Versatile Vegan Latkes

October 11, 2013 § 2 Comments


Hash browns, latkes, fritters, patties – whatever you want to call these, they are so freaking easy to make, versatile and healthy and my kids BOTH loved them. Unheard of. Stuff them with chopped greens and herbs and you’re away laughing.

I’ve served these smothered in guacamole and also as the pattie in a burger (made with gluten free buns from this simple recipe). You could also use them as part of a hearty vegan cooked breakfast, or a simple tasty lunch with a salad.


Easy Vegan Latkes (vegan, gluten free, nut free, soy free, oil free option)
1 medium potato, grated
1 small kumara/sweet potato, grated (or you can use all potato – you need 2 to 2 1/2 cups grated veg altogether)
Handful finely chopped greens and herbs (parsley, kale and spinach are my faves)
2 tbsp buckwheat flour
4 tbsp water
Coconut oil for frying (optional – can also dry fry in a non-stick pan)
Pinch salt (optional)

In a cup, mix together buckwheat flour and water. Once you have your potato grated, place in a tea towel and wring to squeeze out any excess moisture. In a bowl, place all ingredients and stir well to combine. Leave to sit so the buckwheat can gel up – around 10 minutes. Over a medium heat, warm your non-stick pan – add a little oil if using (I have done both ways and both worked well) – scoop heaped tablespoons onto the pan and flatten to make patties. I could fit 3 comfortably. Cook until crisp then flip and flatten again slightly and cook until crispy. Make sure it’s not so hot they burn – you want a decent even heat so they cook right through. Makes 6-7 medium latkes. Serve warm with guacamole or in a burger. Yummo!


Easy and Delicious Lemon Pizza (with a simple gluten free base)

July 29, 2013 § Leave a comment


Pizza is probably one of the trickiest dishes for non-vegans and new vegans to wrap their heads around – after all it’s supposed to be dripping in gooey cheese, right? Long before I was vegan I lived in Melbourne and became obsessed with this roasted garlic pizza from Bimbos in Fitzroy – it was simple and perfect, with no cheese! Just tomato sauce, basil, chilli and a healthy smattering of whole roasted garlic cloves. Torture to recall, man it was good. Ok next pizza idea right there.

Anyway, my point being, let go of your preconceptions about what pizza should be and roll with this. I guarantee you a good time. The lemon idea is another revolutionary one, and courtesy of another excellent pizza joint, Epolitos in Auckland’s One Tree Hill. They serve it with marinated artichokes and the first time I ate it blew my mind.

As for the base, I love thin-crust pizza. The thinner the better. None of that doughy, bready intestine glue thankyouverymuch, it should simply be an elegant vehicle for saucy sauce and zingy toppings. I usually use corn tortillas as they’re gluten free and easy, but I wanted to come up with my own version. Mine are a little thicker than a tortilla but thin enough for my liking. Perhaps not elegant, and definitely not chewy and smoky like a proper gluten-filled woodfired effort, but the kids and I enjoyed them nonetheless.

The tomato sauce is a great way to get a bunch of veges into the kids too, and I haven’t left this one completely devoid of the salty tang of cheese – I have three vegan options below.

Feel free to jazz it up however you like – chilli flakes, tomato slices, aforementioned roasted garlic or marinated artichoke. The world is your pizza.


Lemon Pizza (gluten free, vegan)
4 mini pizza bases (see recipe below)
Tomato sauce (see recipe below)
1 lemon
Handful fresh basil or rocket
Vegan parmesan (recipe below) or almond feta, or this lovely local brand of the bought stuff

Preheat oven on grill setting to 220degC with your pizza stone or tray under the grill. While it’s heating up, slice the lemon as thinly as possible. Once oven is hot, place pizza bases on the stone or tray and grill for 5 minutes (or fewer, keep checking so they don’t burn). Remove once a little crispy on the edges and flip. Cover in the tomato sauce and lemon slices (and almond feta if using) and put back in the oven for another 5 minutes or until crispy on the edges. Serve with parmesan sprinkles and fresh basil or rocket.

Pizza Base
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/2 cup buckwheat groats
1 cup water
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch each of dried thyme and basil (optional)

Grind the buckwheat groats in a coffee grinder, spice grinder or high speed blender until it makes a flour. Combine with chickpea flour in a bowl with the salt and herbs and gradually pour the water in, stirring constantly to make sure all the lumps are smoothed out. Add melted coconut oil and stir well to combine. Once you’re happy with the consistency, set aside for 20 minutes to thicken up a little.
Once thickened, heat a little oil in a medium frying pan/skillet and pour about 1/3 cup of the batter into the pan, using the back of the ladle to smooth it out so it’s around 3mm thick – it should be a small pancake size. In order that it doesn’t stick, make sure your oil and pan are hot enough before you pour. Once it starts looking dull on top, with lots of bubbles, flip it and cook the other side. Place cooked ‘pancakes’ on a wire rack to cool. This recipe should make 4.

Pizza Sauce
1 tbsp cooking oil (I used avocado)
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 cup other veg – eg finely chopped broccoli, kale, spinach etc
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried sweet basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 jar tomato passata (680ml – or two cans/jars of tomato puree, or two cans of chopped tomatoes)

Heat oil gently in a large heavy frying pan or pot and add onion and carrot. Saute until onion in translucent, then add the other veg and the garlic. Saute for another minute or two, then add herbs and then passata. Add another cup of water and bring to the boil, then turn right down and let it simmer for about an hour, until sauce becomes very thick, all the watery liquid has gone and the vegetables are soft. Set aside.

Vegan Parmesan
3 brazil nuts
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (I like Bob’s red Mill)
1/2 tsp salt

Using a microplane, grate the brazil nuts into a small bowl. Add yeast and salt and stir to combine. Adjust seasoning to your taste. Store in a sealed container in the fridge.

Easy Vegan Stirfry Kids Will Love

July 20, 2013 § Leave a comment

Sorry for the lack of bloggage lately, it’s been a combination of illness and my discovery that there is a fourth season of The Good Wife. And I’m lazy.
Anyway I’m kicking back into it with an easy one, because simple recipes are the best, especially when you have both kids home fulltime.

Oh and please feel free to check out my new Facebook page – I’ve changed the name from Zana Organics to Made With Zana, to reflect both the name of this blog and my move away from selling organic drygoods to just making food for my family. I just didn’t have the time to do everything and that was the thing that had to go. I’m sure it will resurface in some other form in the future, once the kids are a little older. Just FYI, I put a lot more recipes on there than on here, and even more on my Instagram (@madewithzana).


Easy Kid-Friendly Stirfry (vegan, gluten free)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 medium carrot, grated or julienned
1 cup cabbage, finely chopped
2 cups greens, finely chopped (I used kale)
2 tbsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce or tamari)
1 tbsp almond butter
1 tsp miso (I use this lovely NZ one)
Coriander, cashews and lemon to serve

Combine coconut aminos, almond butter and miso in a jar, screw lid on tight and shake well to combine. Set aside.
Heat oil on a wok or frying pan over a medium heat, add vegetables and stirfry for a minute or so until just starting to wilt. Add sauce from jar and stir well to combine.
Serve immediately with cashews, coriander and a squeeze of lemon on top.

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