Curried Tomato and Coconut Soup with Chickpeas and Mushrooms

When it comes to social media, I have two favourites: Facebook and Pinterest. Facebook for keeping up with friends and following (mainly cooking) blogs and pages, Pinterest because it allows you to save and categorise recipes you find online with a few simple clicks. But that ease can also have drawbacks, as I sometimes pin dishes that look good but disappoint when I actually read the whole recipe.

Which is what happened this week, when I got ready to cook a promising-looking chickpea soup from one of my boards and then realised that the flavours clashed (even just on paper), the cooking method didn’t work for me… in short that I would cook an entirely different soup. So that is what I did, with mainly store cupboard ingredients. I hope you like it.

1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp chilli flakes, or to taste
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp garam masala
1 tsp coarse sea salt, or to taste
400 g tin of chopped tomatoes
250 ml coconut milk
1 cup/140 g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and simmered till tender, about an hour and 15 minutes, depending on how ‘fresh’ they are. Don’t add salt. (Cooked weight about 290 g, you could use the same amount of tinned chickpeas)
200 g mushrooms, quartered
generous squeeze of lemon juice
fresh coriander, chopped

– Cook your soaked chickpeas (unless you’re using tinned ones, of course).
– Heat a generous glug of oil in a medium-sized pot on a medium heat. When nice and hot, add cumin seeds, fennel seeds and chilli flakes. Stir for a few seconds, then add the onion and cook until soft.
– Turn the heat down, stir in garlic, ground spices and salt, fry and stir for about 30 seconds.
– Add coconut milk, tinned tomatoes, chickpeas and mushrooms.
– Bring to the boil, then simmer (I use a flame diffuser) for 15 minutes.
– Add lemon juice and more salt if needed.
– Serve, sprinkled with the coriander.

Kale and Cannellini Bean Soup with Harissa Broth

img_2445-1Now you could make this soup any time of the year with any vegetables you like, but I think it is a perfect autumn and winter dish. The kale – omnipresent at this time of year in the Netherlands – the warmth of the harissa, and the stick-to-the-ribs heartiness of this soup seem to be made for shorter days and lower temperatures.

But as much as I’d like to, I can’t take credit for this gorgeous soup; I was given the recipe by my lovely friend Dawn. Apart from some tweaks (I can’t help myself, but I suppose making dishes your own is what cooking is all about), this is basically her original recipe.

I’ve made this soup several times and I know it will be a staple in the Veg Chop household for many years to come.  It is a very adaptable recipe, so be creative and add or leave out whatever you like: use carrot or more onion instead of the celery, sub the kale with spinach, add mushrooms or cubed pumpkin or even potato. And you could of course use tinned beans instead of ones you’ve soaked and cooked yourself, but the bean broth does add a lovely depth of flavour.

200 g dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight
1 1/2 litre (1500 ml, 15 dl) water
1 onion,  chopped
2 sticks of celery, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsps tomato purée
1 or 2 tbsps harissa paste, depending on how hot you like it and on your harissa.
150 g kale, finely chopped
1 to 2 tsps of powdered vegetable stock (optional, and depending on preference and saltiness of the bean broth and the stock powder).
2 to 3 tbsps lemon juice, to taste. Go easy at first, you can always add more later.

– Drain the soaked beans, rinse and put them in a large pot with the water. Bring to the boil (don’t add salt at this stage), then simmer, lid on. I use a flame diffuser here, but if you don’t have one and you’re worried about the pan boiling over with the lid on it, put the lid on askew but start out with an extra 250 ml of water.
– Cook until very soft (an hour and 10 minutes when I cooked it this time, but it depends on soaking time and the beans themselves). Liberally salt towards the end of the cooking time. Set aside.
– Sauté the onion and celery until golden.
– Add garlic, tomato purée and harissa, sauté for a few minutes more.
– Add the kale, beans and their broth, and stock powder (if using).
– Simmer for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked.
– Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Mixed Mushrooms in an Almond Cream Sauce 

img_2173A while ago, my friend Jo over at Every Nook and Cranny sent me a recipe for chicken meatballs in a cream sauce from a blog called Cooking and Beer. Now you might think that’s not an obvious recommendation to a vegan but Jo – who, like me, is a recipe tweaker by nature – had spotted its potential as a mushroom dish. The cream sauce consisted of almond milk and cauliflower, so that part was already sorted.

