Hello Gluten Warriors!
My husband is a perpetually hungry vegan who is forced to live gluten-free because of yours-truly… but unlike me, he eats so much! Therefore, I am often resorting to food that it is filling (read: high in good fats), high in protein, and (as always) ideally cooked in one pot.
Enter: Mexican-inspired cuisine.
One of my go-to dishes is this super-satisfying Mexican nacho dish! It’s all vegan and gluten-free, but looks and tastes like the real deal! It’s a big dish and it doesn’t keep well (only for the amazing reason that it is a whole gloppy mess of deliciousness!), so bring in the hungry people! It also works really well as a party appetizer, as nachos are wont to do.
P.S. If you’d like something that can be eaten in smaller portions, try my Mexican Burrito Bowl recipe. It’s the demure counterpart to this unapologetically loud and beautiful one!
Now… back to your regularly-scheduled, luscious and abundant nachos recipe:
Vegan Mexican Nachos!
One-dish wonder with all essential macronutrients! All GF!
- About 100g or 2 cups of corn chips (please buy the gluten-free variety with as few ingredients as well, and as always, with corn, go organic!)
- 1 large sweet potato, cubed
- 1 onion or leek
- 1 large avocado
- 4 small tomatoes
- A small bunch of cilantro (if you’re into cilantro)
- Half a lime
- Half can of red or black beans
- 1 carrot, shredded
- Vegan cheese (optional) (Important: check for gluten-free variety)
- 3 tablespoons of vegan soy yoghurt (Important: check for gluten-free variety)
- 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast (Important: check for gluten-free variety)
- 30g or so of tempeh or tofu, broken up into small pieces. You can also use mushrooms instead or in addition to the tempeh/tofu.
- 5 tablespoons of tomato sauce or tomato paste
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chilli powder to taste (optional)
1. First, we start with the starches! Grease a large baking dish with olive oil. Throw in the cubed sweet potato.
2. Cut up onion or leeks in thin slices, and mix in with the cubed potatoes. Drizzle in olive oil, salt and pepper.
3. Bake in oven for 20 mins at 180 degrees Celsius.
4. In the meantime, saute the tempeh/tofu/mushrooms in a small pan, and add the tomato sauce. Depending on your taste, you can add salt, pepper, cilantro, and/or chilli to the mix. I like mine spicy (but you knew that!). This is our vegan chili con carne.
5. Also in the meantime, let’s make the guacamole! Now this is easy to do, but the trick to amazingness is in finding the right avocados! I prefer Hass over the other 17 kinds! You’ll want ones that are ever-so-slightly soft on the outside, and have tips (I call them “belly buttons”) that break off easily, revealing a light green inside. So slice open a perfectly ripe avocado, remove the seed (there’s an easy way to do it – Google!), and scoop out the insides into a bowl. To that bowl, add the diced tomatoes, the juice of half a lime, a teaspoon of salt, some pepper to taste, chopped cilantro if you like it. Mix, mix, mix!
6. Now, take your dish out of the oven and assemble the rest of the nacho extravaganza! First, give the sweet potatoes a toss to ensure the seasoning is evenly coating those succulent little cubes! Next, layer of half can of beans on top of the baked sweet potatoes. Third, stick the corn chips all over the dish, ideally at an angle, so that it is not completely covered with the beans. Sprinkle with vegan cheese if you are going to use it. In general, I avoid processed food, even when it is vegan… and this dish doesn’t even really need it. Put the whole thing back into the oven for a quick 5-minute heat up!
7. In this time, make the vegan sour cream! Add the vegan yoghurt (ideally chilled and able to keep it’s yoghurt-like form) to the nutritional yeast, and mix! You can add some lime juice to this too if you like it extra sour.
8. Take the dish out of the oven… everything is now nice and warm! Now, layer the chili con carne over the chips rather randomly over the whole dish. You know, like actual nachos! After that, do the same with the guacamole. Next, the shredded carrot is sprinkled over. It will actually look like American cheddar cheese! Finally, the vegan sour cream goes on top, also in blobs across the dish.
Oooooooh! Tantalizingly delish. Enjoy with friends and a bottle of vegan wine.
Quick note: Behold below a photo of a variation of this recipe, if you want to skip the tasty chips and vegan sour cream (making your meal extra healthy and zero-waste as well)…
A variation sans nachos: Vegan Mexican-inspired one-dish dinner bake…
Hello darling readers!
This summer, I spent a full five weeks in the amazing, warm-yet-edgy, and full-on-crazy city of Berlin! This place is one of the best places in the world for vegans, allergy-laden types (GF inclusive) and really anyone. Food is good, cheap and inventive.
