main dishes

At restaurants I am not the person to order the same dish over and over again. Of course there is one exception to this rule: In our town we have a branch of a chain that serves Italian food. They have a couple of vegan options and still every time we visit that place, I order pasta arrabbiata. It is such a minimal dish that is still so tasty! At the restaurant they make it by frying fresh garlic and chilis in hot oil for a couple of seconds before they add the tomato sauce. And that is, in my opinion, the only secret to a good pasta arrabbiata.

For this homemade version I wanted to do something slightly more fancy. I started by using roasted peppers in addition to the tomatoes and I cooked the pasta together with edamame (green soy beans) to add more protein. The pasta was meant to be very fancy, too. I used dischi volanti: flying saucer pasta. But the they turned out to be a little disappointment. Uncooked they looked like really neat flat snail shells. After cooking they fell apart like a failed NASA project. So while the pasta might look not that perfect, the recipe is absolutely delicious. And look at the colours! I swear this pasta dish will make your grey winter day. Also, isn’t hot food the best remedy whenever you feel cold?

Protein Packed Pasta Arrabbiata

The chilis I used were habaneros and Bolivian rainbow chili peppers. The second is quite an amazing pepper! It comes in different colours with a range from yellow-white over bright red to purple! And since it’s not very easy to find different peppers in Germany where we usually have to settle for one variety called pepperoni, I grab every chili variety I can spot and freeze it. I am a secret chili hoarder.

Protein Packed Pasta Arrabbiata

Protein Packed Pasta Arrabbiata

2 Servings


1 large red bell pepper
200 g (7.14 oz) cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
minced chili peppers to taste
salt and pepper
120 g (4.28 oz) dischi volanti or elbow macaroni
200 g (7.14 oz) frozen, shelled edamame


Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).

Half the bell pepper and remove stem and seeds.

Place on a baking sheet (cut side down) lined with parchment paper and roast for 20 minutes, or until the skin starts to brown.

Transfer to a bowl and cover with a plate.

Let cool completely.

Peel off the skin and place the peppers in a blender.

Add tomatoes and purée.

Heat oil in a pan and fry garlic and tomato for about a minute. Make sure the garlic doesn't start to brown.

Add puréed peppers and tomatoes.

Cook for 2-3 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper.

Set aside.

In a large pot, bring 2-3 litres of salt water to a boil.

Add pasta and edamame and cook according to pasta package directions.

Drain the pasta and mix with the sauce.

Serve immediately.





Hey, soon it’s that time of the year again! The Vegan Month of Food is coming to you in November. And although I thought last year was my last MoFo, turns out it’s not. And here’s a little preview to what we’re gonna do on Seitan Is My Motor.

Vegan MoFo originated in the US as did vegan blogging. In my opinion, MoFo very US-centered but every year lots of international bloggers, especially from Europe, are participating, too. Whenever I took part I always wanted my Vegan Month of Food to be about German cooking. And since the thing I can do best is cakes (or that’s what I like to think) I would concentrate my efforts on cakes. This year, I cannot do that. Baking can be super time consuming and even I, the sugar advocate, can only have so much sugar in a day. And a Vegan MoFo sugar high is too much, even for me.

I am almost working full-time now and I have a family. In the last two or three years I tried to still take part in Vegan MoFo full time and failed. This was mostly because I still did try to take the best photos I could and would write all of my posts in two languages. While working and trying to spend time with my family. And of course that didn’t go so well. So this year I am planning to do a part time MoFo, which means I am going to publish new content every second or third day during the month of November.

Since last year’s MoFo my life has changed a lot. I was a very trial and error kind of year. I wasn’t really sure in which direction I wanted to go, tried a couple of things, failed a few times and often felt really miserable. Now I finally have a job I really like. And it has to do with food, or more specifically with organic and often local food. It also has to do with trying to consume things in a more sustainable way. It’s great I get to think about these things at work now. It’s great I have co-workers I can discuss these things with and it has given me a lot to think about, especially when it comes to veganism and the way I as a vegan consume products. (A topic I have already discussed here.)

Mushroom Bolognese for Vegan MoFo #vgnmf16

So this years theme will be about German cooking again. But in a more general way. I am calling it Warming Winter Meals. I want to focus on colourful local vegetables and mostly local ingredients. Or on stuff that is new to me and I’ve always wanted to try. I am planning to use many ingredients, which are often used in traditional German cooking, too. Most of those ingredients aren’t that spectacular, because you probably use them too: Buckwheat, flax, oats, and kale are examples. But other ingredients may be very new to you like sea buckthorn, yellow wheat flour, or black pearl amaranth. Some of these foods aren’t really a German thing. Rather they are a result of diverse organic farming. (That black amaranth is grown in Austria, for example.) Some of them are trend foods, a result of the super food theme that is going on lately (like aronia berries or tiger nuts). To sum things up: I am trying to develop new recipes with traditional ingredients and traditional recipes with new ingredients.This is going to be fun and I hope you like the idea!