With a few changes and additions, I created this mushroom sauce that, in a way, resembles my vegetarian Mushroom Ragout. In fact, I like it better than a veganised version of that ragout, which I cooked recently. One addition is nutritional yeast, affectionally known as ‘noosh’ in Vegan Land, but – if Wikipedia is to be believed – also called ‘hippie dust’, which is the name it goes by in my head these days.    img_2174

I love all mushrooms, so I’ve gone with a nice mix here, but use any type of mushroom you like or fancy.

500 g cauliflower (cleaned weight), cut into florets
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
250 ml almond milk
125 ml vegetable stock
2 heaped tbsp nutritional yeast
salt and pepper (add a little bit now, adjust seasoning later)
1 tbsp lemon juice
650 g (mixed) mushrooms
4 tbsp chives, chopped

– Boil the cauliflower in salted boiling water for 10 minutes or until cooked through. Drain and set aside.
– Meanwhile, sauté the onion until soft, add the garlic and fry for another 2 minutes
– Put the cauli, onion and garlic mixture, almond milk. stock, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper and lemon juice in a blender and whizz until smooth (you could also use a stick blender or food processor, of course). Set aside.
– Fry the mushrooms in (chilli) oil, preferably in two batches so they don’t stew in their own juices.
– Add the contents of the blender to the pan with the mushrooms and heat through.
– Add more salt, pepper and lemon juice, to taste.
– Serve with rice, pasta, potatoes, whatever you like.


Polish Pierogi, Vegan Style


I first ate pierogi about five years ago, when my friend Alina made them for me. They were a vegetarian’s dream: gorgeous pillows of thin dough filled with either mushrooms and sauerkraut or mashed potato, fried onion and ‘twaróg’ (Polish white cheese). I can imagine they were also dreamy for my friend, who was feeding a large group of people, with me being the only vegetarian. The great thing about dumpling-type food is that you can adapt the filling to your guests’ diets and preferences.img_1774
Since then I’ve eaten many a pierogi and, as much as I love both mushrooms and sauerkraut, the potato and cheese ones quickly became my favourite. But then I went vegan and, well, egg in the dough, cheese in the filling… It looked like my pierogi days were over.
Cue aquafaba. If you haven’t heard of this, it’s the cooking liquid of chickpeas (and other beans/pulses), which acts just like egg in lots of dishes and bakes. One of the first things I used it in was a vegan cake, which turned out absolutely perfect, but then I realised it might also work in pierogi dough. img_1784And you guessed it, it worked a treat. I added 6 tablespoons of aquafaba (or ‘AF’), the equivalent of two eggs, to a dumpling recipe I found in Sally Butcher’s ‘Veggiestan’, and the result was a brilliant soft, pliable dough.img_1786

Now the second challenge was the filling, which my friend makes ’60/40′,  meaning 6 parts potato to 4 parts cheese. I decided to try substituting the cheese with soy yogurt and again: bullseye!img_1789Together, dough and filling form delicious vegan pierogi, which I feel are in no way inferior to the original. My Polish friend, who introduced me to pierogi, agrees. :-) img_1792A note on how you cook these: you can boil, bake or fry them (and steam, I’ll bet). I tend to go for healthy options when it comes to food, but I really feel these are best when fried in oil, like I’ve done here.img_1800

Makes about 30 pierogi


For the filling
1 kg potatoes, peeled and cut into even-sized chunks
2 onions, finely chopped
200 g soy yoghurt (I think oat yogurt would also work, but it might need a squeeze of lemon juice, as it’s a bit sweeter)
salt, plenty of (to taste)
pepper, not too much (to taste)

For the doughimg_1808500 g all-purpose flour
1 level tsp fine salt
2 tbsp flavourless vegetable oil (I used rice bran)
90 ml/6 tbsps aquafaba (simply pour straight from a tin of chickpeas into a measuring cup)
160 ml water

I start by making the filling (but feel free to start with the dough, it needs resting).
– Boil the potatoes for 15/20 minutes, until cooked through.
– Meanwhile, fry the onion in a bit of oil until slightly brown around the edges. Set aside.
– When the potatoes are cooked, drain well and mash with the soy yogurt, salt and pepper.
– Stir the fried onions into the filling mixture.
– Check seasoning (it should be a quite salty, imo) and set aside, covered.

