Vegan pasta alfredo (tofu)

tofu pasta alfredo

So I have to admit that I am not the world’s biggest pasta fan. I might eat pasta once every few months. But when the craving hits, it hits hard! And the other night I was thinking about a creamy, thick, indulgent vegan pasta sauce that could be a little more substantial than the standard “roux with plant milk” type of sauce (think higher in protein). Something like a … vegan pasta alfredo?

So I trotted off to my gurus on Youtube (shout-out to The Edgy Veg and Hot for Food), did some research and some experimentation, and this is the result!

As always, this is a very forgiving recipe (I dont deal with exacting recipes). So substitutions are allowed and I will mention them when possible.

Ingredients

  • Pasta of choice (enough for 2 portions, whatever your portion size is, I dont judge)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 rib celery (optional)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic (to taste)
  • 1 tsp mixed Italian herbs
  • Juice of 1 lemon (2 tablespoons)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chicken stock powder (I use Ina Paarman – it is vegan)
  • 2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 block of firm or medium-firm tofu
  • 1/2 a cup of hot water or plant milk of choice
  • 1 punnet of mushrooms (button is fine or go fancy if you like)
  • 1 cup of mixed peppers (optional)
  • 1/2 a head of broccoli (optional)

Method

Dice the onion and saute with garlic, mixed herbs and celery (if using). I saute in water but you can of course use oil if you like.

Once the onion and celery have softened and slightly changed colour (dont let it get too brown), transfer to a blender

Add the tofu (crumbled), lemon juice, chicken stock powder, nutritional yeast, pepper and water and blend till smooth.

Taste the sauce and then add salt as desired. Add a bit more water or milk if its too thick.

Start cooking your pasta

In the original frying pan or wok, saute some chopped mushrooms, broccoli, peppers or whatever other vegetables you enjoy eating in pasta.

Add the sauce

Add the cooked pasta and combine

Serve immediately! I sprinkled on some vegan parmesan and black pepper but that is up to you.

Substitutions

You can use soft or silken tofu instead of firm tofu, but then you will need to reduce or skip the water/milk. This is the brand I use (I buy it at my local Spar).

firm tofu
firm tofu

You can use whatever vegetables you like. But I do feel that the mushrooms are required πŸ™‚

You can use veg stock instead of chicken stock

Ideas for the leftover sauce

I combined my leftover sauce with some hummous and coconut milk and made the BEST potato bake. You could also use it over roasted vegetables, in a buddha bowl or maybe even in a rice dish casserole style. It lasts for at least a few days.

That’s it! I hope you enjoy this pasta sauce. Its really quick and easy to make and tastes fantastic.

Yours in veggies

Deidre Johnson profile pic

Deidre


For those days when you dont feel like cooking, I manage a Facebook group called Dining out with Vegans. If you live in Cape Town, feel free to join – we meet for dinner about once a month to support local vegan restaurant options.

Vegan Cabbage Stew (Bredie if you grew up in SA)

Winter in Cape Town is blustery, rainy, gray and mostly cold. It requires comfort food like curries, soups and stews. I grew up eating various stews featuring meat, potatoes and another hero ingredient, e.g. pumpkin, green beans or tomatoes. But the classic winter dish is a savoury cabbage stew, aka cabbage bredie. So I decided to try and make a vegan version of this old staple.

I decided to substitute meat with soya chunks in my vegan cabbage stew.. Soya chunks are easy to work with, tasty, nutritious and super-frugal. They might not be familiar to people who grew up in non-vegan households, so they can be a little intimidating to cook with. They are also sold in dehydrated form, so they can look a little… shall we say… dog-pelletish?

soya chunks
soya chunks

Nevertheless, I have tried a few different dishes with them and they are always delicious if prepared correctly. They have a flavour of their own, but also absorb flavour very well, and they add a real heartiness to stews that other substitutes just dont.

I buy mine at my local Indian spice shop. Its about R20 for a 500g bag. I use a cup at a time, which equals 3-4 servings. There are about 4-5 cups per bag, so you really cant beat this protein source for price. They also come in a light and dark colour, though I dont think there is a difference in flavour between the two.

