Seitan steaks

So this is a recipe that I really HAVE to share with you all.  I make seitan once every couple weeks on the weekend, because it lasts ages, you can freeze it, it’s a brilliant source of protein and you can do so much with it.

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There are loads of seitan recipes knocking around the internet, and I’ve tried making plenty of them.  I prefer making this one as it’s one of the easiest and I always have the ingredients ready to go.  Vital Wheat Gluten can be hard to find, but check your local Whole Foods, Holland & Barrett or health food store and you should be able to pick up a pack.  Make sure you get vital wheat gluten – if that’s not what it says, it’s not what you want!  You can also order online in bulk if you plan on making a shedload of the stuff.

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This recipe is for seitan “steaks”, so whatever you would use a steak for (if you were a meat eater…), you can substitute this for it.  Steak burgers, Philly cheesesteaks, gyros, kebabs or stew – whatever your gorgeous vegan heart desires.

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Steak, cheese and fried onion baguette. SEXXY.

It’s not a quick recipe, but it’s well worth the effort!

Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients

1 cup Vital Wheat Gluten (I used Suma for this recipe)

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 Tablespoon smoked paprika

1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder or granules

pinch of salt

3/4 cup of water (more if needed)

2 Tablespoons soy sauce or tamari, plus extra for marinating

1 Tablespoon tomato paste

5 cups of water

2-3 bay leaves

Instructions

Add the five cups of water and bay leaves to a large pot and bring to the boil.  Turn down the heat until the water is only just simmering.  If the water is boiling too fast this will make the seitan expand more and become more sponge-like.  We don’t want that…

While waiting for the water to boil, add the vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, garlic powder and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.

Add the 3/4 cup water, soy sauce and tomato paste to the dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms.  Add a little bit more water here if needed (if all the wheat gluten hasn’t mixed in properly).

Knead the dough for about a minute and then let it rest for five minutes or so.

After five minutes, return to the dough and knead again for another minute.

Split the mixture into four or five steaks.  The seitan will expand a bit, so make sure your steaks aren’t too big to start with!  Try to flatten them as much as possible – use a floured rolling pin if that helps.

Add your steaks to the simmering pot of water and bay leaves, cover, and allow to simmer for 30 – 40 minutes.

While your steaks are simmering, add about a tablespoon of soy sauce or tamari to a bowl.

When the steaks are ready, allow to cool for 10 minutes or so.

Once cooled, dip the steaks into the soy sauce and press to allow the sauce to penetrate the steaks.  You can leave them in the fridge at this point, or cook straight away.

Heat a fry pan or grill pan on medium high heat and carefully place the steaks in the pan.  Cook for a few minutes on each side, until crispy edges start to form, or if using a grill pan, until you get those black lines along the steaks.

Use as you wish… try not to eat a whole one right after they come out of the pan 😉

Time to make: 5 minutes to mix the ingredients, 5 minutes to knead and let the dough breathe, 40 minutes simmering, 5 minutes dipping in soy sauce, 5 minutes in the frying pan = 1 hour

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2.5, relatively easy to mix and assemble but there are a few different steps… and plenty of dishes!

#nowplaying : Hookworms – Static Resistance

 

 

Spicy tofu & brussels sprout fried rice

Here’s a combo that you might not think goes together, but it really does.  Brussels sprouts and fried rice?  Nah.  Oh, but YEAH.

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Many people aren’t keen on that stinky little vegetable, but I’m a huge fan of sprouts.  They’re usually only found as part of a roast dinner (hidden under the gravy), but after trying this recipe it’s clear that they’re a lot more versatile than just being a side dish.  One cup of these little green machines gives you over 100% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin K and C, as well as containing high amounts of folate and fibre.  Ugly vegetable, yet very good for you.

The combination of agave and sriracha on the crispy tofu gives it a sweet-but-spicy edge and I try to crisp up the tofu in the oven as much as possible without over cooking.  The tofu can be pan fried too if you prefer that method.  I like to just stick it in the oven and forget about it.

