Vegan Chow Mein

This is a Cantonese-style chow mein, served on a bed of crispy fried noodles. Traditionally, one would use egg noodles, but here I’ve replaced that with thin rice noodles, to keep it vegan! As usual, not exactly authentic, but not too far off either.

Prep Time: ~45 minutes
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp garlic, peeled and minced.
  • 1 tbsp ginger, peeled and minced.
  • 1 tsp crushed chili peppers.
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil.
  • 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced.
  • 1 small head broccoli, cut into small florets.
  • 1 large handful snow peas, washed, with the ends trimmed off.
  • 2 bunches baby bok choy (or a small handful of cabbage), cut into thin strips, leaves separate from the stems.
  • 1 small handful water chestnuts, sliced if desired.
  • small handful green onions, finely sliced.
  • 3 tbsp vegan oyster sauce – this can be bought at some supermarkets, or if you’re feeling adventurous, make it yourself! Here is a pretty good recipe with ingredients that are pretty easy to get ahold of.
  • 1 tsp soy sauce.
  • 1 tsp sugar.
  • pinch of white pepper.
  • splash of water.
  • thin rice noodles (such as vermicelli).

Cooking Instructions:

Place a large frying pan or wok over medium heat with some vegetable oil in the bottom. When hot, toss in the ginger, garlic, and crushed chilis. Fry those for a few minutes, stirring often, until they become fragrant.

Next, add in the carrots and the broccoli, and cook until they begin to soften slightly. Add in the peas and bok choy stems, fry for a minute, then the bok choy leaves, water chestnuts, and green onions. Fry everything for a minute or two, then add in the oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, pepper, and water. Stir to coat, then reduce the heat slightly until your noodles are ready.

Heat up another frying pan on medium-high heat with a splash of oil in it to fry off the noodles (you don’t have to fry them, but it makes the dish so much better!) Boil the noodles until just cooked, then drain them and splash them with a bit of cold water to prevent them from going soggy. Toss them in the frying pan and stir them often, cooking until they begin to go nice and crispy.

Scoop some noodles into a bowl, then top with the vegetables, and enjoy!

 

 

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Roasted Potato Galettes

Crispy, herby, delicious little stacks of sliced potato. This recipe is a lovely little side for dinner parties, or if you’re cooking to impress someone special!

Prep time: ~45 minutes
Serves: 4-6
Gluten-free

Ingredients:

  • 4 large potatoes, peeled if desired, scrubbed well and cut into very thin slices (a mandoline or food processor with a slicer attachment works best).
  • 3 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 small handful fresh thyme, leaves stripped off the stems and finely chopped.
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced.
  • salt.
  • pepper.
  • sea salt (optional).

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 425 F/220 C.

In a large bowl, mix the potatoes with the olive oil, making sure to coat each individual slice. Add in the herbs, garlic, and season well with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.

To make the galettes nice and precise, take a cupcake/muffin tin and grease the cups. Layer up the potato slices in the cupcake cups, pushing them up the sides slightly so they’re taller around the edges. If you don’t have a cupcake tin, use a baking sheet with some parchment paper – the galettes won’t be quite as precise, but they’ll still taste delicious!

Sprinkle on top with a tiny bit of sea salt, and pop them in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until golden and crispy on the edges, and soft in the middle.

Enjoy!

Sweet Potato, Coconut, & Lime Soup

A soup I’ve had (and made) many a time at my work! It’s super creamy, a little bit sweet, and has a nice tang from the limes. Very easy to make, too! Served with a little sprig of coriander (if you like coriander, that is), it’s lovely and fresh.

Serves: 6-8
Prep time: ~45 minutes
Gluten-free

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced.
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and diced.
  • 1 tbsp ginger, peeled and diced.
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil.
  • salt.
  • pepper.
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped.
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped.
  • 2 cans coconut milk.
  • 4 cups vegetable stock.
  • zest and juice of 2 limes (add more if you want it super limey!).
  • 1 small bunch coriander (also called cilantro), finely chopped,plus more for garnish (optional).

Cooking Instructions:

In a large pot over medium heat, add the coconut oil, and once it’s hot, the onion, garlic, and ginger. Place the lid on and fry, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until everything becomes soft and fragrant.

Next, add in the sweet potatoes and the carrots, and cook them for a few minutes with the lid on, just until they start to soften a little bit. Season well with salt and pepper, then add in the coconut milk and the vegetable stock. Bring the whole thing up to a boil, then reduce the heat slightly and allow to simmer for at least 15 minutes.

