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Vegan Lentil Bobotie Recipe 08/26/12

Classic South African vegan lentil and tofu bobotie recipe.

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Bobotie is a South African classic. Spicy and sweet – this hearty meal has warmed many a belly on winter’s nights. Usually it’s made with spiced meat and egg-based topping. I was delighted to discover this totally vegan version in the Guide to Vegetarian, Vegan & Jain Dining in South Africa. I made a few alterations along the way which I have included. The recipe and method are included below the images.

Onions, lentils and spices on the stove. The topping for the bobotie, which usually includes egg, is made with blended Chinese tofu, soy sauce, turmeric, mustard and salt.

Top: The lentils are ready. Bottom: Spreading the blended tofu on top.

Once the the tofu is evenly spread, garnish with a few bay leaves and pop into the oven. 30 minutes later and it looks delicious


The finished meal.

Time to dish up the bobotie. What better spot than right next to a roaring fire?

Karoo Bobotie
Serves 6 

15ml coriander powder
15ml allspice (I used garam masala)
35ml curry powder
15ml turmeric
20m sunflower oil (I used olive oil)
2 medium onions, finely chopped
250 soy mince (dry), soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes. (I did not have any soy mince, so used additional lentils.)
250g brown lentils (I used 500g lentils)
800g italian tomatoes, semi-blended
3 bay leaves
250ml roasted almonds, roughly chopped
250ml raisins (not a fan of raisins, I left these out. Dried apricots would have worked well)
5ml mixed herbs
50ml lemon juice
30ml apricot jam ( I had no jam, so added more chutney)
60ml chutney
1 cup vegetable stock, liquid (I used about 2-3 cups)
20ml sea salt

2 blocks Chinese tofu
1 tablespoon turmeric
2 tablespoons soy sauce
salt, to taste
1 teaspoon English mustard

• Preheat the oven to 180ºC
• Mix all the spices in a small bowl (coriander, allspice, curry powder and turmeric) and set aside
• Heat the oil in a heavy-based pot
• Sauté the onion until soft and glossy then add soy mince and lentils and sauté for about five minutes
• Add the spice mix and cook for about 2-3 minutes
• Add the semi-blended Italian tomatoes
• Add two bay leaves
• Add the chopped almonds and raisins
• Add the mixed herbs, lemon juice, jam and chutney
• Add the stock and simmer for 10 minutes
• Add sea salt to taste and cook to reduce sauce
• Ladle into a baking dish and remove the bay leaves

• Blend two blocks of Chinese tofu in a food processor (Chinese tofu is soft and easy to spread)
• Add 1 tablespoon turmeric, 2 tablespoons soy sauce and salt to taste
• Add 1 teaspoon English mustard
• Spread over the top of the bobotie
• Place a bay leaf in the middle as a garnish and bake for 30 minutes or until cooked

The end result was fantastic. Even though I didn’t use the soy mince, the lentils were still relatively firm and didn’t fall apart. I would possibly have added some chilli, but I am a big fan of heat in my food. I also would have used more vegetable stock as the lentils could have been cooked for about 5 more minutes on the stovetop.

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Laura Cooke is the editor and creator of the Veggie Bunch website and community.

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One Responses to this article


Looks delicious, thanks for sharing!

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Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)

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