Shannon Martinez’s new book, Vegan with Bite, takes plant-based cooking beyond the predictable and collates more than 80 punchy meat-free dishes big on flavour and texture.
Here, the Melbourne chef and owner of Smith & Daughters and Smith & Deli shares five recipes that show how to cook generous, delicious and environmentally sustainable food, regardless of budget.
Shakshuka with coriander dumplings
I love the classic version of these Middle Eastern baked eggs in spicy, rich tomato sauce. I wanted to know if I could make a vegan version that retained all the elements that make this dish great: the textures, saucy spiciness and richness. And you know what? I reckon I did it.
Spicy tomato sauce
- 80ml (⅓ cup) olive oil
- 1 green capsicum, seeded and sliced
- 1 red capsicum, seeded and sliced
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tbsp chilli ﬂakes, or to taste
- 2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 × 400g cans diced tomatoes
- ¼ bunch coriander leaves, roughly chopped
- ¼ bunch ﬂat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- juice of ½ lemon
- 500g fresh medium/ﬁrm tofu
- 1 small handful coriander leaves
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp No Egg whisked with 2 tbsp cold water
- 3 tbsp plain ﬂour
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- To make the sauce, heat the oil in a deep saucepan over a medium heat. Add the capsicum and onion, along with a pinch of salt, and cook until beginning to soften. Add the garlic, bay leaf, spices and salt and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the tomatoes, then reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, to make the dumplings, place all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth and well-combined. Fill a large saucepan with salted water and bring to a gentle simmer. Using two spoons, scoop the mixture and roughly quenelle, then drop into the simmering water, making sure you don’t overcrowd the pan (cook them in batches if necessary). Once the dumplings float to the top, cook for 1 minute, then remove with a slotted spoon.
- Add the dumplings to the sauce in a single layer and cook for another 5 minutes. Finish with the herbs and lemon juice, adjust the seasoning to taste, and serve.
Note: The dumplings can be prepared in advance and stored, cooked or uncooked, in the fridge.
Vegan spin on a Malaysian classic. Photo: Nikki To/Hardie Grant
Penang char kway teow
Glossy, silky-soft rice noodles, turbo savoury ﬂavours, and all the magic of that breath of the wok – this is a Malaysian classic worth getting to know.
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 100g mushrooms (whatever is your favourite)
- 5 garlic shoots, cut into 3cm lengths
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp Asian chilli paste
- 75g (1 cup) shredded Chinese cabbage (wombok)
- 3 spring onions, cut into 5cm lengths
- 500g wide rice noodles, prepared according to the packet instructions
- 100g bean sprouts
- 150g silken or soft tofu
- 1 tbsp cornﬂour
- 1 tbsp oat or soy milk
- pinch of ground turmeric
- pinch of black salt
- 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp Maggi seasoning sauce or light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp kecap manis
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp ﬁsh sauce
- 2 tsp caster sugar
- To make the egg mix, place all the ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
- For the sauce, mix together all the ingredients in a small bowl.
- Heat a wok over a high heat – you want it to be smoking hot when you start cooking.
- Add the oil, throw in the mushrooms and garlic shoots and quickly stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the minced garlic and chilli paste and toss to combine, then add the cabbage and spring onion and cook, tossing, until the cabbage begins to wilt.
- Scatter over the noodles and toss, then add the bean sprouts. Toss again to combine and cook for 30 seconds.
- Push the noodle mixture to one side of the wok, then, working in two batches, pour the egg mix into the base of the wok and scramble with a spatula. Mix the first batch into the noodles, then repeat with the second batch. Once all the egg mix is cooked, toss with the noodles to combine.
- Pour the sauce mixture over the noodles and toss through. Cook for a final 30 seconds, then serve.
No-fuss Mexican-inspired cooking. Photo: Nikki To/Hardie Grant
One-pot burrito rice
When you want all the joy of a full Mexican spread, but without the fuss. This recipe is packed with all the ﬂavours and textures we love about Mexican cuisine, without much effort at all.
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 brown onion, ﬁnely chopped
- ½ red capsicum, seeded and diced
- ½ green capsicum, seeded and diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 450g vegie mince or soaked textured vegetable protein
- 1 tsp chilli powder, or to taste
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 400g can diced tomatoes
- 300g (1½ cups) long-grain rice
- 150g (1 cup) frozen corn kernels
- 400g can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 625ml (2½ cups) beef stock
- 3 spring onions, sliced, plus extra to serve
- 250g shredded cheese, sliced avocado, chopped coriander leaves and lime wedges, to serve
- Heat the oil in a wide shallow saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, capsicums and a big pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the mince or textured vegetable protein and fry, breaking it up into small bits if using vegie mince. Add the ground spices and oregano and cook for 30 seconds, then stir through the diced tomatoes and cook over a medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat in the spiced tomato mixture, then add the corn and black beans.