Once the vegetables are soft enough that you can break them up with a fork, puree the soup until smooth. Add in the lime juice, zest, and coriander, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with a leaf or two just before serving, and enjoy!

 

 

Paprika-Garlic Potatoes

A delicious (and ridiculously simple) side dish for all kinds of meals, always very popular with my friends! This is one recipe where I like to leave on the potato skins – they go lovely and crispy.

This recipe is easily modified to be gluten-free, just use brown rice flour in place of the regular flour!

Prep time: ~45 minutes
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients:

  • 6 large potatoes (preferably red), washed and sliced into wedges.
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced.
  • 1 tbsp flour.
  • 1 tsp paprika.
  • salt.
  • pepper.
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 small bunch parsely, finely chopped.
  • fresh lemon juice (optional).

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 425 F (220 C).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, mix the potatoes with a tiny bit of olive oil, then the garlic, paprika, flour, salt, and pepper.

Toss the coated potatoes in some more oil, then tumble them out onto the tray, spreading them out so there’s only one layer.

Pop them in the oven for 30-40 minutes, giving them a quick flip about halfway through the cooking.

When they come out of the oven, give them a quick toss with the chopped parsley and a tiny squeeze of lemon juice (if desired). Enjoy!

Vegan Japanese Curry

Japanese curries are delicious – slightly sweet, slightly spicy, all-around amazing. A lot of recipes, this one included, involve making a kind of curry-roux before adding the vegetables and liquid. A little bit more work than most curries, but well worth the effort! Serve this curry on a bed of rice or with some potato croquettes (I have a recipe for those too!) to make it a full meal.

This is a slight variation on your traditional recipes, so I can’t claim it to be authentic, but it sure is good!

Prep time: ~1  hour
Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

For the curry roux:

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced.
  • 2 tbsp ginger, peeled and finely minced.
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil.
  • 1/4 cup flour.
  • 2 tbsp curry powder.
  • 1 tsp garam masala.
  • 1-2 tsp crushed chilies.
  • black pepper.
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste.
  • 2 tsp soy sauce.

For the rest of the curry:

  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced.
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-cm chunks.
  • 2 potatoes, peeled if desired, cut into 1-cm chunks.
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or water.
  • 1 tsp soy sauce.
  • 1 Chinese eggplant, cut into 1-cm chunks.
  • 1 apple, cored, peeled (if desired), and grated.
  • 1/2 cup peas, defrosted if frozen.

In a small saucepan, heat the oil on medium-low. When it’s hot enough, add in the garlic and ginger and fry until just fragrant. Next, add in the flour, curry powder, and garam masala. Stir until you have a thick paste, then add in the chilies, black pepper, soy, and tomato paste.

Keep cooking the roux, stirring until it just starts to get a little bit drier and crumbly. Remove it from the heat and set aside.

Put the remaining oil in a large pot over medium heat, then add the onions. Fry them until they begin to caramelize, then add in the carrots and potatoes. Fry them for a few minutes, then add in the stock and soy sauce.

Bring the whole thing to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for a few minutes before adding in the apple and eggplant.

Once the vegetables are all tender, loosen up the roux with a little bit of the cooking liquid before pouring it into the rest of the curry. Stir well, until the roux has completely dissolved into the rest of the stew.

Let the curry continue to simmer, and once it begins to thicken a little, add in the peas. Taste for seasoning, adding more soy sauce or pepper if desired, and enjoy!

This curry is also delicious when cold.

Vegan Ma Po Tofu

A delicious, tremendously spicy dish from the Sichuan (or Szechuan, depending how you spell it) province of China, and a new go-to of mine! This is a rich, flavourful stew served on a bed of rice. Easy to prepare and quick to make. Not the most traditional version of the dish, to be fair, but it sure is delicious!

There are a couple of ingredients you might not be familiar with in this dish: Sichuan peppercorns and chili bean sauce. You can find both of these quite easily at a Chinese supermarket! Sichuan peppercorns are wonderfully spicy and leave an almost tingly feeling in your mouth – great for making your own spicy oil for various stir fry dishes. The chili bean sauce is made from fermented broad beans and chilies. It’s incredibly delicious and provides most of the seasoning for the dish, since it’s quite salty!

If you have a lower spice tolerance, feel free to omit the chilies or reduce the amount of peppercorns used.

Traditionally, this dish would use ground pork, but here I’ve replaced that with mushrooms, to make it vegan-friendly while still keeping that lovely umami flavour. Normally this would be cooked in a wok, but if you don’t have one, a deep frying pan will work just fine!

