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Smoky Tofu Stuffed Peppers

A relatively easy dish, this serves 2 as a lunch or a side. Chiquino peppers are pictured, but I also made this dish successfully with bell peppers (capiscum); the same method and timing applies.

Ingredients

For the Tofu Filling

300g silken tofu
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion granules
2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt or to taste
2 tsp mild chilli paste (I used chipotle and smoked paprika)
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Everything else

400g sweet peppers
1/2 red onion, chopped
100g mushrooms (I used shiitake), finely chopped
50g kale, in bite-sized pieces

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with a silicone sheet. Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.
2. Meanwhile, in a pan over a medium-low heat sauté the onion and mushroom until the onions start to soften (about 2 minutes). Add the kale and 1/4 cup water. Sauté until the kale has softened or the water has absorbed.
3. Fill the peppers with the tofu stuffing and bake for 25 minutes.

Smoky Maple Jackfruit

This is a flavoursome side, and also makes for an interesting sandwich filling (try it with some rocket and sliced apple or pear). You can find young green jackfruit in brine or water (not syrup) in a can in your local Asian store.

Ingredients

2 x 280g cans (drained weight) young, green jackfruit in brine or water, drained and well rinsed
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp vegetable broth
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven for 220C. Steam or boil the jackfruit for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, mix the rest of the ingredients in a shallow baking dish.
3. When the jackfruit is cooked, pull it apart with a fork, and set the seeds aside for eating on their own later.
4. Toss the jackfruit in the marinade.
5. Bake in the baking dish for 20 minutes, tossing halfway through.

Smoky Black Bean Soup

The smoky flavours of this soup pair perfectly with the black beans and sweetcorn in the recipe, and the miso adds umami notes that bring it all together. This is a budget recipe that serves 4, and it takes under 15 minutes to make

Ingredients

1 red onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1l vegetable broth
2 x 200g cans or 4 cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
3 tsp smoked paprika, or 2 tsp smoked paprika and 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin
2 tbsp tomato purée
pinch cayenne pepper
200g frozen sweetcorn
1 tbsp yellow miso

Optional toppings: more sweetcorn, thawed; bell pepper; avocado; squeeze lime juice, etc.

Method

1. Sauté the onion over a medium heat for 3 minutes, until softened and lightly browned. Add the garlic for another 30 seconds.
2. Deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup of the vegetable broth. Add the rest of the broth, the beans, the paprika (and liquid smoke, if using), coriander, cumin, tomato purée, cayenne pepper.
3. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid, lower the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the sweetcorn and continue for two minutes more.
4. If desired, transfer half of the soup to a blender with the miso and blend to smooth. Transfer back to the rest of the soup and reheat. Do not allow to boil. If not blending, remove from the heat, add the miso and mix well.
5. Serve, if desired, with a squeeze of lime, chopped bell pepper, sweetcorn, and avocado.

Smoky Potato Sweetcorn Soup

Flavoursome and with a hint of smokiness, this budget soup takes about 10 minutes to prepare. If you don’t have access to a blender, it’s equally delicious unblended. Serves 2-3.

Ingredients

1 yellow onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
100g mushrooms, chopped or sliced, as desired
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large potato, unpeeled and diced
800ml vegetable broth
1 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

1. Sauté the onion, mushrooms, and bell peppers over a medium-heat until the mushrooms start to release their juices. Add the garlic and sauté for a further 30 seconds.
2. Add the potato, broth, and smoked paprika. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer for about 7 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
3. Serve as is, seasoned with salt and pepper as desired, or remove about a third of the soup to blend it before returning it to the pot to reheat.

Smoky eggplant, baby kale and tomato wrap

Eggplant roasted with tamari and apple cider, mixed baby kale and diced tomato wrapped in warm, freshly made, whole wheat chapati. Wrap in a few rice paper rolls for a lighter version. Leave out the chapati, chop the roasted eggplant, double the greens, tomato and dressing for a light salad.

For the chapati
1/2 cup heaping whole wheat flour
1/4t coarse sea salt
1/4 cup warm water
1T cooking oil

For the eggplant
1T cooking oil
1/4t coarse sea salt
1T tamari
1t fresh garlic, minced
2T apple cider
1/4t black pepper
A dash liquid smoke (or to taste)
1 large eggplant (enough to make about 8, 1/4″ slices)
A dash liquid smoke
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1T nutritional yeast

Optional: Some fennel seeds would make for a traditional flavour combination.

For the kale and tomato
1/2 cup diced tomato
1/4t coarse sea salt
1/2T balsamic vinegar
1/2t prepared brown mustard
1 cup mixed baby kale (or other greens)

Start with the chapati, then make the eggplant. Mix the dry ingredients and add the water. Knead until a smooth elastic dough forms. Set aside in a bowl for about 15 minutes to let the dough rest, covered with a warm, wet tea towel.

While the dough rests, make the eggplant. Preheat the oven to 450F. Trim the ends of the eggplant and slice length-wise in 1/4″ strips. Start by cutting the eggplant in half, and then cut in slices. Slice as evenly as possible to ensure even cooking. Aim for 8 slices if you can in case you loose a few during the cooking process. Trim the outside skin of the eggplant on the last slice, but don’t peel entirely.

Whisk the cooking oil, tamari, sea salt, apple cider, and liquid smoke. Toss the sliced eggplant in the mixture until well coated. On a lightly oiled, warm roasting pan or baking sheet, roast the eggplant is nicely browned, turning once. Expect 8-12 minutes. Ovens vary; use the colour and texture of the eggplant as a guide. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

While the eggplant roasts, roll the dough out on a floured board to a small flat circle (about 8″). Brush with 1t oil. Fold into a half circle. Brush with 1t oil. Fold into a triangle. Roll the wrap out to about a 12″ circle. It should be fairly thin (a bit more than 1/8″). Brush with the last 1t oil.

With the chapati ready to go, toss the diced tomato with the sea salt. Mix the vinegar and mustard. Add to the tomato. Let stand 2-3 minutes while you finish the chapati.
Bring a large frying pan to heat on medium high (or use a griddle if you have one). Add the wrap (dry side down) and fry for 1-2 minutes. Turn and fry the other side. The chapati will be done when it’s lightly browned and lightly dry. Don’t overcook. It will make the wrap harder to roll. Remove from heat, let the wrap cool for a few seconds. Rub very lightly between your palms to soften if necessary.

Toss the kale greens with the tomato. Layer the eggplant slices into the wrap as evenly as possible, slightly off center toward you. Pack them down into the wrap by hand. Be careful not to overfill. Reserve extra eggplant. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast. Add the kale. Add the tomato. Wrap like you would a burrito.

Fold in the sides perpendicular to the filling gently, fold up the bottom up over the filling. Tuck the filling gently with the bottom of the wrap — but not too hard or you may split your wrap if it’s overfilled. Roll the whole thing over to close the wrap. Let stand briefly (less than a minute) before serving, and then enjoy!