It seems like the entire Internet has lost its collective mind recently over these wrapped tortillas. I must admit … I was intrigued. I’d never thought to wrap a tortilla like I would a crepe and it sounded like the kind of magical lunch I needed in my life that week.
And then I started looking at recipes. Crunchwrap came to mind first, but the glue was cheese. Whelp, that’s out. I can’t do cheese cheese, and even store bought vegan melting cheese + my GI system are currently on the outs.
A YouTuber I follow (who actually introduced me to this fad; I’m not one of the cool kids on Tik Tok) made a sushi roll version that looked delightful and had rice as the “glue” (I tried recreating it for y’all and have thus far failed in my efforts). Which got me thinking … I’ve got leftover potatoes, and I want Indian. What can I do with that information?
Turns out, I can do a lot. I’m going to give you guys a full meal recipe here, with instructions on how to turn it into one of those cool kids wraps. Which is awesome, but you’ll have leftovers. Just slap the rest in a bowl and call it an Indian harvest spectacular.
Note: This recipe uses mustard oil, which may be difficult to source. I’ve included an Amazon (affiliate) link to help. I also included a link for the chicken seasoning I’ve been using recently and loving, as well as for the condiments.
Gluten-free if you use a gf wrap, vegetarian and vegan if you sub the chicken
Dairy Free Tortilla Wrap
This recipe is written a little weird. I’m laying it out in quadrants in the order you’ll wrap them. More on that later. I cooked mine in kind of reverse order, starting with the potatoes, moving through the protein, and ending with the veg. You may wish to do the same.
Protein of choice (I used chicken cut into bite-sized pieces)
Set your potatoes to boil in a large pot with a generous amount of salt. Boil until cooked through and soft.
Drain and set aside.
While the potatoes are working, chop the onion and garlic fine.
In a medium pan over medium heat, bring the oil up to temperature. Chuck the mustard seeds and turmeric into the oil and heat until fragrant and the mustard seeds start to pop.
Add the onion and garlic and sauté, stirring frequently, until softened and a little brown.
When the potatoes are done and drained, add back to the big pot and mash roughly with a potato masher or beaters. Chunky is fine – I wanted my potatoes to have a bit of heft to them like my favorite Indian restaurant potatoes. Add the onion mixture, the butter, and a healthy pinch of salt. Combine well, taste, and add more salt or fat if needed.
Wrap a large chapati (Mission makes a decent one), roti, tortilla or other flexible and foldable bread in a paper towel. Sprinkle with water and nuke for 15 seconds so it’s bendable.
If you think of your chapati as a wheel with 4 quadrants, you want to cut up the center bottom until you hit the horizontal equator.
Wow, that was some mixed metaphor ish; hopefully followable.
In your lower left quadrant, arrange a little protein. Not overfull – think burritos, here. You don’t want to over fill those, either.
In the upper left quadrant, spread a little condiment.
In the upper right quadrant, add a little veg.
In the lower right quadrant, spread some potato. This quadrant will act as our glue.
To fold, carefully fold the lower left quadrant up (I kind of held the chicken in place as I carefully flipped the chapati up), fold the left side to the right (this went easier), and the top down so the 3 folded sections rest on the potato section.
You should have what looks like a folded crepe sandwich.
Pan fry until golden on both sides, kind of smooshing a bit as you do so it sticks together.
*Internal excitement intensifies* Season 5 of the Expanse is out, and with it, a renewed excitement about the food explored in the series. I’ve been so excited, in fact, that my poor brain has been working over time yet again this season and has been choosing to switch on at 3am to ponder the problem of nutrition in space. Because I’m a nerd and totally fine with that.
Omfg, here she goes with the bold subheadings. Yep. Strap in, folks, I have time on my hands and am willing to go full nerd while espousing my lack of knowledge on the Internets.
About The Expanse
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, the Leviathan Wakes books by James S.A. Corey and accompanying television show – The Expanse – is a massive (9 book and thus far 5 season) Sci-Fi series dealing with politics, inequality, humanity’s spread throughout the solar system, war, profit, cabals, and external forces. In broad, non-spoilery terms at least. There’s So. Much. More.
