The snow has arrived and it looks like the cold snap is here to stay, if you’re looking for something warming and comforting that sticks within Veganuary rules, these two recipes can help when the creamy, cheesy cravings start …
Leaving out dairy, and cheese in particular, from my eating and cooking is perhaps where a vegan régime hurts most. And for now, the vegan equivalents just don’t hit the spot. These two recipes, however, taste really good and can help when those creamy, cheesy cravings start.
Photographs throughout by Gunda Dittrich @gundadittrich
I struggle with the slightly resiny flavour of soya “yogurt”; much less with that of plant-based coconut “yogurt”, but both are very good made into labneh, a soft, fruity curd cheese traditional in Syrian and Lebanese cuisines. I use it when I want to add freshness and creaminess to roast vegetables, pizzas and tarts and it is delicious used as a dip with raw vegetables and crackers.
5 minutes preparation
500g soy or coconut yogurt
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. fruity olive oil
1 tsp. teaspoon fine salt
Combine all the ingredients for the labneh, then place them in cheesecloth over a bowl in the refrigerator to drain the liquid. Wait 48 hours and your labneh will be ready to use.
Creamy vegan vegetable pie
Is a béchamel made with olive oil instead of butter, and plant-based milk instead of cream, still béchamel? Let’s not quibble over semantics,
because here they work very well! The flavour of olive oil, combined with fresh herbs, is a good substitute for butter, and the mash already provides a creamy layer to make up for the lack of “real” cream. A regressive and comforting dish – almost baby food! – you can prepare all the vegetables and sauce ahead of time, then add fish in the base, and grated cheese on top for a pescetarian version.
For 4 people
25 min-30 min preparation
600 to 800g mashed potatoes
1 small leek
1 celery stick (15cm)
1 large carrot
1 clove garlic
2 handfuls frozen peas
1 small can sweetcorn
2 handfuls fresh breadcrumbs or panko
Olive oil Salt, pepper
For the béchamel
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. heaped tablespoon flour
40 to 50 cl plant-based milk
1 tsp. rounded teaspoon English or Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh herbs
Salt and pepper
Peel the potatoes and steam them for about 15 min.
Cut the leek into thin slices and the celery into pieces. Peel and chop the carrot, onion and garlic. Over low heat, brown the onion and garlic with the leek, celery and carrot in olive oil for 10 min, until tender and translucent. Add a little water along with the peas, bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and cover the pot to finish cooking. Pour in the corn, stir and let stand.
Preheat the oven on the grill position to 230°C (th. 7-8).
The béchamel is prepared in the classic way: heat the oil in a non-stick saucepan, then pour in the flour, stirring with a wooden spoon. Stir constantly for 2 minutes over low heat. Pour in the vegetable milk and stir with a whisk to avoid lumps. Add the mustard, herbs and season with salt and pepper.
Mix the béchamel with the vegetables, reserving a part according to the consistency you want to give the base. You can serve it on the side if there is too much for your liking. Pour this mixture into a gratin or pie dish.
Using a fork, mash the potatoes with salt, pepper and a little olive oil, then spread them over the vegetables. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake for 5 minutes so that the top becomes golden and crisp.
La (bonne) cuisine veggie et vegan d’une omnivore réticente (mais amoureuse), by Trish Deseine, Hachette, is out now.
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