Slow Food Sunday: Chili

Nomad makes great chili, I love it and all our friends love it. Today he made a batch and I wrote down how he made it. This time he used only bell peppers as vegetables, but sometimes he has used other vegetables too, like eggplant or zucchini. You can use beans of your choice, for example combination of kidney beans and white beans are great. Long simmering time smooths the burning of the chili peppers and makes the chili perfect. Also plain soy yogurt or Oatly creme fraiche cuts down the heat, serve the yogurt plain or season it with salt, pepper and lime juice.


Vegan Chili

1,5 tbsp cumin
2 tsp black pepper
3 Scotch Bonnets or other hot peppers
4-5 garlic cloves
2-3 onions
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
4-5 tbsp oil
1 tsp liquid smoke
few pieces of dark chocolate (about 25 g)
2,5 dl dark beer (make sure it’s vegan, for example Guiness isn’t)
10-12 dl cooked beans (or 3 cans)
2 cans crushed tomatoes

Grind cumin seeds and black pepper. Finely chop chili peppers, garlic and onions. Chop the bell peppers in little bigger chunks. Heat the oil in a pot and sauté cumin, black pepper and chili pepper for a minute. Add onion, garlic and liquid smoke and continue sautéing until onions are soft. Add bell peppers and few minutes later the chocolate. When the chocolate has melted, add beer and simmer until the sauce gets thicker. Add beans and tomatoes and simmer a few hours.


Moroccan Monday: Couscous

As one of our themes was Moroccan Monday, there had to come a day when couscous would be in the main role. We have no statistics to back this claim up, but looking at various cookbooks and recipes online, couscous seems to be really popular in their cuisine.

And why not? It’s rather versatile and keeps hunger away for long periods of time. (I guess this might explain its historical popularity among desert-dwelling people.)


Fava Beans and Vegetables

1 onion
1 bell pepper
1 zucchini
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin
0,5 tsp turmeric
0,5 tsp cinnamon
0,5 tsp all spice
0,25 tsp cloves
0,5 tsp cayenne (or to taste)
2 big tomatoes
4 dl fava beans
salt, pepper

Dice onion, bell pepper and zucchini. Heat the oil in a pan or pot and sauté diced vegetables with spices about 5 minutes. Meanwhile dice the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes and fava beans to the pan and simmer 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are ready and tomatoes are a bit mushy. Season with salt and pepper and serve with herb couscous.

Herb Couscous

4 dl water
pinch of salt
4 dl couscous
4 tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil

Bring the water to boil. Add salt and couscous, remove from heat and let sit covered until the couscous has absorbed all the water. Fluff with a fork. Add chopped herbs, lemon juice and olive oil.


Tofu Tuesday: Salad

Salad doesn’t have to be a boring mixture of lettuce, cucumber and tomato. You can make endless variations with different vegetables, they can be fresh, cooked or canned. A bowl of salad can be a filling meal with protein source such as beans, lentils, tofu, soy curls, nuts or seitan, and even more filling with some pasta or boiled potatoes. Besides, salad is a perfect lunch: it doesn’t take long to prepare it and you can take it to work or picnic or wherever, because you don’t have to worry about reheating it.

This tofu and rice vermicelli salad is Asian inspired, even though I didn’t have any particular Asian country in my mind while I made it. My favourite dressing for this kind of salads is peanut dressing: I blend 3 tbsp peanut butter, 1 medium hot chili pepper, garlic clove, some lemon juice or vinegar together and season with salt and pepper.


Tofu Salad with Vermicelli and Black Beans

250 g tofu (frozen and thawed)

juice of a half grape fruit
0,6 dl white wine
1 garlic clove

oil for frying

1 l cabbage
2 carrots, grated
3 dl black beans
3 tbsp tofu marinade
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp mirin
pinch of salt
50 g rice vermicelli (1 portion)
1 small red onion
piece of red bell pepper

Combine marinade ingredients and marinade diced tofu overnight.

Heat some oil on a frying pan and fry tofu until golden.

Put the cabbage in a bowl and squeeze it with your hands until soft. Peel and grate carrot and put it to the bowl. Add beans, 3 tbsp marinade, olive oil, mirin and salt and stir. Prepare rice vermicelli according to instructions on the package. Slice the onion thinly and cut the bell pepper in strips. Divide the cabbage mixture into bowls and arrange the other ingredients on top of it. Serve with your favourite dressing, or drizzle 1 tbsp marinade on each bowl.