The world building is phenomenal, and the attention to scientific detail (I mean c’mon … the show had me at the opening dealing with gravity) gives just enough meat for the non-scientific at least to run with. It’s like two of my other Sci-Fi loves – Battlestar Galactica and The Martian had a huge baby.
This explanation isn’t doing either series any justice at all. Suffice it to say that it’s great and I would be shocked to hear that it isn’t being used as a teaching tool in at least some discipline of college course.
Food is a big part of the books (at least it’s mentioned frequently and is used to convey information about the characters, location and politics), and I’m super fascinated in what the food of this world tastes like.
What the food is made of, what the flavor profiles are … who are these people, and what do they like? They aren’t (all) subsisting on military-style MREs, but they’re in space … so lobster is probably right out. Where did these people come from on Earth? They’re not all North American in ancestry – the UN runs things at least ostensibly; not necessarily the US (although it is an American series written in English, so there’s definitely a sense that at least geographically a lot of the Earth references are from there, if not political power as well).
Before I get too lost in the Food Nerd weeds, today’s recipe is one I’ve been mulling over since I first read the books. Quite a few mentions have been made of noodles with mushrooms or noodles with black sauce – or both. In my mind, given the fact that the Outer Belt is populated heavily by people of broad Asian descent, black sauce brings to mind Korean-Chinese Jajangmyeon (fermented black bean sauce), which is the absolute bomb but which I can’t source the ingredients for easily.
Reddit seems to agree with that assessment, and mention is made of hoisin sauce possibly being a substitute flavor profile.
I tend to lean toward a vegan analog for butter taste mixed with a bit of grease like takeout Chinese noodles have, mixed with delicate mushrooms, black vinegar and a bit of hoisin or oyster sauce mixed in. With garlic powder. Spices are a thing, and I refuse to believe that humanity has abandoned garlic.
Personally, I would add something green like bok choy or something with some nutrition, but food is political in this world, and fresh veggies would be hard to find, I imagine. This is poor people food – and the poor in this society don’t even have free and clear access to adequate oxygen, let alone stable food supply lines and proper nutrition. No veggies for me. (Mostly) shelf stable, it is.
Back to non directly recipe-related Nerdery.
Egg Noodles & Space Chickens
In the books, reference to egg noodles is made (specifically in Leviathan Wakes, Miller stops at a noodle cart for a cheap cone of egg noodles in black sauce). Egg is also referenced elsewhere in the books, though of course I can’t put my finger on the exact book or framework for that reference – I believe mention was made of a “real” breakfast sounding like it most likely featured meat and some sort of ship eggs – which may or may not have been vegan eggs.
Quite understandably, real meat from an animal is expensive in this world – and I would imagine not only expensive, but super rare for those in the Outer Belt far away from Earth. As far as I can figure, Earth would be the only place with enough land and resources to support any sort of large scale animal farming – or farming of any animals larger than rabbit (I don’t believe, however, that mention is made of rabbit).
Mention is made of vat grown meat, and farmed salmon for sushi – which makes sense mostly, though that’s a lot of water.
But chickens? Yeah, you can have chickens on a balcony in a city and still get eggs, but to have enough chickens to make enough eggs that egg noodles can then be sold cheaply to Belters – that’s a lot of feed, which requires a lot of water, and unless your chickens are running around the ship loose, a lot of dedicated chicken space. Which wouldn’t be wasted – chicken poop makes good fertilizer.
But still … I can see it being a viable protein source somewhere like Ganymede where large scale farming is being conducted, and I suppose big stations like Tycho must have some sort of food production capacity, but you’ve got to have a bunch of chickens to get a stable breeding population – and roosters – to be able to manage all that. Or, would it be more cost-effective to cycle your chickens into stew every 4 years or so when they stop laying to start fresh with a new crop?
How quick are ship times? Can you sell chicken poop for a profit?
I don’t know. If you have more information on this or see big holes in my logic, even if it’s years from now and we are on Season 9 (fingers crossed), let me know in the comments. I’m super interested in this stuff and know next to nothing about it.
For the purposes of this recipe, I’m not sold on egg noodles – despite them being mentioned in the book. I’m leaning toward rice noodles or shiritaki noodles being more plentiful (though shiritaki probably don’t have enough calories to be a viable nutrition source).
