Harissa-Tahini Chickpea & Veggie Stir-Fry

Hello and happy Sunday!

Now that fall has arrived I’m loving cooking warming and slightly heartier dishes, such as this harissa-flavored chickpea stir-fry with mushrooms, kale, aubergine & carrots. I’ve served it with my go-to turmeric quinoa, but you can just as well accompany it with some brown rice, wholewheat pasta, potatoes etc.

Serves: 4-5

Ingredients:

  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • optional: 1 small red chilli, deseeded & finely chopped
  • coconut or olive oil, for cooking
  • 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained (skins off, if you have the time)
  • 2 large carrots, peeled & chopped into small cubes
  • 2 small or 1 larger aubergine, chopped into cubes
  • 2 large stems of kale (or 2 large handfuls)
  • ca. 6-8 small mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 3 heaped tbsp runny tahini
  • 3 tsp of harissa spice mix
  • 1 tbsp sambal oelek / chili sauce
  • salt, to taste
  • optional: 1 tsp smokey paprika

Serve with: quinoa (ca. 80g uncooked quinoa per person), brown rice, wholewheat or spelt pasta, potatoes, etc.

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan or wok and cook the chopped onion, chili & carrots for a few minutes, stirring often. Next add the chickpeas, harissa & paprika powder as well as the tomato purée, sambal oelek and salt. Cook for a few more minutes.
  2. Add in the chopped aubergine and cook until soft.
  3. Next pour over the tahini and stir until incorporated, before adding the sliced mushrooms and, a few minutes later, the kale. Cook for another few minutes until everything is combined and cooked through.
  4. Do a taste test and season with more salt or spices, if desired.
  5. Serve with the quinoa.

Enjoy!

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London: Best Vegan Food (Part V)

Hello and happy Sunday!

It’s time for some more recommendations for amazing vegan food in ultra-vegan friendly and all-round dream city London! (Scroll to the bottom for links to further recommendations.) I was there for an extended weekend recently and wanted to share some of my new favorites. I’m also including some places from my January visit (I lost the photos for that one so will be using from other sources where mentioned). Enjoy!

Grazie Dio It’s Vegan

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The name says it all: thank God it’s vegan! This collaboration between the incredible PickywopsThe Fish Out and The Good Gin Company has resulted in a not-to-be-missed spot for EPIC Italian vegan food in Brixton Village. I had the Hemp Genovese (orecchiette pasta, new age Genovese pesto, datterini tomatoes, ‘parmisan’ with added ‘sausage’ and bac’n crumble), which was mindblowingly delicious & deeply satisfying, reminding me of just how glorious a really well done plate of pasta is. The ‘parmisan’ and vegan sausage tasted like the real thing and complemented the pesto perfectly. My friend Amy went for the pomodoro pasta, which she said tasted like her nonna’s (probably no higher praise for Italian food?), while Leila loved the tempeh & potato calzonicini and plantain dish by Pickywops. I’d love to go back and try literally everything else – including the tiramisu!

WAVE – We Are Vegan Everything

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This fully vegan cafe in Hackney was a bit of a trek for me, but absolutely worth it. How could it not be, stemming from the founders of Cupakes and Shhht. Perfect for brunch or coffee and cake, there is a wonderful selection of both sweet and savory options. I ended up going for the Brekky Bowl (avocado, garlic & parsley fried mushrooms, sliced beef tomatoes, pink sauerkraut, spring onions, scrambled organic turmeric & chive tofu, pesto, lemon, nutritional yeast & mixed seeds). Along with that I shared a massive pain au chocolate with my friend, who went for the Mac & Cheese. We were both also super happy with our drinks (a ‘turmcac’, i.e. turmeric cacao latte for me and the peanut butter coffee – so good! – for her). It’s a super relaxed, comfy space with a Bali-inspired but not over-styled vibe. You can also check the options for yoga there. I’d definitely go back for the amazing looking toasties and the mermaid freakshake.