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Try not to overcook your sprouts also – I know it’s quite a British thing to do (sorry Brits!), but let’s leave some of the nutrients intact, shall we?!  Add some carrots and some seeds and you have a healthy as hell meal.  You’re welcome 😉

Enjoy!

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Ingredients

Sprout Fried Rice

2 cups of cooked, day old brown rice (white is fine if that’s all you have)

1.5 cups sliced Brussels sprouts (as thick or as thin as you want, just cook longer if you cut them quite thick)

1 large carrot, cut into half rounds

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of agave (or maple syrup)

1 tablespoon oil (any vegetable oil)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp ginger (I used the stuff in a tube – lasts forever and it works well!)

Optional – sesame seeds, chopped peanuts, chopped roasted cashews

Spicy Tofu

1 pack (280g) Tofoo tofu (I love this stuff – no need to press the water out, just pat dry with a couple of handy towels and you’re good to go)

1 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari)

1 tablespoon hot sauce (I use Sriracha, but you can use Frank’s or any other hot sauce)

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon agave (can also use maple syrup)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Method

Prepare your tofu first so you can put in the oven and work on the fried rice.

Preheat oven to 200C

Prepare a baking tray with baking paper.

Mix all of the tofu ingredients apart from the tofu in a small bowl to make a marinade.

Drain the tofu and dice evenly.

Place the tofu into the marinade bowl and stir to combine, ensuring all of the tofu is coated.

Carefully place your tofu pieces one by one onto the baking paper.  Keep the remaining marinade to coat the tofu halfway through.

Bake for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, turn over each piece of tofu individually and coat with the remaining marinade.

Bake for another 15 minutes or until browned, or as I like it, slightly burnt!

Now for the stir fry…

Add the vegetable oil and sesame oil to a cast iron skillet (or wok) and heat on medium high heat.

Add to the skillet the minced garlic and ginger, stirring occasionally for about a minute.  Be careful not to burn the garlic!

Add the sliced sprouts and carrots, and fry for around five minutes (longer if your sprouts are cut quite chunky), stirring occasionally.

Add the rice, soy sauce and agave to the skillet and stir to combine.  Stir fry for another five minutes or so, until everything is heated through and the rice becomes dry.

Serve immediately and top with the tofu.  Add some sesame seeds or crushed cashews.

Time to make: 20 minutes prep (because sprouts take AGES to prep!), 15 minutes to cook the rice and 30 minutes for the tofu = 55 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2.5, the rice is really quick and easy but when you add the tofu it becomes more complicated.

Serves 2 (but honestly, keep some for leftovers as this is hella tasty the next day!)

#nowplaying Baxter Dury – Price of Tears

BBQ pulled tempeh sloppy Joes

In my quest to veganise anything and everything, I’ve given Sloppy Joes the positivelyjen vegan once over.  I missed out on the “joy” of Sloppy Joes before becoming vegan, because I was never really a fan of mincemeat (no surprises really considering what’s in the stuff…).  Now that tempeh is on the scene there’s no turning back.

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I remember the first time I tried tempeh… please don’t make my mistake and try it uncooked and not spiced – put me off the stuff for months.  I persisted however, and now I’m picking up a packet every time I pay Whole Foods a visit.  Not as versatile as tofu, but packed with more protein (19g per 100g – that’s EPIC) and more fibre than it’s more-processed cousin.

You can use vegan mince if you’re not a fan of tempeh (Fry’s do an awesome vegan mince), but in trying to keep things a bit healthy in the house, tempeh has slipped in there for the foreseeable.   If you’re anti-spice too then feel free to leave out the jalapeño and chilli powder. Top with some green stuff (for the health), pickles, coleslaw (try my recipe here!) or your favourite vegan cheese.

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Let the sloppiness begin.

