Written by

October 1, 2021


A healthier lifestyle is always a sought-after venture but when it comes to creating a balanced diet, it can take a bit of elbow grease before we find those delicious substitutes to make the journey that bit easier…

Luckily for you, we’ve done some of the hard work already! We’ve put together a list of some incredible meat-free options that work as great substitutions or additions to your diet.

Three, fuss-free, fantastic recipes that are easy to adapt to each season and steeped in the rich cultural history of their origin.

Ethiopia – Yataklete Kilkil by Immaculate Bites

This gem of a recipe combines chunky potatoes, green beans and carrots together in a hearty tomato stew. Healthy, delicious, and easy to make, Yataklete is an Ethiopian favourite!

(Vegan) (Main Dish)

Level: Easy

Serves: 4 people

Total time (preparation and cooking): 45mins

Ingredients:

  • 2 large potatoes peeled and chopped
  • 8 ounces of green beans thawed and defrost
  • 1 cup carrots thawed and defrosted
  • ½ medium onion, sliced
  • ¼ cup or more of canola oil
  • ½ jalapeno pepper deseeded and diced
  • 2 teaspoons minced or granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • ½ teaspoons curry powder or turmeric spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander spice
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon white or black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt plus more (adjust seasoning to taste)
  • 1 8 ounces canned diced tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon chili pepper optional

Method:

  • Add potatoes in a large saucepan, salt and add water just enough to cover potatoes, boil until tender for about 10 minutes or more. Remove and drain water.
  • In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. 
  • Add the onions, give it a minute or two and then stir in all the spices; garlic, jalapeño peppers, ginger, coriander, smoked paprika, curry powder or turmeric spice, white pepper, and chilli pepper. 
  • Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Then add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Add potatoes, green beans and carrots. Season with salt.
  • Continue to simmer for about 10 minutes; stirring frequently, allowing the flavours to blend. If needed, add water to prevent burning.
  • Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve warm.

Sierra Leone – Peanut Stew by Rachel Ama

This gem of a recipe combines chunky potatoes, green beans and carrots together in a hearty tomato stew. Healthy, delicious, and easy to make, Yataklete is an Ethiopian favourite!

(Vegan) (Main Dish)

Level: Easy

Serves: 4 people

Total time (preparation and cooking): 45mins

Ingredients: 

  • 1-2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 500g sweet potatoes peeled and diced
  • 400g tin black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ fresh red Scotch bonnet chilli, deseeded and kept whole (optional)
  • 3 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 125g natural smooth peanut butter
  • 200g spinach chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Handful fresh coriander roughly chopped
  • 2 spring onions finely chopped
  • 1 fresh red chilli deseeded and finely sliced
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

For the paste:

  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves roughly chopped 
  • Thumb-sized piece fresh root ginger peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground fenugreek
  • ½-1 fresh red Scotch bonnet chilli (to taste) deseeded and roughly chopped
  • Pinch of salt

Method:

  • Heat one tablespoon of the peanut oil in a large, heavy based saucepan or shallow frying pan. 
  • Add the paste and sauté over a medium–low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a little more oil if the paste starts to stick to the pan.
  • Add the sweet potatoes, black-eyed peas, Scotch bonnet chilli (if using) and tomato purée and mix to combine. 
  • Pour in the tinned tomatoes and vegetable stock, add the peanut butter, season with salt and pepper and stir in well. 
  • Cover the pan with a lid and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the spinach, leaving it to wilt in the pan for 5 minutes. 
  • To finish, add the lemon juice, coriander, spring onions and sliced chillies and check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed.

Somalia – Luqaimat  (Sweet Dumplings) by Somali Kitchen

There’s nothing more comforting than some hot dough and syrup. A mouthful of doughy goodness from the Somali Kitchen that makes for a great night-in dessert and holds its own as a crowd-pleaser too!

(Vegan, Gluten-Free) (Dessert)

Level: Easy

Serves: 8-10 people

Total time (preparation and cooking): 1 hour

Ingredients: 

Dough

  • 2 cups plain white flour
  • 1 tablespoon dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon yoghurt
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Oil for deep frying

Syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Juice of one lemon (alternatively you can use rose water or ½ teaspoon of ground cardamom to provide flavour)
  • Combine all the ingredients for the syrup in a deep pot and boil until the syrup is sticky. This should take about 5 minutes.  Keep the syrup in a deep bowl ready to insert the Luqaimat  once cooked. If using honey, heat up one cup of honey with a quarter cup of water until the honey is dissolved.

Method:

  • Heat oil in a deep fryer or a deep pan over medium heat. Drop a bit of batter to taste the heat of the oil. If the batter floats up quickly then the heat is right.
  • Using your hands, scoop some batter forming a small ball and drop it gently into the oil. Alternatively, you can use a spoon to scoop the batter. Keep adding batter until the pan is full.
  • Turn the balls constantly to ensure an even brown colour. Remove them from the pan when they are a light golden colour.
  • Drop the balls into the syrup. You can also roll them in sesame seeds for an extra hit of flavour. 
  • If you don’t want to use sugar syrup or honey, dust some icing sugar over the cooked Luqaimat  and enjoy.

We hope you enjoy our selection of tasty recipes! Make sure you tweet us at @IslamicReliefUK with your own versions.

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