14

Easy Vegan Carrot Walnut Cake

Veganopoulous_Easy Vegan Carrot Walnut Cake

My grandmother used to make a carrot cake I loved. I remember her calling my mum and telling us to go over after she’d baked a cake. When my grandmother died, we found the recipe written, in Greek, on a scrap of paper. This is that recipe though there are a few changes. The original calls for four eggs and 1.5 cups of oil so I had to both veganise it and cut way down on that oil!

My past experiments involved going all out with aquafaba, using the liquid from canned chickpeas but while the cake tasted fine it was kinda a bit too delicate. My grandmother’s cake was really hearty and that’s what I wanted to keep. I also wanted to stay true to her recipe as much as possible but in the end I decided to go with two bananas and using a little oil. I anticipated having to call this cake Carrot Banana Walnut Cake but I was surprised that it still tasted far more walnutty and carrot cakey than banana. My bananas were only slightly ripe though so if you use very ripe bananas the banana flavour will likely be stronger.

I rarely ice cakes at home so this cake lacks a traditional frosting plus my grandmother never iced cakes either. I really prefer this cake plain but of course feel free to frost away with your favourite plant based cream cheese style top!

You can reduce the sugar if you like and I would be happy dropping it by a quarter next time I make this. I especially love the walnuts though and was happy to see the toasty walnut taste came through brilliantly.

A common theme on my blog is how I start mixing up ingredients before realising I’m all out of something halfway through. That’s what happened with this cake, I thought I had enough white spelt flour but ran out and used wholemeal spelt for the rest. The result was actually pretty great so here’s the recipe, mistakes and all!

Veganopoulous_Easy Vegan Carrot Walnut Cake

 

Easy Vegan Carrot Walnut Cake
Print Recipe
A vegan carrot walnut cake using bananas and aquafaba in place of eggs and lots-of-oil. The cake is plain with no icing but feel free to add your own if you prefer. Cooking times may vary due to your oven and size of your cake tin.
Servings Prep Time
12 slices 15 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 slices 15 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Easy Vegan Carrot Walnut Cake
Print Recipe
A vegan carrot walnut cake using bananas and aquafaba in place of eggs and lots-of-oil. The cake is plain with no icing but feel free to add your own if you prefer. Cooking times may vary due to your oven and size of your cake tin.
Servings Prep Time
12 slices 15 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 slices 15 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: slices
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to moderate (about 180C). Prepare your favourite cake tin. I used a round 23cm cake tin.
  2. In a large bowl, sift all the dry ingredients (not the carrot).
  3. In a blender, whiz up the bananas, aquafaba and oil until well blended.
  4. Add the blender contents to the dry ingredients and combine without over mixing. Gently fold through the carrots. The batter will be quite thick.
  5. Pour in to your prepared cake tin and bake for approximately one hour, checking at the 45 minute mark. Cooking times may vary so please keep an eye out for the cake browning too much.
  6. Remove when done and leave to cool a bit before turning the cake out on to a cooling rack. Best served once it has cooled down completely.
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12

Simple Vegan Tzatziki

Simply Vegan Tzatziki by Veganopoulous

Another family recipe, courtesy of my Mum and Dad! Their tzatziki ‘recipe’ (it’s in their hearts and hands, not on paper) uses Greek dairy yoghurt and for a long time I held off making a vegan version because when I veganise family recipes, I prefer to use ingredients that result in an almost identical tasting match to the not-vegan version of my youth. Coconut yoghurt was immediately ruled out because, well, it ends up like a coconutty tasting thing and not at all like my family’s dish. Cashew cream ends up too sweet. Silken tofu would have the tofu after taste. Right?

Well, I think I was a bit harsh on the old silken tofu. Today I decided to go for it and see how it would taste and boy am I pleasantly surprised. I do like my tzatziki heavy on the garlic and lemon and that does help mask any soy flavour. Still, I couldn’t detect a strong soy taste like I feared and so I’ve been fist pumping around the place, waiting to see my parents so I can get them to try this.

Simply Vegan Tzatziki by Veganopoulous

So when my parents make this, they break out the big guns and by that I mean their big huge Greek mortar and pestle. The thing that will break your toes if you drop it on your foot. Mum and Dad put peeled garlic gloves in the mortar with salt, then pound away with the pestle. The salt prevents the mashed garlic from flying out everywhere. Family events always involved the banging sounds of mortar and pestle the day before, while Mum got the tzatziki prepared. Before the days of less watery Greek yoghurt being sold in supermarkets, Mum would hang an old pillowcase of yoghurt over the sink and let it drain.

I don’t have a mortar and pestle, so I used a microplane for my garlic. You can also use a garlic press if you prefer, though it should be as close to mashed-like as possible.

