Sunday 21 June 2015

Vegan tahini stew with feta and dill dumplings

You might have noticed that I haven't been posting so many savoury recipes this month.  It is the winter solstice here this weekend and I struggle to get meals made before the sun goes down.  So there is no natural light, not much time and energy and I am trying to eat well which means we have been having more stews that I throw together with whatever is in the fridge.  I also have been returning to favourite recipes.

Lately I have made excellent pizza, corn and tempeh soup, tahini lime rice, red lentil koftas, tofu bacon and almond feta.  It was the almond feta that got me thinking.  I had a day when my mind bounced from one dinner idea to another like a pinball. 

At first it was a vegetable galette.  Then I fancied trying Gena's avglomeno again but it was so light and I wanted to the comfort of Mexicale pie with its cheesy dumplings and rich stew.  In a moment of serendipity, these dishes inspired a great new casserole.  I was pleased that it was an opportunity to use some ingredients that had been in the fridge a while.  I flavoured the dumplings with almond feta and dill.  The dumplings were baked on top of a lemony tahini stew made with lots of vegies and beans.

And even though the light had well and truly faded by the time I was cooking dinner, I took a photo of the casserole dish that I used.  It was a wedding present many years ago and I still love it.  The handle clips on and off, meaning that it can be used on the stovetop and in the oven.

I appreciate any time saving ideas I can come by these days.  This stew was not a quick affair.  E was out with his ukelele so I made an easy dinner for Sylvia and waited until she was settled into bed before I relaxed over dinner.  It was a most excellent stew of tahini flavoured vegies and beans with large dumplings to mop it up with.  This was hearty stuff.

The dill was lovely and a touch of Eastern European flavour.  The almond feta was perhaps not as prominent as I had hoped.  Perhaps some lemon juice in the dumplings next time would  give them a lift.

I have been making Mexicale pie for more years than I care to remember and it is exciting to have started experimenting with different flavours.  More exciting was trying using aquafaba instead of the eggs.  This seemed to work well.  My first use of aquafaba involved tipping out the brine from a tin of beans to make a batch of meringues.  In this dish, I used the brine from the beans I put in the casserole.  No waste at all there!

While it might be only the beginning of winter, with a chilly 2.6 degrees celcius and condensation on the window this morning, the solstice hails the start of longer days.  I am looking forward to more daylight in the evenings for photos and more warming winter meals.

I am sending this to Jac for Meatless Mondays, Kimmy for Healthy Vegan Fridays #52, Elizabeth for No Waste Food Challenge, and Lisa, Lauren, and Danielle for Fabulous Foodie Fridays #56.

More warming winter meals from Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Bean and beer stew with dumplings (v)
Chickpea, potato and tomato stew (gf, v)
Lentil ragu with chocolate chilli fettuccine (v) 
Nicki’s Nana’s chulent (v)
Sauerkraut, bratwurst and potato casserole (v)
Smoky apple baked beans (gf, v)
Vegetable nut crumble
Vegetarian moussaka

Warming winter meals from elsewhere online:
Beetroot, red onion and puy lentil bouruignon - A2K
Cheese and leek bread pudding - Tin and Thyme
Mushroom stout pie with potato dumplings - Where's the Beef?
Pumpkin maple baked bean cornbread casserole - Oh She Glows
Savoury lentil bean stew - Tinned Tomatoes
Vegetarian shipwreck casserole - Oh My Veggies 

Tahini stew with feta and dill dumplings
An original Green Gourmet Giraffe recipe.  Inspired by Choosing Raw and Mexicale Pie
Serves 4

Tahini stew:
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 carrots, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 cup vegetable stock
1 and 1/2 cup cooked cannelini beans
1 cup cooked chickpeas
400g tin corn, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp tahini
1 1/2 tbsp white miso
1/4 tsp mustard powder
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt flakes

Feta and dill dumplings:
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal (polenta)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
2 tsp baking powder
¾ cup low fat milk (I used whole fat milk)
6 tbsp chickpea brine, lightly whisked
1 cup chopped almond feta
1/4 cup dill

First make the filling.  [Note: I use a 22-23cm round deep casserole dish that can be used on the stovetop or in the oven but if you don't have one that can be used this way, use a large saucepan and a deep casserole dish.]  Heat oil in large saucepan (ovenproof if possible).  Fry onion, garlic, carrot and celery on medium heat for about 5 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are softening.  Add stock, beans, chickpeas and corn.  Bring to the boil and simmer about 10 minutes.

While stew simmers, make dumplings by mixing together all the ingredients.

