Vegetarian [kind of] meets BBQ

I guess you could say I was a little out of my element? The BBQ and I aren’t exactly the best of friends…

A few months ago the Recipe Redux theme was ‘Start Smoking in the New Year’ – (yeah, I’m getting in a little late) hence the BBQ idea popping up:

The New Year is heating up with smoke and spiciness. From boldly flavored smoked salts to actual smoking techniques, subtly smoked food is on-trend. The same can be said for spice as we savor heat from harissa, sriracha and smoked paprika. Show us the healthy dish you’re heating up with smoke and/or spiciness.

My first thought was my Vegetarian Chilli but then I thought I should try something new. I follow a few American nutrition and food blogs and quite often see a recipe call for ‘Liquid Smoke’, but I have never been able to find it anywhere in Oz. So the cheat’s way was out…then I wondered how I would go about doing it the proper way. But how to smoke food without a barbecue? This just opened up a can of worms..and a trip to the hardware store… and a house smelling like ribs. Got there in the end.

Smoked Tofu, Almonds & Green Beans.

Once upon a time I found a block of smoked tofu in a health food shop. It was delicious, and expensive, and I never bought it again. So here is an attempt to recreate it! And an impressive option for all you vegetarians and vegans going to summer barbecues, only to face a sad bowl of ice berg lettuce and bread rolls with tomato sauce. I feel ya. Take this and everyone will want to be your friend. I mean, it’s not going to pass as sticky ribs anytime soon, but who wants to have to eat with their fingers and get sauce all over their face anyway? 


Get your smoke on.. 

1 x block of tofu, cut into slices

1 x cup wood chips (I used hickory)

1 x aluminium baking tray

a lot of foil

Soak the wood chips in water over night. Layer the bottom of the tray with the wood chips and a little bit of water, then sit an elevated tray inside the aluminium tray for the tofu slices to sit on. Wrap well in foil. Place in the oven and leave it in there for 3 hours.

SIX HOURS later and I took my tofu out of the oven.

To be perfectly honest, I was really disappointed that it wasn’t ‘smokier’. Seeing as how I had committed half my life to this recipe, the tofu was a bit of an anti-climax. Ahh well, you live and you learn. The end result was delish – read on for the saviour – the tahini dressing and green beans are a win for sure.


And the rest…

2 cups green beans

1/2 cup roasted almonds, chopped

100g fresh rocket leaves

2 TBS tahini

1 TBS lemon juice

salt & pepper

Top & tail the beans and saute them in a bit of olive oil. Add them to a big bowl with roasted almonds, rocket and tofu.

Combine the tahini, lemon juice and s & p in a small bowl and then pour it on over. I added a little warm water to the dressing to thin it out a bit, but whatever goes.

(I will certainly not hold it against you for saving six hours and not trying this one at home).

The end x


Winter Blues

Mornings are my favourite time of the day. First one up, nice and peaceful, the kitchen all to my self. I have a feeling I was up so early because of my stupid cold making breathing a challenge :/ The weather has been awful this week, and I thought my immune system could do with some extra vitamin C, so I decided to make one of my favourite winter recipes. Vegetarian chilli.   Most people think oranges are the best source of vitamin c, but alas! They are no where near as good as capsicums. One cup of diced red capsicum contains more than three times the amount of vitamin c that we need for the day :O (RDI for females = 30mg). Other sources high in vitamin C include chillies, guavas, and kiwi fruit.

I stopped using a recipe a while back because I got lazy, so it changes a little every time but always tastes good. My last batch was my best because I finally managed to find chipotle chilies, which made a big difference – so well worth it if you can be bothered sourcing them. (I found mine at a fancy foodie store in Footscray).

Recipe as follows (for now)

2 x tbs olive oil

1x large onion

3 x cloves garlic

1 x tsp each of cumin, cinnamon and smoked paprika

1 x chipotle chilli in adobe sauce

1 x tin of crushed tomatoes

2 x tins kidney beans (or 1 cup dried)

1 x red capsicum

1 x green capsicum

1 x tbs good quality cocoa

1 x large sweet potato

coriander to finish

pre-heat oven to 200

coat the sweet potato in olive oil, cumin and a bit of sea salt pop it in the oven for about 30 minutes or until it looks nice and golden

mean while sauté the onion in oil till soft add the spices and garlic and cook for a minute but watch they don’t burn

add the tin of tomatoes, chilli and 2 tins of water and the rest of the ingredients then throw in the cocoa and give it a good stir

cook slowly for about 45 minutes when it’s reduced a bit then you’re good to go!

Top with roasted sweet potato and garnish with coriander I like to serve mine with brown rice too


A side note to burst our bubbles à it’s actually a bit of a myth that vitamin c can boost your immune system when you’re sick. Sorry guys! No conclusive links have been found between the two. Some research has shown that vitamin c may reduce the duration of a cold slightly, but once you’re infected it’s too late! But by all means, go ahead and try anyway, can’t hurt to load up on oranges, capsicums and garlic! Maybe there will be a placebo effect and you will trick yourself into feeling better 😉