Vegan Szegedin goulash and amaranth with vegetables
Today we take you on a culinary trip, this time exploring the Hungarian city of Szeged through one of the nation's most famous dishes: Szegedin goulash. This special dish involves a combination of sauerkraut and paprika, and often contains meat. Obviously we opted to make a vegan version of this cultural meal! Rather than using vegan meat substitutes, we chose to drop this element of the dish. To keep the dish flavourful and high in protein (and since we at Hungry Pumpkin love it) we decided to add in some peanut butter!
For a side, we decided to prepare a vegetable risotto-like dish, but we used amaranth instead of rice. Amaranth is an interesting plant that accounted for 80% of the caloric intake of the Aztecs before the Spanish invasion! Amaranth has small, round seeds that are similar to millet or quinoa. That being said, amaranth is not related to millet, as it is not in the grass family and thus not a true cereal. Amaranth and quinoa, however, are more closely related, both belonging to the Amaranthaceae. Their history is also quite similar, with quinoa having been a staple further south among the Inca of South America. You can read more about quinoa in our previous article about it HERE.
Here we have a table displaying the nutrients contained in amaranth, as well as how much of our daily needs are covered by consuming 100 g dry weight of this pseudo-grain. That being said, we ingest it cooked and not raw, so 100 g of dry weight does not equal 100 g of actual ready-to-eat amaranth porridge. Amaranth is rich in proteins, fibre, as well as many minerals (iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium) and vitamins (pantothenic acid, B6, folic acid).
Recipe, preparation, and price
To begin this tasty dish, we first cooked up the sauerkraut in some olive oil for a bit before adding water. We then seasoned with paprika and continued to cook it for about half an hour to soften things up and let our spices set in. A few minutes before the end of cooking, we added the peanut butter, which turned the remaining liquid into a creamy sauce. We also added flaxseed flour to thicken the sauce further.
For our amaranth dish, finely chopped onion is cooked in olive oil with diced celery root and carrot. After we had cooked this in the oil for a few minutes, we added in the amaranth seeds as well as some water and salt; we cooked this for half an hour.
In addition to our goulash and our amaranth, we also had a green salad seasoned with pumpkin seed oil, apple cider vinegar, and salt.
Even though our amaranth was a bit of an exotic ingredient (and thus more expensive), the price of our lunch was still less than €5 for 4 people, so only a bit over a euro for each person! If you need further proof that a vegan diet can be done on a tight budget then look no further! If you wanted to save more money, the amaranth could have been replaced with millet, which is three times cheaper and the celery root could have been replaced with more carrot, which is four times cheaper! Using a different oil (for example sunflower oil) could also help cut down on costs, but so little is used that it doesn't make much of a difference.
Though the amaranth is rich in protein and though we added our peanut butter, we still consumed a bit less protein in our lunch than we would have liked. Since the amaranth represented only about 30% of the caloric content of the lunch, we did not have enough of it to get sufficient quantities of protein. Still, it did contribute 40% of the protein in our meal. This small deficit in protein could be made up for by adding beans or other legumes to the salad.
Despite this lack, we managed to get enough fibre, iron, magnesium, and most other minerals. We also consumed enough of most vitamins except for B1 and B2, as well as B12 and D, which are the only two elements lacking from a vegan diet.
If you have questions about today's meal or suggestions for a future one, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will gladly get back to you!
Have a great sunny week!
The Hungry Pumpkin Team