I am currently on a “minimal ingredient” type of vibe, trying to use as few ingredients as possible (barring spices) so that the flavour of the main ingredient really stands out. So I really only used cabbage and potatoes in this stew, but please feel free to add any extra vegetables you would like to the base recipe.

This recipe requires some soaking time for the soya chunks. I usually put them in to soak in the morning and then cook with them in the evening. You can even leave them soaking overnight or for a few days (I have done this when i forgot about them). But they need to soak at least 1-2 hours to soften.

Ingredients

1 cup soya chunks (dry)

1-2 tsp Vinegar

1 head of cabbage

2 potatoes

Salt

Papper

1/2 tsp Nutmeg

1-2 cloves Garlic

Vegetable stock powder (I use Ina Paarman’s)

1-2 tsp Cajun seasoning

Optional: extra vegetables like onion, carrots or celery


Method

First, prepare your soya chunks. Place them in a bowl and add about 1 cup of boiling water per cup of soya chunks. Add 1-2 teaspoons of vinegar. Cover and set aside for 1-2 hours. I usually do this the morning of, or the night before I plan to cook with them. I have also forgotten about them for 3 days and they were still good to cook with. I have also heard that you can boil them for 5-10 minutes instead of soaking, though I have never tried this. It seems to be a very forgiving ingredient.

When you are ready to cook, finely slice your cabbage and saute in a little oil or stock. Keep stirring so the cabbage doesn’t burn. Cube your potatoes and chuck them in. I added some stock and left it to simmer for about 20 minutes. Its important that the cabbage gets really soft and dark brown. it will cook down a little, but it wont disappear completely like spinach does.

You can also add extra vegetables here, like diced onion, carrots, celery or chopped tomatoes. I didn’t because I am on a minimum ingredient kick, but please go ahead if you want to.

Once the cabbage and potatoes are tender, rinse the soya chunks and add in to the pot along with all your spices, garlic and seasoning. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes or so. Add some more vegetable stock if it looks dry.

You will eventually end up with something that looks like this!. I live alone so I ate it over a few days, serving either on its own, with rice or with bread. Delicious and satisfying every time. If anything, the flavour improved every subsequent day.

Vegan cabbage bredie
Vegan cabbage bredie

That’s it really. Simple and quite frugal. Barring spices, the whole pot cost about R30 to make, and lasted for 4 meals. So factoring in the bread and/or rice, it probably cost about R10 a plate. Who says vegan food needs to be expensive?

Let me know if you tried this, and if you have any suggestions or improvements to add? I plan to experiment with making this in a pressure cooker next time, so will update this post once I do that.

Yours in veggies

Deidre Johnson profile pic

Deidre


For those days when you dont feel like cooking, I manage a Facebook group called Dining out with Vegans. If you live in Cape Town, feel free to join – we meet for dinner about once a month to support local vegan restaurant options.

Vegan sago pudding

vegan sago pudding

Sago pudding is one of my favourite desserts. I always thought it was super-complicated to make, and impossible to make vegan. I have never been so happy to be wrong!

While it’s not a quick dessert ( there is some soaking required), it is really easy and relatively flop-proof (even for me, famous for burning things on the stove). So perfect for beginners or cooks who are easily distracted πŸ™‚

A little sago goes a long way, so depending on where you shop, and your choice of plant milk, this can be a really frugal dessert option.

Step 1: Soak your sago

Rinse about a cup of sago (for about 4-5 people) and soak in either water or 3 cups plant milk of choice. You need to leave the sago soaking at least 4 hours, if not overnight.

Imbo sago

I have soaked in both water and milk, and it doesn’t make much difference to the end result. But if you soak it in a pot with milk, you can cook it in the same pot so less effort.

Step 2: Bring to a boil

Nothing much to say here. If you soaked the sago in water, drain and rinse and add the sago to a pot with about 3-4 cups of plant milk of choice. if you soaked the sago in milk, just transfer your pot to the stove.

I recommend coconut milk for a really creamy indulgent pudding. I have used a cashew/rice milk blend which was also good. I dont recommend soy unless you love the flavour. Not everyone in my household is vegan, so although i like soy milk, I use coconut for a mixed crowd.

