Eats For World Vegan Day

What drives us as a society to poke fun of a certain group of people who’d only like to see the planet function for the better? Is it jealousy or raw hatred that drives us to ridicule a conscious choice made by others? Yes, they have divided opinion and their unique brand of discourse and diplomacy has incensed millions, but the vegan folk are here to stay. You might scoff at their lifestyle and their eats, too, but there is something to their modus operandi. You’d be pleasantly surprised should you be unconvinced hitherto.

Food, first and foremost is a big part of our social structure. It unites creed and call and it does not divide – unless it’s a hunk of bread in France. Food is also our key source of sustenance in case you weren’t privy to this information and vegans claim that they have found out how to live a long and happy life. There may well be some veracity in their claim because meat, as delicious as it may be, can be packed with a few unhealthy fixings. Before you turn your nose up, however, at the supposed ‘rabbit’ food, try it out, will you.

There is no need to fully convert if you are a meat-eater. Heck, even a meatless Monday would do a world of good from time to time. But before you mock the mock-mayo, the mock-bacon and the mock-mince, try a vegan restaurant or the handful of recipes we have provided you with today. There are tonnes of good eateries around that cater to the vegan market and they tend to welcome others with open arms, too. The Leafy Greens Café in Muldersdrift and Conscious in Greenside, Johannesburg are prime spots to begin this quest of yours.

What we’ll look at today are recipes of what a person traditionally would deem ‘comfort foods’. Naturally we’ll look at recipes with a vegan spin on it. Not only are the following dishes terribly healthy, but they are easy on the eye, too. You’d be astounded as to how attractive a few leaves and carrot shavings can be made to look. For now, though, scoot on over to your hob, have that burner ablaze, your pan ready and this here handy recipe guide at your side on route to a staggering culinary journey.

Cannellini bean and courgette burgers with roasted cashew mayo, pickled beetroot and shaved carrot

Full of zesty flavours, these veggie-packed burgers will delight even the staunchest of carnivores. These cannellini bean and courgette burgers with roasted cashew mayo, pickled beetroot and shaved carrot are irresistible, regardless of diet. If you want to get ahead a little, make your pickled beetroot, burger patties and cashew mayo a day ahead, and simply store in the fridge until you’re ready to serve your burgers. Make an extra batch of the cashew mayo to keep in your fridge (it’ll last about a week) – you’ll want to add it to everything you eat



1 x 400g tin cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

15ml (1 tbsp) vegan green pesto (like Green Mamba Coriander & Jalapeno Pesto – available at

1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed

50g panko breadcrumbs

500g courgettes, finely grated and squeezed to remove excess water

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

olive oil, to fry

1 lemon, halved


3 beetroots

80ml white malt vinegar

50g sugar

1 cinnamon stick

1,25ml (¼ tsp) salt

2,5ml (½ tsp) cumin seeds

2,5ml (½ tsp) coriander seeds

2,5ml (½ tsp) fennel seeds


100g roasted and salted cashews, soaked for 10 minutes in boiling water and water discarded

90ml water

80ml olive oil

15ml (1 tbsp) Dijon mustard

juice of ½ lemon

1 garlic clove, peeled

10ml (2 tsp) white vinegar


3 vegan burger buns, sliced in half and toasted

lettuce leaves

carrot ribbons, tossed in a little olive oil

micro basil leaves


  1. For the burger patties, add all of the ingredients, except the courgettes, seasoning, olive oil and lemon, to a blender. Blitz until smooth, then stir through the grated courgettes. Taste the mixture and season, if needed.
  2. Carefully shape the mixture into 3 large patties the size of your vegan burger buns, compacting the mixture as you go. Place on a lined tray and refrigerate to firm up, at least 30 minutes.
  3. While the burger patties chill, make the pickled beetroot by adding the beetroots to a pot of water. Bring to a boil, about 20 minutes, until the beetroots are tender. Remove from boiling water and rinse under cold water, before scraping off the skins. Slice the beetroots into thin discs.
  4. Combine the remaining pickling ingredients in a small pot and bring the pickling mixture to a boil. Add the beetroot discs and simmer, 5 minutes, before removing from heat. Chill the beetroot discs in the pickling liquid until needed.
  5. For the vegan cashew mayo, combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blitz until a mayonnaise consistency remains. Season to taste and set aside until needed.
  6. Just before serving, heat a little olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and fry the burger patties in batches (handle them gently as they are fairly fragile), 5 minutes per side. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to each vegan burger patty.
  7. To assemble the burgers, spread a generous dollop of cashew mayo over the base of each burger bun. Top with lettuce, a burger patty, pickled beetroot discs, carrot ribbons and micro basil leaves before popping the “lid” on the burger and enjoying.