Is wheat a thing in this world? I don’t remember seeing any reference to fresh bread – and I can imagine, at least for our Earther protagonist from Montana, that would be a big comfort smell. Like coffee, which is definitely still a thing in this world, even in the Outer Belt (though coffee can be made from a plethora of things – and is definitely used as a plot device to show wealth and power).
Still. I don’t think bread has been mentioned, so what are these egg noodles made out of? Eggs & rice? Keto-style egg ribbons? JUST eggs?
Water in Space
Water. Water is expensive and has been a limiting factor to how large societies can grow since humans decided to clump together. It stands to reason that this continues on into the great beyond, and access to water is one of the tools of subjugation used to keep the Outer Belt under control by the Inner Planets.
This world also mines water off of space rocks and shuttles it around – so I’m thinking this restriction is more political than practical. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe rice takes more water to grow than soybeans. According to a January 2013 report published by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, it takes 2,497 liters of water to produce 1kg of rice, but only 1,849 liters of water to produce the same amount of dry pasta (I’m assuming regular wheat pasta) and 196 liters of water for 1 egg. So. If they have enough water for rice, which is also referenced in the book (specifically rice noodles with mushrooms in Babylon’s Ashes), maybe chickens *are* more widespread.
This article from FAO.org details water consumption due to environment and growing cycle, and has soybeans listed as needing 450-700mm of water during the growing period. Rice needs the same amount; wheat needs 450-650mm.
I would imagine that any space set up for farming can be kept at a consistent perfect growing environment – you can have a room set up like South Carolina or Vietnam to grow rice in, right next to the Ohio room growing wheat and soybeans. That makes sense. Still takes a lot of space to produce enough food to feed people, but that’s also a gripe The Belt has about The Inners – access to food.
I had assumed wheat takes too much space and dirt to grow at a functioning agrarian capacity – but maybe that chicken poop (and human poop) helps there? I would imagine compost would be necessary as well. (Although .. what else do you have to compost but poop? I can’t see single-use items being popular aside from recycled paper, and how much nutrition is supplied by vegetables vs some sort of vitamin? I can easily see food food being necessary as a caloric supplement rather than nutritional necessity – ooh. Snowpiercer did a good-but-terrifying job here).
Veganism in space
I still assume that most people living full time in the Outer Belt are at least mostly accidental vegans. Cheese is mentioned in the books, but as a rare delicacy and symbol of the “fat cats” on Earth. I think Earth is the only place with cows and dairy. I don’t think there are Martian cows in this world.
Salmon is mentioned for sushi, but not as something people we know are actually eating – as is vat meat (I still think this could be something like Beyond Burgers instead of actual muscle tissue; but who knows? It’s scientifically possible even now, and we have yet to crawl out of our gravity well in any long-term manner).
I stand by the accidental vegan. Maybe with eggs. Or are they vegan eggs and no one thinks to mention otherwise because chicken is space suits is a stupid question?
Also going out on a limb here and saying honey isn’t really available – I can’t imagine that if Earth has enough people it needs to send some out to colonize, we’ve gotten our ish together regarding bees. Which opens up a whole other deal regarding vegetables and extinction …. but that’s too far of a digression for today.
These are the questions that keep me up at night.
Other Belter Foods If You’ve Read This Far And Are Still Curious
If you’re curious about other Belter food, I also recreated Red Kibble – which was also delicious – and have a whole long dive into cultural influences of flavor on that recipe.
Less successful was my foray into Indo-Chinese Singapore-style noodles, which I did not bother posting but really need to revisit. Also: adding Greek flavors into that mix would be fascinating.
And if I can figure out better TVP sourcing, I’d like to attempt White Kibble as well. I don’t think what I have in my head (Southern style white gravy) is what it would actually taste like.
