Rachel Ama's big vegan brunch – recipes

Mixed berry crossover puff pastry tarts

One of the first things I missed when I went vegan was picking up a flaky sweet pastry to have with a cup of tea, though back then I had no idea how easy it was to make vegan-friendly ones at home. Once I did, though, it was a wrap – no more missing out! These are quick, addictive and you can experiment with different fruit fillings, too.

Prep 5 min
Cook 40 min
Serves 6

300g frozen mixed berries
4 tbsp maple syrup
A pinch of salt
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
1 tbsp chia seeds
2 x 320g sheets ready-rolled puff pastry
1 tbsp
icing sugar

Put a saucepan on a low heat and add the berries, half the maple syrup, a pinch of salt and the lemon zest. Cook until the berries have softened, then turn off the heat, add the chia seeds and stir until they’ve absorbed most of the liquid, by which time the berries should have a jammy texture. Taste and add more maple syrup to up the sweetness levels, if need be.

Unroll the puff pastry sheets, cut them both in half lengthways across the middle, then cut each half widthways into three equal pieces.

Place two generous tablespoons of the berry mixture in the centre of each piece of puff pastry and spread it out so there’s a roughly 1¼cm border at the top and bottom of each pastry rectangle. Cut the pastry at 1cm intervals on both sides of the berry mixture to the outside edge, then, starting at one end and working one by one from alternate sides, lift over the pastry strips to wrap the berries in a criss-cross, lattice-like plait. Brush the top of each parcel all over with maple syrup.

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Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7. Place the pastries on a lined oven tray and bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown.

Remove, leave to cool, then brush with a little more maple syrup until glossy. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve at room temperature

Ackee scramble

Ackee is the national fruit of Jamaica and is eaten all across the Caribbean. It’s neutral, buttery flavour and soft, light texture make for a delicious alternative to scrambled eggs. Having Caribbean roots myself, our Easter Sundays were always celebrated with ackee and salt fish for breakfast and, since going vegan, I haven’t given up my love for ackee.

Prep 10 min
Cook 15 min
Serves 4

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 red onion
, peeled and finely sliced
1 red chilli, finely chopped
2 plum tomatoes, diced
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked
2 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
1 tbsp soy sauce
Salt and
black pepper
ackee, drained and rinsed from 1 x 540g tin
1 handful fresh chives, finely chopped

Put the oil in a saucepan over a medium to low heat, and saute the red onion for five minutes, to soften. Add the chilli, tomatoes, thyme, spring onions and soy, season with a generous pinch of salt and black pepper to taste, and cook for another five minutes. Carefully add the ackee to the saucepan and stir very gently, taking care to keep the ackee pieces whole: the goal here is not to let the ackee turn to mush. Cover the pan and leave to cook for another five minutes, until the ackee has heated through.

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Gently spoon on to a platter, scatter over the chopped chives and serve.

Baked butter beans in a rich tomato sauce, paprika and red peppers

These smoky, harissa-spiced butter beans are baked to develop a richer tomato sauce that highlights the natural sweetness of the peppers and onions. Topped with fresh herbs and pistachio nuts, they make for a rather elegant brunch dish.

Prep 10 min
Cook 30 min
Serves 4

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 red onion
, peeled and finely sliced
1 red bell pepper, stem, core and seeds removed, flesh finely sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, stem, core and seeds removed, flesh finely sliced
1 tbsp harissa paste
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
500g passata
2 x 400g tins butter beans
, rinsed and drained
Salt and black pepper
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, to finish
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, to serve
1 small handful chopped parsley, to serve
1 small handful crushed pistachio nuts, to serve

Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Put the vegetable oil in a large casserole dish over a medium heat and, when hot, saute the onion and peppers, stirring occasionally, for five minutes, to soften. Stir in the harissa and paprika, saute for five minutes more, then add the passata and butter beans, and season.

Cover the casserole and transfer to the oven for 20 minutes.

To serve, drizzle the beans with extra-virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice, and scatter over the parsley and crushed pistachios

Crispy crushed breakfast potatoes with garlic lemon aïoli

Prep 5 min
Cook 55 min
Serves 4

500g baby potatoes
3 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and
black pepper
ml vegan mayo
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves
, peeled and minced
1 handful curly leaf parsley

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Put the potatoes in a pot of salted water, bring to a boil, cook for 10 minutes, then drain and leave to drip-dry for five minutes.

Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7. Put the potatoes in a single layer on a large baking tray and crush each one slightly with the back of a fork, though keeping them whole. Drizzle all over with olive oil, season with a generous pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper, then roast for 40 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.

Meanwhile, make the aïoli by mixing the vegan mayo with the lemon juice and minced garlic, then season to taste.

Sprinkle the chopped parsley all over the potatoes and serve with the aïoli.


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