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Cover: The Gourmet Garden

Recipes with vegetarian

13Jul 12

Asparagus in Tofu Hollandaise Sauce

Asparagus in Tofu Hollandaise SauceThis asparagus in tofu Hollandaise sauce uses soft tofu instead of double cream and is therefore considerably less fattening than the traditional version.  The tender asparagus drizzled with the rich and creamy sauce make a great starter for any meal and can even be used as a tasty, if somewhat messy, hors d’oeuvre at a party. (Also try these steamed spring vegetables with pine nuts.)

Asparagus is a very healthy vegetable which is high in antioxidants, potassium and vitamin C and is also very useful for cleansing your system. So go ahead and eat as much as you like without feeling guilty!

 

What you’re going to need:

For the sauce:

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 250g soft silken tofu
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or buttery spread, or canola oil

For the asparagus:

  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 450g asparagus, ends trimmed off

What you have to do:

 

  1. First, prepare the sauce:  Blend the egg yolks, tofu, lemon juice, and xanthan gum in an electric blender for a few minutes, until they get light and fluffy.
  2. Pour the mixture into the top of a double saucepan that sits over, but does not touch, simmering, not boiling, water.
  3. Add the butter, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, adding 1 tablespoon or more of hot water until it easily pours from a spoon.
  4. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the salt, mustard, cayenne, and pepper. Keep warm over simmering water while cooking the asparagus, up to about 30 minutes.  (If it starts to separate or thicken too much, add a teaspoon of boiling water and whisk briskly until it easily pours from a spoon.)
  5. While the sauce is simmering in the double saucepan, prepare the asparagus.  Cook the asparagus in boiling salted water until just tender, about 4 to 6 minutes, depending on their size.
  6. Remove from the water, drain, and pat dry with kitchen towels. Drizzle the sauce over the top of the asparagus and serve immediately.

 

Preparation Time:  5 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty: Medium

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11Jul 12

Crispy Potato Wedges

Crispy Potato WedgesAlthough these crispy potato wedges require several steps to prepare, the wonderfully crunchy end result makes it well worth the effort.  The white rice flour gives them an amazing texture when fried, while the cayenne pepper and other herbs provide a subtle spiciness that just can’t be beat.  They taste great on their own, but for best results, I recommend serving them with a freshly made sour cream and chive dip.

For another recipe with fried potatoes, I suggest these Aloo Bonda Snacks. They are an Indian fried potato ball – definitely worth a try!

What you’re going to need:

  • 2 large potatoes cut in ½ cm wedges
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano (or ½ teaspoon dried)
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 70g (½ cup) cornflour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 250g white rice flour
  • Canola oil or peanut oil, for frying
  • Additional salt to taste

What you have to do:

  1. Place the potato wedges in a large microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Whisk together the salt, onion powder, oregano, garlic powder, cayenne, and pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Sprinkle the spices over the potatoes and toss until the potatoes are thoroughly coated.
  4. Lay a sheet of crumpled non-stick baking  paper over the bowl, and cook on high power for 5 minutes, or until potatoes are almost, but not quite done. Let the potatoes cool slightly.
  5. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the cornflour, baking soda, egg, and lemon juice, adding water if necessary until you reach a thin consistency.
  6. Place the white rice flour in a second shallow bowl.
  7. Heat 2 inches of oil in a deep heavy pot to 185°C.
  8. Dip the potatoes in the rice flour, then in the egg mixture, and then again in the rice flour.
  9. Immediately fry the potatoes in batches until they are browned and crispy. Drain on paper towels.
  10. Add more salt to taste.  Serve the wedges immediately on their own or with your favourite dipping sauce.

 

Preparation Time:  15 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty: Medium

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08Jul 12

Grilled Veggie Shish Kebabs

Grilled Veggie Shish KebabsThese grilled veggie shish kebabs make for a great starter for a party or buffet, and they are very quick to prepare as long as you remember to put the veggies in the marinade beforehand, as this is longest part of the preparation.  In fact, the longer they marinate, the better, so you could even get started on that the night before.

