Category Archives: Beans and Legumes

Hummus diaries: Chickpeas with red chillies and cumin

Hummus with Red Chillies and Cumin Seed

First in a series of blog posts that explore the various types of hummuses (hummi?) one could put together.

Here we riff on a fairly basic recipe: chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon. This probably all sounds familiar to someone who’s made hummus before. But wait, we throw in some red chilli and toasted cumin seed and suddenly everything changes. You’ll want some fairly hot red chillies (around 100,000 Scoville Heat Units – a cayenne pepper would be fine). Don’t skip a step by using ground cumin – take the minute or two to toast whole cumin seed and grind them after toasting in a mortar and pestle. But most importantly, don’t be afraid to experiment. Taste and adapt as you go. And don’t forget your garnishes! We love giardiniera, but you could equally garnish with good olive oil, smoked paprika, dukkah, whatever strikes your fancy. Top tip: serve with fresh chapati.

Hummus with Red Chilli and Cumin

  • 2 cups chickpeas
  • 2 heaped Tablespoons tahini
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1-2 red chillies (to taste)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • a generous teaspoon of cumin seed, toasted in a dry pan
  • water as needed
  • a good pinch of salt


  1. Put everything in a good blender and blitz to a smooth consistency, adding more water as needed.
  2. Taste. Does it have enough salt? Lemon? Tahini? Chilli? Add more ingredients to suit your tastes.
  3. Serve with your favourite garnishes, and make sure you make enough for several days – you’re not going to want to stop eating this!


Recipe Review: The Really Hungry Burger by Anna Jones

Anna Jones' Really Hungry Burger

I have a love-hate relationship with veggie burgers (see this post from 2008: Wanted: A Veggie Burger That Isn’t a Mush Burger). The best veggie burger I’ve ever had was the beetroot burger from Mildred’s in London. I’ve since tried many veggie burger recipes, but most fail on various merits: too mushy, no texture, boring flavour, crumbly, and most commonly, made with so many breadcrumbs as to totally negate the need or desire for a bun.

I’ve even gone so far as creating a website entirely devoted to my search for the Ultimate Veggie Burger. But after so many experiments I was starting to think that veggie burgers were a total misnomer and that it was impossible to recreate the visceral joy of eating a tasty burger (with your hands, please, none of this British knife-and-fork stuff) without going back to the basic meaty principles.

It’s been a while since I’ve ventured back into veggie burger territory but I was inspired by my friend, CrossFit buddy, and fellow veggie burger enthusiast Jane to give them another go. Anna Jones’ recipe for The Really Hungry Burger caught both of our eyes. It helps that the picture of the burger looks awesome, but the ingredients sound really interesting too: mushrooms, dates, tahini… this burger was speaking my language. And Anna Jones’ own notes address some of my core concerns about veggie burgers:

Please be assured that this is not the breaded sweetcorn and mushroom mush excuse that usually shows up between two white buns. This is a hearty health-packed wonder that makes no apology to anyone…I’ve played around with a lot of recipes before settling on this one, some full of bright herb freshness and grated veg, some packed with protein-rich tofu, and all were good, but what I look for in a burger is a deep moreish flavour, savoury and complex, so this is the one.

Anna Jones' Really Hungry Burger

Jane and I made these burgers two ways: one with cannellini beans, the other with black beans. Both were awesome. The burgers hold their shape exceptionally well and they have great texture from the brown rice. The flavour really IS savoury and complex – I probably wouldn’t guess dates and tahini from the burger alone, but they combine perfectly with the rest of the ingredients to make a really tasty burger that’s totally worthy of being called “The Really Hungry Burger”.

As to toppings, Jane and I both liked Anna’s suggestion to serve the burgers with avocado and a quick cucumber pickle. We also felt that the burger benefited from a good dose of cheesy goodness. And of course, everything is better with giardiniera.

