Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hailing from Egypt, Ful Mudames, to my Western palate has a flavour that is reminicsent to pea soup - just as hearty and savoury!  It's much thicker and goes well with rice.  Make sure to add the garnish included in this recipe - it makes the dish!


Time: 1 Hour      |      Servings: 4      |      Difficulty: Low

3 28oz cans Fava Beans (aka Broad Beans), drained and rinsed
3 cups water
2 bouillon cubes
dash of soy sauce (optional)
Salt/pepper to taste

6 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup fresh parsley
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons Olive Oil

In a large pot, add fava beans, bouillon cubes, water and soy sauce (if using).  Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a simmer.  Leave covered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a food processor combine all remaining ingredients and pulse into a thick paste.

Remove lid from fava beans, and allow water to reduce for another 15 minutes.  Using a potato masher, mash fava beans until it is thick, chunky paste.  Taste, season with salt/pepper to taste.

Top with garlic mixture, and enjoy with rice!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Easy Lentil Soup

We're having this tonight!  A true "throw together" meal, great for any day.

Healthy, hearty and full of protein and fibre - this is a win-win soup!  Enjoy with some crusty garlic toast!

When cooking with lentils, I usually use red lentils.  The reason is they cook the fastest (less than 30 minutes usually) and they easily fall apart.  If you like lentils to stay together, I recommend brown lentils.  However they may take up to an hour, or more, to cook fully.


Time:  40 Minutes    |       Servings: 4      |      Difficulty:   Low

2 cups red lentils
8 cups vegetable broth (plus more if desired)
2 onions, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery sticks, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 block smoked tofu, cubed or diced (optional)
1 bunch spinach, chopped (optional)

In a stock pot, heat oil on medium-high.  Add onions, carrots and celery.  Saute until translucent and well softened, about 7-10 minutes.  Add tofu and spinach, if using, and cook until spinach is wilted.

Add all remaining and ingredients and cook for 25-30 minutes, or until lentils are cooked and falling apart.  If the soup is too thick for your liking, add more broth until desired consistency is reached.

Serve and enjoy!

Macaroni Bechamel

With a name like "Macaroni Bechamel" chances are you wouldn't conclude this dish is Egyptian.  Not only is it Egyptian, it is one of the most intrinsically "Egyptian" dishes to eat!  This, and Kusheri (aka Koshari).

Only by coincidence am I cooking Egyptian food while the political unrest erupts in Egypt.  As you know, I have a passion for world food, and I am still in my "Africa" phase.  I've got many more Egyptian, and Moroccan dishes to come!  Also from all over central Africa too.

Apologies for the lack of pictures - I am going to try to get these up as soon as possible.  We've moved and it has been a crazy busy time!

Some notes about this dish - I usually write down "preferred protein" because honestly recipes are for personalization, in my belief - therefore I say "whatever works"!  However, I do strongly recommend for this dish to use veggie burger crumbles, pulsed seitan or textured vegetable protein as they hold together well.

This recipe uses a few pots (about 4, minimum) - I truly tried to make this use less pots, but for efficiency, there is no other option.

Take care everyone!


Time:    2 Hours      |       Servings:  6      |     Difficulty:  Medium

3/4 lb macaroni

1 lb preferred protein, ground or pulsed, if applicable.
2 onions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 tablespoon thyme, fresh (or 1/4 dried)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon oil

salt, pepper to taste

4 cups nondairy milk
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup Earth Balance
1/2 all purpose flour
salt, pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cook macaroni according to instructions, drain and put back in pot. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a sauce pan, heat oil on medium and add onions.  Saute until translucent and add garlic and parsley.  Cook until fragrant, and add protein, heating through.  Add crushed tomatoes, thyme, cinnamon and salt/pepper.  If needed, reduce this mixture until it is thick.  Set aside.

In a stock pot, heat Earth Balance on medium heat and add flour.  Whisk continuously until flour is bubbling slightly.  Whisk for 1-2 minutes.  Add nondairy milk and vegetable broth in continuous, even streams.  Continue whisking and add nutritional yeast and soy sauce; sauce will become very thick. 

Add 1/2 of the bechamel sauce to the macaroni.  Stir to combine and in baking dish (lasagna dish or dutch oven recommended), add 1/2 of the macaroni.

On the macaroni layer, add all of the protein/tomato mixture.  Add remaining macaroni on top.

Pour the remaining bechamel sauce over the entire dish.  Bake in oven, uncovered, until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ndole (Cameroonian Bitterleaf Soup)

Other than my mom's famous low-fat veggie soup, this is Daniel's new favourite soup.  SO easy too.

A very peculiar but delicious combination you will find in African cooking, especially Western, is tomato and peanut.  It may sound odd, but together these two foods create a flavour that is unique and tasty.  Actually, the combination is even difficult to imagine, as they change each other's flavour so substantially - so what you imagine it tastes like, may not be even close to what it does taste like.  All the more reason to give it a try.