Serves two people/four small burgers (or serves one if you’re really, really hungry)

Ingredients

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 cloves minced garlic

1 Tbsp cup chopped jalapeños (I use ones from a jar – you can use fresh if you have them)

1/2 medium sized brown onion, finely chopped

200g packet of tempeh (I use Impulse Foods, which is organic and produced locally in the UK)

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1/4 cup ketchup

2 Tbsp BBQ sauce

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1 Tbsp sriracha

1 tsp chilli powder

½ tsp cumin

salt & pepper to tastse

1/3 cup water

4 small hamburger buns

Instructions

Heat the oil in a fry pan/skillet over medium heat and add jalapeños and onion.  Stir to combine and continue cooking and stirring occasionally for around five to eight minutes, or until onion is translucent.

Add the garlic to the pan and stir for one minute until garlic is heated through.

Add the tempeh and water to the pan and break up the tempeh with a wooden spoon.  Mix to combine with the onions and heat through (about five minutes – keep stirring every so often).

Add the remaining ingredients minus the buns, and stir to combine.  Add more water here if needed – you want a sloppy but not runny consistency!  Cook for a further five minutes or so, until everything is heated through.

Spoon onto your hamburger buns and add your favourite toppings.

Time to make: 5 minutes prep, 10 minutes cooking time = 25 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) =  1.5, quick and easy this one.  GET IN.

#nowplaying Radiohead – Man of War

Mexican corn and quinoa salad

Alright guys – it’s nearly not salad weather anymore, woop!  Not that I hate salad or anything, I just prefer my food cooked (I’d be a terrible raw til 4 participant).

THIS salad however, is a winner.  Don’t tell your non-vegan friends it has quinoa in it though, because you know what they get like when they hear KEEN-WAH.  All they need to know is it’s tasty and yum and shut up and eat it.  Good.

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Getting right into Mexican flavours lately, as you’ll see in some upcoming Instagram posts and posts on this here website.  Mexican food can be super vegan friendly, and something I rarely came across growing up, so excuse me while I get all “must. veganise. every. Mexican. dish.” on you.

This salad is awesome the next day so make a big batch and eat it when you need it.  Make the quinoa ahead of time and you’re laughing as well.

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Ingredients

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup corn kernels (I cooked two ears of corn under the grill and sliced it off, but feel free to use canned corn, or thawed frozen corn)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 red pepper/capsicum, halved
1 jalapeños, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lime, juiced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
6 or 7 cherry tomatoes, chopped in half

Instructions

Cook quinoa according to the packet directions.  Set aside to cool.

Place the halved pepper under the grill and char on both sides on medium-high heat, approximately 10 minutes on each side.  Remove from the grill and set aside.

When the quinoa is cooled down, add the remaining ingredients, along with the peppers/capsicum, and stir to combine.

Serve alongside your favourite Mexican dishes – of course!

Time to make: 10 minutes prep, 20 minutes to cook quinoa/peppers, 5 minutes to combine = 35 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2, pretty simple stuff here.  Make it harder (but tastier) by grilling your corn before adding it to the rest of the ingredients

#nowplaying Modjo* – Lady (Hear Me Tonight)  (not my usual style but it reminds me of better times 🙂 )

Sausage & black bean casserole (vegan)

It’s almost casserole season whoop whoop!  Living in London means it’s basically always casserole season though – do we even have a summer? 🙂 If you’re feeling like something hearty, warm and filling a casserole is always the answer.  They’re also awesome because you can have them with anything – mashed spuds, cauliflower rice, basic bitch rice, on top of nachos, with chips etc.

The beauty of casseroles is that you can chuck any old thing in them and provided you like the ingredients they will always turn out tasty.  Just get your base right (some kind of protein, onions, herbs/spices, stock, tomato-y stuff) and you’re laughing. 