I use my standing mixer for the dough, but you can also make it by hand
– Put the flour and salt in the bowl of the mixer.
– Combine aquafaba and water. I put the AF in a jug, then top up with water to the 250 ml mark.
– Using the paddle attachment, mix flour and salt.
– Leave the machine running while you add the oil and then gradually pour in the AF/water mixture. The dough should just come together. Add a sprinkling of water if it doesn’t, but not too much(!); it should not be as wet as bread dough.
– Replace the paddle with the dough hook and knead the dough for 5 minutes.
– Once kneaded, cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

– Take a clump of dough (about 22 g), flatten it into a disc and roll out to about 10 cm on a (very) lightly floured surface. Put a teaspoon of filling in the middle of the disc.
– Pick up the disc with the filling on it and, using your fingertips, gently pull the dough over the filling and pinch it shut (think pasty, empanada, etc.). Then take a 6 cm round ravioli cutter or a glas with a 6 cm diameter and cut the edges off your dumpling, creating a neat pierogi that won’t open while you cook it. (see photos).
– Heat a layer of oil in a wide frying pan and put in half a batch (about 15) of pierogi. Fry for a few minutes until golden, flip and fry for a few more minutes.
– Take the pierogi out of the pan and drain on kitchen towel before serving.

A Vegan Plan B

img_1069You forgot to buy an essential ingredient, the evening didn’t go as you had planned, you screwed up the dinner you were going to cook, or you simply can’t be asked. Let’s face it, cooking is part of life and, as such, doesn’t always work out the way you’d like (while at other times it’s so much better than you’d ever hoped). So you need a Plan B; a meal that you can throw together in no time at all, is tasty and prevents you from ordering out.

As a vegetarian (and probably even as an ominvore before that), my Plan B usually involved two eggs, a frying pan and two slices of bread. With eggs off the menu, I had to find something different but preferably similar for those times when I need a quick and easy meal. So I give you the vegan omelette, made with a chickpea flour batter. Of course I don’t claim to have invented this dish (plenty of versions of it on the Internet), but this is my take on it.

I’ve used mushrooms, onion and pepper here, but you can of course use any (left-over) veg you’d like. You could also add dried or fresh, chopped herbs to the batter.


5 medium mushrooms, halved, each half chopped into 6 pieces (but depending on the shape and size of the mushrooms)
½ large onion, finely chopped
½ red pepper, (sort of) finely chopped
garlic oil

For the batter
50 g chickpea flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 heaped tbsp nutritional yeast
salt and pepper, to taste
anywhere between 70-90 mls of water (or more, depending on your flour. You’ll want it to resemble a pancake batter, so you can pour it into the pan)
flavourless vegetable oil


– In a medium-sized skillet, fry the veg in the garlic oil till cooked.
– Meanwhile, mix all the dry ingredients for the batter in a bowl (don’t add the water yet).
– Put the cooked vegetables on a plate and set aside.
– While heating the flavourless oil in the same pan, make the batter by adding the water and whisking.
– Pour it into the pan and quickly spread it out by turning the pan this way and that.
– Now, also quickly, distribute the vegetables over the omelette.
– Turn the heat down to low and cook for 5 minutes.
– Slide it out of the pan (the edges may stick a bit, gently loosen them with a spatula) and eat.

Vegan Naan Bread

img_0918I absolutely love naan bread. The best is made in a tandoori oven (so basically naan served in Indian restaurants), the second best is cooked at home using a cast-iron skillet like I do here, but somehow I often end up buying the dry supermarket stuff with too many ingredients in it. Or used to end up buying, because most shop-bought naans aren’t vegan. Think what you will about veganism, it eliminates a lot of processed foods from your diet in one fell swoop (or maybe I should say ‘even more’ processed foods). img_0916

So these days, if I want to eat naan bread, I have to make my own. This is no problem, because this recipe, based on Jamie Oliver’s quick flatbreads, allows me to whip them up in no time at all. img_0823Two tips: coat your fingertips with a bit of oil while ‘kneading’ the dough (quickly bringing it together) and while pushing it out. Excess flour will burn in your pan, creating smoke and a smell. Secondly, wrap your naans in a clean tea towel and leave them in there until you’re ready to eat. Cooling them on a wire rack results in crispy flatbreads, which is not what you’re after.

Ingredients (makes 2 large naans)

175 g plain flour
2 generous tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp each of nigella seeds (kalonji) and fennel seeds
150 g soya yogurt
generous squeeze of lemon juice


– Heat a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet or other shallow, lidded pan with a heavy bottom on a medium-high heat. Make sure it is scorchingly hot by the time you put in the dough.
– Meanwhile, mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
– Mix yogurt and lemon juice in a smaller bowl.
– Throw wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ones and mix with a spatula. Finish with a quick and light ‘knead’, using oil-coated fingertips.
– Divide the dough into two balls, pressing one out on a silicon baking mat (not essential but very handy here) with your fingers. A tear shape is traditional but I just press until it’s roughly 1 cm thick.
– Slap the naan onto the surface of the hot pan and clamp on a well-fitting lid.
– Cook/bake for 2 minutes, turn, put lid back on and give it another 2 minutes. If the top looks a bit anaemic, turn again and bake for another minute, lid on. Wrap in a clean tea towel.
– Repeat with the second ball of dough. If the pan gets a bit too hot, turn the heat down slightly; you want some nice blistering but no charcoaly bits.