Mushroom Bolognese for Vegan MoFo #vgnmf16

Since MoFo is in November, I want to make my food as colourful as possible. If you have ever been to Germany in November, you will know exactly what I mean. It is the most depressing time of the year ever. It is dark and cold, often rainy and foggy. It’s the time where almost everyone wishes they lived on a sunny island somewhere in Southern Europe. Or at least anywhere where you can see the sun once in a while. But because we cannot have that, we can try our best to make warm and colourful food that will chear us up. And I hope I will have lots of that!

Like this mushroom bolognese I made a while back with local tomatoes. Tomato season is mostly over here now, I admit that. But this dish makes such a great contrast to the terrible grey sky I see when I look out of my window. And it makes me remember and savour all those great summer flavours. This year it seems that November has come very early.

Mushroom Bolognese for Vegan MoFo #vgnmf16

Mushroom Bolognese

2-3 servings


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium sized carrot, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 onion, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
120 ml vegetable broth
400 g button mushrooms, minced in a food processor
2 tablespoons tomato paste
200 ml dry red wine
300 g chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
2 teaspoons sweet Hungarian paprika powder
1 teaspoon agave nectar (or sugar)
1 teasoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon cashew butter
salt and pepper to taste
fresh basil or parsley for serving


Place olive oil in a large pan and heat the oil over medium heat.

Add carrot, celery, pepper, onion, garlic and coriander seeds.

Fry for five minutes.

Add vegetable broth, mushrooms, tomato paste, wine, tomatoes, paprika, agave nectar, and soy sauce.

Season with salt and pepper and let simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in cashew butter and serve with maccheroni or spaghetti and fresh herbs.




Although we are still enjoying some unusually hot days, autumn produce has been entering the stores, especially pumpkins and squashes. (Which we also call pumpkins in German. I neer know what’s what in English.) Every year I discover a new variety. And even though there is no need for hot soup yet, I bought a pumpkin (or squash, or whatever…). The pattypan squash is called pâtisson or bischofsmütze (bishop’s head) over here and I think I have never seen a white one before. I kind of assumed that at least it’s flesh would be orange, but it wasn’t. Kind of disappointing because I wanted the colour to match some fresh chanterelles I had bought.

marinated pâtisson (patty pan squash)


I had imagined them both together on an autumnly flammkuchen or tarte flambée. (Read more on flammkuchen in the post I just linked.) The squash was easy to cut and tasted like a mix of cucumber and zucchini, which meant it tasted like nothing. But there was a solution to this problem. I recently had ordered a couple of new spices: chile powders, ras al-hanout, and Spanish Pimentón de la Vera (smoked paprika). All of those powders had bright red or dark brown colours, which I used to give the squash a makeover both in appearance and flavour.



I marinated the squash for on hour. (But you could do it over night, too.) I didn’t think of putting the chanterelles in there as well, which might have been a good idea after all. Putting those mushrooms on my flammkuchen in the first place was an idea I got from Stephanie. On Instagram I had asked for tips on how to prepare chanterelles. I have never had much luck with preparing anything but button mushrooms. Stephanie’s idea to put them on a crust together with crème fraîche and a couple of other vegetables sounded perfect. For my crème fraîche I used two cubes of preserved or fermented bean curd. It looks like this and you can buy it in Asian grocery stores. If you cannot find it though, don’t worry. The recipe will work just fine without the fermented tofu.

I like that this recipe has a couple of uncommon ingredients. I really, really needed some new inspiration. But it seems that using unusual ingredients or time-consuming preparation methods seems to go against every food-blogging trend right now. And I guess that is exactly why I am doing it. It’s not that I have a boatload of free time on my hands, but once or twice I really want to cook in an elaborate way and wander off the popular paths. (By the way, if you want to learn a bit more about me and my view on cooking, hop over to Erin’s blog Olives For Dinner. She’s one of my favourite blogger and her cooking style is so unique and inspiring that I felt super honoured when she included me in her new interview column that is called Why I Cook. And there’s a billboard-sized picture of me, too. I am amazed the internet didn’t break.)

