Vegan but not tasteless!

If you are wondering “why?”

Check out the previous post (this is the link) and you will understand what madness had fallen on me to have taken up such challenge “Vegan, Organic, Gluten-free and Sugar-free all at once!” and not just for a few days or weeks but for a complete 4 months!!!

So as I was telling you in the previous post, when you take up such a challenge, one that is so outside of your comfort zone, and especially outside of your cooking intellect – we all know that is not the type of food I cook or have all the time – you end up having to figure out what to eat! It was a daily struggle at first “what was I going to eat?” then even if I thought of “what”, the question goes straight to “how” how am I going to make that food taste good? Be satisfying and not feel like a bunch of boiled vegetables, almost tasteless?! This was especially true because I generally do not prefer shallow flavours, in fact I would say my signature style in cooking is creating deep, full and full-bodied flavours. The same was true to my preference even when it came to plant-based (no animal products to aid in the depth of flavour) I still wanted to taste deep, good flavours.

That was not going to have me throw the towel and walk out on this. I was determined, in fact I felt this was an exercise much needed to enhance my cookery skills too. I took it on and I stuck to it, and honestly all it took was two weeks of trials and experimentation (3 meals a day and a few snacks) and I was on it like I was born to cook that way! It was interesting and cooking was not boring or a chore whatsoever, it was a challenge and I loved every bit of it. Best of all, I was really creating deeply flavoured, very satisfying meals, very unlike the ones I have tried based on recipes and descriptions on social networks and the internet, most of which to my amazement turned out rubbish food despite the beautiful pictures and ravings about flavours!

The flavour of this dish is fabulous, especially when you, as instructed in the recipe, use my Smoked Shatta (smoked red chilli sauce). It really gives it that kick and most importantly the depth I was talking about. Also the use of the dark chocolate, fills up the depth of flavour. It is the one ingredient that no chilli should be made without! Really, try it and taste the difference.

The most amazing part about this recipe is that it is quick, easy, fuss-free, whip up in 30 mins (after work, put on the stove then go slip into something comfortable and come back to a ready meal)!! How cool is that (those of us who work know and appreciate that bit, and those of us who are mothers cooking for families everyday know how good this is, and those of us who are free and have all the time in the world: well you don’t really get to complain! 🙂

Ingredients

Serves: 4 Cook Time: 20 mins

400g black beans

4 cloves garlic, minced

2-3 tbsp DS Smoked Shatta

1 KG tomatoes, chopped

50g Dark Chocolate, grated (dark pure chocolate is vegan, cacao is a plant)

1 tbsp DS Premium Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt & black pepper to taste

If you are using dried black beans, soak them in water overnight. The next day, boil the beans until tender, then drain and set aside. Otherwise, if using canned beans, drain them and set aside.

Heat the olive oil and saute the garlic until translucent. Add DS Smoked Shatta and mix with the sauteed garlic then add the beans and mix to coat.

Season with salt and black pepper then add the chopped tomatoes and grated chocolate and mix all well. Bring the mixture to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

Serve with rice, pasta, baked potatoes or corn tortillas or taco shells if you like (I always like to have this with wild rice). Also best served alongside tomato Salsa, and guacamole.

You might think: “Wait a minute chocolate has milk and is not vegan!” yes generally it does when processed and more so in low percentages. But nowadays you can buy vegan chocolate from most stores (but that will be sweetened, make sure to check that part out) and here is a tip for you:

100% dark chocolate is purely cacao. It is bitter yes, but it is pure cacao and that is vegan (cacao is a plant). Remember we are sugar-free here so opt for 100% dark chocolate. If that is nowhere to be found, just use 100% cacao powder (not the drink mixes! the pure cacao).

TIPS

 

Let’s chat 

Have you been looking at gorgeous food pics on social lately? (you have, we all do that) but have you craved the descriptions, only to try the recipe and find it tasteless? Really I would love to know if you have had such experiences, or if I am just fussy! Share with me and allow my mind to be at rest knowing am not alone!!

“If it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you” I love this quote

 

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