When the stew has simmered, whisk lemon juice, tahini, miso and mustard powder with 3/4 cup water in a small mixing bowl.  Add to the vegetable mixture and heat until  tahini mixture is well mixed into the stew.  Turn off the heat and stir in nutritional yeast flakes, dill and salt.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

If not using an ovenproof saucepan, pour mixture into an ovenproof dish.  There should be quite a lot of liquid in the mixture as the dumplings will absorb some while baking.  Arrange spoonfuls of dumpling mixture on top of tahini stew.

Bake uncovered for 10 minutes at 200ºC. Then reduce heat to 180ºC and bake a further 30-40 minutes until dumplings are cooked (golden brown and a skewer in the middle will come out clean). Serve hot.  To reheat add a drizzle of water to mixture if possible (ie if you have served some of the dumplings) and heat with lid on to keep dumplings from drying out (about 20-30 minutes).

On the Stereo:
Ghost Sonata: Tuxedo Moon


  1. oh this is just wonderful, I LOVE tahini anything and it's funny because I have all those veggies and chickpeas because I opened a can today to use the liquid!

    1. Thanks Faye - I sometimes love tahini and sometimes it doesn't work for me but I love this one - and I just used what vegies were about

  2. Wow those feta and dill dumplings look the perfect way to finish off this dish, delicious indeed!
    Thanks for linking Fabulous Foodie Fridays into your post.
    Hope you've had a gorgeous weekend.

    1. Thanks Dannielle - dumplings are so great on a casserole

  3. This looks lovely and I liked hearing how it came about - I am always interested at the way my own mind meanders to new recipe ideas and it seems you have similar experiences! With my recent tahini bake this really appeals, especially for cold weather.

    That casserole dish is brilliant too :)

    1. Thanks Kari - I thought of this dish with your tahini bake - and I love how old recipes inspire new ones

  4. Another use for aquafaba-how great! I wonder if the chickpea industry will soar with all of these aquafaba recipes.

    1. Thanks Lorraine - interesting thought - wonder if aquafaba will go more mainstream

  5. I love a good veggie stew & dumplings and usually make the Dilly Stew & Rosemary Dumplings from the PPK/Isa Does It whenever I get a dumpling craving!
    What a nifty casserole too!

    1. Thanks Emma - that dilly stew looks great - perhaps I could try it with some of my fresh dill - still have a little left as I don't use it a lot.

  6. Its Summer Solstice today, I woke up real early with the brightness. I fall back on favourite recipes and funnily enough a Mexican Tamale Pie is one of them. I was quite fascinated at how your mind ping ponged from one recipe to another. I have to say, I am not sure about tahini stew, I find tahini a little bitter, but I am willing to give it a try.

    1. Thanks Shaheen - I sometimes find tahini too intense but I like it in stews where it adds creaminess and a bit of flavour - enjoy the bright days - we are enjoying some winter sunshine lately but not much warmth

  7. Your Mexican pie looks delish! You are not wrong about the lack of daylight and the cold - I hate this time of year.

    1. Thanks Cakelaw - I like it when we are snuggly and warm inside but will be pleased when spring comes - this winter I am appreciating our home's warmth because a few friends are making their houses warmer

  8. It certainly is cold at the moment. I think this is the coldest winter we've shivered through in a long time. I'm also looking forward to more daylight hours. The vegan stew with tahini looks very good xx

    1. Thanks Charlie - it does seem a particularly cold winter though I think we could do with some more rain in Melbourne - and a few more hours of daylight!

  9. While you are looking forward to longer days, I just thought how sad it was that days are getting shorter again, here on the other side of the globe. And then I just watched a cooking show where someone was using dill and I thought I haven't used fresh dill in ages! Since we've been having lots of rain and a couple of colder days this filling stew looks like the perfect recipe to me right now!

    1. Thanks Mihl - I love change of season so I quite like both the summer and winter solstice as they seem to be about looking forward to new seasons - your weather sounds like ours only the gardens need a little more rain :-)

  10. Oooooh this sounds scrumptious!

  11. Ohhhh casseroles how I love you. And fresh dill! I love fresh dill - it should be used in more things. It sounds so filling and delicious =) I love all the beans and veggies. Thanks so much for sharing this on healthy Vegan Fridays - I'm pinning this.

    1. Thanks Kimmy - I don't use fresh dill often - it seems a herb for very particular dishes it but it does freshen up a dish

  12. Goodness this sounds like the ultimate comfort food! I love it! Thank you for sharing with the No Waste Food Challenge! :) I know what you mean about very little daylight. Come winter here I mostly only share sweet recipes too which can be photographed during that brief moment of daylight!

    1. Thanks Elizabeth - I am sure we have far more reasonable daylight than in shetland - even if the days aren't as long in summer. I still occasionally post photos from evening meals but they are pretty half hearted photos as I know natural light would make such a difference


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