Another thing I love about them is that they also turn out great on a barbecue, so I finally have something aside from veggie burgers and sausages to take when I get invited to a barbecue at a meat-eater’s house.  Don’t get me wrong – I love my veggie burgers and all, but it’s nice to have something more for a change.

The recipe uses a Turkish-style marinade, but if you prefer, you can use your favourite marinade of choice.

 

What you’re going to need:

For the marinade:

  • 250ml olive oil
  • 65ml plain yoghurt
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • 1tbsp thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Shish Kebabs:

  • 8 wooden skewers that have been soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
  • 500 to 800g of any combination of the following ingredients, cut into bite-sized pieces:
    • cauliflower florets
    • cherry tomatoes
    • aubergine
    • firm tofu
    • green, red, or yellow bell peppers
    • mushrooms
    • new potatoes
    • red onion
    • yellow squash
    • courgette

 

What you have to do:

 

  1. Prepare the marinade by combining all ingredients and mixing well to blend. Set aside while you prepare the veggies.
  2. Thread the desired grilling ingredients onto the skewers.
  3. Place the skewers in a long shallow dish and pour the marinade over the top, cover, and marinate for 1 to 2 hours at room temperature.
  4. Preheat the oven to “broil.”
  5. Remove the skewers from the marinade and let any excess liquid drip off.
  6. Broil the skewers for 6 – 12 minutes, turning every few minutes, until lightly charred and cooked through.
  7. Watch carefully, as different ingredients may take different amounts of time to cook.
  8. Remove the skewers from the oven and place them on a serving platter.
  9. Pour any extra marinade over the skewers.
  10. Serve hot.

 

Preparation Time:  30 minutes plus 1-2 hours marinating

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty: Medium

Note: One of my favourite side dishes at a barbecue is a fancy potato salad like these minty jersey royals with chives and lemon butter. It goes nicely with burgers – both veggie and otherwise!

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05Jul 12

Broccoli in Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Broccoli in Cheddar Cheese SauceAlthough broccoli is considered to be one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet  due to its high content of calcium, vitamin C, folic acid and iron, it can be quite difficult at times to get your kids to eat it, regardless of how much you threaten them with chores or no dessert!

Luckily, almost all kids love Cheddar cheese, so this broccoli in cheddar cheese sauce may just be the perfect way to finally get them to eat something green and healthy for once.  I know it worked for me when I was a kid!

You can really use any kind of cheese you prefer for this dish, but I find the bright orange colour of the cheddar looks really nice with the dark green of the broccoli and helps make this into an attractive and delicious side dish. (If you prefer a main dish, I recommend this pasta salad with broccoli and bacon – without the bacon, of course!)

What you’re going to need:

  • 315ml milk (or soy or other milk)
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 100g (1 cup) shredded Cheddar cheese or cheese alternative
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 500g broccoli, cut into 2 to 3 cm florets

 

What you have to do:

 

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together about 65ml of the milk and the cornflour until smooth and lump-free.
  2. Add the rest of the milk and the garlic and continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce thickens slightly.
  3.  Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the cheese. Keep stirring until all the cheese melts.
  4. Add salt and cayenne pepper and taste.  Add more if desired.
  5. Stir in the lemon juice and reduce the heat as low as possible in order to keep the sauce warm while the broccoli is cooking.
  6. Cook the broccoli in boiling salted water until just tender, about 4 to 6 minutes, depending on the size of the florets.
  7. Remove the broccoli from the water, drain, and pat dry with kitchen towels.
  8. Drizzle the cheese sauce over the cooked broccoli and serve immediately.