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This is one of those meals that also freezes well, so it’s brilliant for meal planning and those who don’t have time to cook something epic every night.  For a slightly healthier version, omit the sausages and add more of your favourite beans.  If you’re after a protein-packed meal (#proteinaholic), they don’t come much better than this ladies and gentlemen.

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Ingredients

2 Tbsp oil

6-8 vegan sausages (I’m a fan of Fry’s – they’re big on protein if you’re into that kind of thing)

1 medium white onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

½ tsp smoked paprika (you can use chili powder if you prefer)

200g chopped/diced tomatoes

200ml vegetable stock

1 Tbsp tomato puree

½ Tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce

½ Tbsp coconut sugar (or any sugar you have to hand)

¼ tsp dried oregano

¼ tsp dried sage (if you have mixed herbs you can sub that for the sage and oregano)

2 sprigs of fresh thyme (or sub for ½ tsp dried)

1 bay leaf

50 ml red wine (or sub for water if you don’t want to use wine)

200g (half a can) of black beans

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Method

Heat the oil in a fry pan and fry the sausages according to the packet instructions.  Fry’s usually take around 8 minutes to brown all over.

Place the sausages in a large saucepan and set aside.  At this point you can chop the sausages up into bite sized pieces, alternatively leave them whole.

Place the onions in the fry pan on medium heat and fry until translucent, around five minutes.  Add more oil if the onions are sticking to the pan.

Add the crushed garlic and cook for around 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Be careful not to burn the garlic!

Add the paprika and stir to combine.

Add the tomatoes, stock, tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, herbs and bay leaf and stir to combine.

Add the wine and bring to a simmer, turning up the heat if needed.

Tip into the saucepan containing the sausages and again bring to simmering point.

Reduce heat and cover the saucepan with a lid.

Allow to simmer on low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Drain and rinse the black beans and add to the casserole, stirring to distribute.

Cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and allowing the sauce to thicken.

Serve immediately with mash, cauliflower rice or some fresh crusty bread.

Time to make: 5 minutes prep, 40 minutes cooking = around 45 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) =  2.  Fairly easy, quite a few ingredients involved and there will be a few dishes 😉

#nowplaying Baby Strange – VVV

Get saucy – vegan lasagna sauce

 

Lasagna is just such a classic meal.  I used to cook it all the time before going vegan, but was never sure how to transfer it over using plant based ingredients.

I should never have worried – the amount of plant based milks and cheeses around means lasagna will never go off the menu.  Plus you only need to substitute for some soy mince or lentils, or just make it all from veggies.  Most lasagna pasta sheets should be vegan (I use Biona Organic), so there’s no excuse!

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This sauce can be used in any recipe you’d need a bechamel or white sauce.  Lasagna is just one – give it a go on pasta, potato gratin or as a base for a mustard sauce or macaroni cheese.  It shouldn’t be a prominent flavour in the food that you are adding it to, so don’t go crazy on the flavourings.

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Saucy.

Ingredients

4 Tbsp vegan butter

1/2 small white onion, minced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 cup cornstarch

2 cups plant based milk (I use hemp milk but you can use soy or a milk that’s not too sweet)

juice of half a lemon

1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tsp dried thyme (or one Tbsp of chopped fresh thyme if you have it to hand)

rock salt & cracked black pepper to taste

Instructions

Add the butter, onion and garlic to a medium sized saucepan and heat on medium heat until the onions are translucent and the butter has melted (around 2-3 minutes).

Add the cornstarch and stir until combined (it will be clumpy!).

While stirring, add the remaining ingredients apart from the thyme.  Reduce heat and whisk until the sauce is at the required thickness.

Remove from the heat and stir in thyme.

Serve as lasagna sauce, over cauliflower/broccoli or in potato gratin.

 

Time to make: 5 minutes prep, 5 minutes on the hob = 10 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) =  2 – have to keep an eye on the sauce while it’s on the hob.

