20-minute Vegan Chickpea and Eggplant Lentil Curry

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Sometimes, you’ve just got to come to terms with the fact that some dishes won’t look good no matter how much you try to play with the dish. But I just had two bowls, and I am here to tell you that looks are irrelevant, any day of the week.

I recently had this AH-MAZING vegan dhal that my good friend @Verging_on_Vegan made and I haven’t been able to get the taste out of my head. I’m yet to try her dhal recipe at home, but I’ve come up with my own little rendition using everything in my pantry and fridge (grocery day is coming up and it’s time to clean out the fridge).

This dish is a one-pot dish (yay no dishes), it’s vegan, it’s jam-packed with flavor and it takes 20 minutes to have ready and in and around your mouth.

The coconut milk and eggplant make it nice and creamy. The lentils add depth and the chickpeas add that ‘meaty’ flavor that just makes the entire dish.

Lazy Thursday dinners – here I come.


Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant (or 2 medium sized), chopped into large chunks
  • 1 can of organic coconut milk (I like to use Organic Planet – it costs 7.50dhs at the Farmer’s Market)
  • 2 handfuls of dry red lentils
  • 1 can of organic chickpeas
  • 1 can of tinned tomatoes
  • 3 spring onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 thumb of grated ginger
  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of curry powder
  • Sea salt
  • Coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons of paprika
  • 1/3 teaspoon of cumin powder

 

How to make it:

  • First, put your pot to heat (I’ve used a cast-iron pot I got from IKEA for 130dhs (best purchase ever)).
  • Add the eggplant and enough coconut oil to coat the pot and let them get some nice color on them. While the eggplant is cooking, chop your onions and garlic, and grate the ginger then add to the half-cooked eggplant chunks. Cook together for about 3 minutes.
  • Add all the spices except for the sea salt and cook the spices with the veggies for another minute.
  • Drain the can of chickpeas and add them to the mixture. Mix well.
  • Then, add the can of tomatoes and the dry lentils and cover the pot letting them simmer together for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat.*
  • Lastly, add the coconut milk (you be the judge of how much is needed depending on how dry the lentils and eggplants have made the dish).
  • Add the juice of the lemon, mix well and see if salt is needed. If you’d like an extra kick, add some chilis, chili flakes, or chili sauce.

*Keep an eye on your pot, making sure nothing burns to the bottom of the pot. I find that eggplants and lentils dry up the water in the dish and could potentially get burnt if not watched properly. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

 

That is it. As simple as can be and unbelievably delicious, hearty and versatile. You could add any veg you think would go well with it…spinach, roasted peppers…etc. This 20-minute vegan eggplant and lentil coconut chickpea curry is perfect for a lazy Thursday in, or even after a long-ass day at work.

Give it a try and tell me what you think. Also, arrrrrreeeee you following StraightupBananas on Instagram yet? Me thinks you should be.

 

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Healthy plant-based spiced chocolate tart with figs

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Something really strange has been going on with my Instagram lately — it seems the algorithms have changed (again) and smaller pages such as mine are lagging behind (again) unless they pay to have their posts boosted — sucks for me and my numbers, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to stop posting my recipes and photos; even if it’s only little ol’ me looking at them.

Ladies and gents, I give to you this beautiful plant-based chocolate tart with fresh figs on top. With no added processed sugar, this decadent beauty is the perfect chocolate fix and the best thing is…you could even have it breakfast if you felt like it.

It takes about 30 minutes to put together and about 2 hours to set in the fridge/freezer.

Here’s how I made it:

Ingredients:

For crust:

  • 1 cup of date paste (alternatively, you could soak about 20 dates in warm water, pit them and make into a paste in your food processor)
  • 1 teaspoon of organic coconut oil
  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 1 cup of salted pecans (you use any kind of nut you like)
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla pods
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger powder
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of almond butter

For filling:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/3 cup of tahini paste
  • 1/4 cup of date syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste
  • 1/3 cup of organic cacao powder
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

For topping:

  • Any fresh fruit you’d like.
  • Cashew cream (optional)**

The method to my madness:

