With growing awareness of the health and environmental benefits of eating a plant-based diet, I see more and more people turning to plants such as quinoa and hemp seeds to meet their protein needs. In the past these had to be imported, so buying them undid a lot of the environmental reasoning behind why one would choose to eat them (other than their deliciousness, of course). Thankfully, more and more NZ farmers are diversifying their crops to include both plants. Hemp is now grown around the country and sold by numerous companies (search NZ-grown hemp online to buy or ask at your local healthfood store). We also have two families now growing quinoa here in NZ; Kiwi Quinoa in Taihape and New Zealand Quinoa in Taranaki, both products available throughout the country and also online. Not only are these two powerhouse plants nutrient dense, they’re incredibly versatile and can be eaten whole, ground into flour and, in the case of hemp, can be used to make everything from bioplastics and textiles, to insulation (there’s even a Canadian company trialling the world’s first airplane made almost entirely from hemp and powered with hemp oil). Hemp may also prove to be one of our best defences against climate change as the plants are able to breathe in four times the carbon dioxide of trees during its quick 12-14 week growing cycle. They truly are the plants of the future.
Recipe Tag: Emma Galloway
These noodles contain so many of my favourite flavours, while the charred flavour of the vegetables adds a lovely smokiness. If preparing the dressing ahead of time, leave out the chopped peanuts until right before serving, so they remain crunchy.
I love a good vege burger and these pattie-less ones are super simple to prepare and packed with so much flavour thanks to the salsa verde. I like my smoky potatoes a little charred and crispy so I give them a double cooking but they are also lovely eaten straight from the foil parcels if you’re not fussed. If you don’t have any preserved lemons for the aioli, use 1-2 teaspoons of finely grated lemon zest and a tiny squeeze of lemon juice instead. I like to be generous with the haloumi, but at a pinch, you could get away with using just one packet if preferred. This salsa verde recipe will make more than you’ll need for the burgers, but it will store in the fridge for up to a week and is delicious stirred through pasta, spread on sandwiches or dolloped on salads.
I tend to barbecue vegetables without oil as I find the flavour much nicer, and then drench them in a punchy dressing straight off the grill so they can soak up all that extra flavour. Use a nice sharp parmesan or, for a change, a crumbled feta.
I love the generous flavour of caperberries, however capers can be used in their place if preferred. Prepare the mustard crumbs up to 2 days in advance and store in an airtight container or jar. Fresh oregano is strong, so a few leaves are sufficient.
These lentil patties are super-easy to make and are great to make ahead of time as they hold together better after chilling in the fridge. You could prepare these up to 2 days beforehand and cook when ready to eat. The vibrant green tahini sauce can also be made well in advance and stored in the fridge, leaving only the beetroot-stained rice and cavolo nero to make. Cavolo nero, often called Tuscan kale, is pretty easy to get your hands on nowadays, however use whatever greens you like: silverbeet, spinach or curly/purple kale would all be great. Use regular breadcrumbs and soy sauce if gluten isn’t a problem for you.
To me nothing screams ‘vibrant’ more than turmeric. Whether you use the fresh root or readily available ground turmeric, its yellow hue and earthy flavour add vibrancy to any dish. I’ve used butternut pumpkin (squash) in this dish as I find it holds its shape when cooked a little better than some other varieties, but Japanese pumpkin would also work great.
The smell of spiced cauliflower and chickpeas as they roast in the oven is enough to make anyone hungry. Pair that with buttered rice and a fragrant coriander sauce and you’ve got one of my favourite kinds of meals.
Tamarind brings not only sourness but also sweetness to this crunchy salad. I like to buy the solid blocks of tamarind paste found at Asian supermarkets, tear off a chunk and soak it in boiling water before passing it through a sieve to remove the seeds. You’ll get better flavour this way, but the more readily available (and easier!) tamarind puree can be used instead, I won’t tell. Make sure you mix and dress this salad right before you plan to eat, otherwise you risk the crunchy bits going soggy.
The sweet earthiness of beetroot forms the basis of this nourishing soup, which I adapted from one of my favourite Sri Lankan beetroot curries. It’s delicious just by itself, but the creamy, toasted-cumin yoghurt and buttery, fried curry leaves definitely add another dimension.