Tag Archives: vegetarian

Vegan Cheeses in Egypt and We’re back!

Hi everybody! We missed you all!
We took a much-needed break, but are back and are looking forward to sharing lots of new recipes and goodies!

Recently, a reader asked about vegan cheese.  Cheese was one of the hardest animal products for us to stop eating – and I suppose that is true for most vegans.  But, in reality, it is just the fat and the salt we are enjoying.  So, can we find fatty, salty plant-based, compassionate alternatives in Egypt?  Well, yes, but….

None of the available options are solid, can be shredded, or melt. So, no – they won’t be good on a pizza, or work in a grilled cheese sandwich. However, there are some creamy, spreadable options that are tasty. In fact, there are several brand names available in the market (and a few more show up during the Christian fasting periods…)

Here are the versions we have bought, tried, and liked. We find them at Royal House, Alfa Market, Metro, and even some small groceries in neighborhoods have some!!!

The “white cheese” from Greenland:

“White Cheese” from Ahef – there are other flavors, too, including cheddar and blue cheese.

Prima’s olive-flavored cheese in a tub: (other flavors include pasterma and chili!)

Mobi’s “Smoked Cheese”:

Several of these cheeses use coconut oil or palm oil as a base.  Be careful!  These can be high in that “bad” kind of fat :).  Use them sparingly…

There are options for making homemade vegan cheeses, too.  However, some of the necessary ingredients are not directly available in Egypt. (We like to use nutritional yeast with cashews and agar powder…, none of which are available here : ( ! ) Once we find suitable recipes that will satisfy your CHEESY cravings with ingredients readily available in Egypt, we will share immediately!

Have you ever tried any of these products?  What’s your favorite?

Have you ever tried making homemade vegan cheese? What ingredients did you use?


Tuesday Teaser #4: Olive Lentil Burgers

Burgers!  There are so many varieties of vegan burgers out there!  But we happened upon this new version – using brown lentils (a FAVORITE of mine) and olives (a FAVORITE of Mary’s!).

When we first tried this recipe, we were really surprised at how easily the mix held together and how tasty it was!!!  The mix of mushrooms, olives, lentils and spices is just absolutely wonderful.

Although it takes a while to prepare, it is definitely worth the little extra time.  The first time I made this, we were able to make 8 burgers, but this time only 7.  That’s still enough for leftovers and sharing with friends!!!  We served ours with baked potatoes!!!

Check out the recipe here. Alf Hana!!!

Teaser Tuesday #2: Pineapple Upside Down Cake

If you’re looking for a simple yet elegant cake to take to a special event, this one is for you.  We found this recipe a while back on Vegweb.com.

It is a straight-forward, simple cake to put together in a few minutes.  And I love the tart and sweet flavors.  It makes an impressive presentation and is fluffy and light.  We love it!

Alf Hana!!!

Pharaoh’s Friday #4: Egyptian Potato Salad

This is one of those dishes we always find in traditional Egyptian restaurants. I really like it (remember I’m a potato freak!), so  this is our attempt to replicate it at home. If I may say so myself, it is quite a success – even better than the restaurant versions! 😉

Remember, the trick to any good potato salad is the perfect amount of boiling time. You don’t want the potatoes to be so soft that they fall apart or not ‘done’ enough so they’re hard. Use your fork as a tester!

Serves 2-4 people

3 medium potatoes
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons of corn oil
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
2 teaspoons of salt (or to your liking)
½ teaspoon of pepper (or to your liking)
1 teaspoon of cumin
3 tablespoons of parsley, chopped

1.  Wash and chop the potatoes into large quarters.  Boil for about 30 minutes, or until a fork easily enters and exits the largest quarter.

2.  Drain the boiled potatoes and let cool.
3.  When the potatoes are cool enough to touch, skin them with a knife.  Then, cut the potatoes into bite-size cubes.

4.  In a small bowl, mix the minced garlic, oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and cumin.

Gently stir into the potatoes.
5.  Add the parsley.

Nutrition Information (1 of 4 servings):

Calories: 208, Fat: 11 g; Cholesterol: 0 g; Carbohydrates: 26 g; Fiber: 3 g; Protein: 3 g

Serving Suggestions and Variations:
– We like to eat this warm, on the same day it’s made, but you can also serve it refrigerated or at room temperature.
– Adjust the salt and pepper to suit your tastes.

Alf Hana!!!

Stuffed Vegetables (Zucchini and Eggplant – aka Dolma)

Yes, dear readers, this is our second recipe for stuffed vegetables during this wonderful month of VeganMoFo.  If you missed it, our glorious recipe for stuffed grape leaves is here.  We decided to do a second post about zucchini and eggplant in particular because the mix is a bit different, but also because the technique for hollowing out the vegetables and filling them with mix takes a bit of practice.  So, here are our tips and tricks for successful stuffed zucchini and eggplant.