 

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty: Easy

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29Jun 12

Falafel with Tomato Sauce

Chickpea meatballs with tomato sauceI remember loving the meatballs in tomato sauce that my mother used to make when I was growing up, so the other day I decided to try and make a vegetarian version.  This chickpea falafel with tomato sauce recipe was the result.  The texture is, of course, slightly different than the lamb-based or peri-peri meatballs my mother specialised in, but the lemon, garlic and Italian parsley give them a subtle flavour that  is offset nicely by the tomato and thyme sauce.  Enjoy!

What you’re going to need:

For the falafel:

  • 400g cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 bunch fresh Italian parsley
  • 1tsp grated lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For the tomato sauce:

  • 500g tomatoes
  • 1/2 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1tbsp pine nuts
  • 170ml crème fraîche
  • Salt and pepper to taste

What you have to do:

 

  1. Drain the chickpeas well.
  2. Peel and mince the onion and the garlic.
  3. Wash the parsley and finely chop the leaves.
  4. Place the chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, and lemon zest in a food processor and blend to a paste.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Let the mixture stand for about 30 minutes.
  7. Form the mixture into walnut-sized balls.
  8. In a pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat.
  9. Add the falafel and sauté for 10 minutes, shaking the pan at regular intervals so that they brown evenly.
  10. Remove the falafel from the pan and keep them warm in the oven at the lowest setting.
  11. While the falafel is frying, prepare the tomatoes for the sauce by removing the cores.
  12. Submerge the tomatoes in boiling water for a few seconds, then transfer to a bowl of cold water to loosen the skin.
  13. Remove the skin, cut into quarters, and chop finely.
  14. Wash the thyme and strip the leaves from the stems.
  15. Add the remaining oil to the pan.
  16. Add the pine nuts and thyme and sauté for 20 seconds.
  17. Add the tomatoes and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes over medium heat.
  18. Mix in the crème fraîche and season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
  19. Arrange the falafel on 4 plates. Pour the sauce over them and serve.

 

Preparation Time:  15 minutes + 30 minutes setting

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty: Medium

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21Jun 12

Broccoli and Tofu in Coconut Milk

broccoli and tofu in coconut milkLike most stir-fries, this broccoli and tofu in coconut milk stir-fry is incredibly easy to throw together and makes for a tasty meal when you’re short on time and your family is clamouring for their supper.  Both the broccoli and the tofu soak up the sauce really well, so every bite is packed full of yummy coconut and spice flavours. (Also try this vegetable stir-fry delight!)

The best way to make a stir-fry is of course in a wok, but if you don’t have one at hand, you can use any good, large non-stick frying pan.  I do recommend you get yourself a wok as soon as possible though, because it really makes it easier to fry the veggies quickly, plus they tend to be bigger than most frying pans so you don’t have to worry about the ingredients spilling over the side when you stir energetically.

What you’re going to need:

  • 300g soft tofu, cut into pieces 1cm x 1cm x 3cm
  • 500g broccoli, washed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 2tbsp Tamari soy sauce
  • 1tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1tsp fresh chilli peppers, finely chopped
  • 2tbsp canola oil
  • 2tbsp water

What you have to do:

  1. Heat the oil in a wok over medium-high heat.
  2. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the garlic, ginger and chillies.
  3. Sauté for about 1 minute or until the spices turn brown and aromatic.
  4. Add the Tamari and stir well to mix in the spices.
  5. Increase the heat to high and add the chopped broccoli and tofu.  Stir well and make sure all the broccoli and tofu are coated with the Tamari and spice liquid.
  6. Continue stir-frying over high heat for 3 minutes.
  7. Add the water and keep stir-frying for another 3 minutes.
  8. Add the coconut milk and mix well.
  9. Reduce heat to medium and cook for another 4 minutes.
  10. Serve over a bed of steamed rice or Chinese-style noodles.

Preparation Time:  5 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Serves:  2-3

Difficulty: Easy

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19Jun 12

Spinach and Chickpeas

Spinach and ChickpeasThis spinach and chickpeas recipe makes for a great starter or can even be served as a main course if you accompany it with some oven-warmed French bread and a bit of salad. (If you want to stick with the chickpea theme, try this carrot, chickpea and orange salad.)  As always, I suggest using dried pulses and rehydrating them overnight, but if you don’t have time, you can go ahead and use the precooked canned or bottled ones.