Step 3: Add flavouring

You can do this while you are bringing the mixture to a boil. I add the following as a minimum

  • a stick of cinnamon
  • about a tsp of cinnamon powder
  • pinch of salt
  • a teaspoon of vanilla essence

Depending on my mood, I sometimes also add some ginger powder, cardomom pods, applesauce or other spices I like. Some people also add sugar, apricot jam or raisins. These are all optional extras, but I say experiment and see what you like.

Step 4: Simmer for about 20 minutes

Bring the heat down low and simmer for about 20-30 minutes, till the consistency is the way you like it. Stir it occasionally. I tilt the lid to let steam escape.

Step 5: Serve

Everyone has their favourite way of eating sago pudding. I like golden syrup drizzled over the top. Some people swear by custard (heathens). Others eat theirs with jam, brown sugar, or even evaporated milk (weird?). To each their own!

And that’s it! Dessert done while you are eating the main course with no fuss.

Yours in veggies

Deidre Johnson profile pic
Deidre Johnson profile pic

Deidre


For those days when you dont feel like cooking, I manage a Facebook group called Dining out with Vegans. If you live in Cape Town, feel free to join – we meet for dinner about once a month to support local vegan restaurant options.

TLT (Tofu-Lettuce-Tomato) Sandwich

Tofu Lettuce Tomato sandiwch

A B.L.T. has always been my favorite sandwich. But obviously I don’t eat bacon anymore as a vegan. I have tried a few vegan bacon options (mushroom bacon, coconut bacon) but nothing beats tofu for taste and texture. Here is one of my favorite ways to make it.

For the tofu “bacon”

Ingredients

  • Soy sauce (depends on the amount of tofu, but about two tablespoons should do it)
  • A few drops of liquid smoke
  • 2 Tbs cooking oil
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 Tbs sweetener of choice (I use date syrup but anything will work really)
  • Dash of chili flakes
  • Splash of vinegar
  • A squeeze of tomato paste (optional)
  • A block of firm tofu (I use the brand pictured below, which I buy at my local Spar. Its actually made in Singapore)
Tau Kwa tofu
Tau kwa tofu

NB: this marinade recipe is very forgiving. If you don’t have all the ingredients, feel free to make substitutions, It won’t make a huge difference, just remember that the key elements are saltiness, sweetness, smokiness, and fat

Method

There are different ways you can do this. First, mix all the marinade ingredients into a bowl. Then, either slice or crumble the tofu and place the pieces in the bowl and stir to make sure all the pieces are coated. Then, either air fry for about 10 minutes (checking halfway through and giving the pieces a shake), or pan fry till crispy. You can also bake or grill them but that takes forever and I don’t have the patience.

Assembling the sandwich

Find a nice baguette (we must do things properly). Or else use your favorite bread.

Spread one side with vegan mayo and the other with vegan butter or margarine (or just use mayo on both sides). You could also use mustard if you just don’t care about anything (I don’t care for it).

Layer the tofu pieces, tomato slices, lettuce (maybe even some cucumber) till you feel its enough.

Take a picture so you can brag to your friends.

Enjoy your creation! This is what my last sandwich looked like – results may vary lol

T.L.T.sandwich
The finished product

I hope you enjoyed this epic vegan sandwich creation! Let me know if you have any other ideas for vegan sandwiches and I’ll try them out.

Yours in veggies

Deidre Johnson profile pic

Deidre

For those days when you dont feel like cooking, I manage a Facebook group called Dining out with Vegans. If you live in Cape Town, feel free to join – we meet for dinner about once a month to support local vegan restaurant options.

5 easy high-protein vegan hacks

Vegan protein meme

Getting enough protein on a vegan diet is not as much of a concern as some people think. We all have different needs, our bodies require different things, but if you eat enough variety, you’ll probably get in enough protein. (I am talking to you fellow normal humans, not bodybuilders or super athletes.)

It’s dangerous to think of whole foods as being only a single nutrient, i.e. protein, carbohydrate or fat. Most foods are a combination of these things, along with fiber, micronutrients, etc. But vegan meals can end up being carb- and fat-heavy, which is not always great.

I am no nutritional expert, but I have been vegan since April 2018, cooking for myself, living my life, and I’m still pretty healthy :-). And I know that I feel more satisfied with meals that are a bit more substantial and protein-rich.

