Today we have a whole Christmas menu. Besides, it is a vegan menu, and the author is Margarita Carretero, a professor of the Department of English and German. For those who do not know her, she has a blog where she publishes vegan recipes in English and Spanish: Mi rincón vegaterráneo / My vegaterranean corner, so you can go there and take a look at her delicious recipes! But for now, let’s see what she had in mind for us…
1. Vegan “garlicky” tapenade (Adapted from Greta Jansen’s Recetas Veganas)
- 1 handful parsley.
- 300 gr stoned black olives.
- 3 garlic cloves.
- 1 small cayenne pepper.
- 3 teaspoons capers.
- 75 ml olive oil + extra.
- Salt and pepper.
- Wash the parsley, shake it well and chop it finely. Chop the olives and crumble the cayenne pepper.
- Peel and crush the garlic cloves. Place everything in a blender with the capers and the olive oil and mix until you get a homogeneous paste, adding more olive oil if too thick. Add salt and pepper generously.
- Put the resulting mixture in a glass jar and fill it up with a little olive oil. You can keep it in the fridge for up to two weeks.
2. Vegan spread with marjoram (Adapted from Greta Jansen’s Recetas Veganas)
- 1 onion.
- 1 garlic clove.
- 50 gr. pumpkin seeds.
- 50 gr. sunflower seeds.
- 50 gr. hazelnuts.
- 1 tablespoons olive oil.
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard.
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce.
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika.
- 1 handful marjoram.
- Salt and pepper.
- Peel the onion and garlic. Chop finely.
- Grind the seeds and hazelnuts and roast them in a pan. Leave them to cool in a bowl.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan and sauté the onion and garlic until transparent. Leave them to cool.
- Put everything in a blender, adding the mustard, soy sauce and paprika. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix well.
- Wash the marjoram, sake well to dry, chop and add it to the mixture. You can keep this spread in a fridge for up to a week.
3. Hummus with crudités I love hummus. It’s so quick and easy to make; and so nourishing! Served not only with pitta bread but also with these crudités adds a touch of colour to your table. Adapted from Valerie Ferguson’s 500 Ways to Cook Vegetarian.
- 400 gr. jar chick-peas.
- 2 tablespoons tahini.
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice.
- 1 garlic clove, crushed.
- Salt and ground black pepper.
- Olive oil and paprika, to garnish.
To serve: whole baby carrots (or carrots cut in strips), radishes, strips of green, yellow and red pepper. Pitta bread (I like cutting it in triangles).
- Drain the chick-peas and put then in a blender or food processor. Add the tahini, lemon juice and garlic. Process to a smooth paste.
- Season the hummus with salt and pepper. Spoon it into a bowl and swirl the top with the back of a spoon. Trickle over a little olive oil and sprinkle with paprika.
- Arrange the crudités around the rim of a large plate.
- Add the triangles of pitta bread. Place the bowl of hummus in the centre.Serve at once and enjoy!
Roasted vegetables soup This is a thick soup, adapted from Valerie Ferguson’s 500 Ways to Cook Vegetarian.
- 4 tablespoons olive oil.
- 1 kg pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cubed.
- 4 carrots, cut into thick rounds.
- 2 leeks, thickly sliced.
- 1 onion, quartered.
- 3 bay leaves.
- 4 fresh thyme springs, plus extra to garnish.
- 3 fresh rosemary sprigs.
- 1,2 litres vegetable stock.
- Salt and ground black pepper.
- Soy yogurt, to serve.
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Put the olive oil into a large bowl. Add the vegetables and toss until well coated.
- Spread out the vegetables in a single layer on one large or two small baking sheets. Tuck the bay leaves and thyme and rosemary sprigs among the vegetables.
- Roast the vegetables for about 50 minutes, until tender, turning them occasionally to make sure that they brown evenly. Remove from the oven, discard the herbs and transfer the vegetables to a large saucepan.
- Pour the stock into the pan and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, season to taste with salt and pepper, then simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer the soup to a food processor or blender and process for a few minutes until thick and smooth.
- Return the soup to the pan and heat through. Season well. Serve in heated bowls, adding a dollop of soy yogurt to each portion. Garnish with the extra thyme sprigs.
Baked pasta with lentils ragù Adapted from the book La Cucina Etica Facile, by Emanuela Barbero. It’s perfect even when reheated, so it can be prepared in advance, kept in the fridge and reheated just before eating.
- 300 gr. short wholemeal pasta (penne rigate o maccheroni).
- 100 gr. brown lentils.
- 700 ml. tomato passata.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil.
- 2 shallots.
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives.
- Chili powder.
- 2 + 2 tablespoon fine breadcrumbs.
- Vegan white sauce (I am going to be lazy this time and use Amandine‘s ecological vegan rice bechamel).
- Soak the lentils in plenty of cold water overnight. Boil and drain.
- Cook the pasta al dente in salted water.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200º C, but just 10-15 minutes before introducing the dish, otherwise it’s a waste of energy.
- Chop the shallots, heat the oil in a pan and sauté them at low heat until transparent. Add the lentils, the tomato sauce, the chives, and salt and chili powder to taste. Simmer for a few minutes until the liquid is reduced and you obtain a dense ragù.
- Drain the pasta, add it to the ragù, mixing all the ingredients and remove from heat.
- Oil a medium-sized oven dish and cover the base with 2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs.
- Add one layer of white sauce and make another layer with the ragù. Cover with the remaining white sauce, levelling the surface with the back of a spoon. Cover with the two remaining tablespoons of breadcrumbs.
- Cook in the oven for about 40 minutes, until the surface is golden.
Sweets and dessert:
- 1 cup water.
- 1/2 cup sugar.
- 1 kg. grapes,rinsed, drained, stemmed and seeded.
- 1 1/2 cup grape juice.
- Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Meanwhile, place a shallow metal container (the size of a cake pan) in the freezer to chill.
- Put the grapes in a blender or food processor and mix until smooth and pureed. Strain through a fine-meshed strainer into a large bowl, pressing down hard with the back of a large wooden spoon to extract all the liquids. Discard the solids (use them as fertilizer for your plants!).
- Add the grape juice and chilled sugar mixture to the strained puree; stir until well blended. Pour into the chilled metal pan.
- Place the pan in the freezer for 30 to 60 minutes, or until ice crystals form around the edges. Stir the ice crystals into the centre of the pan and return to the freezer. Repeat every 30 minutes, or until all of the liquid is crystallized but not frozen solid, about 3 hours.
- To serve, scoop the granita into chilled dessert bowls or goblets. (If the granita has become too hard, scrape it with a large metal spoon to break up the ice crystals). Serve at once.
Author: Margarita Carretero González
Images: Margarita Carretero González