For the cucumber, Mum and Dad always use Lebanese cucumbers that have been peeled, cut lengthwise and the seeds scooped out with a spoon, then excess liquid squeezed out. If they can’t find Lebanese, they use regular cucumbers. The cucumber is always grated, never chopped. Ha, they snort and shake their heads when they see TV chefs making tzatziki with massive chunks of cucumber!

For us, the flavour always comes from the garlic, lemon and extra virgin olive oil. Mum and Dad have never used herbs. Some people like dill, others use mint. Feel free to add those in if you like. I enjoy the tastes of herbs, but I enjoy my parents’ tzatziki without them because this is what I grew up with and faffing around with the flavours kinda feels wrong when it’s a much loved family recipe!Simply Vegan Tzatziki by Veganopoulous

This is a medium-ish serving but I only say that because Mum and Dad make a huge amount, so this amount seems wee in comparison. I wanted to base my recipe on a 300g block of silken tofu.

I would recommend that you keep this in the bowl you prepared it in (in the fridge), then if you’re going to serve it give it a good stir and put it in a nice bowl. In terms of how it compares to the dairy version, you can see in the photo the colour is more yellowy than white but taste wise? This tastes exactly like what my Mum and Dad make. I watched them making tzatziki many, many times so the process is pretty automatic for me and I’m super happy there’s no big strong tofu taste. I wonder if that depends on the brand of tofu, perhaps some are more soy tasting than others. I used Earth Source Japanese style silken tofu.

 

Simple Vegan Tzatziki
Print Recipe
This vegan tzatziki uses traditional Greek flavours of garlic, lemon and olive oil. Silken tofu is used in place of dairy yoghurt. You can change the amount of garlic or lemon to suit your tastes.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Simple Vegan Tzatziki
Print Recipe
This vegan tzatziki uses traditional Greek flavours of garlic, lemon and olive oil. Silken tofu is used in place of dairy yoghurt. You can change the amount of garlic or lemon to suit your tastes.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Peeling the cucumber is optional. Cut the cucumber down its length and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds (seeds aren't needed in this recipe). Coarsely or finely grate the cucumber (your choice, I use fine but my parents prefer coarse). Squeeze out as much liquid from the grated cucumber as possible and set aside.
  2. In a small blender or food processor, whiz the silken tofu (with excess water pressed out) to make it all smooth. You don't want any lumps.
  3. In a small or medium bowl, combine the smoothed tofu, cucumber, garlic, half the lemon juice and salt. Stir to combine then add lemon juice to taste. I like mine lemony so start with half first!
  4. Before serving, give the tzatziki a good stir and put on a fancy plate or in a bowl. Drizzle with a little extra oil and garnish with some thinly slice cucumber.
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10

Vegan Oil Free Raspberry Coconut Muffins

Veganopoulous Vegan Oil Free Raspberry Coconut Muffins

Frozen raspberries were on sale last week so I picked up a big bag, got home and found another big bag in the freezer I’d forgotten about. Whoops. But when the freezer gives you frozen raspberries, you make raspberry baked goods.

I’m all for muffins because my kids are (so they claim) in a state of perpetual hunger. Like, the instant I sit down with a cup of tea they’re excavating the fridge. And I’m all KEEP THE FRIDGE CLOSED! from the other end of the house, because I have eyes in the back of my head and extendable ears. And then I hear all the kitchen cupboards opening and some anxiety-inducing rustling. So I figure a container of muffins on the kitchen table will at least spare me the whole “someone’s gonna drop my big jar of blackstrap molasses from up high and I’m gonna be pissed” feeling of foreboding. Veganopoulous Vegan Oil Free Raspberry Coconut Muffins

Okay, so enough backstory. These muffins are oil free (as in, I don’t add oil as an ingredient) which is the way I like to bake for snacks at home. I used aquafaba, taken from canned chickpeas. I wanted something quick, oil free and tasty that my kids could eat between meal times if they were staaaarving, with a piece of fruit or smoothie. Plus we’re going out tomorrow and these will be great for the lunchboxes. They’re nice and coconutty and would be even more so if you use coconut milk as your non-dairy milk of choice. You can also do that thing where you heat one up then have it with ice cream. Instant pudding!