#nowplaying Yak – Use Somebody

 

Spicy vegan “chicken” nuggets

You’ve gotta love seitan – making meat dishes out of plant based products for decades 🙂  I had seen recipes for seitan “chicken” nuggets all over the interwebs for months, and sampled them in various vegan restaurants (they were delicious), so thought I’d give it a crack myself.

These ones are spicy, moist on the inside and crunchy on the outside.  Finger lickin’ good guys.

Not a recipe for those trying to avoid gluten (sorry GF peeps!) but definitely one to try when you have time.  They reheat brilliantly and taste incredible as leftovers in a fresh white bap with vegan coleslaw and bbq sauce.

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Finger lickin’ GOOD.

If you’ve not tried to make seitan before then this recipe is a good one to get you started.  Seitan can be a little tricky to make due to the hefty list of ingredients needed and the time it takes to cook/coat/cook etc., but in the end it’s worth it.  Not a recipe to whip up after work – leave it for a day off when you have plenty of time!

Word of warning here – these nuggets are SPICY.  If you want to turn down the heat then sub all instances of hot sauce with veggie broth and you’ll have a much less spicy nugget.  I do love a bit of spice though 🙂

 

Ingredients

Chicken

1 cup vital wheat gluten

3 Tbsp nutritional yeast

2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp chicken seasoning (ensure vegan!)

1/3 cup hot sauce (I used Franks hot sauce – can sub for Sriracha)

2/3 cup vegetable broth

2.5 Tbsp tahini

6 cups vegetable broth

Coating

3/4 cup plain flour

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp garlic granules

1/4 tsp sugar

sprinkle of salt and pepper

2 Tbsp hot sauce

1/2 Tbsp mustard

2 flax eggs (or other egg substitute)

Oil for frying

 

Method

Makes 15 – 16 decent sized nuggets

Chicken

In a small bowl add the vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, onion powder and chicken seasoning and stir to combine.

In a large bowl, add the hot sauce, tahini and 2/3 cup vegetable broth and whisk to combine.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until fully combined.

Knead the dough for five minutes until it is elastic – ensure the dough is not too dry and not too sticky.  Adjust vital wheat gluten/water to ensure the right balance.

Split the dough into bite sized nugget pieces.  They will expand while cooking though, so don’t make them too big!

Heat the six cups of vegetable broth in a large pot and once boiling, carefully add the nuggets.  Reduce to a simmer and boil for one hour, stirring every fifteen minutes or so.

Keep an eye on the broth – you may need to add more water if it evaporates too much and the nuggets aren’t entirely covered.

Once done, remove the nuggets from the broth and allow to dry on a wire baking rack for about half an hour.

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Coating

Add the hot sauce, water and flax egg into a small bowl and stir to combine.

Add the remaining ingredients to a separate shallow bowl and stir to combine.

Take one piece of chicken nugget at a time and coat with the flour mix, then coat in the hot sauce mix, then coat again in the flour mix.

You will get very messy hands at this stage of the process!

Continue with each nugget, setting aside until all the nuggets have been coated.

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Heat up enough oil in a fry pan to almost cover the nuggets.  You can use a deep fryer here if you have one (I unfortunately do not!).

Check to see if your oil is hot enough by carefully dropping a small piece of coating into the oil – if it bubbles to the surface quickly it is ready to go.  If it doesn’t bubble quickly and sticks to the bottom for a few seconds then it needs more heat.  Ensure you don’t overheat the oil however – if the oil is producing a smoke then take it off the heat and let it cool down.  No fires as a result of this recipe please!

Carefully place as many nuggets as you can fit into the pan, allowing plenty of space between them.  Cook on each side for around 7-10 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.

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Once browned, place the seitan on paper towels to remove excess oil.  Serve immediately or allow to cool before placing in the fridge.