What you’re going to need:

  • 300g chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 1 slice white bread
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4tsp paprika
  • 450g fresh spinach
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and cut in half
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

What you have to do:

  1. Drain the chickpeas and place them in a pot with enough water to cover them completely.
  2. Bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes over high heat.
  3. Reduce heat to low, cover and let cook for 1 hour or until the chickpeas are tender.
  4. Remove from heat and drain off the water.
  5. Heat 30ml of olive oil in a frying pan and fry the slice of bread until it’s golden brown.
  6. Set the fried bread aside on a plate.
  7. Sauté the onion in 15ml of olive oil over low heat until it’s translucent.
  8. Add the tomatoes and continue cooking over low heat for 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are dissolved.
  9. Heat the rest of the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
  10. Add the paprika and sauté for 30 seconds.
  11. Add the spinach and cook for a few minutes until the spinach is tender.
  12. Add the mixture of tomatoes and onions to the spinach, mix well and add the chickpeas.
  13. Add the salt and pepper to taste.
  14. Put the fried bread and the garlic in a blender and mix to form a smooth paste.
  15. Add the bread and garlic paste to the spinach and chickpeas.
  16. Add 170ml of cold water and cook over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes.  Add more water if necessary as you cook.
  17. Serve hot.

Preparation Time:  15 minutes + 8 hours soaking the chickpeas

Cooking Time: 55 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty: Medium

 

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16Jun 12

Tomato and Cabbage Soup

Tomato and Cabbage SoupI had an awful cold the other week, and it dawned on me that one of the worst things about being a vegetarian is not being able to eat chicken noodle soup.  It may not really be a cure for the common cold, but it certainly has proven to make you feel a bit better, at least while you’re eating it.  In any case, this tomato and cabbage soup recipe is my first attempt to make a vegetarian-friendly, feel-good soup for those pesky winter colds.

The young garlic, ginger, cinnamon and chilli help to clear your sinuses, and the fennel seeds and honey help to sooth a sore throat.  To be honest, it tastes nothing like standard chicken noodle, but it definitely did make me feel a bit better, and the effect lasted for a few hours after I ate it too!

What you’re going to need:

  • 3 medium tomatoes, washed and diced
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and shredded or chopped
  • 400ml cabbage, cut into 1cm x 3cm strips
  • 1 leek, washed and chopped
  • 1 young garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 250ml rice
  • 1tsp chilli powder
  • 2tsp salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1tsp honey
  • ½ a cinnamon stick
  • 1/2tsp fennel seeds
  • 1tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2tsp black pepper
  • 3 litres water
  • 3tbsp olive oil

What you have to do:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat until it’s hot but not smoking.
  2. Add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the leek and young garlic and sauté another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the cabbage, carrot and tomato and continue sautéing for 3 more minutes with the heat on full.  Stir continuously to avoid burning.
  5. Add the honey, stock cube, chilli powder, salt, black pepper, cinnamon, bay leaves and fennel seeds.  Sauté for 30 seconds to bring out the aroma of the spices.
  6. Add the water and the rice to the pot and bring to the boil.
  7. Reduce heat to a fast simmer and cook for another 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.
  8. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Note: If you like your soups a bit cheesy, try this Cauliflower and Emmental Soup recipe.

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Cooking Time: 40 minutes

Serves:  6

Difficulty:  Easy

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13Jun 12

Bean and Red peppers Burritos

Bean and red pepper burritosI love Mexican food, and it’s so easy to make it vegetarian!  These bean and red peppers burritos are my take on the classic Mexican burrito.  Even if you’re normally not a fan of beans and pulses, I think this dish will get your taste buds smiling. They’re fun to make and even more fun to eat! If you want to make it even more entertaining for your guests, place the bean mix in the centre of the table along with the garnishing and let them heap their own burritos!