For the dough (which is made without any kind of leavener and has to be rolled out very thinly) I used a special kind of German flour. It is called type 1050 flour and can be described as a mix of regular flour and whole wheat flour. It is a bread flour that is milled in a way that not all bran and wheat germ is removed. It also has more gluten than regular German flour. I like to use this flour for pizzas and other things that need to be rolled out thinly ans the dough is very strong and flexible. Of course you probably won’t be able to find this flour outside of Germany and I assume you can use regular bread flour as a substitute.

tarte flambée with squash and chanterelles

Flammkuchen (Tarte Flambée) with Squash and Chanterelles


For the marinated pâtisson squash
1 teaspoon ras al-hanout
1 teaspoon pimentón de la vera dulce (sweet smoked paprika)
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cold pressed rapeseed oil (or other)
2 tablespoons water
salt to taste
For the crust
250 g (2 cups) type 1050 wheat flour (substitute bread- or all-purpose flour)
4 g (1 leveled teaspoon) salt
1 tablespoon unsweetened soy yoghurt
1 tablespoon oil
120 ml (1/2 cup) water
For the crème fraîche
250 g (1 cup) unsweetened soy yoghurt
2 cubes fermented bean curd (optional)
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt or more, to taste
pepper to taste
chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and halved
small cherry tomatoes, whole or halved
salt and pepper


To marinate the squash, cut the pâtisson in quarters and slice one quarter very thinly. (Use the remaining squash for other purposes.)

Combine all ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and add the squash.

Stir to combine and let rest for an hour.

Meanwhile prepare the dough.

Combine flour and salt.

Add remaining ingredients and knead until the dough is firm and elastic, about 10 minutes.

Cover and let the dough rest for 30 minutes, or refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the crème fraîche, blend all ingredients in a blender.

To make the flammkuchen, place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat the oven to 250°C (480°F).

Divide the dough into four equally sized pieces and place each piece on a sheet of parchment paper.

Roll out as thin as possible. Let the dough rest and relax for a minute or two from time to time, so that rolling is easier.

Thinly spread with crème fraîche and top with vegetables and marinated squash.

Season with salt and pepper.

Carefully remove the hot baking sheet from the oven and slide the sheet of parchment paper with the flammkuchen on the baking sheet.

Bake for about 8-10 minutes or until the edges are crispy.

Repeat with the other three pieces of dough and serve immediately.







If you ever thought that kohlrabi is a weird word and maybe switched on your computer to look it up, Wikipedia will have told you that it is a German word. (It’s not really. Kohlrabi is a composite derived from two Latin nouns. The first part has a lot in common with the name of a vegetable that has been super popular recently: Cauliflower. The German word kohl is derived from Latin caulis meaning – of course – cabbage.)

If you’d had asked me as a child I would have told you that the first part is German and the second part is silly. Rabi? What does that mean? Well, Wikipedia already told you that rabi is Swiss German and means turnip. The standard German word for rabi is rübe. But a kohlrübe is not the same as kohlrabi. Or at least that’s what I always thought. To be honest until recently I had no idea what a kohlrübe is. Apparently it a vegetable we Northern Germans call Steckrübe (rutabaga.) Some others call kohlrabi kohlrübe. So there.

The only thing this tells you is that many things can be called rübe in German (even your head) and that rüben (correct plural form) must have been an important part of the German diet. Otherwise why would we call every second vegetable rübe? Except for carrots, I have a complicated relationship with all those rüben. As a kid I never cared for the rutabaga soup my grandmother used to make. And I only ever ate raw kohlrabi. I hated the cooked version. Or that’s what I used to think.

It turns out I love cooked kohlrabi. What I hate is the German way of preparing it. It’s usually cooked in salted water and naked like that it’s added as a side dish to potatoes and meat. That doesn’t sound too good, right? It’s really amazing how uncreative people get with vegetables when their diet is mostly meat based.

I sometimes wish my family had been more creative with food. But I also have to admit that their approach didn’t do me much harm. I tried a lot of different things later and today I still experiment a lot. Which makes me finally love kohlrabi!

Curry is the perfect way to make everything taste amazing. And this one is quick, too. It makes a great lunch or dinner when you are pressed for time. I used both fresh and ground turmeric because I had them on hand. If you have only the ground version, that’s fine. I recently started to make my own coconut yoghurt and that’s is why the recipe calls for it. Of course you can use coconut milk and a splash of lemon juice instead.

kohlrabi curry #vegan #glutenfree #vegetables #cooking #kohlrabi

Kohlrabi Curry

25 minutes

makes 2 servings


1000 g (2 large bulbs) kohlrabi
1 red onion, cut into crescents
1 teaspoon whole cumin
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cm fresh ginger, grated
1 knob fresh turmeric, grated (or 1 teaspoon ground)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon sweet paprika or cayenne pepper
120 ml (1/2 cup) coconut yoghurt


Peel the kohlrabi bulbs, cut them in half, slice into disks, and then cut into bite sized pieces.

Heat oil in a large cast iron pan.

Add onion and cumin and fry for 5 minutes or until the onion is lightly browned.

Add Kohlrabi and fry for another 5 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Add garlic, ginger, turmeric and remaining spices and stir well.

Pour in coconut yoghurt.

Cover the pan with a lid and cook for another 10 minutes or until the kohlrabi is tender.

kohlrabi curry #vegan #glutenfree #vegetables #cooking #kohlrabi