vegan

Greek vegan Easter tsoureki with coconut milk - Πασχαλινό vegan - νηστίσιμο τσουρέκι με γάλα καρύδας - Vegan in Athens

Vegan Greek Easter Tsoureki with coconut milk – fluffy and fragrant

For most people -religious or not- Easter means the celebration of Spring and life and with my mind I think that this should mean a celebration without sacrifices and violence but with colors, flowers and joy for human and non-human animals. So today I am very excited to share with you my vegan recipe for my favorite traditional Greek tsoureki, made only with plant-based ingredients! Easter tsoureki – a traditional brioche-like bread loaded with butter and eggs- is exactly what I was looking forward to eat during Easter as a child and I imagine I was not the only one. In my family, as in most Greek homes, we usually prepared several loaves a couple of days before Easter. After letting them cool overnight, we would wrap them with a transparent film and we waited anxiously to enjoy thick slices of our favorite sweet bread during the Easter day.

Greek vegan Easter tsoureki with coconut milk - Πασχαλινό vegan - νηστίσιμο τσουρέκι με γάλα καρύδας - Vegan in Athens

After I became a vegan, I was very much involved in making different types of homemade breads and bread-rolls and among other things, I experimented several times, using different recipes and ingredients, in order to get a vegan tsoureki just the way I wanted it – fluffy, fragrant, chewy, with a nice texture and a freshness that could be retained for several days after baking. Finally I came to the recipe I wanted to and so in the last few years, the days before Easter our house is filled with the smell of the baked sweet bread, with the aromas of mastiha and cardamon and for several days we enjoy this delicious bread every morning. My joy is indescribable every time I take a slice of tsoureki and I pull it apart just to see how it separates into strands, every time I push its surface a little bit just to feel the fluffiness, in every bite when it melts in my mouth and its amazing taste takes me back to my childhood. Actually making the perfect vegan tsoureki is not that difficult but there are some secrets that I’m going to share with you. First of all we have to choose the right flour. In Greece you can find packaged flour special for tsoureki and I guess that in other countries there must be a flour special for brioche (but even if you cannot find it I have the solution, just keep on reading!). Second we have to knead the dough like a lot, in order to make gluten develop and get that nice strands – one main characteristic of this sweet bread , third it’s extremely important to use the right amount of yeast and last but not least, we have to add the coconut oil or the vegan butter in the right time and with the right way (see the instructions).

Greek vegan Easter tsoureki with coconut milk - Πασχαλινό vegan - νηστίσιμο τσουρέκι με γάλα καρύδας - Vegan in Athens

Sometimes I like to add stuffing inside my tsoureki. Usually we prefer chestnut jam or sliced fresh apples and cinnamon (apple-pie stuffing), as I did in one of the two loaves I made this time. You can also stuff with chocolate or a vegan nutella – all these things are going to add to the recipe and it’s not too complicated to try!

One more thing I really appreciate about vegan tsoureki as with vegan brioche and especially in this particular recipe is the absence of animal-derived ingredients that allows the aromas of spices to emanate and combine perfectly with the distinctive essence of coconut. Moreover the yeast and gluten work much better to give volume to the baked product and most importantly all the natural flavors explode beautifully in your palate!

Enjoy baking!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cups (180 ml) lukewarm full-fat coconut milk, homemade or from tin
  • 3/4 cups (180 ml) lukewarm water (or additional plant-based milk)
  • 1 cup (150-160 g) raw cane brown sugar
  • 1 level tsp dry yeast
  • 8 drops of natural mastic oil
  • 1 tsp ground mahlepi
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) melted coconut oil + 1 tablespoon extra coconut oil or sunflower oil for greasing the bowl (we can also use vegan margarine)
  • 4 1/4 cups (625 g) flour for tsoureki or brioche *

for brushing & sprinkling

  • 2-3 tbsp coconut milk or soy milk
  • almond flakes or coconut flakes

Greek vegan Easter tsoureki with coconut milk - Πασχαλινό vegan - νηστίσιμο τσουρέκι με γάλα καρύδας - Vegan in Athens

Method

1. In a cup stir the yeast with the lukewarm water (or plant-based milk) and one tablespoon of flour and allow for about fifteen minutes in a warm place. If the yeast is active, you will see tiny, dense bubbles appearing on the surface of the cup. Because we put a small amount of yeast we do not expect too many to form, but these few are the indication that the yeast works!
2. In a bowl or (preferably) in a strong mixer add the lukewarm coconut milk, the yeast mixture, the salt and the sugar and stir until sugar dissolves. Add the spices, the mastic oil and the flour in 4-5 doses by kneading very well each time to activate gluten. This way you’ll get an elastic, soft dough that does not stick to hands, without adding more flour than what is really needed.
3. Form a ball with the dough, grease a bowl with a little coconut oil and put it in. Press the dough with your hands to expand, melt the coconut oil (it should not be too hot) and pour spoonfuls of oil over the dough, pulling and folding each time until all the oil is absorbed. At this point, do not knead but only pull and fold in order to create “layers” of oil and dough that will give an amazing consistency to your final baked good. Alternatively, put the dough on an oiled surface, dip our hands in the melted coconut oil and press over the dough to spread it. Fold the four sides like an envelope, re-dip the hands into the oil and press the dough again. Repeat the process until all of the coconut oil is used. Cover it with a humid towel or clear film and let it rise and double in volume for 2-3 hours in a warm place (eg in the oven at 40 ° C together with a bowl of water that will provide the essential moisture).
4. When the dough is ready, press it to deflate and form a ball. Divide it into two equal parts (or four depending on how many cords you want in your breads). Roll the pieces of dough gently into cords. I made two large cords, folded each one in the middle and made two “plaits” with two cords each. Place the breads carefully on a tray lined with non-stick baking paper. You can put each tsoureki on its own non-stick paper so it’s easier to move it if necessary. Brush them with plenty of milk.
5. Put the breads in a lightly warm oven at 40 ° C along with a bowl of water and allow them to double in volume. It will take about 45 minutes. If you want you can carefully and softly brush them with milk one more time to get a more shiny result (I forgot to do it this time!).
6. Bake at 200 oC degrees for about 40-45 minutes or until they get a nice golden brown color.
7. Let cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