—-End Nerdy rant and on to the actual recipe—
Today’s recipe is: gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan
Belter Style Black Sauce Mushroom Noodles
1 serving rice noodles (I chose to go with wide noodles, because I wanted something with a touch of bounce. I think texture would be a big thing in this world. I’ve seen other versions using Udon – and egg noodles are mentioned in the book)
1 package Enoki mushrooms (I wanted a delicate mushroom here – one I could see easily taking the place of noodle bulk when noodles are scarce. Something meatier like a portobello or Shiitaki minced would also do – if you use the whole package for 1 person, that’s probably a bit on the baller side for this dish – but it was delicious and I have no ragrets)
2 tsp. ghee or vegan butter (This is possibly a stretch for this world, but butter & mushrooms … ghee is probably not a thing, but vegan butter or some sort of butter analog very well may be – at least on the Stations – I have ghee, so I’m going with that rather than butter butter)
2 tsp. oil (most likely peanut or some other high smoke point neutral oil – I’m using safflower oil, since that is what I have on hand)
1 Tbsp. black vinegar (a fermented vinegar popular in Chinese cooking)
1 Tbsp. Hoisin [also popular in Chinese cooking and I can’t see why some version of this wouldn’t be available. If not, a little oyster sauce + a slack sprinkle of sweetener (but probably not cane sugar) would do well here – or, if you, like me, think you have those sauces but do not – a teaspoon of ketjap manis (sweet soy) + 2 tsp. Bulldog (Japanese Worcestershire) work really well]
Garlic (I wanted to use crispy fried garlic discs so badly in this dish, but while I think garlic is probably available, I think it’s more likely that a cheap & cheerful hawker stall would be using garlic powder – maybe in one of the bars or somewhere with internal seating would have real garlic. I’m going for street stall-ish here, you do you)
Optional toppers: Green onions (maybe not in the street stall version, but I need some bright freshness in my life), and topper condiments like more black vinegar, some soy sauce and chili oil. I’ve got to believe that future hawker stalls will have the customization options available in NYC Chinatown’s dollar dumpling shops
A hand full of chicken analog TVP (probably a little flash for a street stall, but if we are conceding that TVP chunks exist for Belter Kibble – which is also a food of the oppressed – strips also probably exist and are at least mostly readily available. The cost of the mushrooms may balance the cost of the TVP out for a hawker stall version of these noodles, though)
If you’re using TVP, prepare according to package directions. I did not, but only because I could not be bothered to boil them for 8 minutes. I would imagine these would be an easy keep-on-hand prepped item for a hawker stall.
Boil your noodles until almost cooked through and drain.
Assemble the rest of your ingredients, and fire your largest pan up to medium-high – this will go quick.
Add the oil and heat to shimmering. Toss in the mushrooms and TVP if you’re using, and let cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms get a bit of color.
Sprinkle liberally with garlic powder, add a Tablespoon of Hoisin (or your other sauces), and a Tablespoon of vinegar.
Add the noodles and butter analog and toss quickly to combine.
This is another recipe that started off as a suggestion from an article on nutritionist’s favorite grab-n-go items at Trader Joe’s.
As the last recipe, 100% sure this doesn’t taste like TJ’s, but it’s good. Surprisingly good. I completely forgot that tofu makes a super easy and tasty scramble – but it does. And doesn’t stink like wet dog.
A note on this one: I loved it; DH did not. He gave it the good old college try, but made the ick face. Possibly at the black olives. I personally, if I were making this just for myself, would have doubled the olive amount. But I love black olives.
Sauté the garlic, onion and pepper in the neutral oil over medium heat until softened.
Add the crumbled tofu, black olives, frozen corn and spices. Sauté until the mixture looks cooked and is well combined.
Carefully wrap filling in corn tortillas, flipping seam side down so they hopefully don’t burst apart – my dish held 6 comfortably, and I had a little leftover innards, which I sprinkled down the side. I *also* had at least 2 that completely came apart, but that’s neither here nor there.
Coat your hopefully not-disaster in a nice concealing layer of enchilada sauce. I dumped the jar out and then kinda smoothed the sauce out as much as possible.
Bake 20 minutes or until your desired brownness is achieved.
This recipe came out of missing the goodness that is Trader Joe’s grab-n-go food. DH stumbled upon a roundup of the top go-tos for nutritionists somewhere on the Internets, and thought a few of the dishes sounded great – too bad we don’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby.
I was sure I could create something that tasted at least good from the description. Probably isn’t what their version tastes like, but good nonetheless. We also didn’t know at the time, but we have been sorely missing Cuban food. Semi-passable Mexican is hard enough to find here; Cuban is impossible.