What you’re going to need:

  • 2 x 400g tins red kidney beans, drained and mashed. (You can also use black beans.)
  • 1 large Spanish onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ red bell pepper
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 100g tomato purée
  • 2 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 pack of 8 flour or corn tortillas
  • 200g mature cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
  • 150ml sour cream (optional)
  • Diced tomatoes, sliced Jalapeños or Mexican salsa (for garnish)

What you have to do:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat until it’s hot but not smoking.
  2. Add the onions and red pepper and sauté until the onions turn translucent (approx. 4 minutes).
  3. Remove the onions and peppers and set aside.
  4. Sauté the onions, cumin, black pepper and paprika for about 1 minute, stirring constantly to avoid burning.
  5. Add the onions and peppers back into the mix along with the tomato paste and salt and mix well with the spices.
  6. Add the mashed kidney beans and mix well.  The mixture should be thick, not runny.  If it’s runny, cook a little longer to evaporate any excess water and add a tablespoon of  cornflour  to help thicken.
  7. Remove from heat and set aside.
  8. Remove the tortillas from their packaging and heat in the microwave on medium power for 1 minute to soften.
  9. Place two tablespoons of the bean mix on each tortilla, in a line a little off-centre to the left and running from the top to about 4 cm from the bottom.
  10. Place a slice of cheddar cheese, a spoonful of sour cream and a few jalapeños (if desired) on top.
  11. Wrap the burritos by first folding up the bottom, then the left-hand side and then the right-hand side to make a kind of envelope.
  12. Serve warm.
  13. If you really want to add to the “bean theme,” try serving this borlotti bean, celery and tomato salad on the side.

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Cooking Time:  20 minutes

Serves:  3-4

Difficulty:  Medium

 

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11Jun 12

Tomato and Basil Pie

Tomato and Basil PiePizza is a standard classic in my home, especially spinach, fresh tomato and blue cheese pizza. This tomato and basil pie recipe is a sort of variation on the traditional pizza, using pastry rather than leavened pizza dough.  The ingredients are simple but the taste is wonderful.  Basil, cheese and tomatoes work so well together that you just don’t need anything else, as the Italians have obviously known for years.  If you’re in a rush or just too tired to make the pastry yourself, go ahead and use any store-bought variety.

What you’re going to need:

For the crust:

  • 160g sifted white flour
  • 1/4tsp fine salt
  • 110g butter, chilled and diced
  • 60ml ice water

For the filling:

  • 100g fresh mozzarella, sliced as thinly as possible
  • 175g Parmesan cheese
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 5 medium tomatoes, washed and sliced 5mm thick
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp freshly ground black pepper

What you have to do:

To make the crust:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
  2. Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Cut into the butter using a pastry knife and add to the bowl. Do NOT use your hands.
  4. Stir in the ice water using a spoon, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture forms into a ball.
  5. Wrap the ball in plastic and chill for 4 hours.
  6. Roll out the ball into a flat crust about 30 cm in diameter.
  7. Press the crust firmly into the bottom and sides of a 26 cm pie dish.
  8. Using a fork, make some holes in the bottom of the crust.
  9. Cover the crust with parchment paper and fill with dry beans.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  11. Remove from the oven, leaving the heat on.
  12. Remove and discard the beans and parchment paper.

To make the filling:

  1. Varnish the crust with a little olive oil or butter.
  2. Cover the bottom with the the fresh Parmesan cheese and sprinkle over with half of the fresh basil.
  3. Lay the tomato slices and Mozzarella on top of the Parmesan and sprinkle on the rest of the fresh basil.
  4. Sprinkle on the salt, pepper and olive oil.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes.  If the cheese exudes a lot of liquid during baking, remove from the oven and drain the excess liquid in order to keep the crust from getting soggy.

Preparation Time:  1 hour + 4 hours setting

Cooking Time: 50 minutes

Serves:  6

Difficulty:  Medium

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