- Pour over the stock and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cook, covered, for 20-25 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed.
- Remove the lid and stir through the spring onion and half the cheese. Shake the pan to even out the rice, then sprinkle over the remaining cheese. Cover with the lid once again and leave for 1 minute to melt the cheese. Finish with the avocado, coriander and extra spring onion and serve with lime wedges. If you really want to go all out, add some corn chips and a drizzle of hot sauce.
Packed with flavour. Photo: Nikki To/Hardie Grant
This is one of my all-time favourite things to eat. As a meat eater, I am conﬁdent that this version is as satisfying and delicious as one containing meat. If you want to convince the meat eater in your life that food can be just as good without it, or you’re looking to reduce the amount of meat you eat, this recipe is a fantastic place to start.
- 500g ﬁrm silken tofu (momen is my favourite)
- boiling water, to cover
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 200g vegie mince or soaked textured vegetable protein
- 6cm piece of ginger, peeled and cut into ﬁne matchsticks
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 spring onions, sliced
- 25g dried black fungus (wood ears), soaked and sliced into strips
- 2 tbsp doubanjiang (spicy fermented broad bean paste)
- 1 tbsp douchi (fermented black bean paste)
- 2 tbsp shao hsing rice wine
- 600ml chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns, toasted and coarsely ground
- 2 tbsp cornﬂour blended with 80ml (⅓ cup) cold water
- 1 handful chopped coriander leaves
- 3 tbsp Sichuan chilli oil
- Drain the tofu and cut into 2cm cubes. Carefully place in a bowl and cover with boiling water and a big pinch of salt. Allow to sit while you proceed with the recipe.
- Heat the oil in a wok over a high heat, add the mince or textured vegetable protein and fry for a minute, breaking it up into small bits if using vegie mince. Add the ginger, garlic and spring onion and stir-fry for a minute or so until the ginger and garlic are slightly golden. Throw in the fungus and toss to combine.
- Add the doubanjiang and douchi and stir-fry for 30 seconds, making sure everything is evenly coated, then deglaze with the shao hsing wine. Pour in the stock and soy sauce, add the Sichuan pepper and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Drain the tofu, then very carefully slide it into the wok and gently stir. Allow to simmer over a low heat for 10 minutes, then stir in the cornflour slurry and cook until thickened, about 3 minutes. Add the coriander and Sichuan oil and stir, then pour into a serving dish and serve.
The secret to this dish is prunes. Photo: Nikki To/Hardie Grant
Sticky ﬁg pudding
Yes, it’s called sticky ﬁg pudding (swapping out dates for ﬁgs = revelation), but the secret to this dish is prunes. I know. Who would have thought that the laxative of the fruit world could elevate a dessert you thought was already perfect? The savoury spice mix garam masala balances out the sometimes sickly-sweet quality of this dish. A total crowd-pleaser.
- 180g dried ﬁgs, roughly chopped
- 100g pitted soft prunes, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 250ml (1 cup) boiling water
- 120g unsalted butter, softened
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- ½ tsp Vegg (vegan egg yolk)
- 1 tbsp No Egg
- 3 tbsp cold water
- 185g (1¼ cups) plain ﬂour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp salt
- vanilla ice-cream, to serve
- 200g brown sugar
- 300g cream cheese
- ½ tsp vanilla paste or extract
- 80g butter
- ½ tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 150C fan-forced (170C conventional). Grease and line a pudding basin or a 20cm springform cake tin.
- Place the figs and prunes in a heatproof bowl and sprinkle over the bicarbonate of soda. Pour over the boiling water and leave to soften for 10 minutes, then mash with a potato masher or fork until fairly smooth.
- Place the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and well combined.
- Whisk together the Vegg, No Egg and cold water, then add to the butter mixture and beat through. It may look slightly curdled but that’s totally fine. Sift in the flour, baking powder, garam masala and salt and mix until incorporated. Pour in the date and prune mixture and stir until well combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared basin or tin and smooth the surface. Bake for 35 minutes if you are using a springform tin, or about an hour if using a pudding basin, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Meanwhile, to make the butterscotch sauce, place all the ingredients in a saucepan over a medium heat and stir until the butter has melted. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes, stirring once, then remove from the heat.
- Remove the pudding from the oven and poke holes all over the surface with a skewer. Pour over 125ml (½ cup) of the butterscotch sauce and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Serve with ice-cream and the remaining sauce in a jug so people can add more if they like.