‘I didn’t change, I just started to look at things differently’.
Mr B and I popped into Orchard Grocer, a vegan Deli one day a few months ago. I was curious to see how they had become so popular so quickly, with reported long lines for their smoked salmon bagel. It is said that the bagel married lox in New York, so there is a high bar for this classic dish here.
I have to say, I was skeptical that a carrot could replace salmon and so took Mr B as the ultimate taster, given his New York roots and his love of this combination. The Deli did not disappoint and in fact the bagel was so good, Mr B asked me to recreate it so it could become his new go to at home.
The reason Mr B likes this, is because it has tones of the real thing due to the nori and tamari but is lighter and has a preferred texture. I like to serve it to Mr B on a Sunday morning in an everything bagel, or if he is getting on a train, I make it in a plain bagel and then add the everything seasoning to the vegan cream cheese. I also use it in wraps, bowls and in salads to add some depth and flavor.
I hope this dish gives you a glimpse into a reimagined classic and if not at least a new way to see the humble carrot
- 3 carrots
- 2 nori sheets
- 1 cup hot water
- 2 tbsp. Tamari
- 1 tbsp. Liquid smoke (optional)
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 tbsp. cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp. black pepper
- 2 tbsp. dill
- Sea salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350f
- Wash the carrots, add some salt and bake for 45 minutes or until soft.
- Remove and once cooled slice into strips with a peeler or mandolin
- Transfer into a container with the rest of the ingredients and let marinate at least overnight
- For a classic new york bagel serve with vegan cream cheese, dill, red onion and capers
This is a great recipe from the kitchen at Vedge in LA. It is a take on the classic spanakopita, (which means cheese filled) and uses tofu as the substitute.
As I talked to a few people about this recipe, it became clear that there is a version of this pie across the world including knishes, Bourikas, calzones, samosas and dim sum to name a few. This means I had some pretty tough tasters. The best comment I got back was from my Albanian taster who said this tasted like his mums back home. Score!! It was only then that I told him that there was no cheese only tofu. (I am not sure if he will mention that to his mum).
The key to a successful pie or layered pie isn’t whether you use tofu or cheese; it is about how you spice the filling. The onion, garlic, dill, salt and pepper all add to a delicious filling that you could stuff into anything, or quite frankly eat on its own. So make sure you are happy with the flavour and everything else will fall into place!
Mr B was a definite fan of this dish, given his love of all things Greek (apart from me, of course, he loves me despite of my non-Greekness)
- 2 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for brushing the Phyllo
- 2 large bunches of Tuscan kale, stems removed, leaves chopped
- 1 cup onions, finely chopped
- 1 pound extra firm tofu, drained and crumbled
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. pepper
- 5 cups of tofu cream cheese
- 2 tbsp. chopped dill
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- Half a pack of organic vegan Phyllo, thawed
- Preheat the oven
- Brush a casserole dish with olive oil
- Bring a pot of water to the boil, add salt
- Blanch the kale for 5 minutes, drain
- Heat the olive oil in a deep pot, add the onions, garlic and cook for a few minutes until brown
- Add the crumbled tofu, salt and pepper. Stir until browned and the moisture is gone, c. 10 minutes
- Combine the kale and tofu mixture in a large bowl. Add the tofu cream cheese, dill and lemon juice
- Layer 3 sheets of Phyllo on the bottom of the dish. Add one third of the mixture, layer another 3 layers on top, add the next third, add Phyllo, the next third and finally top with the remaining Phyllo. Brush the top layer with olive oil and bake until golden brown, c. 15 minutes.
- Cut the dish into portions before baking, this will make it easier to serve
- Serve warm