I was never a huge fan of most Asian food before going vegan, but it seems I want it more often now. And cashews beg to be put in Asian sauces. So I decided to try my hand at a sweet and sour dish (sauce made without cane sugar for my sister!) If you had actually been at my house last night, you would have gotten dinner & a show. The show was my trying to figure out how to eat with my beautiful, previously unused chopsticks! At least dinner was good.
Sweet 'n' Sour Cashews & Chickpea Nuggets
1/2 recipe of Gluten Free Chickpea Cutlets
--the most popular post on this blog! Made into nuggets or made as cutlets and cut into bite size pieces after baking. This is one time I wished I hadn't skipped the coconut aminos/soy sauce substitute. Still good, but it would have given the whole dish a richer flavor. So if you can use that this time, you won't be sorry.
(go ahead and make the whole batch and freeze the other half. I did that because I need the others for later in the month. A whole batch was 48 nuggets)
Sweet and sour sauce ingredients:
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar (be sure it's RICE vinegar - it's milder than others. If you're trying to be cane sugar free - check the bottle - some of them add sugar)
- 1/4 cup agave nectar
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp coconut aminos (if you're not soy-free you can use gf soy sauce here. If you are soy-free and don't have access to the coconut aminos, I think a little tiny bit of salt would suffice)
- 2 tsp arrowroot
- 2 Tbsp water
- 1/4 cup diced pineapple
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1 large yellow onion, cut into thin half-moons
- 1 large green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
While chickpea nuggets are cooking, begin the sauce. Whisk together the vinegar, agave, tomato paste and coconut aminos. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. While waiting for the sauce to boil, mix together the arrowroot and 2 Tbsp of water. When it boils, add the arrowroot mixture and whisk vigorously to keep it from clumping. It will thicken quickly. When thickened, remove from heat and stir in pineapple. Set aside.
In large skillet over medium heat, saute cashews in olive oil until golden brown (about 8 mins). Remove cashews and stir them into sauce. Leave the oil in the pan and add onion & pepper. When the oil cooks out, add water as necessary. Cover with a lid and let it steam-fry until vegetables are translucent (15-20 mins). Uncover, turn temperature up to medium high cook until any remaining water is gone and onions are browned.
When nuggets are done, put them in the pan with the sauce and toss to coat.
When vegetables are finished, remove from heat and add the cashews/nuggets/sauce. Stir it all together until vegetables are evenly distributed and coated with sauce.
Serve with rice and a cup of green tea. For me, this would serve 4, but it depends on how hungry you are! If you want to bulk it up some more, add a side of steamed broccoli.