So maybe my quest for the Ultimate Veggie Burger is not fruitless after all. I will definitely be coming back to this recipe again, which means I can turn my attention to solving other problems, like what is the ultimate drink pairing to go with a veggie burger? To this end I had some help from Sir Neil of the France wine experience, whose top pick was a white Rhone. I got hold of a Jean-Luc Colombo La Redonne, which I swear I didn’t pick just for the name. This was way more fruity than the white wines I usually go for (NZ Sauvingon Blanc is my usual default, which probably says a lot about my knowledge of wine!), but I really enjoyed something new and I thought the wine’s peachiness stood up well to the hearty burger, and the total flavour explosion that came from all the wild toppings!

Finally, it should be noted that Jane fed the leftovers to a couple of meat-loving dudes who thought the veggie burgers were outstanding. The recipe features in Anna’s new book A Modern Way To Eat, probably worth picking up if you’re looking for satisfying vegetarian recipes designed to please ALL lovers of good food, veggies and omnivores alike.

Get the recipe: The Really Hungry Burger []

Edamame Hummus

Edamame Hummus

This is my favorite way to make hummus at the moment, using edamame soy beans instead of the traditional chickpeas. It’s an awesome high-protein, high-fiber snack that also travels well making it perfect for packed lunches and long hikes.

I buy shelled edamame in the frozen section at Waitrose and make this in a blender (a food processor will work, too). I like to mix in a small handful of whole edamame at the end for a texture sensation.

Hummus is always better with garnishes so I’ve included some suggestions below.

Edamame Hummus

  • 2 cups shelled edamame
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt
  • water

Combine everything in a blender (I use an Optimum 9400) and add enough water to get the machine blending away. Blitz to a smooth consistency and serve with garnishes of your choosing.

Garnish ideas: Cilantro, paprika, berbere, piment d’Espelette, olive oil, argan oil, pumpkin seeds, dukkah, more edamame beans

More alternative hummus recipes:


Abby’s Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chilli

Sweet potato and black bean chili

This week’s Riverford vegbox contained two rare treasures: sweet potatoes and jalapeños, two foods that form the basis for one of my all time favorite veggie chili recipes: sweet potato and black bean chilli.

This recipe is a total blast from the past. My friend Abby made it for her boyfriend (now husband) and I on a cold snowy winter’s evening in Milwaukee several years ago. We’d spent the day cross country skiing in the bitter cold. It was amazing, but very hard work (it was my first time skiing ever!), and coming home to a big pot of piping hot chilli (and a few bottles of VERY cold beers) was hugely rewarding.


I haven’t changed the recipe much from the original – Abby herself said she likes to “play around with the spices”, so I did that, too, adding a bit of cinnamon and Mexican oregano (Abby likes to add Herbs de Provence).

Such is the awesomeness of veggie chili. It’s hugely adaptable and it’s hard to go wrong. But one thing you do need is good ingredients, and on this particular occasion I felt very grateful for having beautiful organic sweet potatoes to work with. Their flavor really came through against the cocoa and cinnamon, making for some serious comfort food that feels very much needed as the weather turns truly autumnal.

Sweet potato and black bean chili

I like to serve this chili with loads of garnishes: fresh cilantro, lime, raw onion, my homemade pickled jalapeños and lots of avocado. You could also add cheese or sour cream if you’d like, or a sprinkle of toasted pumpkin seeds for a bit of crunch. And to really make it special, serve with a big wedge of cornbread and a bottle of good beer (I recommend Dogfish Head Shelter Pale Ale) on the side.

Beer Tasting

Abby’s Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili


  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 to 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tins diced tomatoes
  • 3 tins black beans, drained
  • 1 jalapeno chili pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp brown sugar (or more to taste)
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro leaves, washed and dried


  1. Warm the oil in a large pan over medium heat and add the onion, red pepper, green pepper, carrots, garlic, and salt. Saute until soft, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add the sweet potato and lime zest, and cook 10 to 15 minutes more, continuing to stir occasionally.
  3. Add the jalapeno, cumin, chill powder, cinnamon, cocoa and oregano, stir and cook for a minute or two.
  4. Add the tomatoes, black beans, lime juice and sugar. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20-40 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are very soft.