Serves 4-6

1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) zucchini
1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) small, slender white eggplant

For the stuffing mix:
4 cloves garlic
2 cups rice, raw
2 onion, minced
2 tomatoes, minced
1 teaspoon dried mint
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons dill, minced
2 tablespoons parsley, minced
2 teaspoons salt

For soaking hollowed-out eggplants:

about 1 liter water
1 tablespoon salt

For cooking:
6 cups water
4 bouillon cubes

1.  Mix all the ingredients for the stuffing mix in a large bowl.

2.  Prepare the zucchini and eggplant.  You will need a special kitchen tool for making dolma that helps you scoop out the insides of long, slender vegetables.  (I actually don’t know what this is called in English or Arabic – Anyone?)  You will use it gently dig in to the flesh, twist, and tug out the insides.

3.  Start with the zucchini.  Cut off the stem.  Take your time as you scoop out the insides and put them aside.  You can use them in the soup as the stuffed vegetables cook or for some other tasty dish.

4.  In order to make scooping the insides of the eggplant easier, it is advised to roll them with a rolling pin or your hands while placing pressure on the eggplant.  First, remove the stem part from the top of the eggplant.  Then roll.  After a few rolls, the eggplant will look a bit darker and will be squishy to the touch.  This will make hollowing out the insides much easier!  Just make sure that when hollowing the eggplant, you remove all the insides and discard them.  If some remain inside, you will have a bitter-tasting result!

5.  It is important that when you hollow out one of the eggplants, you soak it in a large bowl of water and salt until you have completed all the eggplants.  This will help reduce any bitter flavor.

Soaking the hollowed-out eggplant (no need for this step with the zucchini)

6.  Prepare a pot.
7.  Fill up the hollowed out vegetables with the stuffing mix, one by one.  It’s easiest to use your fingers for this part.  Leave between 1 to 1 and ½ inches (2.5 – 3.8 cm) of empty space at the end of the vegetable to give the rice room to expand and to prevent leakage as they cook.

8.  Arrange the stuffed vegetables in the pot.  Add tomatoes between layers.  Cover with a heavy plate to avoid movement while they cook.

Ready to cook - you can see I added some of the inside of the zucchini to cook with the stuffed veggies along with tomatoes...

9.  Prepare the soup.  Mix the water and the bouillon cubes and bring to a boil.
10.  Pour the soup over the vegetables until it just covers the top layer.  Cover the pot and cook for 30-45 minutes.

Nutritional Information (for 1 of 25 pieces):
Calories: 77; Fat: less than 1; Cholesterol: 0g; Carbohydrates: 15g; Fiber: 1g; Protein: 1g

Alf Hana!!!

For the Love of Lentils: Brown Lentil Soup

Oh, dear lentil, how I love thee!!!! Let me count the ways!!!

One of the easiest ways is this brown lentil soup. Egyptians affectionately call it ‘lentils with a hat’. It packs a powerful protein punch, is full of iron and fiber and low on fat and calories.  Perfect!


  • 2 cups dried brown lentils
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced

Serves: 4-6
1.  Wash the lentils and pick out any small stones or dirt.


Dry brown lentils

2.  Put them in a large pot with the water, bouillon cubes, and garlic.
3.  Cover and cook on low heat for 45 minutes to an hour.
4.  Salt to taste.

Nutrition Information: (per 100 grams)

Calories: 51; Fat: 0g; Carbohydrates: 9g; Fiber: 4g; Protein: 4g

Serving suggestions and variations:
Serve this with raw green or red onions and pita or baladi (or pita) bread.

Brown Lentil Soup, Green Onions and Baladi Bread

Also, you may add greens like chard to add flavor and nutrients.

Celebrate World Vegan Day with Egyptian Okra

It was a struggle to pick out which recipe we would share today on World Vegan Day and the first day of Vegan MoFo.  But, at last, we decided it would have to Mary’s favorite dish:  Okra.  As someone who never cared much for okra, believe me, this is a delicious recipe!

This recipe is based on Mary’s mother’s recipe.

Serves 4-6


  • 1 bag of frozen okra
  • 5 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt (or regular table salt)
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • about 1 liter of water (depending on the consistency you want)

1.  Heat oil.  Add onions and garlic.  Cook about 3 minutes.

2.  Add salt and crumble in the bouillon cube.

Celery salt

3.  Add frozen okra, stir.

Frozen Okra

4.  Add tomatoes and water.
5.  Lower heat, cover, and simmer about 30 minutes or until okra is tender.

6.  Serve over rice.

Egyptian Okra

Nutrition information: (per 100 grams)

Calories: 21; Fat: 1g; Carbohydrates: 3g; Fiber: 1g; Protein: 1g