Bitterleaf is a special leafy green that is found in Africa, unfortunately I have not found any here.  Kale is the next best thing, so it is used in this recipe.


Time:  45 min     |     Servings:  6      |      Difficulty:  Low


2 bunches kale, deveined and chopped into small pieces
1 lb preferred protein, such as beans, tempeh, seitan - pulsed if applicable
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, organic recommended as they cook best
2 onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, including leaves, diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 can pickled jalapenos, finely diced
1 cup peanut butter
6 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons oil


Heat oil in stock pot (or deep pot) and add onions and celery.  Saute until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add protein, garlic and jalapenos, cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes.  Add all remaining ingredients, except peanut butter.

Simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes or until kale is tender.  Stir in peanut butter.

Serve and enjoy.

Recommendations:  Eat with Fufu!

Mesir Wat and Injera (aka Ethiopian Lentils and Flatbread)

Last month was "African" month... trying recipes from all over the continent - mainly from Western Africa (Ghana, Cameroon, Morocco).  SO delicious!

Here is a recipe for Mesir Wat, Ethiopian Lentils - sweet, spicy and delicious, served with injera, the staple flat bread.  African food is simply a revelation.

Technically speaking, injera should be used as a utensil and served with the lentils on top - eat it with your hands!  But of course, Daniel and I tried this once and then decided to use utensils.  :)

The lentils are great on plain rice, or even with naan, etc - if you'd rather buy some bread than make it.

A last note - most Ethiopian (or Eritrean) food uses a special spiced-infused-butter called Niter Kibbeh - I have made it before and it is excellent - however, to avoid the work of making it (you need to simmer whole spices in the butter for an hour) I have made a short cut - using ground spices and gently simmering them in butter for a couple minutes. 


Time: 45 min      |      Servings:  4      |      Difficulty: Low


2 cups red lentils
4 cups vegetable stock
2 onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
3 tablespoons Earth Balance
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground fenegreek
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
Salt, to taste

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup Teff flour
1.5 cup cold water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
Oil for frying


In a pot, heat Earth Balance over medium heat - add all ground spices.  Stir continuously until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add onions and continue cooking until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. 

Bring heat to high, add lentils and stock.  Bring to a boil and turn down head to low to simmer.  Cover and allow to cook for 30 minutes, or until lentils are fully cooking.  You don't need to stir.

Meanwhile, heat a frying pan on medium and drizzle oil (make sure the pan is well oiled; nonstick is ideal).  In a bowl, mix flours, baking powder, oil and water.  Mix until just combined - the consistency should be thinner than pancake mix so add more water if needed.

Pour a 1/2 cup into pan.  It will bubble.  You do not need to flip injera.  When the sides pop up and the top looks cooked, place aside.  Continue preparing the rest of batter this way.  Watch the heat; make sure it on medium or lower, as the bottom may burn if you don't watch.

Serve cooked lentils on top of injera and enjoy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Grilled Smoky Tofu

Goes with everything, and IN everything! :)  Feel free to bake or fry, if a grill is not available.  This will create a caramelized glaze - wonderful!  Just be careful of burning the sauce.


Time: 30 min      |       Servings: 4      |      Difficulty:  Low


2 packages smoked tofu, sliced or cut into strips
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (or more if you like it spicy!)
1 tablespoon preferred vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, allow to marinate at least 15 minutes.
Grill on BBQ, using marinade as basting sauce - until all sides are slightly charred; about 10 minutes.

Serve and enjoy.

Peruvian Series - Tallarines Verdes

Tallarines Verdes, which means "Green Noodles" in Spanish, is a Peruvian pesto dish.  It is actually an ideal family meal as it is super healthy; the sauce in Tallarines Verdes is a Basil/Spinach/Walnut mix.

Even though the ingredients are simple, my first attempt was one of my worst culinary failures in a LONG, long time! :)  That just made me want to develop a vegan version of this recipe even more.

So here it is!  Full of vitamins and antioxidants.


Time:  30 min      |      Servings: 4      |      Difficulty: Low


1 lb flat pasta, such as fettuccine
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 bunches of fresh spinach
2 bunches of fresh basil
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons non-dairy cream cheese
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
1/4 cup vegetable broth
Salt, to taste


Add pasta to boiling water and cook according to instructions.

Meanwhile, heat oil on medium-high.  Add onions and garlic and saute until slightly browned, about 10 minutes.  Add spinach and basil, cook until wilted.

In a blender spinach/basil mixture and all remaining ingredients - blend until a uniform, creamy green colour is reached.  Add more broth if too thick.  Salt to taste.

Combine cooked noodles with sauce and serve.

-  Serve Tallarines with a flavourful protein, like grilled seitan or Smoky Grilled Tofu.