  • First things, first. In your food processor, process the oats, cinnamon, ginger, and pecans into a fine flour.
  • Then, add the dates, honey, almond butter and vanilla and process all together until it forms a dough-like ball.
  • Take out the crust dough and with your hands knead it until it becomes nice and sticks together.
  • In a serving plate lined with wax paper, form the ball into a circular crust (or whatever shape you’d like) using your fingers and pressing down firmly. I created a little pool-like dough so the chocolate doesn’t pour out.
  • Place the dough in the freezer to firm up as you make the filling.
  • In a food processor (sorry, you’re going to have to clean it:)), throw together all the filling ingredients and blitz until it’s nice and creamy — taste it and see if you need to add anything (more honey, more cinnamon…)
  • Pour the filling mixture into the dough and put back in freezer to set (for two hours), or overnight in the fridge.
  • To top, you could make a simple cashew cream by placing 1 cup of raw cashews into a bowl with boiling hot water on top and let sit for two hours. Then blitz all together with a hand blender. I like to add two tablespoons of honey, vanilla paste and a little squirt of lime.

 

That’s it. Super simple. Super healthy. Super beautiful. No nasty processed additives that’ll have you feeling terrible after, this plant-based chocolate tart is just what I needed this hectic Sunday!

Since you’re here, why not follow Straight-upBananas on Instagram, too!

Easy potato, leek and butter bean soup

 

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Have I ever mentioned that I originally wanted to blog ONLY about soups…? Dumb, I know. But I’m an avid fan of everything slurpy and thought it would be a good idea to dedicate a website to my slurping obsession. Then, that same day, I was watching an episode of New Girl and Jess tells Schmidt that she’s “Straight-up Bananas, yo” and I literally popped my laptop open and bought the domain on spot. Fast forward four years and here we are…with a thriving Instagram account (have you followed me yet?), and less than impressive website (help meeeee)

Long story, short: I love soups. Probably way more than I should. Now add Ramadan and my constant need to break my fast with any kind of soup and you’ve got some good old-fashioned improv happening in the kitchen.

And the leek, potato and butter bean soup was born.

Super simple to make and MEGA good — it tastes creamy and cheesy for some reason without an ounce of either.

It takes about 20 minutes to put together and then you just puree it with a handy, dandy hand blender and you are good to go, mi amigo.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 Leeks
  • 1/2 kilo of potatoes, skinned and diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 can of fullfat coconut cream
  • 2 organic stock cubes
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil
  • 1 can of white butter beans
  • 1 liter of boiling water
  • Dill, coriander or spring onion for serving (optional)

How to make it:

  • First, make sure you clean the leaks as they sometimes can be gritty
  • Put 1 liter of water to boil in a kettle
  • In a pan, melt the tablespoon of coconut oil
  • Slice the leeks, garlic, and spring onion and add to the pot to saute a bit
  • Then add the diced potatoes, stock cubes and boiling water and bring to a boil
  • Once up to the boil, lower the heat and let the soup simmer for 15 minutes (or until potatoes are completely tender…like mashed potato tender)
  • Add the can of butter beans and cook a bit more (1 minute or 2)
  • Turn off the heat and add a cup of coconut milk and the juice of the lemon
  • With a hand blender, blend the mixture until completely cream
  • Serve with freshly cracked black pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and some dill or any other herbs.

This soup is easy, delicious and perfect for Ramadan — you’re going to love it, I promise!

While you’re here, why not check out my Instagram account and follow me!

Roasted coriander and pepper baby potatoes

Roasted baby potato side dish straightupbananas

So Spinney’s was gracious enough to invite me to their Virtual BBQ a few weeks ago, they sent me a hamper with all the essentials for a great BBQ at home. We set a time and a few hashtags, invited a few friends over and put together a beautiful feast full of fun and delicious food.

One of the jewels of this gathering was the roasted baby potatoes spiced with garlic, coriander, red chili peppers, lemon and chipotle tabasco sauce. I usually opt in for a side dish of roasted potatoes anytime I have a gathering — they’re always one of the first things to go!

Super simple, deliciously crispy and no deep frying involved — this perfect side dish to anything could be ready in less than twenty minutes as you go about cooking the rest of your meal!

Ingredients:

  1. 1 lb of baby potatoes (the whole sack)
  2. 8 cloves of garlic (leave the skin on)
  3. Coriander (to taste)
  4. Chipotle Tobasco sauce
  5. 1 lime
  6. sea salt
  7. olive oil
  8. 1 liter of boiling water

 

How to make it:

1- In a large pot, bring the water to boil and drop in the potatoes and the cloves of garlic (skin on). Cover and boil for about 10 minutes or until you can pierce it with a fork.

