Category

Plantbased Recipes

It was the year 2010, my grandpa, my sister and I were sitting at sidewalk cafe in Singapore and I spotted the words passion and fruit on the menu. I am certain that we like food upon tasting or smelling it but that day, it was love from the first sight, the sight of the passionfruit on the smoothies menu. I had never tried passionfruit before but since then, it has held a special place in my heart. Or shall I say, gut?

Okay, my love song is over and now I’ll share with you how I eat/drink my passionfruit.

Mango x Passionfruit

For every mango, I add 1-2 passionfruit. To make a smoothie, I add mango and passionfruit to one cup of filtered water and blend. For a smoothie bowl, I half the water.

Top tip: add chia seeds for an extra nutritional boost.

Watermelon x Passionfruit

For every quarter of large watermelon, I add 2-3 passionfruit. I usually deseed my watermelon, blend it with one or two passionfruit, pour into a glass and then top with one passionfruit.

Where do I get passionfruit, you ask? Sunny and Seoudi supermarkets have imported passionfruit but recently Gourmet started stocking a local variety.

There you have it, I embraced the minimalist in me and avoided an unnecessary serenade for a fruit.

Lots of love,

Amira

One of the questions I’m constantly asked about my diet is how expensive it is. Today, I’ll address this question by breaking down what I eat, how and where I buy it and more.

Let me begin by saying that there are 3 main things that raise the $$ of food:

  • Eating out frequently and eating processed foods
  • Splurging on superfoods
  • Eating all organic

I don’t think anything is wrong with either of those habits but we all have different reasons on why we would prefer to spend less. For some people, it is not an option, they just really cannot afford it. But most people claim that it’s not affordable to them while it really is.

Here’s how I eat wholesome vegan food without breaking the bank.

Pick your produce one vegetable at a time

I personally prefer to go to the farmers market and pick my vegetables. I pick food that is rich in color, for example, if I’m buying tomatoes, I’ll pick the reddest, most plump ones. Shopping that way means that most of the food I get is package-free and that I don’t end up with any bad produce. Less bad produce means less waste. Less waste means spending less money on food. If you can spend less money on food by adopting this technique then you can spend the same amount of money on organic produce (no waste) and non-organic (with lots of waste).

Since I eat 60% fresh vegetables, this accounts for the bigger chunk of my food budget.

Top tip: at my favorite market, the one at Nun Center, I start at Sara’s Organic Food and My Kitchen Garden, because most items are not packaged. I then make my way to Makar, Thai Farms and Tabi3y to buy whatever I couldn’t find at the first two vendors.

Grow your own

I don’t think I know of an easier crop to grow than arugula and its one of the healthiest. Most vegetables and herbs are extremely easy to grow and many can grow in pots. I would recommend you start with mint and arugula. Then add zucchini, eggplant and romaine lettuce. Tomatoes need a bit more work. Root vegetables need a bit more experience. Basil, oregano, rosemary and most herbs can grow in small pots. If you have a garden, I highly recommend investing in a mulberry tree. They grow very fast and produce insane amounts of fruit. Lemon trees, and citrus in general, are invaluable, especially since we use lemons every day.

There are endless resources online on how to grow your own food. I think this is a skill we should be taught in school but even if we’re not, it’s very easy to learn online and from experience. On the short run, it saves a lot of money. On the long run, it saves your life.

Buy local grains, buy nuts, seeds and legumes in bulk

We buy ridiculous amounts of brown rice and quinoa, which we can’t find unpackaged or in bulk, unfortunately. But we do buy the ones produced locally. I honestly cannot find a difference in quality that justifies the price difference or the extra CO2 emissions.

As for nuts, seeds and legumes, we buy those in bulk. It is definitely much cheaper to buy from the attar 2 kilos of whole flax seeds then to buy them packaged at a supermarket. Same goes for dried legumes and pulses. Why buy a can of chickpeas with added salt and sugar and packaged in a can while you can buy them dried, in bulk, for much cheaper?

Grains, nuts, seeds and legumes account for about 25% of my diet.

