Jackie Norman and Gareth Scurr are two adventurous vegans - when it comes to life and food. They live a nomadic life in a small van, travelling all over the country, conjuring up amazing food along the way.
In addition to being vegan, Jackie also lives with gluten, onion and garlic intolerance. Their challenge was to create recipes that could be made in a confined space, with limited equipment and time, from easy-to-find, inexpensive and adaptable ingredients that even the staunchest carnivores would love.
Speedy refried bean burger
Refried beans are a real unsung hero in vegan cooking. Don't limit them to nachos, they're a lot more versatile than you think. If you've got a tin of refried beans in the pantry, you've got yourself a quick and filling meal. This recipe gives you a good basic burger patty that the whole family will love and can be easily modified to include whatever herbs or spices you like. It can easily be made gluten-free too, by using gluten-free breadcrumbs and burger buns. If you can't find gluten-free breadcrumbs, I often make my own fresh ones by simply grating a couple of slices of gluten-free bread and they turn out just as well. If you don't have fresh coriander you can substitute it with a couple of sprigs of fresh parsley.
1 tbsp oil, for frying
1 x 400g can refried beans
1/2 - 3/4 cup dried regular or gluten-free breadcrumbs (or 1 cup if you're using fresh)
1/3 cup fresh coriander, finely chopped
flour for dusting
burger buns (either regular or gluten-free) and your favourite burger toppings to serve.
1. Put the refried beans in a bowl with the breadcrumbs and chopped herbs and mix/mash together until well combined. Pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes or so.
2. Divide the mixture into four equal parts and form into patties, dusting with our to prevent sticking. Set aside.
3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat and carefully add the burger patties to the pan. Cook for around three to four minutes each side, turning once, until nice and golden. Remove from the pan and drain on a plate lined with paper towel to remove excess oil.
4. Serve in buns or as desired. We love dressing ours up with onion, baby spinach, sliced gherkin and vegan mayo, alongside a serving of chunky home-made wedges.
Makes 4 patties.
Power to the purple! This recipe is Welsh in origin and a little fiery, just like its inventor! Gareth came up with it when he wanted to create a way of eating tacos which didn't result in everything falling out and making a heck of a mess. He succeeded, and the result was good enough to enjoy on its own. It's eggplant for people who don't like eggplant - or at least think they don't. Delicious in a soft taco the way it was intended, it can also be served as a stand-alone main with salad, vegetables or rice. You can even plonk a slice or two in a wrap, toastie or sandwich; its seasoning makes it so versatile. The name is also an inspired way to get the kids to eat eggplant. Give it a go, you will be pleasantly surprised.
2 whole eggplants, sliced length-wise, approximately 1 12 cm thick
2 tsp taco seasoning mix (available from supermarkets)
3 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
3 tsp tamari
1/2 tsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp tomato paste
5 tbsp olive oil
1. First, slice both eggplants lengthwise, into approximately six large slices per eggplant. Mix all the spice marinade ingredients into a small bowl. Spread the marinade over both sides of the eggplant slices, covering the flesh only, you don't need to worry about the skin. Set aside and leave for at least an hour, for the flavour to develop.
2. Preheat the oven to 210C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper and place the eggplant slices onto the tray.
3. Place into the oven and bake for 35 minutes, turning the slices over halfway.
4. Remove from the oven and serve in tacos or as desired.
Easy vegan pho
Vietnamese pho is one of my favourite soups but was one I bought ready-made for a long time, as making my own seemed much too hard. All the recipes I came across sounded so hard and were full of random, exotic ingredients the average person couldn't lay hands on. Eventually I had enough and decided to develop my own version, using every day, easily sourced ingredients. It may not be authentic, but is nice and simple and hits the spot, with its delicately spiced broth and flavoursome garnishes. The more you load it up, the taster it gets.
3 litres vegetable stock
5cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut in half
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1 block of firm tofu, drained, pressed and cut into cubes
3 cups chopped vegetables - e.g. broccoli, bok choy, mushrooms, spinach
50g rice or sweet potato noodles
2 tbsp tamari (or more, as desired)
mung bean sprouts and fresh,
chopped coriander, to garnish
1. Put the vegetable stock into a large soup pan over medium heat, along with the ginger, ground cloves, cinnamon and ground coriander. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the pieces of ginger and discard.
2. Add the tofu to the pan, along with the chopped vegetables. Simmer for another five minutes, then add the noodles and cook until done, according to packet directions.
3. Serve, adding tamari and lime juice to taste. Top with bean sprouts and fresh coriander. You can also add sriracha if you want more spice.
Welsh dragon bowl
To many people, the thought of making a dragon bowl sounds about as terrifying as the creature of legend itself. Where do you start? What on earth do you put in one? It looks so complicated! The thing is, there is actually no great mystery. When you look past the mystical name, it is simply a meal in a bowl. There are no rules, no rights or wrongs when it comes to making one. Traditionally, a dragon bowl is designed to be made out of whatever you have on hand, comprising of a base of your choice, such as cooked rice, layered with some raw or cooked vegetables, protein and sauce.
cooked rice, noodles or base of your choice
baby spinach, or salad leaves
1 carrot, peeled and cut into match-sticks
1/2 a capsicum, de-seeded and sliced thinly
4 cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 radish, thinly sliced
1/4 of cucumber, cut into matchsticks
1/2 an avocado, peeled and sliced
1 cup cooked edamame (fresh-frozen green soy beans) - or you could use tofu
salad sprouts, e.g. Alfalfa
thinly sliced spring onion, to garnish
sesame seeds (optional, to sprinkle over the top)
plus any sauce or dressing of your choice, to serve
1. First, prepare all your vegetables. This makes building your bowl a whole lot faster and easier. Next, put your cooked rice or chosen base in the bottom of your bowl, until it's half-full or thereabouts. Now it's time to start adding the vegies. Think of your bowl as a clock-face and start by putting some baby spinach or salad leaves where 12 would be.
2. Next, place some carrot sticks next to the leaves, where number one would be.
3. From there, add the sliced capsicum at number two and keep working your way around, following with tomato, radish, cucumber, avocado, edamame or tofu and sprouts, until you find yourself back at the start. Remember you can modify your bowl to include whatever else you like or have. Finish your beautiful bowl by garnishing with spring onions and sesame seeds, if you're using them.
4. Serve immediately, with lashings of your favourite dressing.
Quantities are approximate, but should make one to two bowls, according to size.
- Recipes from Everyday Vegan, by Jackie Norman and Gareth Scurr. New Holland, $30.