Vegan shakshuka (gluten-free, soy-free)

I never got to try shakshuka before I became vegan. It only really popped up on my radar in the last five or so years. I got to work on veganising it because I felt like I was really missing out. The only problem? What to do about the egg component.

I was just going to use avocado to replace the egg but it’s just not the same. On my third attempt at this dish, it came to me – I make these great savoury crepes from chickpea flour and they sometimes have an egg-like texture. What if I used that for the ‘egg white’, and nutritional yeast, olive oil and turmeric for the ‘yolk’? The first go was too bitter from the turmeric, the second go was better – but I added the ‘yolk’ too soon and it sunk into the ‘white’. Then, I cracked it (pun intended). The trick was to let the ‘white’ cook for almost a minute before adding the ‘yolk’.

It’s the closest I’ve come to a vegan fried egg, and I think it’s the closest I am ever going to get without having to add tofu. It’s easy, soy-free and chickpea flour has a good amount of protein, which always helps a vegan out. I still can’t believe I did it, and I’m sharing it with you with a huge smile on my face.

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Vegan shakshuka
Serves 2

1 brown onion, chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp powdered vegetable stock
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp garlic granules
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp smoked sweet paprika
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
Pinch salt and pepper
8 tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup water
3 sheets lasagna pasta, broken into small pieces
1 tbsp coconut sugar *optional
Pinch sumac, to serve
Pinch nutritional yeast, to serve
Pinch white sesame seeds, to serve
Pinch black sesame seeds, to serve
Avocado, to serve
2 fried ‘eggs’, to serve (see note)

Saute brown onion in coconut oil over a medium heat. Once starting to brown and caramelise, add the tomato paste and mix into the onion for one minute. Add the spices and stir until fragrant.

Add the tomatoes and water and mix until even then add broken lasagna sheets. Let cook fifteen minutes until reduced slightly. Gently loosen the ingredients in the pan while cooking to avoid it catching on the bottom but try not to mix the pasta into itself as it may stick. If it gets too dry, add a couple of tablespoons of water then add coconut sugar – if using – towards the end.

Serve into a bowl topped with two fried ‘eggs’, avocado, sumac, nutritional yeast, and black and white sesame seeds.

NOTE: Whisk 1/4 cup chickpea flour with 1/4 cup water, 1 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt. Pour half into a hot nonstick pan with coconut oil and let cook for 1 minute. Mix 2 tbsp nutritional yeast in a small bowl with a pinch of salt, 2 tsp olive oil, 4 tsp water and a pinch of turmeric, then carefully spoon half of it into the centre of the chickpea batter that is cooking. Let cook a minute longer then carefully transfer it to a plate. Repeat with remaining batter and ‘yolk’ and serve.

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Gluten-free vegan breakfast bake

Breakfast without gluten, dairy, eggs or meat just isn’t the same. The first meal of the day was once my favourite of all: eggs, bacon, english muffins, sausages, hash browns … I could go on but I probably shouldn’t. This is a safe place after all.

Enter my delicious gluten-free vegan breakfast bake, born when I was tired of smashed avo on GF toast (jokes! Like I would tire of that. More like I ran out of GF bread), wasn’t in the mood for pancakes (more on that later) and hungry for a meal that heroed the hash brown but was more nutritionally sound than a bowl of hash browns (not judging, I’ve done it, too). The other prerequisite? I didn’t want to stand in the kitchen for hours.

What makes it so good? Well, the golden hash browns for one, but I also think there’s something about Notzarella (vegan mozzarella) that gives this dish what it needs. It delivers a saltiness that can’t be replicated by adding salt during prep. Maybe I’m too far gone in this diet to remember what real cheese is like. I’m sure you could use real cheese and it would work just fine. Probably better, in fact. But if you can’t eat real cheese, don’t be to afraid of vegan versions, especially not this one. I’ve been there, and I’m here to tell you that life is a little better with Notzarella.

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Gluten-free vegan breakfast bake
Serves 6-8

1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/2 cup lukewarm water
Pinch salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/3 cup water
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp garlic powder
2 cups black beans
1 packed cup baby spinach
4 tomatoes, quartered
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 red capsicum, finely chopped
10 hash browns (or more!)*
1/2 cup shredded Notzarella
1/2 avocado flesh, to serve
Pinch sumac, to serve

Preheat oven to 220 degrees C.

Whisk chickpea flour, lukewarm water, salt and pepper and olive oil in a small bowl and set aside.

Mix tomato paste with water, dried oregano, thyme and garlic in a large bowl then add black beans, baby spinach, tomato quarters, red onion and capsicum, stirring through until all combined.

Pour contents of bowl into a stainless steel baking dish then pour the chickpea flour batter over evenly. This adds a bit of extra protein and helps further bind the bake.

Place your hash browns on top and push them into the bake a little, then sprinkle Notzarella over everything.

Cook in the oven for 30 mins. Let cool slightly before slicing and serving with avocado and a pinch of sumac.

* Not sure how to make hash browns? Boil 4-5 medium to large sized potatoes until soft all the way through. Let them cook slightly and mash them in a large mixing bowl. Then add salt, pepper, dried thyme and 1 tbsp gf all purpose flour. Mix and mould into shape then deep fry.