So I thought I would share some of my favorite ways to sneak extra protein into my diet without resorting to too many processed foods or using protein powders.


Add soft tofu to your smoothie

Most Asian groceries sell soft tofu in water for about R3.50 per block. These will keep for a week if you store them in water in the fridge (change the water daily).

Per 100g, tofu has about 8g protein, 4g fat, calcium, iron and almost 0 carbs (Source = https://www.eatthismuch.com/food/nutrition/soft-tofu,489519/ ). Note: there is a lot of research on the health benefits of tofu, don’t believe the fake news or “what people say”, do your research and apply your mind.

Best of all is that soft tofu adds a really rich creamy texture similar to a yogurt smoothie without affecting the flavor. My favorite combinations are frozen banana, peanut butter, cocoa powder, tofu + water, or else frozen berries, cucumber, tofu + water.

But I am not the most imaginative smoothie person. Why not try one of these delicious options from NutritionRefined?


Add red lentils to your pasta sauce

I often buy bags of tomatoes when they are in season and on special because I like to make pasta sauce and then freeze in one-portion sizes for quick meals. However, I have found that tomato pasta on its own is not filling or hearty enough.

Red lentils are very mushy when cooked and so absorb completely into the sauce. 100g dry red lentils = 25g of protein along with some iron and potassium ( Source = https://www.nutritionvalue.org/Lentils%2C_raw_nutritional_value.html ). Adding red lentils to tomatoes (high in Vitamin C) further boosts iron absorption (for those that need it). So this combination is a win-win.

My typical pasta sauce involves tomatoes, garlic, Italian herbs, salt and pepper, a few dates, and some veg stock, plus whatever veg needs to be cooked and can be blended into a sauce. But I don’t really have a recipe for it. Why not try this one from my favorite Irish vegan foodtubers – The Happy Pear – and add this red lentil twist?


Tofu cream cheese

tofu cream cheese on toast (garlic and herb)
Tofu cream cheese on toast (garlic and herb)

It’s crazy how versatile tofu is. What’s not to love about a foodstuff that’s high in protein, calcium, and iron yet low in fat and carbohydrates? That also comes in different textures and can be cooked in so many different ways?

One of the things I loved before going vegan was cream cheese on toast (well, cream cheese on everything). As a vegan, I could buy really good cashew cream cheese, but it’s not very accessible yet where I live, and its a bit expensive. So I did some googling and voila! Firm tofu to the rescue.

My favorite base recipe is this one from My Pure Plants. I swap out the cashew nuts for sunflower seeds because they are much cheaper and the end result is the same. I eat it plain on toast, sometimes I add spinach and tomato, or za’atar spice, or I use it as a sandwich spread, add it to potatoes, anywhere you would use dairy cream cheese really.


Hummus pasta (and soup, and salad dressing)

Commercial hummus adds 8g of protein per 100g. I am obviously a big fan (see my post about it), But did you know it also makes a great sauce, salad dressing or soup addition? Here are videos from two of my favorite foodtubers with some yummy recipes.


French toast

Yep, the third (and final) tofu recipe is a little more indulgent (i.e. fried) but its an excellent weekend breakfast along with some vegan sausage, mushrooms, grilled tomato, etc. See the recipe here.

Vegan french toast
Savoury vegan French Toast

Honorable mentions

There are a few other things you could do to sneak in extra protein if you feel you need to:

  • Add cooked beans to vegetable soup
  • Add chia seeds to your morning oats
  • Make red lentil flatbread
  • Try chickpea pancakes
  • Eat Orbs (honestly, I don’t know how nutritious these are but they are hella tasty)
  • Swap your popcorn for the best salted roasted chickpeas from Grumpy Snacks
  • Add peas to your pesto, rice or pasta dishes
  • Add a 1/2 cup lentils every time you cook rice
  • You could of course also try the Fry’s range of meat substitutes (I love their Mediterranean sausages). I wanted to highlight all the whole-food options available, but I eat Fry’s products from time to time and they are great.

And that’s my high-protein story for now! If you have any extra suggestions I would love to hear them!