DIY everything

We make our own nut milks, we cook our own legumes and pulses, as previously mentioned and I even tried making tofu. Here’s the thing about making your own food from scratch, it’s a relationship. It’s a give and take. It’s an exchange. You give your food love and in return, it gives you a lot more than energy, it becomes supercharged with good stuff and nourishes you from within. Now, that’s not exactly science so you don’t have to believe me but you can try it for yourself.

I understand that it is time-consuming, I can’t pretend like it’s not. But being organized is key here. For example, I soak my chickpeas overnight and then boil them in the morning while I’m practicing yoga or even if I’m working from home. If you can’t do that, try switching this out by soaking the chickpeas before you leave to work and then boiling them as soon as you’re home, as you shower or make dinner or watch a movie. The point here is that it works, it’s cheaper, it’s healthier and it’s over all kinder to you, your wallet and the environment.

Avoid processed foods

The number one reason I try to avoid packaged food is because they’re mostly processed with palm oil, an ingredient I avoid at all costs. This isn’t one of the items I allow myself every once in a while, or anything of that sort. It is not a joke. Palm oil is an environmental disaster to produce and I will never, knowingly, pay for that.

Back in the day, I used to walk into a supermarket and buy snacks for hundreds of pounds. This wasn’t a daily habit but it really adds up. This habit is now replaced with splurging on artisanal vegan foods or sweeteners; items like maple syrup or matcha tea.

Splurge smart

Now, believe me when I say I splurge big time. But I’m also extremely smart about it so here are some examples.

I love berries, but why buy fresh if the frozen is riper and is much cheaper? Both are packaged anyway so the best deal is to buy frozen.

I prefer hass avocadoes but they’re only in season for about one month of the entire year. During that month, I eat a ridiculous number of avocadoes. For the rest of the year, I think I eat an avocado once every two weeks. I know that when I buy other varieties, I waste a lot so why bother?

I know that the cleanest brand of coconut milk is available for much cheaper at a small shop in an area I almost never go to. So instead of buying it whenever I need it, I go once and buy a few.

When traveling somewhere I can get a good deal, I allow myself to go all out. For example, I discovered that I can buy a kilo of coconut sugar in Germany for 9 euros. How’s that for a deal?

I also buy maple syrup, agave, coconut sugar and other expensive items but if I also know that consuming lots of those means that I’m not getting enough fresh produce. I now eat pancakes or waffles with maple syrup once or twice a month, which means I go through 150 EGP worth of maple syrup in about 4 months. Now, is that really expensive?

In a way, we’re lucky the vegan industry isn’t thriving yet in Cairo

When I’m in Germany, I buy all sorts of vegan chocolate bars, donuts and pizzas. Because plant-based milk in available everywhere, I have too many cappuccinos. In Cairo, the options are much limited, which means I mostly eat my fresh produce at home. Needless to say, I eat more at home when I’m in Egypt than Germany. And even though vegan food in restaurants in picking up in Cairo, I still make sure I eat out less to benefit from all the points I mentioned before.

I hope this essay answer the question of whether or not a vegan diet is expensive. I would love to hear from you if you have any other opinion on the topic. I’m also very interested in discussing the topic of the real value of food, so stay tuned for that!

 

Much love,

Amira

Where do I begin? crispy, creamy and dreamy. I love crumbles. This bowl is basically two layer; a bottom fruit mix and an upper cinnamon-y and crispy oats granola. I started making this after years of eating the plain old oatmeal and to be honest, I was done with it. After reading Dr. Greger’s “How not to Die” over the summer, I came to understand how important it is to incorporate more antioxidants into my diet. Along with oats, cinnamon, ground flax, chia seeds and almond meal, this recipe checks more than 5 items from his daily dozen.

The best thing is: this is an amazing meal to take out. All you’ll need to do is to pack this in a jar with the coconut milk in the bottom and everything else on top. Close the jar and just shake it to mix everything before eating. There’s also a variation of this recipe on BindubyOhoud where I make this exact recipe but into a parfait; perfect for having guests over.


