Veganize it, part one!

How to convert any recipe into a plant based recipe.

Beetroot-sweet potato dip with pistachio bulgur salsa, the plantbased version

I own quite a few cookbooks which I mainly use for inspiration. The majority of those books are about Middle-Eastern cuisine, which I love most! I love the flavours and spices used in the Middle-Eastern kitchen. And of course Middle-Eastern food is plantbased in it’s core.

My favorite chef by far is Yotam Ottolenghi, followed by Sami Tamimi (who wrote ‘Falastin’ together with Tara Wrigley). Neither Yotam nor Sami Tamimi are vegan and so aren’t the majority of their recipes. Sometimes they make suggestions about substituting, or leaving out certain non-plantbased ingredients. But there are still a good deal of recipes left where non-vegan ingredients are key. Ricotta, feta, Greek style yogurt and eggs to name a few. That leaves one with two choices: either you skip those recipes, or you transform the recipe into a plant based version. Sometimes that is an easy task but some of them can be a bit of a challenge. But fortunately I happen to be the kind of person who loves challenges like that!

Sometimes I take the easy route to make a plantbased version of a recipe. Take the recipe as shown in the picture above for instance. A beetroot sweet potato dip topped with feta cheese. A recipe by Sami Tamimi from ‘Falastin’. One can easily replace feta with a plant based version of the same (link for recipe at the end). I pretty much have a container sitting in my fridge all the time, ready to use. In this particular recipe that’s the only thing that needs to change, since the rest of the recipe is already plant based.

But I wanted to challenge myself to try something more creative than that. I wanted to use the new product I had bought the other day: vegan parmesan made of chickpeas! This ‘cheese’ tastes so amazing that you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference with real parmesan. So the taste was covered for. Onwards to create the white chunks on top of the dip. I happened to have some leftover florets of cauliflower in my fridge, white as a sheet 😀.

So I mixed the florets with a tablespoon of soy yogurt, a drop of fresh lemon juice, a spoon of nutritional yeast and a spoon of my new ‘parmesan’. I made sure the florets were coated evenly, placed them on a baking tray and baked them in the oven at 180℃ until tender (approx. 20 minutes).

Coated cauliflower florets ready for baking

It had exactly the desired effect and as you can see it looks pretty much the same as Sami Tamimi’s original!

Plant based version of beetroot-sweet potato dip from ‘Falastin’ compared to the original

So there you have it, two different ways to replace the feta in a recipe. For the full plant based feta recipe click here.

Next time, I’ll share more ways to make a recipe plant based. In the meantime, maybe you too have come up with a plantbased alternative for feta. I would love to hear about it, so please feel free to share with us!