Sweet potato and black bean chili

This chilli is so memorable that I’ve written about it before.

Also memorable, the moustache on the ski rental dude at Wheel and Sprocket:


And my friend Matt on skis.

Matt on skis

Now go make some chilli!

Sweet potato and black bean chili

Also seen on Great British Chefs.

Chaat Masala Salad

Chaat Masala Salad

Here’s a little something I made up the other day for a quick lunch that was so good I had it again the next day. I say “quick”, because this “chaat masala salad” took advantage of a few leftovers, including cooked dal I’d stashed in the freezer, some chaat masala I made previously and tamarind chutney from Asma ‘s Darjeeling Express Supperclub. Were I to start from scratch, it would have taken lots longer, but all the more reason for keeping these Indo-staples readily available. Particularly the chaat masala, my new favourite salad condiment!

New favourite thing for making lunch salads #awesome: chaat masala.

The whole idea was inspired by Urvashi Roe’s Gujerati Class at Demuths Vegetarian Cookery School, where she showed us how to make Indian “street food”, including “chaat“, basically a mish-mash of random tasty ingredients – a total whole-greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts situation.

Urvashi's chaat

Technically my chaat masala salad wasn’t a “chaat” at all, lacking the yummy fried dough bits that are typical of dishes of this kind. But never mind, it was delicious, and I got my crunch factor from toasted cashews!

Here’s how it came together:

  1. Heat up about 1/2 a cup of cooked lentils (chickpeas would be good here, and/or boiled potato). While this is happening…
  2. Combine together some finely chopped or grated vegetables. Good contenders include: cabbage (white and red), carrots, tomato, and cucumber. 
  3. Finely slice 1/2 shallot. Chop a small handful of coriander. Add this stuff to the vegetables. Toss the whole thing with a squeeze of lemon juice and some salt. 
  4. Now, put the dish together, starting with some lentils at the bottom of a bowl.
  5. Top with some of the salad mixture. 
  6. Sprinkle with chaat masala.
  7. Drizzle on some tamarind chutney.
  8. Sprinkle on some grated or desiccated coconut.
  9. Sprinkle on some toasted cashews.
  10. Serve with any extra salad on the side. And keep the chaat masala, tamarind chutney and coconut handy in case you want to add more as you go.

Here is the recipe for chaat masala that I used. And here’s a recipe for tamarind chutney (though I’m hoping Asma will share hers one day!). Both are worth keeping around, along with cooked beans and lentils, for thrown-together random salads like this one.

Autumn Vegetable Tagine

Vegetable Tagine

My mom and I recently took a trip to Marrakech. It was our first time in Morocco and one of the things we looked forward to the most was the food. We both thought we knew what Moroccan food was like, but in retrospect, we hadn’t a clue beyond couscous and vegetable tagine. However, we quickly learned…

Our education began at our riad, Riad Tizwa, in Marrakech’s Old City. A riad is a large traditional house built around a central courtyard; in Marrakech many of these riads operate as guest houses and provide a much more intimate experience of the city than a traditional hotel. Ours was hidden amongst the maze of the Medina’s winding passages and we wouldn’t have found it were it not for our taxi driver (word to the wise traveller: if your hotel or riad offers airport transport, take them up on it). But behind an unmarked door was a beautiful palatial home scented with local perfume and full of light, greenery, fruit trees and flowers.

Relax, you're in Marrakech!

Our host greeted us with Moroccan mint tea (which I only knew about thanks to Urvashi Roe’s excellent write-up on the Art of Moroccan Mint Tea) and some sound advice on where we should go for great Moroccan food. As a result, we had some amazing, epic meals – most notably at Ksar Essaoussan and Le Tobsil – that were real lessons in how to feast Moroccan style.