This recipe also uses cocktails in place of the bitter or sour orange featured heavily in Cuban meat marinades – I think it worked out pretty well, but were I to make this again, I’d maybe slip a teaspoon or two in after cooking to add a little bitter punch to the dish. I don’t think it would taste *quite* the same, but it will at least give that element that’s present in my favorite Cuban dishes. If you have access to mojo sauce, that would also be fantastic sprinkled over top.
gluten-free, can easily be made paleo with substitutions
Cuban Style Citrus Garlic Bowl
For the chicken:
1 roasting or stewing chicken
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small white onion, chopped
1 bell pepper – any color, chopped
4 ounce can puréed tomatoes
2 teaspoons salt
Generous sprinkle black pepper
3-4 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Juice & zest of 1 orange
1 Tablespoon orange cocktail bitters + more if desired
1.5 cups nice broth
1.5 cups water
1.5 teaspoons your favorite stock starter powder (you want about 3 cups of liquid – I had some nice mixed meats bone broth and use chicken-free chicken bouillon starter powder to make my quick-n-dirty stocks)
For the bowl base:
1 cup long grain rice (or cauli rice if you’re paleo)
1 cup reserved stock from the (cooked) chicken
1 cup water
Generous pinch salt
1 Tablespoon ghee or butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small white onion, diced (reserve 2 Tablespoons)
1 bell pepper of any color, diced (reserve 2 Tablespoons)
Your favorite hot sauce (ours came from the Hot Ones sampler pack we got for Christmas – Hot Ones, if you’ve never heard of it is not only a hilarious YouTube channel filled with celebrities eating ridiculously hot wings, but is also a fun way to play wing roulette at home )
First, dump all the chicken ingredients in your electric cooker or stew pot. I cooked mine for 1 hour on the “meat” setting of my electric cooker. Your mileage may vary.
When the chicken is cooked through and falling off the bone, remove from the cooker and set to cool.
Add the rice ingredients to your cooker (swiping a cup of that yummy chicken liquid you just emptied out of the pot). Set your rice to cook. I left mine in the pot on the warming setting for awhile (half an hour-ish) after it finished, and the bottom browned and crisped a bit – y-u-m.
While the rice is cooking, sauté your diced pepper and onion in 1 teaspoon neutral oil. Season with cumin, chicken bouillon, salt and pepper. Remove when softened and starting to brown. Wipe the pan.
To your wiped pan, add enough neutral oil to cover the bottom. Set over medium-high. Quickly slice the plantains into half inch thick rounds while the oil heats to shimmering.
Add the plantains one at a time (carefully so you don’t splatter oil on yourself) so they are flat and not crowded in the pan (I did mine in two batches). Once they are all nestled in the pan, flip, starting with the first. Let brown and remove to a few paper towels folded in on themselves a few times. Sprinkle immediately with coarse salt.
Repeat with your second batch, remove and salt.
Heat your black beans if using.
To serve, use the rice (or rice analog) as a base, add the chicken and accents and sprinkle with the toppers. Add some hot sauce if desired.
Serves 4 (the rice and accents) and more (the chicken)
Why Mexican Flag? Something about the green, white and red just makes me happy with this recipe. I had also forgotten how much I actually enjoy frozen corn kernels, so this was a great opportunity to indulge in a bunch of that.
I also served this mixture as a topper for some pearl barley a few nights later, and it was also awesome. This would make a great topper for pastas or roasted potatoes for a crowd if you want to stretch the ingredients.
gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan
Mexican Flag Vegan Tacos
8 oz. sliced mushrooms (I used crimini)
1 small white onion
1-3 red peppers (I used about 1/4 of a cup of long semi-hot peppers), diced
1-3 green peppers, diced (I used about 1/4 of a cup of a mix of hot and semi-hot peppers)
1 c. frozen corn
1/4 c. cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. oregano
2 Tbsp. smokey chipotle seasoning (or your fav. taco mix)
2 tsp. cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lime
Raw breakfast radishes, chopped fine
Cherry tomatoes, at least halved
Your favorite tortillas
In your largest pan, heat 2 Tbsp. oil over medium high until shimmering. Add the corn and mushrooms and sauté until the corn defrosts and mushrooms start to look like they may cook.