Slow Food Sunday: Bean Stew

You have a bunch of beans and some extra time to wait for the food to cook – it’s bean stew time. Bean stews are wonderful slowfoods, being easily varied into different cuisines by just playing around with the ingredients and some spices.

Few weeks ago Nomad was talking about a creamy bean stew, and couple of days later I made a stew using beans, potatoes, carrots, tomato passata and oat cream. It was good, but we felt it could be better. And here’s the improved version of the creamy bean stew: no potatoes this time, but bell pepper and celery instead.


Creamy Bean Stew

3 tbsp oil
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garam masala
1 onion
2 celery stalks
1 big bell pepper
2-3 garlic cloves
4 carrots
1 can tomato passata
4 dl white beans
4 dl fava beans or kidney beans
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp thyme
salt, pepper
2 dl oat cream

rice, barley or other grains for serving

Chop the onion and garlic. Cut the bell pepper in bite size chunks. Slice celery and carrots. If you have a pot that can be used both on stove top and in oven use it, use a sauce pan or any pot. Heat the oil in your pot and fry cumin, garam masala and paprika about 20 seconds. Add onions and fry couple of minutes. Add celery, bell pepper, carrot and garlic and continue frying for few minutes. Add tomato, beans, basil, thyme and enough water to barely cover everything. Put your pot into oven (or transfer the mixture into an oven proof dish) and bake 2-3 hours in 175 Celsius degrees. Add more water during the baking if needed. Add cream and season with salt and pepper. Bake while you cook the rice.


Carib’ Jerk Seitan

This year’s Vegan MoFo is nearing its end and as always, the best things come last. For an ultimate Saturday experience we have something all over the Carib’. Jerk(y) seitan, rice and peas and a nice salad. The marinade for the seitan is very spicy and if you’re not accustomed to hot foods, you might want to adjust the amount of chili to your taste. The marinade recipe is from Michael Harwood’s book Super Hot Chili Pepper Cookbook. The original recipe uses chicken, which we substituted with seitan from FatFree Vegan Kitchen blog. Rice and peas were available pretty much everywhere when we were in Barbados and they serve as a nice very protein-rich supplement for the spicy seitan. And on the top of it all, the salad brings some freshness to the whole package.


Jerk Seitan

1 batch seitan ribz

jerk marinade:
1 small habanero pepper
6 lemon drop peppers
6 riot peppers
1 tsp ground all spice
1 tsp ginger powder or 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves
1 small shallot
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp strong mustard
0, 5 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp oil
3 tbsp apple vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt, black pepper
oil for frying

Chop the chili peppers coarsely and quickly blend them. Add rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Put the seitan and marinade into a plastic bag and rub the marinade on the seitan pieces. Marinade in a refrigerator couple of hours.

Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the seitans on both sides until browned.

Simple Rice and beans

6 dl water
1 tsp thyme
2 tsp vegetable broth powder
4 dl cooked black beans
3 dl rice

Bring the water to boil and add rest of the ingredients. Simmer until all the water has been absorbed (about 20 minutes).


Middle Eastern Bean Salad

Balela is a salad made with chickpeas, black beans, tomatoes and parsley. You can serve it with good bread, as a side dish or as part of mezze table. Unfortunately our available options today were dried parsley or fresh basil, no fresh parsley. I decided to go with the basil. Not a bad choice, even though parsley would definitely taste more authentic.


Balela with Basil

4 dl cooked chickpeas
4 dl cooked black beans
2 big tomatoes
1 red onion
1 small garlic clove
1,5 dl chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
salt, pepper

Chop the tomatoes. Peel and chop the onion. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Marinade at least half an hour before serving, or refrigerate over night.


Lobiani – Georgian Bean Bread

Lobiani is Georgian bean bread. According to recipes I found in the Internet, it’s not usually vegan, but easy to veganize. This bread would be ideal for picnics, for lunch at work etc. Also great eaten at home.

We did lazy version and used canned kidney beans for the filling. To cook the beans properly, check this recipe (just omit the ham). The recipe also has photos of how to shape the bread, I found them very helpful.