Prep time: ~30 minutes.
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp. Sichuan peppercorns.
  • 2 red chilies, finely diced.
  • 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil.
  • 3 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely diced.
  • 3 tbsp garlic, peeled and finely diced.
  • 200 g. button mushrooms, finely diced.
  • 1-2 tbsp chili bean sauce.
  • 1 tsp soy sauce.
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar.
  • 200 ml boiling water.
  • 400 g. tofu (anywhere from medium to firm is fine!), cut into 1 cm cubes.
  • 2 tsp cornstarch.
  • 2 scallions, finely sliced.

Cooking Instructions:

Before you begin, start cooking some long-grain rice, about 1/4 cup per person. This will take about as long as the rest of the dish!

Start by grinding half of the peppercorns in a spice grinder or mortar or pestle, just until you get a coarse, crumb-like consistency.

Heat the oil in the wok over medium-high heat, and add in the peppercorns and chilies. Fry for a couple of minutes, until the oil takes on some of the colour, then add in the ginger and garlic.

Keep everything moving in the pan, and fry for a couple of minutes, until the ginger and garlic become fragrant. Add the mushrooms in, and once they become soft, stir in the chili bean paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and water.

Make a cornstarch slurry in a small dish by mixing the cornstarch with a couple teaspoons of water. Add that to the pan, and stir it through well until it begins to thicken into a lovely sauce.

Bring to a gentle bubble, then stir in the tofu, being careful not to break the pieces. Simmer for a few minutes to allow the tofu to heat through completely. Check

Spoon some rice into the bottom of a bowl, then top with the stew. Sprinkle a small handful of chopped scallions, and enjoy!

Pea and Tarragon Soup

A lovely, refreshing soup that’s just as good served cold as it is hot. Don’t be scared off by the coconut milk – it doesn’t add much coconut flavour, just a lovely creaminess!

Prep time: ~45 minutes
Serves 6-8.
Gluten-free

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, diced.
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed/minced.
  • 2 tbsp olive oil.
  • 3 stalks celery, diced.
  • 500 g frozen peas (let defrost before adding to the soup).
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon (save a bit of the zest for garnish).
  • 2 cans coconut milk.
  • 4 cups vegetable stock/water.
  • 1 large bunch tarragon, finely chopped (save a few leaves for garnish).
  • Salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Heat a large pot over medium heat with the olive oil in the bottom. Once the oil is nice and hot, add in the onion and garlic.

Fry them off until soft and fragrant, then add the celery. Cook until the celery has softened and the onions and garlic have begun to caramelize slightly.

Next, add in all of the peas, the lemon juice and zest, the coconut milk, and vegetable stock.

Bring the whole thing up to a boil, then toss in the tarragon. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper.

Puree the soup, strain if desired, and serve with a little extra lemon zest and tarragon as a garnish.

Hora’a Osbao – Syrian Lentil Stew

An absolutely incredible dish originating from Syria. I had it for the first time last year by chance, and had to ask what the name was, it was so amazing. It’s a fair amount of work, but the results are by far worth it.

According to my roommate, this is often served as a side dish, but it’s more than filling enough to serve as the main course!

This dish uses pomegranate molasses, also called dibis ramman, which was an entirely new ingredient to me. It’s tangy, sweet, and just flat-out delicious. My local grocery store carries it, but you might have to make the trek to a Middle-Eastern market to find it! If you can only find grape molasses (which has a similar flavour profile), you can use that in a pinch.

If you use gluten-free pasta, this dish can be gluten-free.

Prep time: ~1.5 hours.
Serves: 6-8, generously.

Ingredients:

  • 5 large white onions, peeled and cut into thin slices.
  • 2 cups vegetable oil (for frying the onions)
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed/minced.
  • 1 bunch coriander, half finely chopped, half with the leaves removed from the stems.
  • 2 pieces Arabic bread (pita works well), cut into small cubes.
  • 2 cups lentils, rinsed well.
  • 8 cups water.
  • 6 tsp cumin.
  • 150 grams fettuccine (or similar pasta).
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses.
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice.
  • 1 tbsp sugar.
  • salt and pepper, to taste.
  • pomegranate seeds, to garnish.

Cooking Instructions:

Start off by heating 2 cups of oil in a large saucepan or pot on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot enough that an onion slice starts to bubble when dropped in, but doesn’t go brown right away, add in all the onions.

