy. Meanwhile, add the flours and salt to the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. With the mixer running, slowly pour in the yeast mixture and pulse until a rough dough comes together. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead 5-6 times, until the dough feels smooth and elastic. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a big rectangle about 1/4-1/8 inch thick. Slice into 3x3 squares, re-rolling and cutting any scraps. Cover your squares with a damp paper towel and set aside while you make the filling

Finely chop all of the vegetables, then add to a large sautee pan over medium-high heat along with a spoonful of coconut oil. Stir in spices to taste (1/2-1 tsp each is about what I used), then cook, stirring periodically, until the vegetables are soft.

To fill the samosas, drop a spoonful of filling in the middle of a dough square, then fold diagonally to form a triangle. Crimp the edges with a fork and pierce the top a few times. Repeat for remaining dough. Transfer the samosas to a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the crust is stiff and golden brown.

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On a different note, I thought I'd talk a little about how my eating habits have changed lately. Firstly, I've started eating gluten again. I had so many stomachaches anyway, so I figured it couldn't hurt, and haven't really had a problem. I haven't suddenly morphed into a gluten monster though. I still stay away from highly processed bleached flours, but I love being able to eat Ezekiel cereal, farro + barley, and crusty/chewy whole-grain bakery loaves with smashed avocado and lemon juice (swoon). 

But there's also a little bigger, more recent change. When I started researching animal welfare and environmental practices, I was able to make the connection between what I ate and how it affected these things. Because I didn't like the consequences of my choices, I made an effort to change by giving up meat, composting, and buying fair-trade. I also try to live with less,  purchasing only the things that I absolutely need, shopping secondhand, etc. Again, nobody's perfect, but it's a work in progress and I do my best.

Through all of this, I have been voting with my dollar, as they say, for a better world and a lifestyle that I feel good about. The logical next step for me was to cut out all animal products. I know I might receive some backlash for this, but I don't believe that the dairy industry is ethical or kind, and I can't support it. I don't like to put labels on myself or my lifestyle choices, so I think that "plant-based" is the perfect term in a nutshell. I continue to eat eggs from a specific, trustworthy, small-town farm, and I feel good supporting a local business and knowing that the animals are happy and well cared for. Despite that, everything I eat starts with, and is mostly comprised of plants, hence plant-based. 

No, I don't judge people by what they eat, because I know everyone is different. My only goal in sharing all of this is to hopefully inspire people to make small changes. I think the reason a lot of people continue to do things that hurt our planet is because they simply don't know the consequences of their choices. I'm happy to answer any questions, and I'll leave you with a few things to explore if you're curious. 

May I recommend: the movies Forks over Knives (health perspective), Earthlings (animal welfare), or Cowspiracy (environment). All of these are pretty graphic and unpleasant films, but it's so important to know what's actually behind the food we eat.

These blogs are all or mostly plant-based, and have the most mouth-watering food you've ever seen. It's not all salad.