Vegan Kofta with Salad Shirazi

It is a truth universally acknowledged that I make a LOT of hummus and pita, because it’s one of my favorite comfort food combinations. I’ve been really fortunate to learn how to make a lot of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes through travels and work, and hummus has just stuck with me – tahini is now a pantry staple.

But in the era of social distancing, I’m shifting away from my initial shock period of jalapeno chips and wine, and trying to eat better for my physical and mental health. Here’s an easy way to do so – with my love and prayers for safety and wellness to you all.

I’ve already talked about how to make hummus (though I’ve started slightly overcooking the chickpeas on purpose to minimize having to peel them – and I’ve begun incorporating a bit of the reserved cooking liquid to make sure the hummus is creamy and whipped) and pita. Today we’ll build on that with a non-meat kofta, some prepared tahini, and salad shirazi. To serve, you’ll spread hummus on a plate or shallow bowl, spooning salad shirazi around the edges. Top the hummus with 2-3 kofta patties, and drizzle prepared tahini overtop. You can add pita on the side, or omit. Your call. Just enjoy.

Vegan Kofta

(makes about 12)

Note: I don’t recommend skewers, because there’s not enough fat in this recipe. Kofta/kefta boasts thousands of varieties, but this particular recipe was inspired by, and adapted from Tartine All Day: Modern Recipes for the Home Cook

  • 1 pound Beyond or Impossible vegan meat substitute
  • 1/4 cup cooked quinoa (I was lazy and used the Success Instant Tricolor Quinoa)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
  • teaspoon ras el hanout 
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 T olive oil
While the quinoa cooks, add onion, parsley, mint and spices to a food processor and pulse a few times until everything is finely chopped. Remove quinoa from heat when cooked and fluff gently with a fork. Gently spoon the herb mixture into a mixing bowl, and add the Beyond meat. Once the quinoa is cool, add it to the bowl and mix thoroughly. Add olive oil and mix – you’ll need a little fat to keep the patties together. Preheat your oven to 425 Fahrenheit, and heat a grill pan on high heat on your stove. Lightly coat with cooking spray just before adding the kofta. Shape into cigar-esque short patties and add to the pan. Once the bottom has been slightly seared, spray the tops with cooking spray and place the grill pan in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

Salad Shirazi

(serves 4)
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and diced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup red onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, minced
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt to taste

Mix ingredients together in a medium bowl and serve. Really. That’s it.

Prepared Tahini

(makes about 1 cup)

Note: I put this on everything. Last night I ate roasted cauliflower dipped in this. It’s fantastically versatile.

  • 6 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup tahini
  • 6-8 tablespoons ice water
  • Kosher salt to taste

Okay, so here’s a secret, and you should consider this for a number of dips, like babaghanoush, which asks for garlic and lemon juice. Garlic can create a grainy texture in a sauce or dip, so the trick is to soak the pressed garlic in the lemon juice for 15 minutes, and then strain the juice, leaving you with garlic-flavored lemon juice.

In a food processor, blend the lemon-garlic juice, tahini, and salt together until the tahini seizes up. Slowly, tablespoon by tablespoon, add the ice water until a smooth, off-white sauce develops. Season to taste with salt.



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