Add all but 2 Tbsp. of the onion and the garlic and sauté until the mushrooms give off a bunch of liquid.
Add all but 1 Tbsp. of each color of the peppers plus the spices and sauté until the peppers are softened.
Taste for seasoning, adding more if necessary.
Kill the heat and mix in the cilantro, lime juice, reserved raw onion and reserved raw peppers.
Serve as tacos as pictured or as a topper for something else. The toppings make enough to serve 4 as a taco, and can stretch further if needed
Yep, it’s the middle of January, and yep, I’m craving green things. This recipe is quick to put together, can be dressed up in a bunch of different ways, and keeps like a champ for leftovers.
gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian
Mushroom Pea Pasta
4 servings of your favorite pasta (I used a standard penne, but my favorite rice fusilli would be great here and chickpea or paleo pastas would also be great – shiritaki would even work, if you’re keto or low carb)
8-12 ounces portobello mushrooms, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
2 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 c. frozen peas
1 c. frozen spinach
500g. protein of choice
Salt & pepper
Nutritional yeast (optional but adds a bit of a cheesy taste)
Set your pasta water (generously salted) to boil. Add the pasta and cook according to directions. Drain and set aside in a large bowl if ready before the rest of your ingredients.
While the pasta is working, brown your protein in a bit of neutral oil – season with salt and pepper and set aside in the large bowl.
To the pan, add your chopped mushrooms, 2 tsp. neutral oil and 2 tsp. butter. Sauté until the mushrooms are cooked through and a bit browned. Season with 1 Tbsp. garlic powder, 1 Tbsp. onion powder, salt & pepper.
While the mushrooms are going, defrost your peas & spinach.
Chop your herbs and avocado – chuck into the big bowl.
When the mushrooms are ready, add to the big bowl.
Add the peas & 1 tsp. neutral oil to the pan. Sauté until just beginning to brown. Add the spinach. Season with 1 Tbsp. garlic powder, 1 Tbsp. onion powder, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, salt & pepper. Sauté until the spinach is cooked through and the water has evaporated.
Add the green veg to the bowl.
Brown 2 Tbsp. butter in the pan and pour over the top of the pasta and veggies. Toss with 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast.
Serve topped with more nutritional yeast if desired.
Yes, another hash. Don’t @ me; I’ve got a deep and abiding love for hash.
This version takes a “safer” route than I usually take to cook the potatoes to unburnt perfection. I also upped the fat content because I was working with a cast iron skillet, and I have not yet gotten the full hang of using it without stickage.
gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, Whole30 (sub the oil for W30 or strict paleo)
A Nice Herbed Hash Base
1 lb. small potatoes (I used a mix of purple, white and red)
1/2 lb. green beans
Sun dried tomato oil (or roasted red pepper oil – or, regular oil with a bit of either mixed in would also be great)
Citrus salt (I made mine and used this recipe as a starting point. Unfortunately, I didn’t post the recipe here. Mine has cracked peppercorns, rosemary and oregano mixed in and I believe the citrus mix is lemon + orange)
2 -3 cloves garlic
4 Tbsp. mixed fresh rosemary and dill – more if you want it even herbier
Some nice finishing salt (I used Maldon flake salt)
Maybe a splash of red wine vinegar at the end to punch up the flavors and cut through the richness (I added a dash upon reheating leftovers and it was fantastic)
Chop your potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes. Parboil in a large pot of salted water about 5 minutes or until tender but not falling apart. Drain.
While the potatoes are working, tip and chop the green beans into bite sized pieces.
Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a large pan over medium-high until shimmering.
Add the potatoes, sprinkle with your citrus seasoning, and sauté 2-3 minutes or until just beginning to get some color.
Add the green beans & some pepper and sauté an additional 3 – 5 minutes or until nicely browned.
While the hash is working, mince the garlic and chop the herbs.
Add the garlic & herbs to the pan and stir to combine. Let cook a few minutes to meld. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.
Finish with a sprinkle of good salt and/or a splash of vinegar.
I served with some vegan cashew curry sausages for dinner the first night and with a sausage, a little leftover seared red pepper + a fried egg the second. Both ways were yum.