Time to make: 10 minutes prep/kneading, 1 hour boiling, 30 minutes to dry, 10 minutes coating, 10 minutes cooking = 2 hours

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) =  4.5, takes a lot of time and there are a fair amount of ingredients needed.  The time it takes is well worth it though – make a double batch and freeze so you don’t have to do it so often!

#nowplaying The Wombats – Kill the Director

Easy rainbow salad (vegan)

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Yeah yeah yeah, vegans eat salad all day and all night, don’t they?

Surely you can tell by now from this blog the above statement just isn’t true, because I love vegan junk.  Every once in a while though you need to get some greens into you.  And some purples.  And oranges.  And quinoa.

This salad is great for a protein and iron hit (quinoa, edamame, spinach and pumpkin seeds are all so damn good for you) and perfect when the weather is hot and sticky.  If you’re not a fan of purple cabbage you can get the same colour effect with some shredded beetroot instead.  Just make sure you add your beets at the very end or you’ll end up with a completely pink salad.

I dunno, some people might like that though 🙂

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You want some KEENWAH with them beets, brah?

Ingredients

Salad

1/2 cup cooked quinoa, cooled (preferably made the night before).  Tricolour quinoa looks ace in this recipe, but standard quinoa is also good.

1/2 cup edamame beans, fresh or defrosted from frozen

2 small carrots, grated

2 lightly packed cups of spinach, roughly chopped

1/2 large purple cabbage, grated (or two peeled and grated beets if you prefer)

handful of pepitas/pumpkin seeds (or sub for sunflower seeds if you prefer)

Dressing

3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp lime juice (or lemon – doesn’t make a huge amount of difference but I prefer lime)

2 Tbsp agave nectar

1 tsp dijon mustard

sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

Method

Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl/ramekin and whisk to combine.

Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl and mix carefully to combine, so as to not rip the spinach.

Drizzle the whisked dressing over the salad and mix carefully.  Serve immediately.

 

Time to make: 10 minutes prep, 5 minutes assembling = 15 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) =  1.5, one of the easiest, healthiest salads you can make!

#nowplaying DZ Deathrays – Reflective Skull

Beetroot burger patties

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Time time has come for me to stop relying on pre-made burgers and start making them myself… when I have time.  Seeing as I was recently off work for two weeks (one spent in Dubrovnik though) it was time to start.

First up – beetroot burger patties.  So pink, so “raw beef”-like (ew ew ew), but so delicious.

As always, with the food you make yourself you know  exactly what’s in it, and this is one healthy patty.  Chickpeas, carrots, beetroot, onion, flax… ALL the good stuff.  Another high protein, iron and calcium recipe.  Look at you go!

 

Ingredients

1 x 400g tin of drained chickpeas (keep that aquafaba for chocolate mousse!)

2 Tbsp olive oil

3 cloves of minced garlic

1/4 large red onion, finely chopped (you could use half a medium white onion too)

1 small beetroot, peeled and roughly chopped (or use 1/3 of a 350g jar of sliced beetroot and some of the juice)

2 small carrots, finely chopped

2/3 cup flour

1 tsp fresh chopped basil

1 tsp fresh chopped parsley (or use herbs of your choice)

1 Tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 3 Tbsp water

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup to 1 cup of panko breadcrumbs

Method

Mix the ground flaxseed and water in a ramekin and set aside to thicken.

Add the onion and carrots and cook until softened (around 7-10 minutes).

Add the garlic and stir to combine for around one minute.

Combine all ingredients apart from the breadcrumbs in a large bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher until combined.  You can use a food processor for this to get it mixed quicker, but I don’t have one!  The chickpeas will mash quite easily, just persist until you have a slightly chunky mixture.

Place the breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl.

Split the patty mix into four and form into burger shapes.

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Coat each patty separately in the breadcrumbs, pressing them into the mixture slightly so they don’t fall off.

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Heat the olive oil in a non-stick fry-pan over medium heat.

Carefully place each patty in the fry-pan and cook for around 5 minutes on each side, or until browned nicely.

