Vegan Christmas: Squash Dip

I think it’s a good idea to add some vegan meals to the whole long and not really healthy Christmas glutenous menu. As the minds are filled with whatever the traditional food is in your part of the world (if you even celebrate this…), here’s a suggestion for something seasonal, cheery-coloured and keeping our bottoms little ūüėČ

Christmas Squash Dip

What you need is 20 minutes:

1 small teacup of red lentils

250-300 g raw squash, cut in pieces

2-3 cloves of garlic

3 tbsp sesame tahini

2 tbsp olive oil

1 lemon

half teaspoon of the each cumin, turmeric, dried coriander, paprika, ground black pepper, cinnamon

and the handiest thing in the world: a blender!

Boil the lentils in 2 cups of water until tender and the pumpkin in a separate pot, and yes – in some water too. Discard the liquid and put aside to cool.

Mix all the spices, the tahini, the peeled garlic, the olive oil and the lemon juice in a bowl. Then add the squash and the lentils, and use the blender to reduce all to a nice, orange, smooth, heavenly tasting dip.

Serve with some fresh whole grain bread as an appetizer.

Vegan Is Good!

Curry Stuffed Eggplants

What you need is an hour and the following:

1 large eggplant

100g red lentils

100g organic green soybeans (boiled)

1 can of peeled tomatoes

1 glass of water

5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

3 tbsp vegetable oil

1/4 teaspoon of each of the these: cumin, paprika, chili, dried coriander, cinnamon, dried ginger, white mustard seeds, cardamom, turmeric, grounded black pepper

Cut the eggplant in two, carefully carve the halves with a spoon to 1.5 cm thickness. Salt both the carved halves and the … flesh (wasn’t sure which word to use here, “flesh” sounds almost dirty in a vegan cooking blog) and put aside for 20 minutes. Then wash well with water and put aside.¬†We’ll use later the halves as¬†recipients¬†for the curry.

Preparing the curry – heat the oil in a large pan and add first the mustard seeds and once they start to pop – the rest of the spices. When mixed well in the pan, put in the carved eggplant flesh and mih well. Cover and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.

Now add the tomatoes, the soy beans,  the lentils and the water, use a wooden spoon to mix well and lower the heat. Let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until almost all the water has evaporated and the lentils are cooked.

Meanwhile, cover the inside of the eggplant carved halves with a thin layer of olive oil, sprinkle with grounded black pepper and bake in a preheated (180C) oven for 10 minutes. Then take them out and let them cool.

Divide the curry in two and stuff the egg plants. Put in the oven for another 15 minutes. Serve with rice and enjoy!

Vegan is Good!

Good Old Beans Soup

Traditional cuisine is often vegan. All over the Balkans beans soup is considered local¬†meal, there may have even been a few fights over this claim. The ingredients may vary but the core is the same – last year’s beans call feed the whole family all through the cold winter with precious protein.

My personal touch to this classical recipe are the spring onions and garlic which add a pinch of fresh, sunny mood.

What you’ll need to feed well 2-3 people is:

300 g beans

2 small carrots, grated

1 average onion

1 large red pepper

100g canned, peeled and diced tomatoes

2 pcs of spring onion, chopped

2 pcs of spring garlic, chopped

3-4 pinches of dried mint

2 pinches of savory

2 pinches of cumin

2-3 tbsp vegetable oil

1 teaspoon flour

grounded black pepper and paprika

Soak the beans the night before in cold water. On the next day rince them and bring to boiling. Throw away the first water, add another 2.5l and boil for 45 minutes in a pressure cooker. Take off the stove and put aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in a pan with the cumin, the back pepper and the paprika and add the onions. Let them fry for 1-2 minutes and add the carrot. Sprinkle the flour on top and mix well. Add the tomatoes and let it cook for another 2 minutes.

Pour the content of the pan in the boiled beans and the remaining water. Now add the spring onions and the garlic, the pepper as it is, just make a small  incision in the middle, the savory and 1/3 of the mint.

Bring to boiling and then lower the heat. Let it cook for 10-15 minutes, just stir occasionally.

Sprinkle the rest of the mint just before serving, so that it releases its heavenly scent.

Vegan is Good!

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