Yours in veggies

Deidre Johnson profile pic

Deidre


For those days when you dont feel like cooking, I manage a Facebook group called Dining out with Vegans. If you live in Cape Town, feel free to join – we meet for dinner about once a month to support local vegan restaurant options.

Roasted vegetable vegan sandwich

spinach mushroom red pepper sandwich

My heart always yearns for a vegan sandwich at lunchtime, because (1) bread is life and (2) sandwiches = lunch (in my mind).

But, I usually end up eating leftovers for lunch. It’s cheaper, easier and less stressful than trying to think of separate meals for lunch and dinner.

Now, I know there are options for vegan cheese and deli meats, but they tend to be a bit pricey and I think they are also very processed. I don’t really want to eat too many processed foods every day.

So I decided to challenge myself with sandwich ideas that were healthy, tasty, filling and easy to make on the spur of the moment.

Enter contestant #1 – grilled mushrooms, red pepper, spinach, and hummus.

Step 1

I decided to make this one morning when I realized that I had no leftover food to take to work for lunch (due to a combination of poor planning, summer heat, and laziness). So this definitely satisfies the condition of “spur of the moment”.

The first step was to slice some mushrooms and a small red pepper. I used about 5-6 button mushrooms. I placed them on a grill pan and seasoned with a salt/garlic/chilli mix, pepper and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Then popped them under the grill for 15 minutes while I went to shower.

Step 2

I placed a few handfuls of baby spinach in a container and placed the other vegetables in with them straight from the oven so the spinach leaves could wilt a bit.

Step 3

Bought some white seeded rolls from Pick n Pay on the way to work.

Step 4

Assembled this gorgeous number when it was lunchtime, adding lashings of vegan mayo and hummus. I almost always assemble sandwiches only when I want to eat them. Soggy bread is an abomination.

Spinach, grilled red pepper and mushroom sandwich
Spinach, grilled red pepper and mushroom sandwich

Cost

You may be wondering how much this deliciousness cost? Here are the numbers:

White seeded rollR4.50
Mushrooms (about 1/3 of a punnet which cost R15.00)R5.00
Red pepper (from a mixed bag of 6 peppers @ R27.99)R4.60
Spinach (from a bag of washed baby spinach @ R19.99)R4.00
TotalR18.10

Note: I didn’t count the hummus and mayo in the cost, because to me they are staples, and they are optional in this sandwich. I guess if you want to factor in this cost, you could round the sandwich up to R20.00

A healthy dose of greens and vegetables, some protein from the hummus, the deliciousness of white bread, what’s not to love? I defy anyone to find a tastier vegan sandwich for less than R20 πŸ™‚


Do you love sandwiches as much as I do? If so shoot me some idea combinations and I’ll try them out.

Yours in veggies

Deidre Johnson profile pic

Deidre

Bang Bang Chickpeas

bang bang chickpeas

This recipe was inspired by something I saw in the PnP Fresh Living magazine a few years ago. The original recipe was for “Bang Bang (murdered animal)” but I have obviously adapted and improved it here πŸ™‚

Note: this is not a sponsored post, but I am totally willing to be paid for cooking delicious meals and writing blog posts about them if anyone is listening lol.

I have made this recipe time and time again, and it is very forgiving and practically flop-proof (obviously nothing is impossible). However, as someone who has managed to make boiled eggs explode and burn rice in a previous life, I can confirm that this recipe is very hard to mess up.

Ingredients

About 3 cups cooked chickpeas – the quantity depends on how many people you want to feed. I batch-cook dried chickpeas because I prefer the texture and I don’t like the taste of the brine in tinned food, but if you prefer tinned chickpeas, this is about two tins. This amount will last me 3 – 4 meals by myself, so it’s great for meal-prepping if you are the kind of person that can eat the same food over and over.

2 chopped onions

1 tsp of minced garlic (chop your own or cheat with store-bought minced garlic, I am not judging)

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp tamarind paste (this is the only ingredient that might seem a bit unusual – I bought mine at my local Chinatown but I am sure they have it at normal supermarkets as well). If you can’t find it, I believe that you can substitute this with 1 part lime juice + 1 part sugar.

tamarind paste
tamarind paste

1 tsp chili flakes – I prefer using fresh chili, but this is up to you. I usually buy a bunch of fresh chilies when they are on special (or donated by a gardener friend), stick them in the food processor and then freeze in ice-block trays for easier use.