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Serve in a soft fresh burger bun with all the burger-y trimmings.

 

Makes 4 decent sized patties

Time to make: 20 minutes prep, 10 minutes on the hob = 30 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2.5, fairly straightforward

#nowplaying Billy Bragg – Talking With The Taxman About Poetry

 

Vegan in Dubrovnik, Croatia

If you’re vegan or vegetarian (or just want to know where to find decent restaurants/cafes in Dubrovnik) then welcome – this post is for you!

I spent five days in a very beautiful, very sunny Dubrovnik in June and everything about the place was gorgeous – the food was no exception.  You will find that pretty much all restaurants in Dubrovnik have vegetarian options (the standard of which varies), and a great deal also have what I suspect to be “accidentally vegan” options as well.

Dubrovnik is situated on the Adriatic sea, so it’s no surprise that you’ll find a tonne of seafood restaurants around the place.  Coastal Croatian food is also heavily influenced by Italian and Greek flavours, so you will also see a lot of pizza, pasta and Mediterranean dishes on every menu.  Unlike Britain (thankfully) olive oil is used predominantly instead of butter/margarine/animal fat, so many of the risotto, pasta and sides of bread will be vegan friendly.  The Mediterranean diet is mostly plant based anyway, so it’s not a problem!

First stop was the much raved about Nishta.  A warning here – pre-book.  So many people were turned away while we were there as they were fully booked from 6pm onwards.  Our table was booked twice after us!  As you would expect from such a busy restaurant, as the food is brilliant and (according to Happy Cow) it’s the only vegan/vegetarian cafe in the city walls.  So we went there twice!

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Nishta!

On our first trip to Nishta I had the Bar-bea burger which is a barley-bean-smoked seitan burger with Naan bread instead of a burger bun, topped with onion and BBQ sauce and served with sweet potato fries.  Brilliant.  

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Barley-bean-smoked seitan burger at Nishta

Other half had the falafel which I was a bit jealous of, but after tasting my burger I thankfully didn’t have food envy!

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Falafel at Nishta

The second time we went to Nishta I had the Pastalicious – fried rice noodles, tofu, ginger and vegetables in a hoisin sauce.  It might look small but there were plenty of noodles in there and I was stuffed afterwards.

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Pastalicious at Nishta

Other half had really awesome looking tempeh burritos (which were vegetarian due to the cheese and sour cream).

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Tempeh burritos at Nishta

We decided to treat ourselves to dessert the second time around and we both had the chocolate mousse.  It doesn’t hold a candle to my aquafaba mousse, but it was nice enough!

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Chocolate mousse at Nishta

I think the best food I had in Dubrovnik would have to have been at Gusta Me, just outside the city walls.  A really lovely (quite fancy) restaurant overlooking the harbour, with a lot of seafood and various meats on the menu.  The harbour looks beautiful when the sun is setting so try to go there early evening if you can.  When I was doing my restaurant research I noticed they had one vegan option – grilled smoked tofu.  I’m so glad I went there because it was crazy good – the best tofu I’ve had to date, and I’ve had a LOT of tofu!  Fantastic service as well, would highly recommend this place to anyone.  Shame they don’t have more vegan/vegetarian options, but I’m sure with time that will come.

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Smoked tofu at Gusta Me – amazing

I also had fruit carpaccio for dessert, because I’m a pig!

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Me & carpaccio

Near our apartment was a pizza and pasta restaurant (Pizzeria Storia) that we walked past every day and always craved their food.  The tasty smells spilling out of their kitchen and into the alleyway were hard to resist!  I was contemplating getting a pizza but had to try a traditional Italian spaghettini aglio e olio.  This is so easy to make at home (garlic, olive oil, chilli flakes and spaghetti – done), but why not try it out when you’re just over the Adriatic from Italy?!  I asked for some rocket (arugula) to be added (I saw they had it on other dishes on the menu) so that I was getting at least a bit of greenery!  Good value here too, and my other half’s pizza looked delicious.