4 dl water
25 g (½ package) fresh yeast or 1 sachet dry yeast
0,5 tsp salt
9-10 dl wheat flour

3 cans kidney beans
2 tsp smoked paprika
5 tbsp olive oil
salt if needed
water if needed

melted margarine for brushing.

Dissolve the yeast and salt in water. Add wheat flour and knead. Cover with a towel and allow to rise.

Rinse the canned beans well. Mash them with olive oil. Add smoked paprika, season with salt and pepper. Add some water if needed to create a spreadable paste. (I used 0,5 dl water.)

Knead the risen dough again and divide in four pieces. Shape them as balls and roll them flat. Put quarter of the filling on each dough circle. Wrap the edges of circles around the filling and flatten the bread with your hands. Make shallow lines on the surface of the bread with sharp knife. Bake in 200 Celsius degrees until browned, about 20-30 minutes. Brush the baked breads with melted margarine.


Yet another Slowfood Sunday

Here we go again with another take on the Slowfood Sunday. Minimal effort, maximum results, just like a Sunday should be. The original recipe calls for a crockpot and labels this as a soup. Well, our version is a stew made in our cast-iron magic pot.

The recipe of the stew is sourced from this recipe at Savvy Vegetarian. Our version substitutes sweet potato with ordinary potato, scallions with onion, and the red pepper flakes with chili. For the chili part we used maybe 1/4 tsp of Blair’s Ultra Death 20/20 and 1 tsp of extra hot chili powder. Since we were out of curry powder, we quickly made some ourselves by using this recipe from A nice basic curry.

The stew took some five hours in 175°C and the results were absolutely fantastic. A nice curried taste complemented by a very subtle sting from the chili. We had to add some water during the cooking process to avoid the food from becoming too dry, so if you’re going to try this out, keep this in mind.

Leftovers in a Pan

Pyttipanna (pyttipannu in Finnish, pannu=pan) is a popular way to use leftovers in Northern Europe. Usually it’s made of potatoes and sausages, but you can use nearly anything. This one is made with potatoes, onion, brown beans and frozen vegetable mixture.


Boiled potatoes
Vegan sausage, beans, tofu or seitan
1-2 onions
oil or margarine for frying
salt and pepper

And whatever you happen to have or want to use: frozen, canned or cooked vegetables, garlic, chili, more spices etc.

Peel the potatoes, onions and garlic. Cube the potatoes and sausages/tofu/seitan (and vegetables). Chop the onion and garlic. Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry until potatoes are browned. Add beans and frozen veggies in the end of frying. Serve with ketchup and mustard, and maybe pickled beets and cucumbers or some relish.

Beet Patties

In the 19th century a Swedish person called Lindström came up with beef and beet patties called Biff (beef) á la Lindström. But nobody knows for sure who the Lindström actually was, it might have been Henrik Lindsröm, Maria Kristina Lindsröm or someone else with the same name. Anyway, these patties are very well known in Finland too (we call them Lindström’s Patties here) and I think they can be considered as part of Finnish cuisine nowadays.

I veganized Biff á la Lindström years ago without even realising it. I had made patties using kidney beans and beets many times and once I made them when my sister was visiting us. I hadn’t even thought beans and beets might be like any meat dish until she said my patties tasted like Biff á la Lindström. I think she was right, since the taste of beets dominates both original beef patties and my bean patties.

Our dinner yesterday: Beans á la Lindström, Sweetened Potato Casserole and salad.

Beans á la Lindström

4 dl cooked kidney beans or brown beans (or 1 can)
2 beets
1 onion
3 tbsp chopped pickles (½-1 pickle) (optional)
0,5 dl wheat flour
2 tbsp potato flour
1 tsp marjoram
0,5 tsp thyme
oil for frying

You can boil the beets first, but it’s not required. Boiling makes them softer and easier to grate. They don’t have to be boiled completely soft, 15-20 minutes is enough, but of course they can be soft too (like if you boil more of them and use part of them for batties and part for beet salad or something). Mash the beans in a bowl until there’s no whole beans left. Or use a blender if you like smoother consistence. Chop the onion and pickles and finely grate the beets. Mix everything together and form round patties with your hands. Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry patties on both sides on medium heat until browned.