Soooo… without further ado, may I present you with my favourite restaurants that cater to allergy-conscious, plat-based diet types…
First off, my ‘hood of Neukölln, a largely immigrant and up-and-coming area! There are two cafes here that I went to on a regular basis. And man, I was there so often, everyone knew me by name even though my German is… uhmmm… let’s say rudimentary (at best). The first is the adorable Cafe Plume, which proprietor Charlotte has somehow created into a comfy neighbourhood “refuge.” She is there every, single day, from 8pm to 8pm (or beyond), and makes an effort to get to know all customers. She’s also a language teacher, and every Thursday, she hosts Language Night at her cafe. Charlotte is truly one of the most amazing people I met in Berlin. Also, they make the world’s BEST vegan, gluten-free brownies. No kiddin’. Hands down, world’s best. They also have guest chefs from time to time. When I was there, they had a lovely Jamaican set dinner. Charlotte takes great care to prepare food that suits you! You can also just go there, relax, drink a glass of wine, shoot the breeze with other customers. Ahhhh… I miss the place old European charm of this dress-down cafe.
Cafe Plume, Berlin (20/20)
Warthestraße 60, 12051 Berlin, Deutschland
- Allergy friendly: *****
- Taste: *****
- Atmosphere: Amazing aura *****
- Service: *****
- Cost: $ for Germany! Dishes range from RM30+ to RM60+ for entrees
World’s most amazing gluten-free, vegan sandwich at Muffin Queen Cafe, Neukoelln
Next up: my go-to place during the day! Queen of Muffins Cafe (strange name, I know, but won’t get a second bat of eyelashes from a Berliner) is another lovely cafe in the same neighbourhood. It’s got a rustic feel, even woodsy! They’ve got notations on the signboard and menu that tell you what is gluten-free, lactose-free, etc. so it’s easy for even non-German speakers to figure out what they can have. I loved their warm sandwiches, which can be made on GF bread! They’ll line their panini presses with a new sheet of paper, so there’s no cross contamination. Lovely, fresh ingredients! They also have a variety of vegan, GF, dairy-free, etc. cakes and cookies. Not the cheapest, but comfy atmosphere, attentive staff, and great food!
Queen of Muffins Cafe, Berlin, Germany (18/20)
Hermannstraße 164, 12051 Berlin, Deutschland
- Allergy friendly: *****
- Taste: *****
- Atmosphere: Rustic, comfy ****
- Service: ****
- Cost: $$ Dishes range from RM40+ to RM60+ for sandwiches or desserts
The next two restaurants are both on Danziger Straße, near the famous food street (particularly brunch outlets) Schoenhauser Allee.
Raw, vegan, GF crepes at Rawtastic
- Rawtastic, Berlin (14/20)
Danzigerst 16 Berlin, Germany 10435
- Allergy friendly: *****
- Taste: ***
- Atmosphere: Unremarkable ***
- Service: ***
- Cost: $$ Dishes range from RM40+ to RM70+ for entrees
The best thing about Rawtastic is that it is 100% raw vegan, which means that the food is immaculately healthy. The food tasted good… and also (more importantly) felt good. They had lovely kombucha, a fantastic raw pizza (with nut cheese of a decent consistency!) and pretty-looking desserts. However, service left a bit to be desired. Alas. Can’t have it all.
Chips and guacamole in Maria Bonita Mexican Restaurant
Finally, a super cool Mexican place! We had actually walked into another restaurant near Schonhauser Allee, and the patrons there told us to go to this place instead! And what a good move they made! We loved this place and went back a few times.
The guacamole and chpis are to die for! Really crispy and tasty. Salsas were good too! However, that’s about all you can have if you have a serious wheat allergy. They have gluten-free soft tortillas but they are heated up on the same stove as the regular ones.
Talk to the staff about cross contamination! Not all of them know what they are talking about. Speak to the manager and ask about your specific order.
There’s also the ubiquitous Bionade there! If you’ve never tried, you gotta! It’s light, fizzy, not too sweet… lovely German drink in a variety of flavours: lychee, ginger, holunder berry and more! Cheap. Simple decor. Basic seating. Go for the great-tasting chips and guacamole!
Maria Bonita (13/20)
Danziger Straße 33 Berlin, Germany 10435
- Allergy friendly: ***
- Taste: ****
- Atmosphere: Simple ***
- Service: ***
- Cost: $ Dishes range from RM20+ to RM70+ for snacks and entrees
That’s all I have on Berlin for now! In the next few posts, I’ll be sharing with you my new recipe inventions – all from a month of home-cooking!