The feast begins - Morrocan salads out the wazoo

To our collective vegetarian delight, meals started with a selection of cooked and raw salads, but not salads as I’m used too. These were more like little tasting plates of vegetables in various chopped, grated or pureed form. As a result, you didn’t quite know what you were eating until you tried it, making each dish an exciting surprise. Memorable salads include a celery and tomato diced salad with herbs which reminded us of tabbouleh without bulgar. We also had some amazing cooked peppers and tomato seasoned with paprika, cumin and garlic. Spices. Spices were used across the dishes in all kinds of crazy unexpected ways (tomato and cinnamon, for example, and it works).

Another tagine!

Main courses were less of a surprise, but I think this is largely due to the vegetarian thing. Everywhere we went we got couscous and vegetable tagine, all delicious and wonderful, but with surprisingly very little variation. Carrots and parsnip was par for the tagine course, with the occasional cauliflower or green pepper. Only once did we get chickpeas in our tagine. We kept talking about how good the tagines were, but how much we wished they had more of this or that, particularly cauliflower (my mother and I both are cauliflower fiends). But a glance at the city’s food markets made it pretty clear that these people were working with a pretty limited selection of ingredients, purely dictated by what was in season at the time. But isn’t that the way it should be?

Market in the Medina, Marrakech

In a way, this makes the tagine the ultimate seasonal stew, and one of the first things I did when I came home from Marrakech was to make a tagine.

Vegetable Tagine

In case you’re unaware, a tagine is a fragrant spicy stew named after the earthenware pot in which it is made (a normal pot, preferably cast iron, also works). With Marrakech in mind, I made my tagine using what was in season, but this time I was working with British ingredients: carrots, romanesco cauliflower and the last of the season’s courgettes and green beans. But this dish would work with almost anything and seems particularly adept to autumn and winter vegetables like swede, butternut squash, pumpkin, potato and cauliflower. I like to keep the vegetables in large chunks and serve it with sprinkled with toasted almonds. It’s the perfect thing on a cold, wet, dreary British day. And oddly, it also happens to be the perfect thing on a sweltering hot and sunny afternoon in Morocco: further proof that the tagine is one of the most miraculous dishes around, globe-spanning and eternally versatile.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Autumn Vegetable Tagine
Serves: 4

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, minced (or 1 tsp grounded)
  • 1-2 tbsp grounded cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • salt
  • 1-3 tsp harissa (start with 1tsp and adjust to suit your spice tolerance)
  • 2 cups canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • a handful fresh cilantro
  • 1 small pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 small cauliflower, broken into big florets
  • ½ cup cooked chickpeas
  • a handful of raisins
  • toasted sliced almonds
  • couscous to serve

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot and sauté the onion for a few minutes until it softens.
  2. Add garlic, ginger and the spices and stir around a bit.
  3. Add the harissa, tomatoes, lemon juice and fresh cilantro. Bring the tomato sauce to a boil and then lower the heat.
  4. Add the vegetables and stir around, make sure that all vegetables are somewhat covered in tomato sauce. Put the lid on and simmer for about an hour. Stir carefully once or twice, otherwise leave the lid on – and be patient!
  5. Serve with couscous and a sprinkle of toasted sliced almonds.


This recipe also appeared on Great British Chefs.

How To Eat More Vegetables

Lentil Dal with Panch Phoran

This week is National Vegetarian Week, 20-26 May, a week devoted to all things veggie. Loads of people are now singing the praises of a meat-free (or mostly meat-free) diet. Even notorious carnivore Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall now eats little meat or fish, declaring in the Guardian recently: “we need to eat more vegetables and less flesh because vegetables are the foods that do us the most good and our planet the least harm.” (Which I basically agree with.)

It just goes to show that you don’t need to be a vegetarian to appreciate that vegetables are a good thing and most of us should be eating more of them. National Vegetarian Week, and its subsequent outpouring of recipes and resources from all those involved, can be a good starting point for those who need a little vegetable inspiration.