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Just a 5 minute walk away is the also fully vegan Black Cat Cafe. I had a peek inside and it was super busy with people enjoying delicious-looking brunch. The croissants and pastries on display (see below) also looked fab – definitely one on my list to try 😉

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Purezza

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This all-vegan pizza chain originating from Brighton had been on my radar for a while – for good reason, as I realized after the first doughy, cheezy & garlicky bite of my Green Supreme pizza. A white base with mozzarella (their fresh artisan mozzarella is made in-house using fermented organic brown rice milk), chilli peppers, friarelli (Italian style spinach), crumbled vegan sausage, chilli flakes & garlic oil on wholewheat sourdough (matured for at least 48 hours) – I don’t think I’ve ever had a more epic pizza experience. If you only get one pizza in London, come here!

Eat Genesis

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Photo by: @drinkeatlondon

This psychedelic-diner-style fully plant-based eatery in Shoreditch specializes in fast casual dining and organic comfort food. Back in January my friend and I ordered a bunch of different dishes, top favorites being the Banh Mi Dog and Kimchi Fries (do not miss out on these!). I would definitely go back to try the rest of the incredible menu, especially the sticky toffee pudding, ‘cheese’ sticks, peanut butter smoothie and one of their organic cocktails like the dragon mojito (with dragonfruit) or the cosmic spritz (containing kombucha and blue chai).

Kalifornia Kitchen

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Photo from @vegen_ellebelle

This was another stop on my January visit. “Insta-worthingly” pink-themed and deliciously vegan with a mix of both healthy options (rainbow bowl and tempeh Caesar salad) and comfort food (burgers and mock meat). I had the Klassic Kalifornia Burger (with the Moving mountain B12 burger patty), which was definitely a bit too meat-like for my liking! Next time I’d try a buddha bowl or go for pancakes and a latte. This place is also ideally located around the corner from my favorite Planet Organic (the Tottenham Court Road one), so more vegan treats are not far off!

 Wild Food Cafe, Islington

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While I’ve been to the Wild Food Cafe in Neal’s Yard several times, I had never been to the newer Islington branch. The Wild Food Cafe I visited was fully raw, so the menu at the Islington one was a completely new one to me. Leila and I went there around noon for brunch on my first day back in London. Tired from a 7 am flight and absolutely ravenous, I went for the Fully Wild Breakfast: chickpea omelette with smokey chickpea tempeh bacon, avocado, multi-seed toast, massaged cavolo nero, asparagus and smoke baked beans – comfort on a plate. Each component was absolutely delicious on its own and, in combination, nothing short of magical. I also love the area (Upper Street, near Angel) as it’s close to where I used to live and is full of little shops and cafes. I would come back here for the banana bread toast, Italian meatball pizza, salted caramel slice and pistachio matcha!

Ms. Cupcake 

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A Brixton institution and the UK’s first fully vegan bakery, this is the place to go to for vegan treats if you’re in the area. Part-shop part-bakery, you can buy both packaged vegan snacks and treats (I got a vegan “wagon wheel”!) as well as – the main reason for coming here – incredible vegan baked goods: from peanut butter cookies to Oreo cupcakes. I ended up going for a wonderfully cakey Oreo brownie, which was super indulgent. It’s really close to Grazie Dio It’s Vegan, so definitely check it out if you’re nearby.

Golden Oldies

There are so many places on my list (see links below) that I would and do happily go back to again and again. Here are some favorites I visited on my latest trip:

Redemption (first time at the Neal’s Yard location)

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The mushroom toast and adaptogenic turmeric latte were both stellar. I highly recommend trying them!

Copperhouse Chocolate (formerly Jaz & Jul’s – my old local cafe)

Just as chocolatey and more vegan-friendly than ever, I couldn’t skip this cozy cafe while in the Angel-area. I went for my usual 100% Madagascar hot chocolate with a super delicious Rocky Road bar (tip: dip it into your hot chocolate for extra goodness!).

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For more recommendations check out this collection of London-related posts:

Let me know if you’ve tried any of these places or what your favorites and recommendations are 🙂