Veganopoulous Vegan Oil Free Raspberry Coconut Muffins

 

 

Vegan Oil Free Raspberry Coconut Muffins
Print Recipe
An oil free vegan muffin perfect for lunch boxes. Aquafaba is used in place of oil or melted butter, making this a healthier alternative if you're watching your oil consumption!
Servings Prep Time
12 muffins 10 minutes
Cook Time
22 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 muffins 10 minutes
Cook Time
22 minutes
Vegan Oil Free Raspberry Coconut Muffins
Print Recipe
An oil free vegan muffin perfect for lunch boxes. Aquafaba is used in place of oil or melted butter, making this a healthier alternative if you're watching your oil consumption!
Servings Prep Time
12 muffins 10 minutes
Cook Time
22 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 muffins 10 minutes
Cook Time
22 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: muffins
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to moderate (about 180C). Prepare your favourite muffin cups or tray. I used both silicon cups and a metal tray (when I ran out of cups) sprayed lightly with coconut oil.
  2. In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients. In a separate smaller bowl, mix together the wet ingredients. My brown sugar was lumpy so for this instance I mixed the sugar with the liquids to break it all up.
  3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients but don't overmix-- just do the bare minimum to get everything combined.
  4. Gently fold through the raspberries. Fill the muffin cups/tray (you can sprinkle on some sugar if you like).
  5. Bake for around 20-22 minutes, checking at the 18 minute mark. My oven took 22 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and enjoy!
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16

Gigantes: Greek Giant Baked Beans

Veganopoulous Gigantes Greek Giant Baked Beans

I’m really pleased to share another of my family’s recipes with you, this time my mum’s awesome Greek giant baked beans. Known as Gigantes or Yigantes, this is a perfect autumn-winter dish and pretty simple to make. The word ‘gigantes’ in Greek means giant, and if you’ve seen these on a menu listed as Gigantes Plaki, the ‘plaki’ refers to a dish being cooked in a tomato based sauce.

Veganopoulous Gigantes Greek Giant Baked Beans

Everyone makes this differently and as always, you can add a little of this or that. My mum doesn’t use garlic in her recipe and I think they’re fine without it but if you want to add some when sauteeing the veggies, go ahead! If you don’t like dill, you can add a little fresh parsley instead. If you want to make this an oil free dish, that’s fine too– you can just do the sautee step in a little broth or water.

Some recipes in cookbooks and online include the addition of sugar. I personally don’t think it’s needed and when I’ve tried the tinned ready made gigantes, they’re always a bit too sweet for me.

The cooking process is pretty straightforward and I’ve put together this little step by step photo illustration to tie in with the instructions further down:

Veganopoulous Gigantes Greek Giant Baked Beans

If you want to soak your giant beans overnight, go ahead. Mum says she never bothers and when she has soaked the beans, it makes no difference to the finished meal. Not soaking may mean your stove top cooking takes a bit longer.

The gigantes shown in my photos here are quite thick without a heap of sauce. We kinda forgot to take the beans out of the oven earlier so there’s not as much liquid butttt this isn’t necessarily a problem because I love them this way too! If you like slightly more soupy, you can reduce the cooking time. Veganopoulous Gigantes Greek Giant Baked Beans

Simple, delicious and nutritious! These beans are great on toast too  🙂

Veganopoulous Gigantes Greek Giant Baked Beans

Gigantes: Greek Giant Baked Beans
Print Recipe
Perfect for autumn and winter, this classic Greek dish is both easy to make and delicious. No need for the tinned versions or waiting for your next trip to a Greek restaurant!
Servings Prep Time
8 serves 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes in the oven 30-40 on stove
Servings Prep Time
8 serves 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes in the oven 30-40 on stove
Gigantes: Greek Giant Baked Beans
Print Recipe
Perfect for autumn and winter, this classic Greek dish is both easy to make and delicious. No need for the tinned versions or waiting for your next trip to a Greek restaurant!
Servings Prep Time
8 serves 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes in the oven 30-40 on stove
Servings Prep Time
8 serves 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes in the oven 30-40 on stove
Ingredients
Servings: serves
Instructions
  1. Optional step: Soak your beans overnight if you prefer. Make sure the beans are well covered in water. Drain and rinse the beans.
  2. Put the beans in a large pot and fill the pot with water until the water is about one and half inches above the beans. Bring to a boil then simmer until the beans are tender, about 30-40 minutes. Test three beans by gently squeezing them. If you've soaked your beans beforehand, check around the 20 minute mark onwards. The beans should not feel mushy. Drain the beans in to a colander and let them sit while you prepare the veggies.
  3. Preheat your oven to 180C (or the 'moderate' setting).
  4. In the same pot, heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sautee the carrots, onion and celery until tender on a medium heat.
  5. Add the drained beans to the veggie mixture in the pot. Sprinkle over the paprika and stir gently.
  6. Put the 500ml of passata in a large jug and add enough water to make one litre. Stir the tomato-water mixture and mix it in with the beans and veggies.
  7. Add another litre of water to the beans and veg and stir gently. Add in the salt, chopped dill and optional 2 tablespoons of olive oil. It will look like a very runny watery soup-- don't despair!
  8. Mix everything well then pour in to a large baking dish or casserole dish. Add pepper to taste if you like or more salt. Cover the dish tightly with foil and cook for about 40 minutes, checking at the half hour mark.
  9. Remove the foil and cook for another ten minutes. Keep an eye on the level of liquid in the beans. You don't want them to dry out!
  10. Remove from the oven when the beans are to your liking-- either with a fair bit of sauciness or more a thick stew. Keep in mind the mixture thickens more the next day.
  11. Serve the gigantes on their own, or with thick chunks of bread.
Recipe Notes

I've listed 30 to 40 minutes as the passive cooking time-- this is for the beans cooking on the stove before they go in the oven.