Greek vegan Easter tsoureki with coconut milk - Πασχαλινό vegan - νηστίσιμο τσουρέκι με γάλα καρύδας - Vegan in Athens

 

Stuffed tsoureki

Follow the whole procedure but when you make your cords use a rolling pin to roll each cord out vertically until about 10 cm wide and spread uniformly on the one side of the strip the filling of your choice, leaving 2 cm from each end to seal it. Then fold in a roll, seal the edges well and form your tsoureki. For my stuffing I used one peeled red apple cut into slices mixed with 1 tbsp of brown sugar and a pinch of ground cinnamon.

* Note: If you cannot find a special flour for brioche or tsoureki, you can use all-purpose flour but you will substitute half a cup of it with an equal amount of gluten flour (the same flour that we use to make seitan).

Greek vegan Easter tsoureki with coconut milk - Πασχαλινό vegan - νηστίσιμο τσουρέκι με γάλα καρύδας - Vegan in Athens

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Vegan homemade Baileys - Veganinathens.com

Homemade vegan Baileys

Baileys used to be my drink when I wanted something to warm me up during winter. Of course after I became vegan I simply forgot about it, until I found out that I could make this creamy,seductive drink at home with coconut milk.

This vegan Bailey’s recipe is actually better than the original thing. Vegan or not, you should give it a try!

Vegan homemade Baileys - Vegan in Athens

Ingredients

  • 1 can (400 ml) full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream
  • ¾ cup whiskey
  • ¾ cup raw brown sugar
  • 1 serving espresso
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder

Method

  1. In a saucepan, add the coconut milk with the coffee, the cocoa powder and the sugar and bring to boil.
  2. Whisk for 1-2 minutes until the sugar and the cocoa are dissolved.
  3. Remove from the heat, add the whiskey and stir well. Leave for 1-2 hours aside to cool.
  4. Transfer into sterile bottles.

Note: You can keep it for up to two weeks at room temperature, as alcohol as well as sugar act as preservatives. However if you are about to keep it longer, you should keep it in the fridge.

Vegan homemade Baileys - Vegan in Athens

 

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Μελιτζάνες "παρμεζάνα" φούρνου - Veganinathens.com

Aubergine parmigiana (Melanzane alla parmigiana), vegan and with a gluten-free option

Since I am passionate with Italy and everything that is Italian (including the Italian kitchen) I have collected several Italian cookbooks (oh yes I’ve learned Italian!), I’ve enjoyed all the Italian vegan food I could when I travelled there and I cook Italian dishes very often. One of my favorites is my veganized version of the traditional side dish “melanzane alla parmigiana” (aubergine parmigiana), which may not contain cheese, but it is just as good.

Use gluten-free bread and gluten-free flour such as rice or corn flour, for the gluten-free and vegan version of “Melanzane alla parmigiana”

Ingredients
(for a small baking dish, 4-6 servings)

3 large aubergines

For the tomato sauce

  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes, grated
  • 1 medium sized onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup red wine
  • ½ cup concentrated tomato juice (or one more grated tomato)
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves (or parsley if basil not available)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

For the béchamel sauce

  • 2 cups vegan milk (I used soy this time)
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • ½ tsp curry powder
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

For the bread crust

  • 2 slices of bread
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 tbsp of parsley chopped
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Aubergines with parmezan vegan and gluten free - Μελιτζάνες παρμεζάνα βέγκαν και χωρίς γλουτένη - Vegan in Athens

Method

  1. Remove the stalks from the aubergines, slice them up into 1cm thick slices, put them into a strainer, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and let them in one side for half an hour. By this way their bitterness will be reduced.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200 oC, and lay the eggplants on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. Brush them with olive oil and bake for 30 minutes until soft.
  3. Prepare the tomato sauce: Add the olive oil in a pan and fry the onion and the garlic for 1-2 minutes. Add the wine and the remaining ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Taste and set aside.
  4. Prepare the béchamel sauce: Pour 1 cup milk into a saucepan to boil and in the other cup of milk, dissolve the flour, the nutritional yeast and the spices. When the milk’s comes to boil, add the milk-flour mixture into the pan and stir constantly for a few minutes until it thickens.
  5. Prepare the bread crust: crumble the bread in a bowl with your hands, add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  6. Assemble: Brush a bake dish with olive oil, lay on the bottom a layer of eggplant slices and spread over half of the tomato sauce. With a spoon pour half the béchamel over the tomato sauce and repeat the process for one more time. Over the last layer of aubergines – tomato – bechamel spread the bread crumbs. Bake for half an hour in a preheated oven at 200 °C. Wait for another half an hour to cool slightly before serve.
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