It was World Vegan Day on the 1st of November and throughout the month there will be celebrations and activities around the world to recognise how far the vegan movement has come, and to highlight how accessible and beneficial a vegan lifestyle can be. You can find more details at The Vegan Society
Before I share with you some of my favourite vegan recipes I must confess that I loathe the term vegan,*ducks for cover 😉*.
I find the word harsh, lacking in the lovely gastronomy that is plant based eating and nowhere near a positive descriptor of people that eschew the eating of animals.
My preferred moniker is herbivore which immediately, in me anyway, conjures up visions of hearty bowls of barley soup scented with rosemary and garlic, new potatoes glistening with flakes of sea salt and tumbled with pink peppercorns and freshly snipped chives, an aromatic Cox's orange pippin apple grated on top of cinnamon sprinkled porridge. Yes, definitely herbivore.
So to honour this months celebration of plant based cuisine, my contribution are two of my favourite, and most versatile recipes for you. Both are types of dips or thick sauces and can be used on their own, as a side or to pour over any seasonal vegetables. And kids love them.
Cauliflower and Garlic Dip with Pickled Cauliflower and Smoked Almonds
Serves 10 to 1280 mls olive oil
1 cauliflower 800 grams/1kg, thinly sliced ( reserve 1 quarter to use in the pickle )
1 small onion or banana shallot, diced
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
300 mls - 400mls of plant milk to cover
a sprig of thyme
1 bay leaf, crushed
A handful of hickory smoked almonds, half roughly chopped, half whole
Pickled cauliflower150 mls white wine vinegar
150 grams caster sugar
100 mls water
1 star anise
1 quarter of the cauliflower, sliced
For the pickled cauliflower, stir all ingredients, except cauliflower, in a medium saucepan over medium heat to dissolve sugar. Add cauliflower, salt and pepper, and stir to combine and cool to room temperature then refrigerate
Note: The pickles will keep in the fridge for at least a week and the puree can be portioned and frozen to be used when needed. Great over new potatoes or swirled through a chunky veggie soup.
1 bunch fresh parsley, washed and roughly chopped
1 bunch of coriander, washed and roughly chopped
Juice and zest of 2 limes
50 mls tahini
2 tsp maple syrup
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
good pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper
50 mls extra virgin olive oil
50 mls approx of cold water
Put the parsley, coriander, lime juice & zest, tahini, maple syrup, garlic, salt, and pepper to a food processor or blender. ( You can use a stick/ immersion blender too, make sure you use a high sided bowl if you do ) Process for a few seconds, scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula and process again until you have everything combined. With processor on, slowly drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil. Scrape down the sides again and pulse again the drizzle in half of the cold water. Blend on high for about a minutes and add the rest of the water if needed. Taste and adjust seasoning .
Note: Vary the herbs and the citrus, try basil, parsley and lemon, or watercress, spinach and orange. Keeps well for 3 days in fridge, not suitable to freeze . Serve over falafel as above or with shredded carrots and thinly sliced spring onions in a wrap, delicious!
If you are just dipping your toes into plant based eating or just increasing your vegetable cooking repertoire, two cook books I'd highly recommend, one an oldie but goodie and an inspiration Elizabeth David on Vegetables and the more recent Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi.
Have a great month experimenting!
Love Food X