1 Tbsp peanut butter (I use homemade peanut butter or the no salt/no sugar kind, but use whatever you like)

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp vegan oyster sauce (I bought mine at Chinatown, they make it out of mushrooms). If you don’t have this, you could maybe use some Worcestershire sauce or Marmite, or just leave it out

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 tin of coconut milk

1/2 tsp chicken stock powder )the Ina Paarman brand is vegan), dissolved in about half a cup of water.

2 ribs of celery (optional)

1 cup green vegetables of choice (I used green beans, but I would also consider using peppers or broccoli) – this is entirely optional and I think you can actually use any veg you have in the fridge, this is just what I enjoy.


Method

Saute your chopped onions in a tablespoon of oil or stock until translucent and turning golden (about 3-5 minutes).

Add the garlic, tamarind paste, turmeric, and chili and saute for a minute or two.

Add the celery and green beans (if using) and saute another minute. Add a splash of stock if needed to prevent sticking or burning.

Add the peanut butter, sugar, vegan oyster sauce, soy sauce, and coconut milk to the pan and stir briskly to melt the sugar and peanut butter.

Add in the rest of the stock. I usually add it to the coconut milk tin and then chuck that all in to clean the tin out.

Let the sauce simmer for five minutes, then add the chickpeas.

Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes or until the sauce has reduced to your liking.

Season and add a squeeze of lemon juice when serving (I don’t actually do this, but the original recipe called for it).

Serving suggestions

I eat mine with basmati rice, but the original recipe suggested serving with fried rice and greens sprinkled with sesame seeds.

I may also try serving it with some sauteed kale (next to my rice obviously). Must. Have. Rice.

Some naan, roti or chapati would also be good here.

A sprinkling of fresh coriander would be good (you can never go wrong with dhanya in my opinion, but I know that some people can’t eat it).


This recipe is so quick, easy and forgiving – and the flavor is really amazing. I hope you try it, and if you like it please let me know!

Yours in veggies

Deidre Johnson profile pic

Deidre


For those days when you dont feel like cooking, I manage a Facebook group called Dining out with Vegans. If you live in Cape Town, feel free to join – we meet for dinner about once a month to support local vegan restaurant options.

Sweetcorn fritters

Sweetcorn fritters

I woke up on Saturday morning with an urge to be lazy. No gym, no housework, just my latest book, and a coffee. Usually, I would eat a small mountain of toast (or preferably French toast) while I read, but sadly, this particular Saturday found me breadless. Luckily I had a tin of sweetcorn in the cupboard and voila! Sweetcorn fritters for breakfast.

Here is my version of vegan sweetcorn fritters (if you would like to give it a try it out yourself).

Ingredients

1 tin of sweetcorn (the cream-style kind, not the whole kernels in water)

1 cup of self-raising flour (if you only have cake flour, measure out a cup and add a teaspoon of baking powder to it). I haven’t tried this with other flours, but I think oat flour would also work if you want to make this a bit healthier/gluten-free.

1 flax egg (measure out a tablespoon of flax meal and add 3 tablespoons of water. Leave it for five minutes to get gloopy). You could also substitute chia seeds here, or egg replacer powder if you have it.

Salt and pepper to taste (I used a few grinds of my trusty salt, garlic and chilli grinder – bought at Foodies for R20).

Cayenne pepper (optional, but I love it). If you don’t like the heat, you could use paprika instead.

Β½ cup mielie meal (optional) – I have made fritters without adding mielie meal but I felt the texture was better when I added it. I used the Impala brand, but I am sure any brand will do πŸ™‚

Method

First, make your flax egg and let it get gloopy while you get your other ingredients together.

Next, measure out your flour, add seasoning and mix a bit.

Open the tin of sweetcorn and add it in. Mix everything together with a spoon.

Add the flax egg and stir to combine. The batter will be quite thick but there should be no visible bits of flour.

