side dishes

مناقيش manaqeesh (topped flatbread)

I live in a city that is used to homogeneity, not multiculturalism. In the last year though this town has been forced to welcome more and more people from other countries. I consider this a huge enrichment. It’s interesting to hear what these people have to tell us about their lives, their home countries, their home cities, and their food. But sometimes they don’t want to talk about what they’ve left behind. So food is the safest topic. The people I’ve met so far are very proud of their traditional dishes and they love to share their recipes. With their help I have learned quite a lot about Arabic cuisine. And I have been gifted ingredients.

Shame on me, ramps season is almost over again, isn’t it? I’m still pretty sad about the fact that I am not living next to that small forest in Göttingen, a small university town in Lower Saxony, anymore. Every spring there was an amazing garlic smell which would lead you directly to a giant ramps carpet. We could pick several bunches and there would still be much more left than anybody could wish for. And I knew exactly when ramps season started and when it ended. These days are over and whenever I see ramps now, it’s in a store. Although you can still pick them if you know the right place, they have also turned into a fancy herb you can buy at organic foods stores for way too much money and in way too small packages. Fortunately I have a wonderful neighbour who’s growing ramps and other herbs in her garden. She just gifted me with a huge bunch of both ramps and chives. If you’re not familiar with ramps (ramsons, wild leek, wild garlic), they have a similarily sharp taste as chives, but mostly they do taste like young garlic. It’s very easy to turn ramps into pesti or sauces. They will make every dish very aromatic and special only by adding a ridiculous amount of flavour. I had several pictures of our fantastic ramps pesto pizza topped with only grilled asparagus. I had to make those pictures fast, hungry people were waiting for me and of course not a single picture had turned out. So I wanted to redo the pesto and take some more pictures. But then I changed my mind and made a chimichurri sauce instead. (I’ll post the pesto recipe at the end of this entry, too.)

Chimichurri is great for tofu, tempeh, or even seitan. But when I made the sauce it turned out I had been too quick with my meal planning. We had no tofu, no tempeh, no seitan. But a head of cauliflower! So here’s a recipe for a wonderful caulflower chimichurri that you can serve over some cooked grains or legumes. It’s also a great addition to a brunch table or a buffet. If you don’t have ramps on hand, you can make this with all kinds of herbs, especially fresh parsley, or use chives and scallions.

cauliflower and ramps chimichurri |


Ramps Cauliflower Chimichurri


1 small head cauliflower (300 - 400 g)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
50 g (2 oz) fresh ramps, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, optional
1/2 jalapeño or red chili pepper, chopped
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder or smoked paprika
salt to taste


Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut the cauliflower into florets about the size of a golf ball.

Place on the baking sheet and drizzle or brush with oil.

Bake for 15 minutes or until the cauliflower starts to brown. Toss from time to time.

Meanwhile prepare the chimichurri sauce by combining all ingredients in a blender or food processor.

Pulse until relatively smooth.

Add salt to taste.

Pour half of the sauce over the cauliflower and use a spoon to distribute the sauce well. Make sure to cover most of the vegetables in sauce.

Bake for another 10-15 minutes.

Remove from oven and serve. Pour more sauce over the cauliflower.

Pistachio Ramps Pesto

40 g (1/3 cup) roasted and salted pistachios
30 g (1 oz) ramps
30 g (1 oz) chives
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons oil
4 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 glove garlic
salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor.
2. Blend until relatively smooth, season with salt and pepper.


I talk about food. Too much. Yesterday I even had a little conversation on Instagram about how to prepare millet. Cooking millet is one of the first cooking skills I ever learned. When I bought my first cookbook (Vegetarian Cookery by Rose Elliot) I picked up a little trick that changed everything. No more mushy millet, I swear! Before you cook millet, you have to toast it. Toasting the grain does not only improve the flavour, it also helps to absorb more liquid during cooking. Just place it in a small saucepan and toast it until golden brown, stirring constantly. Then remove from heat and carefully add the cooking liquid. Some other tricks for fluffy millet are: do not stir during cooking. Once the millet is done, remove the pot from heat and let it sit covered for 5-10 minutes, then fluff with a fork and serve.

Basic Fluffy Millet Recipe (yield. 2 servings)

100 g (1/2 cup) millet 360 ml (1 1/2 cups) vegetable broth

Place millet in a small saucepan and toast the millet until golden brown. Stir constantly. This should take about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat, carefully pour vegetable broth into the pot, stir and cover. Simmer for 15-20 minutes over medium heat until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit covered for 5-10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve (for example with potatoes and plantains).

millet patties |

If you want more than a basic grain side, millet patties make a great appetizer or snack. To prevent them from falling apart, you don’t want your millet fluffy though. In this case it should be mushy. You should also skip toasting the millet and you need to cook it with more vegetable broth or water. Stirring it often will give you are porridge like consistency and makes the patties easier to handle.

recipe Millet patties (makes 8 large patties) For the patties: 100 g (1/2 cup millet) 480 ml (2 cups) vegetable broth 1 teaspoon oil 1 clove garlic, minced 1 small onion, diced 70 g (1 cup) grated celeriac root 80 g (1 cup) grated carrot 2 tablespoons lupin flour (substitute soy or chickpea flour) 120 ml (1/2 cup) water 1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin 1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika 1-2 tablespoons flour oil for frying For the mayonnaise dip: 4 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise 2 teaspoons hot sauce

Prepare the patties: Place millet and broth in a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Stir every couple of minutes. While the millet is cooking, fry garlic, onion, celeriac root, and carrot together with the salt in a small pan for about five minutes. Remove from heat. Combine lupin flour and water and whisk until creamy. Add fried vegetables, lupin flour mixture, and spices to the cooked millet. Stir well and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon flour. Mix one more time and carefully form 8 patties. Add more flour if necessary. Heat a large non-stick pan and add 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Carefully place the patties in the pan and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat. Turn them very carefully and cook the other side. Let cook for about five minutes before serving and serve with dip. These are also great when eaten at room temperature.

Prepare the dip: Combine mayonnaise and hot sauce and stir well.