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Spaghettini aglio e olio at Pizzeria Storia

Konoba Moskar is in a great location off the main street (Stradun) up some stone steps into the small side streets as you head towards the mountains.  There are plenty of restaurants and cafes around that area so if you are visiting make sure you have a look around.  This is where my current obsession with orzotto and barley comes from – thanks Konoba Moskar!  I had the orzotto with zucchini (courgettes) and flax seeds.  Doesn’t look like much but it was as filling as it was delicious.

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Zucchini orzotto at Konoba Moskar

Most places we went to filled us up with bread and olive oil as well (and occasionally olives!) so we never went hungry.  If you’re a fan of rosé you have to try some of the local wines while you’re out and about.  You’ll find that the wine there is super cheap if you pick some up from a supermarket (around £4 per bottle!), so stock up for your apartment if you’re on a budget.

If you head over to Lokrum Island have no fear – vegans friendly!  Lacroma snack bar serve quick and simple lunches of sandwiches and salads, and they’re right near the boat drop off point.  There were plenty of vegetarian options and a good vegan option of a salad with vegetables in season and a tasty bread roll on the side.  If you have plenty of time in Dubrovnik make sure you head over to Lokrum .  It’s ten minutes away by boat (which runs every 15 minutes from the harbour) and full of rabbits and peacocks.  Needless to say there are also gorgeous views of the city walls from the east side of the island.  Great place to go for a picnic, and also if you’re a Game of Thrones fan!

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Salad at Lacroma snack bar on Lokrum Island

There are a couple of restaurants with fantastic views of Fort Lovrijenac and Tvrðava Bokar just outside the city walls to the west.  It’s quite a touristy area where all the jet-ski, kayak, boat tour, bus tour etc. people try to get you to buy tickets for their various experiences. Dubravka 1836 was on my list to visit so we had brunch there one day (we were hungover, hence brunch and not lunch/dinner!).  They do a good vegetarian option (which is also vegan if you don’t have milk in your tea/butter on your toast) with roasted veggies, seasonal fruit, toast and preserve, tea and juice for 62 kuna.  If you do try their lunch or diner menu though let me know, as the range looked decent.

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Vegetarian breakfast at Dubravka 1836

Another restaurant that was on my list was Spaghetteria Toni.  They have a huge selection of pasta (granted, a lot was vegetarian and not vegan) and plenty for the carnivore in your life.  I went for the grilled vegetables with rice and asparagus sauce with a side of fries, as I wasn’t sure how big the grilled veggies would be.  Unbelievable – I obviously didn’t walk away hungry!

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Grilled vegetables with rice and asparagus sauce at Spaghetteria Toni

We went to Marco Polo to have a fancy meal one evening, as the menu looked quite nice and the pictures I’d seen of the place online looked lovely.  Highly recommend going there – the service, food and location were all spot on.  It was a toss up between the wok rice noodles or the tofu steak with crunchy wok vegetables.  Tofu wins out again!  

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Tofu steak at Marco Polo

Before our mains arrived we were treated to a complimentary shot of broccoli soup.  Other half was hesitant at first, but of course it was delicious.

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Broccoli soup at Marco Polo

The last meal of the holiday was across from Saint Ignatius Church at Konoba Jezuite.  Seeing as this was our last meal we went all out!  Bread, olives, sides and mains.  As was the theme of the holiday, I ordered roasted vegetables with tomato rice, a side of fries and some green olives.

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Roasted veggies with tomato rice at Konoba Jezuite

So there you have it, a quick run down of what I ate in Dubrovnik, vegan-style.  All the food service staff in the city walls speak English so if you need to know more about something on the menu they are always willing to help out.  The city itself is stunning, and it was probably the best holiday I’ve been on in my life.  Would go back in a heartbeat!

#nowplaying Interpol – My Desire