Buckwheat pasta with vegan puttanesca sauce and chargrilled broccolini

Serves 4 EASY 1 hr



large glug extra-virgin olive oil + 30ml (2 tbsp) + extra, to fry

2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

2,5 – 5ml (½ – 1 tsp) chilli flakes

50g capers, roughly chopped

80g pitted black olives, roughly chopped

2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes

5ml (1 tsp) sugar

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

250g buckwheat spiral pasta

230g broccolini

caperberries, to garnish


  1. Pour a generous glug extra-virgin olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan, and add the chopped garlic and chilli flakes. Cook over medium heat, a few minutes, until the garlic starts to turn a light golden colour.
  2. Add the capers and olives, stir to combine and fry over medium-high heat, a further 3 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, stir and bring to a slow simmer. Season with the sugar, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Simmer, partially covered, about 30 minutes, until the sauce is thick and glossy. Stir in 30ml (2 tbsp) extra-virgin olive oil and keep warm.
  3. Cook the pasta according to packaging instructions.
  4. While the pasta is cooking, heat a little extra-virgin olive oil in a griddle pan and arrange the broccolini in a single layer in the pan. Fry the broccolini until it starts to char (go black) on the cooked side and remove from pan. Repeat these steps with the remaining broccolini.
  5. Drain the pasta and serve it immediately with the sauce, garnished with caperberries, and chargrilled broccolini alongside.

“Pulled pork” shawarmas with vegan tzatziki

Serves 4 – 6 A LITTLE EFFORT 1 hr 30 mins + overnight, to refrigerate (optional)



¼ cup olive oil

1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely grated

¼ tsp ground cloves

½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp dried oregano

2 tbsp tomato paste

¼ cup soya sauce

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 x 580g tins jackfruit, drained and torn into pieces (find at

¼ tsp white pepper

1 tsp chilli powder


1 Mediterranean cucumber/½ English cucumber

2 tbsp chickpea flour

90ml water

80g raw cashews, soaked in water overnight

2 tbsp lemon juice

handful fresh mint leaves, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

¼ tsp white pepper

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

salt, to taste


1 medium beetroot

1 x 410g tin chickpeas, partially drained

2 garlic cloves, peeled

zest and juice of 1 lemon

60g tahini

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp ground cumin

¼ cup olive oil


4 – 6 large flatbreads/pitas

baby lettuce leaves, washed

handful cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 red onion, peeled and finely sliced

2 carrots, peeled and sliced into ribbons


  1. For the “pulled pork”, place the ¼ cup olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Add the peeled and finely chopped red onion and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the 4 peeled and finely grated garlic cloves and fry for another minute. Stir in the ground cloves, ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground cumin and dried oregano. Fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining “pulled pork” ingredients and mix until well combined. Simmer, uncovered, for about 10 – 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Refrigerate overnight to enhance the flavour of the “pulled pork”, if desired.
  2. For the vegan tzatziki, coarsely grate the Mediterranean cucumber/½ English cucumber and squeeze out the excess juice into a small bowl. Reserve both the grated cucumber and the juice. Set aside until needed.
  3. Combine the chickpea flour and water together in a small pot. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring frequently until the mixture turns into a thick paste, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Drain and roughly chop the soaked cashews. Set aside until needed. Place the 2 tbsp lemon juice, reserved cucumber juice, freshly chopped mint leaves and 1 tbsp olive oil in a blender. Pulse until just combined. Add a ¼ of the roughly chopped cashews and blitz until smooth. Add another ¼ of the nuts and blitz. Repeat twice more, blitzing the mixture until smooth. Add the still-warm chickpea-flour paste and blitz until well incorporated. Stir in the 2 peeled and minced garlic cloves, white pepper, apple cider vinegar and grated cucumber. Season with the salt, to taste.
  5. For the beetroot hummus, preheat the oven to 190˚C. Place the beetroot in the centre of a roasting dish and roast in the preheated oven until cooked, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly. Once cool enough to touch, remove the skin, set aside and allow to cool completely. Place in a blender and blitz until smooth. Add the partially drained chickpeas, 2 peeled garlic cloves, lemon zest and juice, tahini, salt and ½ tsp ground cumin, and blitz to combine. Add the ¼ cup olive oil in a slow stream, blitzing continuously until well incorporated.
  6. Before serving, preheat the oven to 200˚C. Spread the “pulled pork” in a roasting dish and roast in the preheated oven for 10 – 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  7. To assemble, spread the beetroot hummus in the centre of each flatbread/pita. Top with the “pulled pork”, baby lettuce leaves, quartered cherry tomatoes, peeled and finely sliced red onion and carrot ribbons. Fold the sides of each flatbread/pita to cover the filling and secure the fold in place with a toothpick/mini skewer. Serve the “pulled pork” shawarmas with the vegan tzatziki alongside.


For More vegan recipes, visit our sister publication Food & Home’s website



Robert is a descendant of the stout Macpherson Clan out of the Scottish Highlands and can claim Robert the Bruce as a far-off cousin. He suffers from a severe form of Collectors’ Disease and sports an assortment of small valuable curious. In his spare time he works a full-time job, but his real prowess lies within his musical aptitude as a drummer. He is a semi-amateur of the instrument and although he claims beating a drumhead one of the more primal sensations man can experience, he feels it to be an unnatural exercise to pursue. If he could have his way, he’d have breakfast every meal of the day and is a fan of all things Roald Dahl.