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COP27: Be part of it with these six climate-friendly recipes

While you may not actually be going to COP27 – the hugely important annual UN climate summit being held this month – you can still play your part by whipping up a delicious, climate-friendly meal.

Six African plant-based meals that are good for the planet

With COP27 taking place in the Egyptian city of Sharm El Sheik, here are six recipes from the African continent that will help you to reduce your carbon footprint without compromising on taste.

The recipes have been devised by three pioneering female chefs from across the African continent in association with the Food4Climate Pavilion, which will be present at this year’s COP for the first time.

The Food4Climate Pavilion 

Food4Climate is run by a coalition of 20 organizations committed to putting food on the agenda at COP27. The Pavilion will host meetings and side events in order to make global leaders aware of the urgent need for a just and inclusive food-systems transformation. 

Around 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions are associated with our current food systems – from production to consumption.  We can reduce this by growing foods and using modes of production that are much more sustainable than conventional practices.

Agroecology, small-scale farming, and plant-based foods all have a much lower environmental footprint. Indigenous crops and dishes also tend to score much better on sustainability. 

Check out the Pavilion here to learn more about the coalition and what it will be advocating for at COP27. We hope you enjoy cooking and savoring our partners’ delicious recipes!

Chef Cola 

Nicola Kagoro, or Chef Cola, is a pioneering Zimbabwean plant-based chef who showcases authentic African plant-based cuisine on her Instagram channel African Vegan on a Budget. Chef Cola is also the executive chef at Back to Black Roots, a fully plant-based grassroots kitchen in Zimbabwe that provides meals for the Akashinga Rangers, the world’s first and only all-female team of armed anti-poaching rangers.

Vetkoek

Vetkoek

Vetkoek is a traditional South African recipe. 

Ingredients:

  1. 3 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 packet instant yeast (30 g)
  3. 2 cups of warm water
  4. 8 tablespoons sunflower oil
  5. 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  6. 1 teaspoon salt
  7. 3 tsp oil plus 1 cup for frying
 

Instructions

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, add the water, yeast, sugar, and salt. Mix all ingredients well and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. 
  2. In another bowl, add the flour and then slowly add in the yeast. Add 3 teaspoons of oil and continue to mix well. If the dough is too dry, try adding more water. If it is too wet, add a bit of flour to the mixture.
  3. When the dough is done rising, punch it down with your fists. Roll into a log and cut into equal parts – you can make them any size you want.
  4. In a large deep-frying pan, heat the remaining oil (1 cup). When the oil is hot, carefully place the dough in the pan (it will spatter), fry until golden brown, and flip. Repeat until you have no dough left. Serve with lentil curry, jam, syrup, or even make into a sandwich.

Cabbage rolls

Stuffed cabbage rolls 

Ingredients:

  1. 1 1⁄2 heads of cabbage
  2. 30 mls cooking oil
  3. 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  4. 250 ml crushed garlic
  5. 500 ml chopped mushrooms
  6. 500 ml rice
  7. 5 ml each of white pepper, coriander, dried thyme, and cumin powder, mixed together
  8. 3 large tomatoes, chopped
  9. 15 mls tomato paste
  10. 7.5 mls salt
  11. 2.5 mls pepper
  12. 1 cup of Water
  13. 3 cups of peanut butter
  14. 1.25l almond milk 
 

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, boil water with 3 teaspoons of salt. Once the water is boiled, cut the cabbage in halves and put in the pot the flat surface facing down. Once the cabbage is soft, gently peel apart the layers and set aside to cool.
  2. In a pan, add oil and heat. Add the onions, garlic, and spices. Fry until tender and brown.
  3. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 2 to 5 minutes. Add the fresh tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes, then add the puree and cook for another 2 min. At this point, you may add a little water if needed. Set aside to cool.
  4. Fill a medium-sized pot with water, then add the salt, oil, and rice, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let the rice cook for 20 minutes or until all the water has evaporated. Set aside to cool. 
  5. Once everything has cooled, we can start to wrap our rolls. 
  6. Place the cabbage on a clean board and add two tablespoons of rice topped with the mushroom mixture. Roll the cabbage by folding the outer ends in and folding the bottom end up several times. Tuck in the ends of the rolls. Repeat the process until all the leaves are done. Transfer the rolls to an oiled baking tray. 
  7. Preheat the oven to 350°C.
  8. In a medium-sized pot add the almond milk and peanut butter, and stir continuously until smooth. Pour the mixture over the cabbage rolls and place in the oven for 20 to 30 mins or until golden brown.

