spinach and peanut sauce over rice

Zainab Ali and her friend submitted this Gambian recipe. Serve over rice or couscous or millet.

2 Tbs. olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
3/4 green bell pepper
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
1 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach (or fresh spinach)
2 vegetarian bouillon cubes
1/4 cup peanut butter
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
Rice or couscous or millet
Optional: fried tofu

1. Heat olive oil in medium saucepan. Sauté onion, garlic, and green pepper in the oil until onion is translucent. Scoop out the vegetables and set aside. Add the tomato paste to the saucepan for the process called “burning the paste,” which means cooking the tomato paste until it bubbles and is thoroughly cooked.

2. Stir in the onions, peppers, garlic, and spinach. If you’re using frozen spinach, no additional liquid is needed. If you’re using fresh spinach, add 1/8 cup of water. Add the bouillon cubes. Sauté spinach until cooked.

3. Stir in the peanut butter. Add cayenne and salt to taste. Serve over rice or couscous or millet.

Optional fried tofu: Cut extra firm tofu into cubes. Place millet or corn meal in a bowl; stir in the tofu to lightly coat the cubes. Add approximately 3 Tbs. olive oil or canola oil to a medium skillet. Sauté the tofu until lightly brown; stir into the spinach mixture.

moroccan rice casserole

Sue tried to come up with a recipe that would dress up plain old ordinary rice. She succeeded with this blend of exotic spices. You’ll love the yellow color from the turmeric.

3 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped fine
1 cup rice
1 15-oz. can vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 cup broccoli florets
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Heat oil in a large saucepan and cook onion until slightly browned. Add rice and stir for a few minutes. Add remaining ingredients, stir, reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 30 minutes. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.

jill’s african vegetable soup

Jill’s mom made this African Vegetable Soup for Jill’s stepfather. Now when Jill makes this soup, the aroma of the spices always makes her think of him.

1 Tbs. canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
4 cups water
1 28-oz. can tomatoes, undrained, chopped
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper
1 bay leaf
1 small zucchini, diced
1 15-oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup uncooked elbow macaroni

1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large stewpot. Add the onions, celery, and sweet potato and cook until onions are translucent.

2. Add remaining ingredients except for zucchini, garbanzo beans, and macaroni. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.

3. Stir in remaining three ingredients. Cook, partially covered, over medium heat until the macaroni is tender. Serves 6.

vegan moussaka II

vegan moussaka

vegan moussaka II


There are as many versions of moussaka recipes as there are vegetables to add to this hearty dish (see another version here). Some versions of this dish are made with potatoes instead of eggplant, and some add zucchini. In England, sometimes a layer of mashed potatoes is used on top instead of cheese. This vegan version is filling and delicious, especially when served with a chunk of crusty bread. It’s great for an early fall supper when the nights start getting cooler.

1/2 cup lentils
2 cups vegetable stock or water
1 bay leaf
Olive oil
1 large eggplant
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 14-oz can garbanzo beans
1 14-oz can chopped tomatoes
2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
Pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated non-dairy cheese (optional)
2 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped

1. Place lentils, stock, and bay leaf in a small saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes or until lentils are tender. While lentils are cooking, oil an 8″ x 8″ baking pan; set aside. Drain lentils and set aside.

2. Heat 3 Tbs. olive oil in a large saucepan. Slice the eggplant into 3/8-inch slices. Cook the slices until lightly browned, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Set slices aside.

3. Preheat oven to 350°. In the same saucepan, heat 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add onion and garlic, and sautè for about 5 minutes. Add lentils, mushrooms, garbanzos, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and 1/4 cup water. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper.

4. Place half of the eggplant slices in the baking dish. Spoon half the lentil mixture over the slices. Repeat with remaining eggplant slices and lentil mixture. Bake for 35 minutes. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake another 5 to 10 minutes until cheese is melted and dish is bubbling. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

Variation: If you’re not a fan of non-dairy cheese, try the English version of moussaka and add a top layer of mashed potatoes before popping in the oven.

vegan moussaka

Moussaka is a layered eggplant casserole that traditionally contains lamb or beef and a rich dairy-based sauce. Although Greece seems to be the birthplace of moussaka, many other regions of the world claim their own versions, including the Middle East, Ethiopia, and Eastern Europe. Our version uses broiled eggplant instead of fried and includes a creamy vegan sauce.

1 large eggplant
2 Tbs. olive oil plus additional for brushing eggplant
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 cup red wine
1 Tbs. tomato paste
1 15-oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 oz. vegan cream cheese (we used Tofutti’s Better Than Cream Cheese)
1/2 cup of your favorite non-dairy milk

1. Oil an 8 x 8 baking pan; set aside. Heat the broiler. Trim both ends of the eggplant and cut 1/4″ lengthwise slices (peeling the eggplant is optional). Place slices on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Slide baking sheet under the broiler and bake until slices are nicely browned. Turn slices over, brush with olive oil, and brown the other sides. Remove from oven and set aside.

2. While browning eggplant, heat 2 Tbs. olive oil in a large saucepan. Cook onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Add next 8 ingredients (red wine through black pepper); stir to combine. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 minutes.

3. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine vegan cream cheese with soy milk. Stir occasionally until cream cheese is melted.

4. Place half the eggplant in the baking dish. Spoon half the tomato sauce over the slices. Repeat with remaining slices and sauce. Spoon the cream cheese sauce over the casserole. Place baking dish in oven under broiler until top is nicely browned. Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes. Serve with a green salad.

Variation: If you like to cook with meat substitutes, add a vegan beef or sausage to the tomato sauce mixture.

quick okra

I’m a big okra fan, especially when it’s cooked with traditional Indian spices. Thanks to Rebecca Valencia for this recipe!

12 oz. fresh or frozen okra, cut into small (1/4″) pieces
1 medium onion, sliced thin
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. red chili powder
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1/2 tsp. garam masala
2 green chilies, sliced and seeds removed
A squeeze of lemon
Salt to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir-fry onions until lightly browned. Add red chili powder, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and garam masala. Stir and cook for a few seconds.

2. Add the okra and the green chilies. Add a dash of lemon and salt to taste. Mix well. Cover and cook on low heat for about 5 minutes or until the okra is cooked but firm. Serve hot with white rice or Indian bread.