Christ is Risen!
Lately I have been eating many Greek inspired dishes and going to our local Greek restaurant, Elea. From observation, a lot of the Greek foods are wholesome foods and many are plant based, or can be easily made plant based. In Greek culture, majority of the population is Orthodox Christian. Part of the tradition is fasting for most of the year; fasting from animal products and oil and some lifestyle habits is part of our fasting so it is pretty easy to find plant based recipes at Greek places.
Recently we went to Strand located near Union Square and, rather naturally, I started with the cookbook section. A dream is to have a collection of many, many, many cookbooks with beautiful cookbooks, hoping that maybe one day I would have a cookbook of mine that would be on my very shelf along with Orthodox Christian books, art, and art techniques, naturally. Anyways, I came across “The Greek Vegetarian Cookbook” by Phaidon. Phaidon’s cookbooks have beautiful covers and tend to be on the pricey side but the Greek one is the one I decided to buy and start with the Phaidon collection. The photos are absolutely mouth watering and many of these recipes I can easily make plant based.
I made cheesy carrot keftedes this week and had my wonderful taste-testers – my husband, my spiritual father, and a friend from church- try them. The only issue was adding too much aquafaba as the binder- I wasn’t sure if I added enough binding ingredient and it turns out I over did it! The recipe calls for 1 free-range medium egg which is the equivalent of about 3 tbsp of aquafaba. Ashamed to say, I added much more than that and have learned that perhaps 9 tbsp aquafaba would have probably sufficed. As the recipe says, if the mixture is too moist, add more flour or breadcrumbs to firm them up. Feel free to experiment with different vegan egg versions that are sutiabel with your dietary restrictions/allergies. Also, feel free to use different kinds of vegetables (any that could be grated, really). The variations and possibilities are endless!
Note from “Phaidon”: These little fritters are best eaten piping hot but they taste great cold, too. Enjoy them as snacks or as a light meal with some salad and quinoa or rice.
14 oz/ 400g carrots, peeled, grated
1 small sweet potato, peeled, grated
1/2 onion, grated
3 1/2 oz/100 g Violife feta, grated
1/2 cup (1 oz/25 g) breadcrumbs
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds or ground cumin
1/2 handful of mint, finely chopped
9 tbsp aquafaba, beaten
All-purpose flour or gluten free flour, for dusting
3-4 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Put the grated carrots, sweet potato, and onion in a bowl with the feta, breadcrumbs, cumin, and mint, and mix together well. Stir in the beaten aquafaba and season with salt and pepper (go easy on the salt). If the mixture seems a bit loose and too moist, add more breadcrumbs or a little flour to firm.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (clingfilm) and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or until firmed up.
- Take small quantities of the mixture and, using damp hands, mold into patties. Dust them lightly with flour.
- When you’re ready to cook the keftedes, heat the olive oil in a large skillet (frying pan) over medium heat. Fry the keftedes, in batches, for 3-4 minutes each side, or until crisp and golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Use cilantro or flat leaf parsley instead of mint.
Reduce the feta and substitute some grated kefalotyri cheese.
“The Greek Cookbook” Phaidon