Category Archives: Recipes

Vegan Cherry Crumble

Don’t you love summer fruits?  There are so many delicious, colorful, nutritious options to choose from!  We are especially enjoying the CHERRIES!!!  We recently posted one recipe using cherries – black forest bars.  But we didn’t stop there!!!  If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll love these crumbly squares!

Download the print-friendly version here.

Makes:  12 bars
For the filling:
2 cups cherries, pitted and chopped
2 ½ tablespoons sugar
1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
½ tablespoon lemon juice
⅛ teaspoon vanilla

For the crumble:
1 cup flour
1 cup oats
⅔ cup brown sugar
¼ cup ground flaxseed
⅛ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup canola oil

Make the filling:
1.  Mix the cherries, sugar, and cornstarch.  Let sit for 15 minutes.
2.  Add the lemon juice and vanilla.
3.  Heat over low heat for about 5 minutes until thick.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Make the crumble:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C or gas mark 4).
4.  In a bowl, mix flour, oats, brown sugar, ground flaxseed and baking soda.
5.  Add the oil and mix until thoroughly combined.

6.  In a 8 x 8 – inch pan (20 x 20 cm), firmly press half the flour mixture, making a base for the crumble.
7.  Bake for 20 minutes.
8.  Spread the filling on the cooked base and press the other half of the flour mixture to make the top.

9.  Bake for another 20 minutes.
10.  Cool completely.
11. Cut into bars and serve.
Nutrition Information: (for 1 of 12 bars)
258 Calories; 11 g Fat; 0 mg Cholesterol; 37 g Carbohydrates; 3 g Fiber; 4 g Protein

Inspired by recipes from The Joy of Vegan Baking and Color Me Vegan, both by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.

How do you like to eat YOUR bowl of cherries?
Alf Hana!!!

Pharaoh’s Friday #16: Holiday Feasting Egyptian Style and Vegan!

Fridays are “Pharaoh’s Fridays“!  We like to take traditional, Egyptian recipes and adapt them so they are entirely plant-based!

Today is the last Friday of Ramadan.  Next week, many Egyptians will be celebrating the end of the holy month.  Family and friends will have special meals together, just as they do in any other culture, no matter what religion.  Eating brings us together.

One of the things we like to do at Alf Hana is make it possible for Egyptians interested in eating plant-based foods to still be able to enjoy their traditional favorites and comfort foods.  So, we have, over these last 10 months, posted many of our plant-based versions of Egyptian favorites.  Today, we’ve gathered them into one post so you can easily access them as you plan your holiday menus!


Main Dishes:
Of course, you will find many other NON-traditional items on Alf Hana.  Feel free to search for your favorites!
Whether you are celebrating next week or not, we hope you enjoy or vegan versions of Egyptian favorites!  For our Muslim readers, we wish you all a happy holiday!!!
What’s your favorite food to eat during the holidays?
Alf Hana!!!

Black Forest Bars

What do you do with your bowl of cherries?

Yes, cherries are in season in Egypt and we have been having lots of fun finding way to make special treats with our cherries!

Here’s a cherry recipe that features that most amazing combination: cherries and chocolate!  Who could resist?

Makes 30 bars. Download a print-friendly version here.
1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
½ cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup apple sauce
2 tablespoons of oil
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with 4 tablespoons of water
2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and chopped
½ – 1 cup of nondairy dark chocolate chunks or chipsInstructions:
1.  Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.
2.  Beat applesauce, oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl.  Add the cornstarch and beat.
3.  Gradually beat in the flour mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips and cherries.
4.  Spread into a large cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil.

5.  Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until firm.  Let stand for 2 minutes.
6.  Remove and cool completely on wire racks. Cut into squares.
Nutrition Information:
118 Calories; 3 g Fat; 0 mg Cholesterol; 23 g Carbohydrates; 1 g Fiber; 1 g Protein

Alf Hana!!!

Quesadilla Surprise

The basic foods of many cultures are actually vegan.  From Chinese to Indian to Mexican and Egyptian – you will find that the staples, the traditional foods of many cultures, are usually plant-based.  So it is with Mexican food.  But, if you know what a quesadilla is, you know that it is NOT plant-based.

If you order a quesadilla in a regular Mexican restaurant, you will find a creamy, cheese-filled tortilla with lots of toppings (and sometimes sauces!).  This recipe will give you that creaminess and tang of the cheese without the dairy, cholesterol, and fat!  Best of all, the filling makes it a meal on its own.

***Warning: If you make this for guests – you will NOT have left overs.  This is one of the meals we make a lot for our friends and they absolutely love it!!!

Serves 12 – Click here to download the printer-friendly version.
12 tortillas (You can buy these in major supermarkets [Metro, Royal House, Oscar, Spinneys, etc.] here in Cairo)
1 recipe of refried beans
½ cup hummus (You can make your own or buy ready-made)
½ spicy Mexican tomato salsa (You can find this also in major supermarkets here in Cairo)
oil for frying

1.  On a plate, lay out one tortilla as a base.
2.  Spread a few spoons of the refried beans until the entire side of the tortilla is covered.
3.  Spread another few spoons of the hummus.
4.  Finish by spreading a few spoons of the salsa.
5.  Top with another tortilla.
6.  Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a skillet on medium heat for a few seconds.  Place the prepared quesadilla in the skillet and fry until browned.  This will take 3-5 minutes.
7.  Once the bottom is browned, flip and brown the other side.  This should take another 3 minutes or so.
8.  Remove and slice into 4 pieces with a pizza cutter.

