Sunday, March 13, 2011

Vegan Vatapá

Your Vegan Zombie is going Brazilian. I've been soooo intensely interested in South American cuisine lately, especially since almost every dish consists some type of meat or lard. My goal is to rework these fabulous and colorful plates so we vegans can enjoy them too! Blasphemy, you say? Hopefully Our Lady of Guadalupe can forgive us, mi amor.

BRAZIL is the best place on the planet.

They have incredible food, art, music, history, people, the Christ the Redeemer Statue (just beautiful, though!), cities, an up and coming economy, sun, the World Cup in 2014 (I am totally going to GO MAN)  ...and uh, did I mention food?

Brazilian cuisine has a wide array of influences including African, Portuguese, and Italian. The food utilizes the country's rich and abundant tropical fruits, the bounty of the gorgeous coastline, and native nuts.

This dish, called vatapá, is typically made as a "seafood stew" and has West African influences. Of course, we couldn't include shrimp like the locals do (or sometimes white fish), so I veganized this puppy with a grain that has a similar rubbery quality to it--- barley. If left a little al dente, you can get the same feeling. For added "seafood" flavor I could have added a little nori, but no one in my family would have eaten it that way... and I'm a slave to feedback and compliments, what can I say?

The brilliant yellow coloring comes from the Brazilian dendê oil, a palm oil frequently used in Brazilian cooking. The texture of this dish is extremely unique... too thick to be a stew. I don't know. It owns.

Vegan Vatapá

2 chopped onions
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 malagueta or jalapeño chile peppers, chopped (use 1 or a gentler pepper if you aren't into spicy!)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup organic peanut butter
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (or just put two slices of whole wheat bread in a food processor)
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cup barley, cooked and drained
2 cups coconut milk
1/4 cup Dendê oil

1) Chop up the onions, peppers, and garlic. Toss it into the food processor.

2) Add this mixture along with 1/2 cup of your cooked barley onto the stovetop. Cook in 2 tbsps of olive oil for about 7 minutes to meld flavors.

3) Next, add the vegetable stock and peanut butter. Whisk until everything is smooth. Add breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper. Let the mixture boil, then lower the temp to a simmer for another 8 minutes.

4) Add the coconut milk and cook for another 5 minutes on a low temperature.

5) Lastly, stir in the dende oil, remaining barley, and serve! I topped the dish with tomatoes and paprika.


  1. Wow, this dish looks amazing. I love everything cooked in coconut milk, and then when you add jalapenos and peanut butter - yum!

    Did you include the seeds when you processed the peppers?

  2. Hey, Tammi & thanks! It is so delicious, I'm telling you! Yes, I did include the seeds when I processed the peppers. I love pepper seeds for some reason... I feel it lends a little extra kick!