2- In a pestle and mortar, bash together the coriander leaves and chili peppers, then add some olive oil, lime juice, sea salt and chipotle sauce.

3- Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them really well and leave in a colander till they’re completely dry.

4- Bring a large pan to hight heat, add some oil and add the completely dry baby potatoes.

5- Allow the potatoes to get nice and crispy.

6- Squeeze out the soft garlic from the skin and add to the potatoes to fry (holy smokes will this spell AMAZING)

7- Once the potatoes have gotten beautifully golden and crispy, add the coriander, chili and chipotle mixture and let the sauce coat the potatoes and fry for another minute.

 

These potatoes are fluffy and floury on the inside, and crispy and spicy on the outside — everything you’d ever want from a potato, man.

 

Give it a try and follow me on Instagram since you’re here!

Fresh Citrus Salad

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Here it is, ladies and gents — summer in a single salad.

Fresh, insanely easy to put together and nice and light — you can’t go wrong with serving this nice citrusy salad with any meal.

 

Ingredients:

  1. 1 grapefruit
  2. 1 navel orange
  3. pumpkin seeds
  4. fennel
  5. chili flakes
  6. watercress (arugula, baby spinach or chard works fine)
  7. olive oil
  8. sea salt
  9. mint leaves

 

How to make it:

  • First, slice the grapefruit and orange as thin as you can without chopping off your fingers.
  • Then, place on the plate you’re going to serve it in.
  • Slice the white part of the fennel onto the citrus
  • sprinkle on the watercress leaves, chili flakes, mint leaves and sea salt
  • drizzle on some olive oil and you’re good to go!

 

That’s it, you’re done! It’s gorgeous, amazingly fresh and the kick of the chili adds just the right flavor to bring this fresh salad all together!

 

Give it a try and follow me on instagram, folks: @straightupbananas

Easy Coconut and Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

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I know I’ve feature chia seed puddings quite a bit, but I just can’t seem to get enough of them! They’re so damn versatile, tasty and incredibly good for you. And the best part is, there’s absolutely no cooking whatsoever!

Check out this vegan chia seed pudding. Prep only takes 10 minutes. Leave it overnight and in the morning you’re good to go in the breakfast department, man!

Ingredients:

1 cup of chia seeds (I like the Organic Larder brand from Spinneys)

2 1/2 cups of coconut milk (I prefer AlPro)

2 tablespoons of maple syrup

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Strawberries (for topping)

 

How to make it:

First, you’ll need a container with a tight lid (mason jars work perfectly)

Just put all the ingredients except for the strawberries, mix well and close jar then put in the fridge to set overnight.

Next morning, mix the chia seeds and top with whatever you’d like.

I mashed some whole strawberries with a fork and topped the chia seeds with almonds, coconut and mashed and whole strawberries.

 

Please give it a try, I just know you’re going to love it.

Also, follow me on Instagram, por favor!

Roasted Chickpea and Turmeric Couscous Buddha Bowl

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So if you’ve got any leftover roasted veggies or grains, then a Buddha bowl is the best way to make use of them.

Super simple, super good for you and really delicious. This bowl of goodness makes the perfect lunch any day.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup of fine couscous (could be substituted with quinoa or bulgar wheat)
  • 2 cups of hot water
  • 1 Carrot sliced into ribbons
  • 2 radishes, finely sliced
  • 1 cup of baby spinach
  • Turmeric
  • Chili flakes
  • Sea salt
  • Olive oil
  • ½ an avocado
  • Nigella seeds (cumin seeds for topping) (optional)

Ingredients for dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons of tahini sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • The juice of 1 lime
  • Sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • 1 clove of garlic

 

Method:

First, make the turmeric couscous. Mix the couscous, 2 teaspoons of turmeric, sea salt, olive oil and hot water in a bowl. Cover the bowl and let the couscous set.

Then, fluff the couscous with a fork once all the water has disappeared.

Then, it’s time to roast the chickpeas. Drain the can of chickpeas really well and let the chickpeas dry on a paper towel.

Then, in a hot pan add the chickpeas and some olive oil and let roast until it gets nice and golden brown.

When the chickpeas begin to color, add the chopped garlic, chili flakes and sea salt.

With a handheld blender, mix all the dressing ingredients together.

Assemble the ingredients together and top with dressing.