Serves 2 for dinner & 1 for lunch if your portions are small (at least small to me; if you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know I love a healthy portion)
This recipe is 100% inspired by one of my good friends & a master of all things philosophical, @Heidi. (It’s a NF forum thing)
I love her no-fuss approach to food and how she seeks meaning in what she uses to fuel her body.
This recipe is an interpretation of the flavor combinations she mentioned in a daily update post (I haven’t mentioned my fitness community lately, but if you’re looking for a great group of people to help give you a nudge going into 2021, check Nerd Fitness out).
I think we all need a little more @Heidi in our lives. For more reasons than that – hellooooo, badass.
Roasted Squash & Barley Pilaf
1 cup Pearl barley (buckwheat groats would be a good gluten-free sub)
1 cup good stock
1 cup water
Big pinch salt
Good olive oil
1 sprig rosemary
1/2 butternut squash
500g baby spinach
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
Big hand full smoked almonds
Cook your barley with the stock, water and a generous pinch salt in a rice cooker or according to package directions.
Preheat your oven to 375F/200C. Prepare a baking sheet with a silicone mat or baking paper.
While the barley is working, peel your butternut, seed, and chop into roughly 1/2 inch cubes. Spread out on the prepared baking sheet, sprinkle liberally with neutral oil, salt, pepper and curry powder. Toss to combine. Bake 30-40 minutes or until nicely browned.
While those are going, set a medium pan over medium/medium-high heat. Spritz a couple of times with garlic oil. Rough chop a large shallot and add to the pan. Sautee until beginning to brown. Add some salt & pepper + the nutmeg and the spinach. Toss and cook until beginning to wilt.
When the barley is done, add the red wine vinegar, a finely chopped sprig of Rosemary (about 1Tbsp.), 1 tsp. oregano, and a couple glugs good olive oil. Stir to combine and gently fold in the squash & spinach.
Rough chop the almonds and use for garnish.
If you’ve got figs or pomegranate seeds (or both!) they would make fantastic additions. Finishing salt would also not go amiss.
Subsequent reheats are great with a fresh splash of vinegar and a touch extra fat to bring everything together. A shake of chili would also work well.
I know … Vegemite (and it’s British cousin, Marmite, are weird.
But … they’re good. Especially when paired with a little fat. I’ve had a little smeared on toast with some butter (sometimes with a little apple butter), on a burger with some bacon (freakin delicious), on toast with cheddar cheese (also yum), and now tossed with chicken – surprisingly good.
I’m curious to taste it with apple pie and macaroni & cheese. Stay tuned for that one; I have plans to revamp one of my old Mac & cheese recipes to include it. I have a feeling it will be fantastic. EDIT: Happy to report that in a test run of both that beloved recipe + a dash of Vegemite was fantastic. Still needs either a dollop more, or more salt …
This dish is really good. It doesn’t scream Vegemite – more like really good chicken. Not sure exactly how to describe the taste. Vegemite tastes salty, kinda yeasty, and kinda like miso. This chicken doesn’t really taste like that – but the chicken ness feels somehow elevated(?)
I don’t know. You tell me. If you try this dish, let me know in the comments what you think it tastes like. I’m curious to see!
gluten-free (check your labels – a gluten free variety of Vegemite is available, made with bakers instead of brewers yeast, paleo if you go for the GF Vegemite
Vegemite Chicken & Rice
1 lb. chicken thighs
1 egg white
1 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. honey
2 tsp. Vegemite (or Marmite, if you lean toward that continent)
1 Tbsp. coconut aminos, soy sauce or tamari
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 c. cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1/2 tsp. white pepper
2 Tbsp. neutral oil
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
Broccolini, cut into bite-sized pieces
Salt & pepper
Preheat your oven to 200C/375F. Prepare a baking sheet with a silicone mat or tinfoil.
In a large bowl, whisk together the chili powder, honey, Vegemite, soy sauce, egg white, neutral oil and sesame oil.
In a shallow dish, combine the baking soda, cornstarch or arrowroot powder and pepper.
Cut the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl with the wet ingredients. Toss to combine.
Take small batches of the sauced chicken and coat with the dry batter. Lay on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake for 10 minutes, add the broccolini drizzled with a little neutral oil and sprinkled with salt & pepper. Bake an additional 10 minutes.