Here are my suggestions for how to eat more vegetables, including easy vegetables to start with, and a rock solid vegetarian recipe that will please all palettes (provided they can handle a bit of spice).

Get Some Vegetables

Start with easy vegetables. By “easy”, I mean easy to clean, prepare and cook (a muddy beetroot is not a good place to start). A beautiful vegetable, raw or cooked can form the basis for any number of dishes, be it pasta, lentils, omelettes, pizzas…even a humble green salad can be perked up with a few grilled bell peppers.

Here are my go-to staple vegetables, organised by cooking technique, for easy-to-make and tasty-to-eat vegetarian and vegan meals:

  • Easy to cook greens (stir-fry with onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper – add chilli flakes if you want a kick): Kale, cabbage, spring greens, spinach, swiss chard
  • Good stir-fry vegetables (a great basis for tossing with pasta, rice, beans or lentils for a complete meal; garnish with crumbled feta or some toasted nuts and seeds and you’ll be glad you did): Carrots, peppers, mushrooms, greens, broccoli, asparagus, green beans
  • Good raw vegetables (simply slice / chop and eat, with hummus or salad dressing if you’d like): Carrots, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, radishes
  • Vegetables that are good on the BBQ (baste with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, throw it on the BBQ – this is a basic one-stop solution to making vegetables amazing): Asparagus, courgettes / zucchini, mushrooms, bell peppers

Kate's awesome grilled veg

A Good Vegetarian Meal Doesn’t Try to Fake it

Of course, a few vegetables alone don’t make a meal. So what are your options? My advice is to cook something that is inherently vegetarian and not some kind of mock-meat sausage in disguise (this will only leave you banging for bangers). If there’s one cuisine that I have had consistent success with in pleasing all food lovers, vegetarians and omnivores alike, it is Indian food. And if there’s one dish that has rocked all of their worlds, it’s my lentil dal.

Red Lentil Dal with Greens and Raw Veggies

Dal is awesome because it’s vegetarian (vegan, in fact) by nature, easy and quick to make, and very adaptable to all manners of vegetables. You can make it as is, as simple lentils, or you can add in whatever vegetables you have on hand (cauliflower and spinach work especially well, but I’ve also had good success with carrots, chard and purple sprouting broccoli).

Served with some basmati rice (and if you’re feeling adventures, a cucumber and coconut salad), then you’ve got yourself a meal that’s nutritious, flavoursome and won’t make you think about the meat you’re not eating. Seriously, I have meat-eating friends who ask for this dal specifically when they come to visit. And a recent Airbnb guest, a real dal aficionado declared it “better than the dal I usually make at home”. It’s pretty special.

5.0 from 2 reviews

How To Eat More Vegetables
Serves: 6

Panch Phoran is a spice blend of fenugreek, mustard seeds, onion seed, fennel seeds and cumin seeds. You can buy the blend in Indian supermarkets, or make it yourself by combining equal parts of each of the above seeds. If you do make it yourself, make a lot of it, because you’ll be making this dal again and again. No joke.
  • 250 grams red lentils (masoor dal)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon panch shoran (a seed blend of equal parts fenugreek, mustard seed, onion seed, fennel seed and cumin seed)
  • 10-20 curry leaves
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 400g tinned diced tomatoes
  • pinch of chili flakes (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup (or more) of spinach, cauliflower or any other vegetable you’d like to use in your dal

  1. Combine the red lentils, water and turmeric in a pot. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer until the dal is tender, about 20-30 minutes.
  2. While the lentils cook, heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the panch phoran and curry leaves. As soon as the seeds start to pop, add the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook until the onion is soft (it should not brown).
  3. Add the tomatoes, cooked lentils, chili and salt. Cook for at least 10 minutes to allow the flavours to bend. Add your desired vegetable and let them simmer in the dal until they are cooked. Note: if using spinach or any other quick-cooking green, add this at the very end just before serving.
  4. Garnish with cilantro, if you’d like. Serve hot with basmati rice or warm naan bread.


This post originally appeared on Great British Chefs website.

