[Chickpea Oven Fries are vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free, soy-free, nut-free, dairy-free, egg-free, yeast-free and perfect for any stage of the anti-candida diet.]
Have you ever heard of “spoonbread“? When I was a kid, it was one of my dad’s favorite weekend breakfasts, and my mother made it often. Basically (in our house, at least), spoonbread was cornmeal cooked cream-of-wheat style, until it began to disintegrate slightly, resembling a thick, mushy, bright yellow concrete mix, soft and gluey and somewhat congealed. Then, Mom would stir in several blobs of cottage cheese (not curdles, but the heavy, dense kind–sometimes also called “farmer’s cheese“). The cheese didn’t serve to soften the gruel, as you’d expect it would, but instead simply contributed a white marbling to the brilliant canary hue, like a big slab of granite being dissolved in urine. Mmmmm–sounds appetizing, doesn’t it?
Needless to say, I was not a fan of spoonbread.
So it makes perfect sense that I shunned polenta for decades even after I moved out on my own and had the opportunity to sample the professionally-prepared variety in a number of reputable establishments.
When I finally did capitulate and taste it, I quickly realized that polenta wasn’t anything like my mom’s spoonbread. It was firm, with a slightly creamy center–and it tasted good! I started cooking polenta appetizers for dinner parties, and even savored some polenta “fries” with JL and her husband during our dinner at Candle Cafe in New York a few years ago.
Which brings me to today’s recipe.
Of course, polenta fries are lovely, but I know that many people on an anti-candida or low sugar diet don’t “do” corn. And even though I am totally fine eating potatoes (as I mentioned yesterday), it’s sometimes nice to have a different grain-free option when you’re craving something carby.
Enter chickpea fries–a perfect option that won’t mess with your blood sugar.
(Oh, and if you’re interested in other ways to balance blood sugar, I hope you’ll check out the course I’m teaching with my friend and colleague Andrea Nakayama, “You’re Not the Boss of Me: Control Your Blood Sugar So It Doesn’t Control You.” It’s all about balance and how to deal gracefully with cravings along the way. These fries and aioli would be a perfect recipe for that program, too. Early bird pricing ends tonight, so head on over to take a look!).
These fries are ridiculously simple to make (only 3 ingredients!) and are literally foolproof. Paired with the avocado aioli, they’re elevated to the status of a dinner party appetizer–but don’t feel you have to serve them that way. They’ll do just fine alongside some good old-fashioned ketchup (or catsup, depending on your bent), too.
Just please, don’t serve them with cottage cheese.
Chickpea Fries with Avocado-Garlic Aioli
The creamy, garlicky aioli is a perfect counterpoint to the herby fries in this recipe. Feel free to switch up the herbs if you’re not a fan of dill. And if you don’t have avocados or prefer a more traditional condiment, ketchup works beautifully, too!
For the aioli:
1/4 cup (40 g) raw cashews
1 medium just-ripe avocado
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
1 tsp (5 ml) apple cider vinegar
pinch fine sea salt, or to taste
1/3-1/2 cup (80-120 ml) water, depending on how thick you want the aioli
For the fries:
1-1/2 cups (240 g) chickpea flour, measured and then sifted
1-1/2 cups (360 ml) vegetable broth or stock
1/4-1/3 cup (60-80 ml) coarsely chopped fresh dill (or other herb of choice–basil, parsley, cilantro or fresh tarragon would all work nicely)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic (optional)
Preheat oven to 400F (200 C). Line an 8-inch (20 cm) square pan with parchment or grease with nonstick spray. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment and set aside.
Begin the aioli: place the cashews in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to soak while you prepare the fries.
Make the fries: In a bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, broth and herbs. Pour into the pan and tap lightly on the countertop to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the top is dry and the mixture is solid. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly (about 5 minutes).
Invert the pan over a cutting board and peel off the parchment if you used it. Cut the square into quarters, forming four smaller squares. Then cut each of the quarters into 4 or 5 strips, depending how thick you want your fries. (Don’t separate the strips just yet).
If you wish, you can brush the fries with oil to help them brown and for the outside to crisp up more. Brush over the top of the fries and then separate the strips, lining them up on the cookie sheet with about 1/4 inch (.5 cm) space between them. Bake for another 15-20 minutes, until they begin to brown slightly on the edges. (If you wish, remove the fries after 15 minutes, turn them over, and brush the other side with oil as well; this isn’t necessary, but does help them to brown more evenly). Note that the fries won’t be hard and crispy like potato-based fries; they should still be soft inside.
While the fries bake, finish the aioli: Drain the cashews and place in the jar of a high-speed blender. Add remaining ingredients and, using the tamper, blend until thick and creamy. Taste and adjust salt if necessary. Serve immediately with fries. Makes 4 appetizer or 2 main course servings.
Suitable for: ACD All Stages, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, yeast-free, vegan, low glycemic.
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