If you don't like dill, add in a little chopped flat leaf parsley to your liking.

If you are oil-free, sautee the veggies in some broth or water.

If you want more of a garlic flavour, add a large clove of finely chopped garlic to the pot when you sautee the veggies.

Some people like to pre-cook the beans with a dried bay leaf in the water.

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14

Vegan Jackfruit Bourguignon

Veganopoulous Jackfruit Bourguignon style stew

I was a little late to the publishing jackfruit recipes party, probably because all my time was spent drooling over photos and recipes other people had done, instead of cracking open a can and doing my own thing. I’m making up for that now though with this jackfruit bourguignon style stew.

This is a recipe that was a little frustrating for me because my mum used to make a simple but tasty stew years back with, ah, beef, carrot, onion, mushroom, tomato paste, bay leaves, Greek oregano, a little flour, beef stock, and red wine. All good. Except when I flipped through Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, the ingredients and amounts were so so similar to what my mum would do, and my mum had never opened this book in her life!

So this recipe is inspired by both my mum and the Beef Bourguignon recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I don’t use a vegan bacon substitute and unbelievably I haven’t been able to find pearl onions (I know I know… not really bourguignon then!). So let’s consider this Bourguignon *Inspired* instead!

Be sure to use a can of jackfruit in brine, not syrup! Drain the jackfruit in to a colander then tear it in to pieces. There will be these little space alien pod seed thingies you can discard if you like (do people eat them? I don’t know). I tear the harder bits of the jackfruit in to smaller pieces. Try to squeeze out as much liquid as you can from the shredded jackfruit:

canned jackfruit

Although there are a few steps with frying off the ingredients, it’s still pretty simple. I’d love to make this again with pearl onions but didn’t find any in time for this blog post unfortunately.

Veganopoulous Jackfruit Bourguignon style stew

The wine of course is important! Hands up if you’ve put effort in to a casserole only to realise it tastes blergh because the wine wasn’t a good choice. *COUGH* For this recipe I used Yalumba Y Series 2014 Shiraz, labelled as vegan friendly. I found this worked fantastically well here. I’m not really a fan of drinking wine but love love love it in stews and casseroley dishes.

What I love about this recipe is what I can do with it. Serve it simply like what I have in the photos with mashed potatoes and green beans. Or stick it in a pie (you can thicken it with a butter/oil flour roux mixture first if you like), which is what I’ve done before and made easy pies with puff pastry. Or add it to a tomato based sauce and use it in a lasagna.

Veganopoulous Jackfruit Bourguignon style stew

Recipe follows!

Vegan Jackfruit Bourguignon
Print Recipe
Using canned jackfruit in place of the traditional beef, this vegan Bourguignon style stove top stew can be served with traditional vegetables, in a pie or used as part of a pasta bake.
Servings Prep Time
4 serves 20 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 serves 20 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Vegan Jackfruit Bourguignon
Print Recipe
Using canned jackfruit in place of the traditional beef, this vegan Bourguignon style stove top stew can be served with traditional vegetables, in a pie or used as part of a pasta bake.
Servings Prep Time
4 serves 20 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 serves 20 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: serves
Instructions
  1. Drain your can of jackfruit and discard the liquid. Using your hands, shred the jackfruit in to small pieces, discarding the slimy pod thingies that plop out easily. Gently squeeze the jackfruit to remove more liquid and keep aside in a colander.
  2. Heat a large heavy based pot on a medium heat. Heat the 1 Tbsp of vegan butter (or oil, if using). Brown the mushrooms well, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. In the same pot, adding a teaspoon of oil if necessary, cook the garlic, carrot and onions. Add splashes of water if necessary. Cook until the onions are tender. Remove and set aside.
  4. In the same pot, add 2 teaspoon of the oil. Add in the drained and shredded jackfruit and brown it well (you may have to increase your heat to high, but watch out for burning).
  5. When the jackfruit has browned, sprinkle the flour over it and mix well to combine. Add the carrot and onion mix back in and stir well. Your heat should be on medium. Make a sort of well in the centre and add in the tomato paste, stirring it for about ten seconds.
  6. Mix in the red wine and liquid stock. Add the bay leaf and thyme then partially cover with a lid. When the pot begins to bubble a bit, reduce the heat to low and cook until the liquid has reduced by about half. For me this was roughly thirty minutes on a low heat.
  7. Add the mushrooms back in and add salt, adjusting to your taste. If you're using pearl onions, like I should have done, have them prepared and add in until heated through.
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