Garlicky Avocado Mayo with a Kick

img_0896This is one of those quick write-down-now-before-I-forget-what-I-did posts, because, simple as this recipe is, it’s bound to slip through the colander that is my brain.

This makes a lovely tangy mayonaisse-like sauce that you can slather on pretty much anything. The kick from the Sriracha (or any chilli sauce) is optional. You may want to add some pepper if you leave out the heat.


1 ripe avocado
½ tsp Dijon mustard
generous pinch of salt
1 tsp of Sriracha sauce, optional
2 tbsp garlic oil


– Put all ingredients, except the oil, in the bowl of a food processor.
– Blend, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary, until well mixed.
– Leave the machine running while you drizzle in the oil.


Quick Black Bean Chilli Wraps (with Cashew Sour Cream)

img_0862Seeing as ‘bonenprutje’ (Dutch for ‘things flung in a pan, including some beans’) wasn’t going to cut it as a title, I’ve gone with what you see above. And, to be honest, this is a slightly more polished version of something I’ve been cooking for years when I didn’t really know what to eat, but knew it wasn’t takeaway food. img_0855

Originally I made this as a quick chilli that conveniently used up left-over veg and ends of tins. But because I feel tortilla wraps are a bit more festive than a bowl of bean stew served with bread, I made it a bit less saucy, so it could be used as a filling. If you do want it ‘soupier’, be my guest and add more water. If you do, you could up the spices a bit but I don’t really think it’s necessary.img_0842

This recipe is very much a blueprint, so use whatever you want; sub the black beans for chickpeas or black-eyed beans, add sweetcorn, baby corn, frozen peas, etc. Serve with (vegan) sour cream and some lettuce leaves, like I did here, or just scatter over some chopped fresh coriander. You can find the recipe for the cashew sour cream on the Oh She Glows website.img_0835

One last thing: as always, I sauté the mushrooms separately (but in the same pan I later cook the sauce in), because I feel they turn out so much better that way. If you don’t feel like it, skip this step and just add them to the pan with the chopped pepper.



250 g mushrooms, sliced
½ tsp chilli flakes
1 onion, chopped finely
1 red pepper, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 heaped tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp cinnamon
1 x 400 ml tin tomatoes, blitzed in a processor/blender
1 x 400 g tin black beans, drained and rinsed
tortilla wraps img_0848


– In some oil, sautée the mushrooms on a high heat until cooked but not mushy. Put on a plate and set aside.
– In the same pan, heat some more oil and add the chilli flakes.
– Add the onion and sautée for a few minutes, then stir in the chopped pepper and cook for a few more minutes.
– Turn the heat down to low and add the garlic, tomato purée and spices. Cook for a minute, constantly stirring.
– Add the tomatoes, beans and mushrooms and bring to a simmer
– Let simmer, lid on, for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
– Serve stuffed in a warm tortilla wrap.

Savoury Chickpea Flour Pancakes

Shortest post ever, as I am really supposed to be working and work is mad at the moment. I didn’t even mean to blog about these beauties, but they are too good not to share. Plus, I want to get the recipe on paper (well, a screen) while it’s still fresh in my mind.
I’ve been looking for breakfast ideas without egg and this is an absolute winner. Savoury pancakes, egg-less omelettes, Indian-spiced vegan fritters, whatever way you look at them, these are the perfect start to any day. The quantities below make breakfast (or a snack, or dinner) for one person.

50 g chickpea flour (aka gram flour)
60/70 ml water
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp garam masala
¼ tsp cumin seeds
1 clove garlic, grated
½ tsp grated ginger
generous pinch of salt
dash of lemon juice
three cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

– Put chickpea flour in a bowl and whisk in a bit of the water to form a thick paste.
– Whisk in the rest of the water and let the batter rest, covered,  for 30 minutes.
– After the batter’s rested, add all the other ingredients except the tomatoes and coriander and whisk to mix.
– Stir in the tomatoes and coriander.
– Heat oil in a large pan (or a small one and cook the pancakes individually).
– Using a tablespoon, make three pancake-like heaps in the pan.
– Fry until mostly dry on top.
– Flip over and cook for another two minutes. (I tend to do a last flip to crisp up both sides)
– Serve with whatever you like.