“What came first: The chickpea or the falafel?” and some other thoughts on being vegetarian-ish

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Gorgeous salad with gorgeous falafel from The Kitchen.

I was having a laugh the other day with my dad about how many chickpeas I’d consumed in the past 24 hours. I’d had hummus with my dinner the night before, falafel and hummus for lunch that day, and then fresh chickpeas and MORE HUMMUS for dinner. YUM. He wasn’t listening very intently to my legume soliloquy (rude) but he did ask me this:

“What came first: the chickpea or the falafel?”.

Anyway. It’s been 6ish months since I accidentally (and then purposefully) stopped eating red meat and chicken and I felt it was time for an update.

1. Making falafel is harder than I thought

Visually, this post is basically an ode to the falafel. I wish I was that adept at making the damn things too. I tried to make some the other day but they looked more like cow pats than perfectly golden, crispy-on-the-outside-but-fluffy-on-the-inside dollops of delight. SEND HELP.

2. No more cheating with chicken for this gal

Guys I haven’t had a chicken mayo toastie in AGES and I don’t even miss it. That much. TBH if someone were to wave one under my nose, I’m not gonna say I would take a bite out of it but I’m also not not saying it…

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Pitas are my go-to when at markets.

3. Vegetarian burgers are the most fun

So far, the cheese-filled chickpea burger at Jerry’s and the Zelig (a falafel patty smothered in – you guessed it – hummus) at Royale Eatery are my fav. I also love love love the veg patties from Woolies (especially chargrilled on the braai), but should probs stop buying those and start making my own.

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Falafel tacos from Fat Cactus because tacos.

4. I’m petrified of tofu

GUYS TOFU IS SO WEIRD. Like why is it SO square? And so jiggly? I haven’t attempted to make it myself and the unopened box that I bought on a whim stares at me every time I open the cupboard. I’ve heard things about the cooking part and they’re not very encouraging things.

5. Vegan pizza on the other hand…

…I can seriously get on board with. Vegan pizzas have recently caught my interest because, while I love cheese, dairy doesn’t always love me. Ferdinandos (bae) has plenty plant-based options and the Pomona from Hail Pizza is a winner.

6. No one panic you can still braai meat-free

Haloumi and veggie kebabs, veggie patties, mushroom burgers, chargrilled aubergine for babaganouche, mielies, sweet potatoes, stuffed squash or peppers – it’s all a vibe. Add a strawberry and almond salad sprinkled with feta, and maybe a G&T with some decorative cucumber and then you’ve really got a veggie party. This all being said, I’m looking forward to veg-ifying our family’s Chrismukkah meal.

Nanaga farmstall in the Eastern Cape is known for roosterkoek. This one was filled with (big surprise) cheese and tomato.

7. Cheese & tomato is the vegetarian savour

The festive season is approaching and that means it’s high time for a local road trip. When the hunger grumps come calling and you stop off at a padstal for a snack, best believe there’ll be a cheese and tomato option – whether you’re craving a pie or a toastie or a humble roosterkoek.

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A cheese and tomato toastie with a side of Tsitsikama views.

Cheers to the start of the festive season!

Em xx

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