Serving Suggestions and Variations:

  • Serve with guacamole.
  • Serve with salsa on top.
  • Serve with salad on top.
  • Use black beans instead of refried beans.
  • If you want to heat up left-overs, heat them in the oven for about 5 minutes.

Nutrition Information: (1 serving = 2 quarters or one half a quesadilla)
250 Calories; 6 g Fat; 0 mg Cholesterol; 41 g Carbohydrates; 5 g Fiber; 9g Protein

What do you like to fill your tortillas with? 
Alf Hana!!!

Pharaoh’s Friday #15: Traditional Egyptian Fruit Compote (Khoushaf)

Fridays are “Pharaoh’s Fridays“!  We like to take traditional, Egyptian recipes and adapt them so they are entirely plant-based!

This traditional Egyptian dish is already full of whole foods!  Sweet treats in their natural form!  We usually get to have it during Ramadan when our Muslim friends invite us for ‘iftar’.  Thanks to Maha for this recipe!

Click here for the printer-friendly version.

Serves 6
1 liter water
7 dried figs, chopped into quarters

½ cup dried apricot
½ cup dried prunes
½ cup raisins or sultanas
½ cup almonds
1.  Boil the water.
2.  Add the figs to the boiling water and cook for about 10 minutes, or until soft.
3.  Add the apricot and boil for another 5 minutes.
4.  Add the prunes and raisins or sultanas and boil for about 3 minutes.
5.  Remove from the heat and add the almonds.
6.  Let sit for about 1 hour.
7.  Refrigerate.

Serving Suggestions and Variations:

  • Serve cold.
  • Add dates or other dried fruits.
  • Use different nuts. Some people like pine nuts.
  • Top with coconut?
  • Some people add sugar and lime juice to the water as it boils.

Nutrition Information: 1 of 6 servings
195 Calories; 6 g Fat; 0 mg Cholesterol; 35 g Carbohydrates; 5 g Fiber; 4 g Protein

Alf Hana!!!

Refried Beans

This is our favorite recipe for refried beans!  We use it in tortillas, with guacamole, or chips.  Also, we love to make no-queso quesadillas with it (recipe coming soon!)
Serves about 6 Click here for the printer-friendly version.
2 400 g cans of pinto beans, washed and drained

1 onion, chopped fine
3 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
1 fresh green jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and chopped fine (optional)

2 teaspoon paprika powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1.  In a skillet, heat the olive oil and onions for 2 minutes.
2.  Add the garlic and chili pepper and fry for another 2 minutes.

3.  Add spices and stir for 30 seconds. Don’t let them burn or stick to the pan.

4.  Add the beans and stir fry for 3 minutes, making sure the spices have coated the beans.

5.  Add chopped tomatoes, stir for another few minutes.
6.  Add tomato paste and stir through.

7.  When the beans are soft enough, mash them either with a potato masher. You can mash them to the consistency you like.  Some people want creamy refried beans and others like to have whole beans in the mix.

8.  Remove from the heat and serve as you like.
Serving Suggestions and Variations:
  • Serve as a filling for hearty no-queso quesadillas.
  • Use in burritos, tacos, on nachos…
  • Serve as a side dish…
  • Add more jalapeno peppers or chili powder to up the spiciness!
  • Experiment with other kinds of beans.

Nutrition Information: 1 of 6 servings
172 Calories; 4 g Fat; 0 mg Cholesterol; 29 g Carbohydrates; 8 g Fiber; 8 g Protein

*This recipe is filling and highly nutritious, and is therefore rated as an excellent choice for weight loss.

Alf Hana!!!

Hearty Minestrone

Recently, I attended a cooking class in Egypt.  It was sponsored by the Healthy Life Center and was all about cooking vegetarian food.  We had a lot of fun and in one day, we made 8 different vegetarian dishes using all kinds of pasta.  The classes are usually held in a series.  We will definitely post the upcoming series so you can attend, too!

One of the delicious, nutritious dishes we made was minestrone.  Minestrone is such a versatile soup – you could do almost anything you want with it!!!  The version we made is on the traditional side, using lima beans.  Remember we told you about lima beans in a recent post?  But, if you can’t find them dried, they’re available in a can, too.  AND, if you just want to use your favorite bean – FEEL FREE to improvise!

One of the great things about this dish is that it is highly nutritious and filling.  That makes it perfect for those of us watching our weights!  For example, in one serving of this soup, you get 151% of your daily requirement for Vitamin A!

Get the printer-friendly version here.

Serves 4
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
6 cups water
1 bouillon cube, crumbled
½ cup of small pasta
1 package (450 g) frozen mixed vegetables (or substitute fresh)
1 can lima beans (450 g) (or soak and cook your own)

We soaked and cooked our own!

salt to taste (we use 2 teaspoons)

1.  Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until onions are translucent.
2.  Add the crumbled the bouillon cube, tomato paste, basil and marjoram and stir to mix.
3.  Add the water, pasta, frozen (or fresh) vegetables, cooked beans.
4.  Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the pasta is completely cooked.

Nutrition Information: 1 of 4 servings
296 Calories; 4 g Fat; 0 mg Cholesterol; 53 g Carbohydrates; 12 g Fiber; 13 g Protein

Serving Suggestions and Variations:

  • Use different beans
  • Use your favorite vegetables
  • Serve with garlic bread or crackers
  • Add some hot peppers for a spicy twist
  • Add more greens!