Baked Falafel


The traditional way of making falafel involves soaking chickpeas, blending them up with onion, herbs and spices, then deep frying them into crispy balls of perfection. The key point here is that the chickpeas aren’t cooked – if they were, they falafel would fall apart and you’d need flour or breadcrumbs to hold the falafel together. To me, this defeats the purpose, especially if you’re serving the falafel in a pita. I want to fill my pita with beans, not bread (it’s the age-old veggie burger versus bread burger dilemma).

For lack of good falafel in the Cotswolds, I’ve tried making my own falafel the traditional way but it’s always been a disaster, primarily at the deep frying step. I don’t think I can get my oil hot enough on the electric hob (that, or I’m scared). So the falafel just ends up soaking up all the oil and then falling into greasy gross pieces.

I’ve experimented with several baked falafel recipes, all of which involve using cooked chickpeas, or in Leon’s case, chickpea flour. The baked falafel I made with my sister was decent, but not exactly ultimate.

Falafel for breakfast

At last I came across this baked falafel recipe, adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook, which follows the traditional method of soaking the chickpeas. To get around the fried bit, olive oil is included in the falafel mixture itself, and in the baking tray.

I’ve made these twice now, and while they don’t have quite the same wow-factor as really good deep-fried falafel, they are still pretty damn good and, as it seems, worth making again and again. They also keep well in the freezer which makes them handy for lunches (I re-heat them in the toaster!).

I like to serve mine with a simple tahini sauce made with lemon juice, tahini and enough water to make a drizzle-able dressing. Chilli jam or harissa is nice, too.

The next thing to master are those great pickles you get with falafel in good falafel joints. The best I’ve ever had were the falafel and pickles from  Arabica in Borough Market, though the last time I had them they weren’t quite as good as I remember. (I’ve since been told I must go to Mr. Falafel in Shepherd’s Bush.)

Arabica falafel

Is it pickled turnips I’m after? And I haven’t even touched on the falafel sauce. Tzatziki? Tahini? Hot sauce? All of the above?

Suggestions welcome.

Recipe: Baked Falafel

Beetroot and Walnut Veggie Sausages

Beetroot & Walnut Sausages

I wrote about these veggie sausages for Great British Chefs this week, but thought they were so good I wanted to give them a wider audience. Make them and enjoy with a crispy salad of carrot, apple, celery, red onion and honey mustard dressing, plus a big blog of good dijon mustard on the side.

Yesterday, Monday, 5th November 2012 marged the beginning of British Sausage Week, a time intended for encased-pork devotion. I may not eat pork, but I do have a fondness for sausage-esque foods. This may have something to do with my Chicago-based upbringing, studded with Polish sausage at family gatherings and an ardent appreciation for the Chicago-style hot dog, served with yellow mustard, whtie onions, pickle relish, “sport peppers”, tomato and celery salt (never ketchup). (Mention must be said of Hot Doug’s, the “sausage superstore and encased meat emporium”, for doing the best Chicago-style veggie hot dog in the world – it’s wrong, but oh so right.)

Back to British Sausage Week, I thought it a fine excuse to seek out a worthy veggie sausage to honour the occasion. But let’s not misdirect our plaudits: I’m not referring to those “fake meat” varieties of veggie sausage you often find in the supermarket (or dare I say Hot Doug’s), filled with weird stuff that not only isn’t meat, but also isn’t food in my opinion (don’t get me started on Quorn). In fact, these supermarket varieties give “vegetarian sausage” a bad name. In fact, the veggie sausage can be a delight, with as much nuance and comfort factor as its porky counterparts.

So what makes a great veggie sausage? I feel the same way about veggie sausage as I do about veggie burgers: they shouldn’t try to imitate meat – people who want a meaty sausage should just eat a meaty sausage. But if you love vegetables and want to experience them in tubular form, then veggie sausages are the way to go and are a novel form factor in which to showcase delicious ingredients. Options abound, from Rachel Demuth’s Glamorgan Sausages, made with cheddar, spring onions, breadcrumbs and loads of herbs to the Gluttonous Vegan’s Beany Snausages, a sort of rice-and-beans in sausage form.