Warm your pan or wok. I tried out this spray olive oil from Checkers in Canal Walk and it has been working like a bomb for frying or baking (ifyou really don’t want to use a lot of oil). I just gave my wok a couple of sprays so that nothing would stick.

Santa Bianca olive oil spray

Add a biggish tablespoon of batter to the pan. Make sure it spreads a bit (use the spoon to pat it down a bit if you need to).

Add more batter (in tablespoons) until the pan is full but there is still enough space to flip the fritters over.

I put the lid on the wok so that the fritters would cook through before they burned.

After a few minutes, test and flip them over when they reach the level of brown that you like.

Continue until the batter is done.

Try not to eat them all yourself (I failed).

Serving suggestions

This goes well as a side dish, e.g. at Sunday lunch or at a braai.

I obviously ate mine for breakfast. You could eat yours whenever you like 😊.

I ate mine with chutney. I know some people like theirs with sweet chili sauce. The world is your mollusk of choice – use whatever condiments you love the most.

I hope you enjoy this! Sweetcorn fritters are a go-to for me when I feel snackish.

Yours in veggies

Deidre Johnson profile pic

Deidre


For those days when you dont feel like cooking, I manage a Facebook group called Dining out with Vegans. If you live in Cape Town, feel free to join – we meet for dinner about once a month to support local vegan restaurant options.

French toast

Vegan french toast

Saturday morning was always French toast for me (before I went vegan). I have tried various recipes from Youtube since, but most of them were for sweet french toast with syrup, and I prefer mine savoury.

Fast forward to last Saturday, and I happened to have a pack of silken tofu in the fridge which needed to be eaten, and half a loaf of sourdough bread from Peregrine farm stall which was a couple of days old. So I decided to experiment. And it was a total win!

Ingredients

Day-old bread (I used sourdough, but you can use whatever bread you like). I recommend using quite thick slices, and to me, french toast requires white bread, but you do you.

Block of silken tofu (to be honest, this made enough for two people, but I was hungry and so I ate it all). I used the brand sold at my local Spar, but the el-cheapo soft tofu from Chinatown will also work (the ones that they sell in water for R3.50 a block).

Black Salt is essential for eggy flavour. I bought mine in a grinder from Wellness Warehouse for about R35 and I expect it to last forever. I used a couple of grinds.

2 tablespoons of chickpea flour. I have tried making this before with only chickpea flour and water in a batter and I felt it was a bit lacking, but I like the flavour and texture that chickpea flour adds.

1 tsp of flax meal to thicken the batter slightly. I buy flax seeds from Montagu, grind them in my blender and store in the fridge.

2 tablespoons of water (this will depend on your blender). You just need enough to get it to blend nicely.

Pinch of turmeric (for colour)

White pepper to taste

You could also add other flavourings here, e.g. paprika or Italian herbs. I didn’t because I am a plain jane with french toast, but again, you do you!


Method

Add all the ingredients to a blender until the batter is smooth. It should be slightly thicker than the egg batter you remember if you have ever made french toast before.

French toast batter

Let it sit for a few minutes so that the flax meal can do its thing. Do not taste the batter, raw chickpea flour tastes gross.

Meanwhile, cut your bread into thickish slices and warm your pan.

I fried this bread in Flora vegan. You can choose to use whatever oil you used to make French toast in, or if you have a super nonstick pan, you don’t need anything. But let’s face it, french toast is not health food, so you might as well do it properly.

Dip your bread slices in the batter and then add to your pan. The key thing here is that this batter takes longer to cook than an egg batter. I find that tofu, in general, takes a while to get crispy. Resist the urge to flip them early. Let them sit longer than you think they should. If you try and flip them too soon, the batter will separate from the toast and everything will disintegrate.

French toast sizzling in the pan

Flip them and cook the other side till it is as brown/crispy as you like it. I think this would be awesome with some vegan sausage, tofu bacon and a drizzle of syrup, or you could go healthy and have a salad (who eats salad for breakfast?). I was starving and lazy so I just ate the whole plate you see pictured.

This recipe makes enough batter for two people though – I had some batter at the end that I made into a little pancake and ate with syrup.

Variation

I have previously made a similar batter (using only chickpea flour and water). I then made a sandwich with vegan cheese, dipped the whole sandwich in batter and fried it as above. Yummers!