Stir occasionally, and cook until browned and crispy, 25-35 minutes. Remove from the oil, pat off the excess oil with paper towels, and set them aside to cool.

While the onions cook, preheat the oven as hot as it will go. Toss the bread pieces with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, until they’re nicely coated, then spread on a tray and bake for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until toasted and brown. Set the croutons aside to cool.

Place your lentils in a large pot with the water and cumin, and place the pot on high heat. When it starts to boil, turn the heat down until they’re just simmering. Cook for 30 minutes.

While the lentils are cooking, heat a small pan on medium heat. When hot, add 2 tsp olive oil and the garlic. Turn the heat down to low immediately, and cook the garlic, stirring often, for 2 minutes.

Add in the chopped coriander, then turn off the heat, but keep the pan on the stove. Stir occasionally until it begins to cool down, then set aside. This is called the “takliye”.

Cook your pasta for half the time specified on the package, then drain the pasta, but reserve 3 cups of the pasta water.

Once the lentils have been simmering for 30 minutes, add in half of the pasta water, an all of the pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, and sugar. Stir well until combined.

Add the pasta, 2/3 of the crispy onions, and all of the takliye, stir well, and bring to a boil. Let simmer for about 10 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper, and taste to see if the lentils are done. If they’re still too firm, add some more of the pasta water and let simmer for a few minutes longer.

When the lentils are cooked and the stew has a nice, thick consistency, stir in the last coriander leaves. If you are serving this for others, place in a large serving dish and allow to cool slightly, then top with the croutons, pomegranate seeds,, and the remaining onions.

This dish can be eaten warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

 

Kale and Cauliflower Salad

Another salad that incorporates roasted vegetables. A little more effort than usual, but I find that mixing the salad while the roasted vegetables are still warm helps the kale tenderize a little bit more and taste better. This particular salad uses cauliflower, red peppers, and carrots – only the cauliflower is roasted, though!

Gluten-free
Serves 6
Prep time: ~30 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 8 large handfuls of chopped kale.
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced.
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets.
  • 2 large carrots, peeled if desired, finely grated.
  • 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar.
  • 1/2 cup olive oil.
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard.
  • 1 tsp agave syrup.
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely grated.
  • salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with some parchment paper. Tumble all of your cauliflower florets onto the baking sheet, and season well with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until soft and cooked all the way through.

While the cauliflower cooks, it’s time to make the dressing. Mix together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, agave syrup, salt and pepper. You can blend everything together using an immersion blender, food processor, or standing blender, but you can also just mix it all by hand if you don’t mind the dressing being a little less smooth and uniform.

Once the cauliflower is done, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool slightly. This is a good time to dice up your red pepper and grate your carrots.

When the cauliflower is mostly cooled, but still a little bit warm, place all of your kale into a large bowl and mix in the cauliflower. This will allow the kale to wilt down slightly and become tender and easier to eat. Add in the bell pepper and carrots, and mix those through as well.

Dress well and serve immediately, or serve with dressing on the side to allow everyone to add as much or as little as they like!

Mango and Red Cabbage Coleslaw

Coleslaw, at least the traditional creamy kind with mayonnaise, isn’t my favourite. But throw in some fresh fruit and dress it up with a vinaigrette instead, and I’m in heaven! This particular variety uses mango, green apple, red cabbage, and carrots.

Use as much or as little of the dressing as you like.

Raw
Gluten-free
Serves 6-8
Prep time: ~20 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large ripe mango.
  • 1 head red cabbage
  • 2 large carrots, peeled if desired.
  • 1 red onion.
  • 2 green apples.
  • 1 large handful fresh mint.
  • 1 large handful fresh coriander.
  • 1 lime, juiced.
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice.
  • 2/3 cup olive oil.
  • 1 tbsp whole grain mustard.
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup.
  • 1 clove garlic.
  • 1 piece fresh ginger, about 2 cm square, peeled.

 

Cooking Instructions:

To make the dressing, place the ginger, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, mustard, and maple syrup into a food processor/blender/use an immersion blender, and blend until combined.

Slowly stream in the olive oil until nicely emulsified. If you don’t feel like doing that, just do it by hand in a bowl.

Set the dressing aside. Slice the mango and the apple into thin strips. Use either a grater or a mandoline to shred the cabbage, red onion, and carrots. Chop the coriander and mint very finely.

Mix all of the vegetables in a large bowl, and add in the lime juice. Pour in the dressing and toss it all together.

Let sit in the fridge for a little while to let all the flavours mingle together, then serve!