Peanut butter collard greens

Peanut butter collard greens 

Ingredients

  1. 6 bunches of fresh spinach leaves
  2. 3 small onions, chopped
  3. 10 tbsp peanut butter
  4. 6 tbsp oil for frying
  5. 50 ml water
 

Instructions 

  1. Cut the spinach into fine strips.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan, then add the spinach and salt.
  3. Add the onions and fry for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add peanut butter and a little bit of water, stirring until it’s not too thick. (It starts off thick and then thins out.)
  5. Cover the pot, reduce to the lowest possible heat, and let simmer for about 5 minutes.

Chef Ru

Chef Ru 

Ru Furusa is a plant-based chef based in Cape Town who has grown up in Zimbabwe. On her Instagram channel For Foodies Sake, she shares succulent plant-based recipes that are delicious and easy-to-make. 

Cornbread

Chimodho (cornmeal bread) 

Chimodho is a form of cornmeal bread that is common in Zimbabwe. It goes well plain or with jam or plant-based butter. 

Ingredients 

  1. 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax seed powder + 2½ tbsp water)
  2. 1 ¼ cups plant-based milk 
  3. 2 tsp white vinegar
  4. ½ cup maize meal
  5. ¾ cup polenta
  6. 1 cup cake flour 
  7. ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  8. 2 tsp baking powder
  9. ¾ tsp salt
  10. 3 tbsp brown sugar
  11. ¼ cup vegan butter, melted, or canola oil
  12. 3 tablespoons maple syrup
 

Instructions

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a large (28×13 cm) loaf tin with oil or baking spray.
  2. Prepare the flax egg in a small bowl by mixing the flaxseed powder and water (at room temperature) together and set aside. 
  3. In another container, combine the plant-based milk and vinegar. Allow the liquid to sit for at least 3 minutes to create a vegan ‘buttermilk’. 
  4. Mix the dry ingredients (maize meal, polenta, flour, bicarb, baking powder, salt, and sugar) together in a large bowl.
  5. In the same container as the ‘buttermilk’ mixture, slowly add all the other wet ingredients (flax egg, melted vegan butter/oil, and maple syrup). Ensure that all the wet ingredients have combined well then pour the mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until fully combined and smooth. At this stage, the batter should be thick but easy to pour into the baking tin.
  6. Proceed to pour the batter into the pan, making sure that the top is smooth.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes then insert a toothpick and check if it comes out clean. If it does not, leave in the oven for further 5 minutes. Move the loaf tin to a wire rack to cool. Wait for at least 30 minutes – or until completely cool – before slicing.

Nhopi (Pumpkin Peanut Porridge)

Nhopi (Pumpkin Peanut Porridge) 

Ingredients

  1. 2 ½ cups boiled/roasted pumpkin 
  2. 1 cup plant-based milk
  3. ¼ cup semolina/maize meal
  4. 3 tbsp peanut butter (or any other nut butter)
  5. ¼ tsp salt
  6. ½ tsp mixed spice
 

Instructions

  1. Add plant-based milk and semolina/maize meal to a pot on medium heat and use a whisk to combine the mixture.
  2. Once well combined and slightly thickened, add the cooked pumpkin and whisk gently to incorporate into the milk mixture.
  3. Reduce to a simmer and add the peanut butter, salt, and mixed spice.
  4. Cover the pot and leave for about 5 mins, until the mixture thickens. 
  5. Serve with some plant-based milk and a sweetener of your choice.

Jane Nshuti

Jane Nshuti 

Jane Nshuti is a self-taught vegan chef who is passionate about celebrating authentic African cuisine. In her cooking, Jane uses African plant-based ingredients that are often overlooked.

Okra

Plant-based okra soup

This okra recipe is common in Ghana. 

Ingredients 

  1. 200 g oyster mushrooms, shredded
  2. 1 tbsp olive oil
  3. 1 tsp smoked paprika 
  4. 1 tsp cumin
  5. 1 tsp soy sauce
  6. 300 g okra
  7. 1 Scotch bonnet pepper
  8. 1 cup vegetable stock 
  9. 1 large red pepper
  10. 2 medium tomatoes
  11. 2 cloves of garlic
  12. 1 onion
  13. salt to taste
 

Instructions

  1. Place a small saucepan on a heated stove and add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil. Once the oil is heated, add the shredded oyster mushrooms together with the smoked paprika, soy sauce, and cumin. Stir fry until the mushrooms have absorbed all of the flavor, are well caramelized, and all the water has evaporated. Take them off the heat and put aside for later.
  2. In a different saucepan, add African red palm oil (or any other vegetable cooking oil of your choice). 
  3. Slice the okra and stir fry for 5 minutes. Add salt to season and remove a few slices of okra from the pot to use for garnishing later. Then add the onion, garlic, and peppers.
  4. Stir fry for 5 more minutes then add the tomatoes. Stir for 1 minute then add the vegetable stock. Put the lid on the saucepan and cook for 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. After that, open the lid and add the stir-fried mushrooms. Stir for a bit then cover for at least 3 more minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste.

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