Toasted cheese – french toast style

And that was a weekend breakfast done right πŸ™‚


If you have any comments or questions, please get in touch!

Yours in veggies

Deidre Johnson profile pic

Deidre


For those days when you dont feel like cooking, I manage a Facebook group called Dining out with Vegans. If you live in Cape Town, feel free to join – we meet for dinner about once a month to support local vegan restaurant options.

Potato Falafel

Buddha bowl with potato falafel

Sooo… last week I felt like making a savoury type thing, useful for my lunch box but also good for random snack attacks. I happened to have some chickpeas which were batch-cooked over the weekend, some parsley, and some potatoes that needed to be eaten. And i thought hmmm… potato falafel?

I googled a few recipes to see if this was a thing (there are many different ways to make falafel).

this is what I eventually came up with:

Ingredients

Cooked potatoes (I used one big one and a handful of baby potatoes because that is what i had lying around) – I would say about 700g total, but this is a very forgiving recipe so no need to be too exact. I steamed mine but you could also use leftover roast potatoes (if you can manage to not eat them all) or leftover mashed potato.

Cooked chickpeas (1.5 cups or 1 tin drained and rinsed). Reserve some of the liquid in case you need it later (see the Method section). I have seen some potato falafel recipes that call for soaked uncooked chickpeas, but those taste a bit gritty to me.

One small onion, chopped

A big bunch of fresh parsley, chopped (I think other fresh herbs would also work here if you like the taste, e.g. coriander)

Sunflower seeds (about half a cup). I have seen other recipes use breadcrumbs, but I didn’t have any on hand.

Lemon juice (about half a lemon or a couple of tablespoons)

Spices: I used salt, pepper, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp chilli powder, but you can obviously use what you prefer. I think any flavourings you usually use with potatoes will work here.

Rice flour, for dusting. I like using rice flour to dust any veg “meatball” type thing because I think it gives a better crispy coating, but you can probably use normal flour or chickpea flour as well. If you do, please comment below and let me know how it goes.

Method

I used a food processor to mix everything together till it was the right texture (well combined, sort of like a dough but with a few chunks still visible). The texture needs to be such that it will form a ball and stick together.

  • If it’s too dry, try adding a little soy sauce, olive oil, aquafaba (the water you cooked your chickpeas in), or plain water.
  • If it’s too wet, add some breadcrumbs or chickpea flour.

If you are as lazy as I am, try processing the parsley, onion, and seeds first till everything is like a paste, and then add the potatoes and chickpeas. It will save on chopping things too finely and makes the falafel texture more uniform.

Do not process the potatoes first, they turn out like glue.

Important: taste the mixture before you start cooking and adjust the seasonings to your own taste. With something like potato falafel, you might end up with a bland taste if you don’t add enough salt, but it is easy to overdo.

Once you have the mixture right, scoop out about a tablespoon’s worth and form into a ball with your hands. It helps if your hands are a bit damp. the final ball size should be like a table-tennis ball. Dust this in rice flour (I hold it in my hand and shake the excess off between my fingers). Repeat with the entire mixture.

You could also make patties, or croquette shapes if you prefer.

I tried shallow-frying a few. They were OK but I didn’t like using so much oil and they were taking too long in my wok. So I transferred the rest to a baking tray and baked them at 180 degrees for about 25 minutes (I sprayed them lightly with some oil first though). I would imagine that an air fryer would also work well here, but I don’t have one so I can’t say.

ANd they were DELICIOUS! I made the bowl you see pictured by adding some baby spinach, carrots, crispy tofu, and a version of Caitlin Shoemaker’s Asian slaw recipe, which I had lying in the fridge (I used ready-made slaw mix from the Spar and her dressing).

Next time, I might try using spring onion, or maybe some gherkins. I always have potatoes and chickpeas on hand, so I foresee making this quite often in future πŸ™‚

I hope you like this – let me know if you try it out, and what variations you use.

Yours in veggies

Deidre Johnson profile pic

Deidre


For those days when you dont feel like cooking, I manage a Facebook group called Dining out with Vegans. If you live in Cape Town, feel free to join – we meet for dinner about once a month to support local vegan restaurant options.