Print Recipe
Apple Berries Crumble
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
2
Ingredients
For the Granola Topping
For the Fruit Base
Extras
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
2
Ingredients
For the Granola Topping
For the Fruit Base
Extras
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to medium heat.
  2. Peel and de-core the apple and then cut it into small pieces. Place the apple pieces in a pot and cover the bottom with a little bit of water. Cook the apples for about 5 minutes and then add the berries and cook for another 5 minutes.
  3. If you're adding the chia to the fruit, then prepare it by adding a tablespoon of water to the chia in a cup, stir well and set aside. After the fruit cooks and cools down, add the chia mixture and stir well to incorporate.
  4. Mix all the dry ingredients for the granola in a big bowl. Add in the maple syrup or honey and mix everything until the sweetener is evenly distributed and the oats are a bit clumpy. Set aside.
  5. Transfer all the fruit to an oven-safe dish and flatten using a spatula. Top the fruit mixture with the granola and spread evenly. Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes.
  6. Once the granola browns a little bit, remove from the oven and serve immediately in bowls and top with coconut milk.

This recipe first appeared on bindubyohoud on December 12, 2016

During the winter, we all crave something warm. Something earthy and warm. Despite popular belief, tomatoes won’t make you fat, in fact this recipe is nutritionist-approved since tomatoes are only mildly acidifying and are nutritionally dense. I’ve been making this for a year or two and I even have it in the summer sometimes! The best thing about this recipe is that it’s very versatile, some days I’ll skip the garlic and some days I’ll skip the onions. You can change up the seasoning and you can replace the red bell pepper with carrots and celery! I sometimes even skip the olive oil when I’m trying to avoid added fat to my diet on a certain day. Aaaand you can have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Since the typical Cairene home isn’t equipped with heating, here’s a blanket in a bowl for you!

 

 


Print Recipe
Roasted Tomato & Red Bell Pepper Soup
Course Soups
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35-40 minutes
Servings
1-2 people
Course Soups
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35-40 minutes
Servings
1-2 people
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven. I don’t really set the temperature; I turn it on to the maximum setting.
  2. Slice the tomatoes and onions into rings, the red bell pepper into thin slices, and the garlic into halves. Take care not to thinly slice the onions or garlic since they burn very quickly.
  3. Spread everything on an oven tray or Pyrex, drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle the peppers and herbs.
  4. Place the tray in an oven for 30-45 minutes but make sure to check on it every once in a while after the first 20 minutes have passed. The tomatoes would have released their juices at that point so stir the ingredients if they look like they’re drying out and the juice from the tomatoes will prevent sticking.
  5. While everything is roasting in the oven, boil one glass of water (or a bit more in case you like your soup thinner)
  6. When everything is browned and aromatic, take it all out of the oven, dump all the ingredients in a blender along with the boiling water and blend until smooth. I like mine very thick but feel free to add more water if you like yours lighter.
  7. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with balsamic vinegar (optional) and herbs. Serve with bread or crackers, or even better a light green salad!

I was walking in the dark alleys of a random Persian supermarket in Germany… I picked up a bag of black beans and some masala and headed home to make dal. The next morning, I realized that I’d fly back to Cairo before I finish up the beans so I decided to make tacos…

Fast forward, four months later, I still didn’t make those tacos but I made this, over and over again!

This bowl is hearty, easy to make and cheap. Because the ingredients are usually canned, it can be put together in any season and it’s definitely a crowd pleaser so go ahead and try serving it next time you have people over and let me know what they think!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Print Recipe
Plantbased Mexican Bowl
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
1-2 people
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
1-2 people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Cook rice according to package instructions.
  2. Chop the onion and cilantro and set aside.
  3. If using canned beans and corn then drain and rinse them, then set aside to air dry.
  4. After the rice is cooked, let it cool down for a few minutes before stirring in the juice of half a lime, quarter of the chopped onion, the chopped cilantro and the spices. Taste to adjust the spices according to your personal preference.
  5. Once the rice is ready, combine with the corn and beans and serve in a bowl.
  6. For the guacamole, mash half an avocado with the juice of half a lime, the rest of the chopped onion and the same spices. Serve the guacamole on top of the rice, bean and corn mixture, and enjoy!
Recipe Notes

I realize that black beans are not easy to find in Cairo but red kidney beans could work very well in this recipe.

This dish can be served warm or chilled, according to the season and your preference. All you need to do if you want to serve it chilled is to let it cool down to the room temperature and you're good to go!