Shepherd's Pie

This is a recipe for Shepherd's Pie.  Shepherd's pie is easy to make, but it is a little bit long.  The end result is well worth it, however!  Enjoy!


Time: 1 Hour 30 min     |      Servings: 6     |      Difficulty: Low

2 lb potatoes, preferred kind (quartered if large)
1/4 cup Earth Balance
1/2 bunch chives, chopped
1/4 cup non-dairy milk, more if needed
1/2 tablespoon Horseradish (optional)

1 lb favourite protein (I recommend seitan or tempeh), pulsed/ground
1 lb mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 onions, diced
1 large tomato, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 cup frozen vegetable mix, preffered kind
3 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
1 tablespoon vegetarian worcestire sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon marmite
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried poultry seasoning
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed into 2 tablespoons cold water
2-3 tablespoons oil

PreparationPreheat oven to 500 degrees F.

Begin with placing cut potatoes in pot of water.  Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in an dutch oven (or oven-friendly pot) heat oil on medium-high and add mushrooms and saute until they shrink and release their juices, about 10 minutes.  Add all vegetables and fry until translucent, about 10 minutes.  Add protein and continue cooking until juices begin to evaporate, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. 

Increase heat to high, and add wine to deglaze pan, if using.  Add broth, marmite, spices and tomato paste and stir to combine.  Once boiling, add cornstarch mixture and stir.  When thick and bubble turn off heat and place aside.

Potatoes should be done.  Drain and mash with Earth Balance, chives, horseradish and milk - adding salt if necessary.

Spread potatoes on top of filling, and bake in oven until the top is golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Serve and enjoy.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Versatile Sundried Tomato Chickpeas

This is a chickpea mixture that can be used for ... literally almost anything.  It's sweet, tangy and savoury.  Yum!  This chickpea dish can be used as a filling for wraps, tarts and potpies - you can also thin it down a bit with some broth and serve it over rice or with pasta.  Best of all, it's an SSS Recipe!! :)  30 minutes includes all blitzing in the processor, too.

Time: 30 minutes     |      Servings: 4       |      Difficulty: Low

1 15 oz can chickpeas, pulsed in food processor or mashed with fork
1 cup sundried tomatoes in oil, drained, pulsed into paste
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water or vegetable broth (more if necessary)

Heat oil in pan on medium-high.  Add onions and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add all remaining ingredients and cook until heated through, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

At this point, you can serve this dish or you can add more water to soften the chickpeas or make thinner.  Add more water or broth, 1/4 cup by 1/4 cup until the desired consistency is reached.

Serve and enjoy!

- As stated above, serve this any way you wish.  The picture showed is a variation I made making individual tarts, with homemade pastry crust
- Add cayenne pepper during the cooking process to give it some spice
- Add fresh chopped parsley for some extra zest!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Papa a la Huancaina

Coming from a Peruvian background, I am going to venture into veganizing a few quintessential Peruvian dishes, like this one.  It's creamy, savoury and so satisfying.  Paired with a tangy, dark flavour like Grilled Smoked Tofu - you are looking at one delicious meal.

"Papa a la Huancaina" means "Huancayo styled potatoes" with Huancayo being a region in Peru.

A curious bit of info, as Peru is "birthplace" of the potato, the word "potato" comes from the Quechua (language of the Inca) word for potato, "papa", and also is where the Spanish word "papa" comes from, like papas fritas.

Papa a la Huancaina (with caramelized smoked tofu)

Time:  45 minutes (plus 24 hour chill)      |      Servings: 4      |      Difficulty:  Low

2 containers Tofutti "Better than Cream Cheese"
5 bell peppers, either red or yellow, or a combo, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon preferred vegetable oil
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic/onion powder
1/2 teaspoon nutritional yeast

1 lb potatoes, favourite kind, boiled whole and sliced

2 packages smoked tofu, cut into strips
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon preferred vegetable oil

Chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)
Chopped tomato, for garnish (optional)

Begin by heating oil in a frying pan on medium-high. Add bell peppers and onion, and cook until softened, about 5-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 5 minutes longer.

In a blender, add bell pepper mixture, cream cheese, non-dairy milk, and spices.  Blend until a smooth consistency is reached. Add more non-dairy milk if a thinner consistency is desired.

Place in a bowl, tupperwear, etc, and allow to chill overnight in the refrigerator.

When sauce is ready, place potatoes in a pot of  salted cold water, and bring up to boil.  Boil until tender with a fork, about 45 minutes for medium sized potatoes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, coat strips of smoked tofu with soy sauce, syrup and sriracha.  Allow to marinade for 15-30 minutes.  Sautee in a pan with oil on medium-high heat, using marinade liquid to deglaze while becoming caramelized, about 10 minutes.  Be careful not to burn.

Slice potatoes and drizzle with Huancaina sauce, serve with caramelized smoked tofu. Garnish with chopped tomato and cilantro, if desired.