I like my vegetarian sausages to be about the vegetables, and since we’re in the depths of autumn and beetroot season, I am sharing with you my recipe for beetroot and walnut veggie sausages inspired by Susan Voison. These sausages combine ingredients that work exceptionally well together – beetroot, walnuts, fennel and chilli – to create a sausage reminiscent of American-style “Italian sausage”. It’s great in a bun with sauteed onions and peppers, or on its own with tomato sauce or dijon mustard. The sky’s the limit: these babies are versatile, not to mention vegan and gluten free. You can even crumble them up and put them on a pizza.

Beetroot & Walnut Sausages
Beetroot and Walnut Veggie Sausages
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4

  • ½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 medium raw beetroot
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts
  • ½ medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons flax seeds
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon dried sage
  • ¾ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon liquid smoke
  • olive or sunflower oil for baking

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C. Prepare a roasting tin or baking pan by oiling it generously with olive or sunflower oil.
  2. Place the mushrooms in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let them sit for at least 10 minutes, then drain and squeeze out the excess liquid.
  3. Put the walnuts into a food processor and pulse to chop finely (but not too finely, we want chopped nuts, not nut powder), then remove and put into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Peel the beetroot and cut it into small cubes. Add it to the food processor along with the mushrooms, garlic, and onion and pulse to chop coarsely. Add the chickpeas and all remaining ingredients and pulse several times to chop the chickpeas. Don’t over-do it: you want to maintain some texture, while still processing enough to form a mixture that you can shape into veggie sausages.
  5. Add the processor contents to the nuts and stir well to combine.
  6. Using a tablespoon, scoop out pieces of the mixture and, using damp hands, form the pieces into sausage-shapes (of whatever size you fancy!), squeezing lightly to compact it (you can also shape them into balls or patties if you wish). Place the sausages on the roasting tin or baking sheet.
  7. Bake for about 35 minutes, turning the sausages once mid-bake, until lightly browned on all sides.

Nutrition Information
Calories: 227 Fat: 12.9 Carbohydrates: 26.6 Fiber: 7.3 Protein: 8.3 Cholesterol: 0

Chickpeas and Carrots

Tim Clinch's Awesome Chickpeas

This evening, I attempted to recreate this marvelous chickpea dish I had at Kate Hill’s Kitchen-at-Camont in Gascony earlier this summer. It was the eve before the Natural Light Natural Food photography workshop, and upon my arrival, Tim Clinch greeted me with a glass of rosé and, a short while later, these beautiful chickpeas. I love a man who knows how to handle his beans, and these were a marvel of simplicity – I just loved the combo of chickpeas and carrots. How is it done?

Tim spilled the beans (pun intended) on Twitter: “chickpeas, cumin (lots-toasted), smoked paprika, parsley, coriander, olive oil, garlic(lots) zest&juice of a lemon-bon apetit!!! oh…and a couple of carrots! … grill the garlic unpeeled till blackened on a dry griddle, then mash up… I probably grilled shallots and chopped them into it as well.”

The results of my attempt? Not bad, but I didn’t have parsley or coriander. I also added grilled onions, and did the carrots on the grill, too. My chickpeas weren’t as good as Tim’s, but they satisfied my craving. Plus, they’re super wholesome and vegan and all that good hippy stuff. Feel-good food for a feel-good summer moment.

I should also point out that (I think?) this was the only time Tim cooked while I was at Camont – the rest of the time he was busy doing his photographer thing with Mardi and I while Kate rocked the kitchen. So I feel quite lucky to have experienced first hand that Tim, in addition to being a great photographer and teacher, also has a few culinary tricks up his sleeve, tricks that totally appeal to my bean-eating, spice-loving, vegan-esque sensibilities. I totally approve! Rad food for rad peeps!