Vegan Bacalhau de Natas
The traditional Bacalhau stew features salted cod, but the Andrades of Cabo Vegan replace fish with either banana blossoms or hearts of palm and create the umami flavors with nori flakes (dried seaweed) and cashew cream. Restaurateur Andrade said, “Originally, Cape Verdean cooking was about grains and vegetables because meat was a luxury item back then.”
- 4 tablespoons vegan butter melted
- 3 tablespoons white flour
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Base Mixture
- 15- ounce can chickpeas rinsed drained
- two 18-ounce cans of banana blossoms rinsed/drained/shredded (alternatives: artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, or firm tofu)
- 4 to 5 russet potatoes medium-sized, cubed
- 1 whole sweet onion
- 4 leeks cleaned & sliced
- 1 whole medium-sized red bell pepper diced
- 1 whole medium-sized green bell pepper diced
- ¼ cup nori flakes
- 4 to 5 garlic cloves minced/chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olives green/black (as garnish)
- Cilantro optional as garnish
- Cashew Cream
- 1½ cups raw cashew nuts
- 1 cup plant-based milk
- Soak raw cashews overnight.
- Blend with plant-based milk, adding milk slowly until desired creaminess. Stir ingredients until creamy.
- Stir cashew cream and roux over stovetop on low heat until it mixes thoroughly. Cut potatoes into cubes and parboil.
- Cut banana blossoms to consistency of cod fish meat, no longer than 1-inch pieces.
- Add olive oil, garlic, and onions to large frying pan.
- Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Add leeks and both peppers. Continue to cook for 5 minutes.
- Add banana blossoms and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and nori flakes. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add chickpeas and potatoes to frying pan and mix.
- Cook on low heat for 3 to 5 minutes, then add half of the creamy cashew/roux sauce. Reserve half of the sauce for topping.
- Mix thoroughly and place in baking dish of choice.
- Coat top of mix with remaining cashew cream/roux sauce.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Garnish with olive slices and cilantro.
Read about Cape Verdean food in Southeastern Massachusetts here.