Being a vegetarian in Russia is not easy. Not only can you hardly find any veggie products in the supermarket (although I did spot tofu in some places; too bad I’m not a big fan), also going out for dinner is a challenge. In general, you have two options: a salad, usually Greek, or a dish with mushrooms. Doesn’t sound too bad, I know, and it isn’t. The problem is that it’s always about the same. I’ve eaten a loooooot of mushrooms lately!! 🙂
So as I have some time on my hands anyway, I’ve done a lot of kitchen experiments. I’ve tried making three different kinds of veggie burgers myself: one with lentils, one with black beans and one with chickpeas (our favourite!).
And as I usually can’t experience much of the Russian kitchen when going out, I’ve also made some veggie (even vegan!) versions of traditional Russian dishes thanks to the great Vegelicacy website, recommended by a friend.
The first experiment were blini. Seems a bit strange to make pancakes without eggs or milk but it turned out delicious. They were honestly some of the best pancakes I have ever had. Well, ok, let’s rephrase that: some of the best pancakes I have ever made. 😉 They even were so good that I didn’t get to take a picture of them as they were gone so fast!
The second experiment had the interesting name ‘mother in law tongue‘. They’re basically tomato pieces wrapped in eggplant slices with dill mayonnaise. Didn’t seem too difficult but due to the cumbersome process of cooking the eggplants it turned out to be quite a lot of work … Luckily it was worth it!
The last recipe I tried, Russian vinaigrette (not a dressing but a salad), was a bit easier. All you have to do is cook potatoes and carrots and throw them together with all the other ingredients, including beetroot (I cheated and bought cooked ones 🙂 ), green peas, sauerkraut and pickled cucumbers. I was afraid it was going to be a bit bland, but it’s actually very tasty!
Note: These are just the leftovers. The portion of the recipe was about 5 times this size! 🙂