ROASTED CHICKPEA AND QUINOA SALAD

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Ingredients (serves 4)

Salad

  • 1 400g tinned chickpeas, rinsed and baked with dukkah seasoning (Table of Plenty brand)
  • 1 200g tinned sweet corn, rinsed
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 1 baked sweet potato, cut into small cubes
  • 1 medium head broccoli, cut into small florets
  • ½ large ripe avocado, sliced

Dressing

  • ¼ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tbs juice of lemon
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tbs fresh chopped dill or 2 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cayenne powder (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
  • Rinse chickpeas and corn, prepare other vegetables as directed above
  • In a rice cooker or pot cook quinoa as per the instructions given on it’s packaging
  • Cut sweet potato into small chunks and place onto a parchment lined baking tray, on another baking tray spread rinsed chickpeas evenly and coat with dukkah seasoning
  • Bake both the chickpeas and sweet potato for approximately 45 minutes, or until the chickpeas appear to be crispy and the sweet potato is tender
  • Using an oven-top or microwavable steamer, steam broccoli florets lightly
  • Once the quinoa, sweet potato, and chickpeas are cooked and cooled place them into a large bowl with sliced avocado, corn, and broccoli, mix well
  • To make the dressing combine all the ingredients into a bowl and stir until combined, drizzle on top or mix through the salad when serving

ACAI BREAKFAST BOWL

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Ingredients (serves 1)

  • 200g frozen bananas
  • 1 packet Creative Gourmet frozen açaí berry
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • ½ cup vegan granola
  • ½ cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 passionfruit, sliced
  • 1 tbs coconut flakes
  • 1 tbs chia seeds

Instructions

  • In a high-powered blender combine frozen banana, acai berry, and almond milk, blend until smooth and creamy in consistency
  • Top with home-made or store bought vegan granola, frozen raspberries, passionfruit, coconut flakes, and chia seeds

BLACK BEAN SALAD

This recipe might seem a little underwhelming, involving only the mixing together of ingredients in a bowl and then eating them, but it turned out so much better than I was expecting, so I feel I have to share it with you! Since making it for the first time a few months ago I have probably eaten this salad once a week, it’s super convenient to make and then bring with me to work, university, and everywhere else. The coriander and lime juice give it an excellent flavour, and the black beans are a great way to fill you up without feeling too heavy!


Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 2 400g tinned black beans
  • 1 400g tinned sweet corn
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 red onion, diced
  •  1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 red capsicum, diced
  • 8 slices of jalapeño pepper, sliced
  • ½ head lettuce, chopped
  • ½ juice of fresh lime
  • ½ bunch fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • salt and black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Rinse black beans and sweet corn together in a sieve, place into a large bowl
  • Slice cherry tomato into halves, dice capsicum and red onion, slice avocado and add to the bowl with the black beans and corn
  • Slice jalapeños, chop coriander, and add to the salad
  • Sprinkle with smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and juiced lime
  • Serve with brown rice, broccoli and lettuce, in a wrap, or accompanying whatever else you like

THAI GREEN VEGETABLE CURRY

Thai green vegetable curry is one of my absolute favourites! The creaminess of the coconut combined with the hit of flavour from the chilli and lemongrass is a match made in heaven for me. This recipe is great for a winter meal, the curry paste is so simple to make and can even be made in larger batches for future use (as it stores well in the fridge). The curry itself is quite warming and rich, so the addition of a variety of fresh vegetables balances out the meal. I found the combination of those vegetables listed below to be really enjoyable, but feel free to substitute them for whatever vegetables suit your taste or are available to you!

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Ingredients (serves 4)
Curry Paste

  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 large red chilli, sliced
  • 1 large green chilli, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 5g piece root ginger, minced
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, sliced
  • ¼ bunch fresh coriander, sliced (plus extra for garnishing)
  • ½ bunch fresh basil, sliced
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin

Curry 

  • ½ butternut pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large eggplant, cubed
  • 2 medium sized carrots, sliced
  • ½ head cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 6 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 100g green beans, trimmed
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 2 270mL tinned lite coconut milk
  • 1L vegan low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 tbs low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 cups brown basmati rice, rinsed

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius, prepare eggplant and pumpkin and baking them in the oven for approximately 20 minutes
  • Prepare the other vegetables and curry paste ingredients accordingly and set aside
  • Begin making the curry paste, adding all the prepared listed ingredients into a blend and pulsing until a smooth consistency is reached
  • In a rice cooker or pot cook rice according to instructions on the packet
  • Add the curry paste to a medium-hot pan and heat for a few minutes until it is quite aromatic
  • Add in the other vegetables (mushrooms, green beans, cauliflower, zucchini, and carrot) and allow to cook for a few minutes, allowing the mushrooms to brown slightly
  • Add in the pumpkin, eggplant, stock, coconut milk, and soy sauce, stir gently until the sauce becomes green and all the curry paste is mixed in
  • Fold the sauce over the vegetables, ensuring that they are coated,  and simmer the curry for approximately 25 minutes or until all vegetables are soft
  • Serve with rice, garnish with extra coriander, and chilli flakes if desired

VEGAN GUIDE TO EATING YOUR WAY AROUND JAPAN

Japan has become an increasingly popular travel destination for many Australian tourists, and recently I’ve seen a number of posts in vegan Facebook groups discussing how difficult it is to stay vegan while in Japan. I’ve also had a few people ask me about the particular places and eateries that I visited during my trips to Japan. So, I’ve decided to create this blog post detailing my personal experience as a vegan tourist in Japan, and provide some tips in hope of helping others to prepare for their trip.

Use HappyCow to find vegan and vegan-friendly establishments
There are a number of vegan friendly restaurants in Japan that can all be located via the Happy Cow app, which I highly recommend downloading prior to your trip. Below is a list of a few of my favourite vegan friendly places to eat while visiting Japan, they are definitely not to be missed!

Ain Soph.Ripple (Tokyo)
Located in Shinjuku. Offering a delicious selection of vegan fast food including faux chicken, faux beef, and falafel burgers, pizzas, nachos, burrito  bowls, mac and cheese, cookies, and waffles

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T’s Tan Tan (Tokyo)
Located on Keiyo Street in Tokyo station building. Offering a range of mains including entirely vegan ramen (shoyu and miso flavours), tan tan (midori, shiro, t’s flavour), and a vegetable curry bowl with rice. You are also able to order sides as a set with your ramen/tan tan these include a fried soy meat bowl, a bipimbap bowl, and vegetable gyoza. In addition to what you can eat, the restaurant also has packaged vegan dashi powder and dehydrated soy meat available for purchase, I ended up bringing the dashi powder back to Australia so I could re-create the delicious shoyu ramen at home

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Hanada Rosso (Tokyo)
Located in Harajuku. Offering delicious set meals including burgers, soups, pasta, and soy meat plates accompanied with salad, vegetables or fried potato

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Chaya Macrobiotics Hibiya Location (Tokyo)

Located in Hibiya. Offering a range of macrobiotic foods including take-away sandwiches, wraps, pasta, salads, and a fantastic selection of desserts

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Kuumbu Du Falafel (Tokyo)
Located in Shibuya (close to Shin-sen station). Offering fresh falafel pitas and plates accompanied with salad and hummus

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Vegan’s Cafe and Restaurant (Kyoto)
Located in Kyoto. Offering some of the best vegan food you’ll ever taste, including soy-milk ramen, yakiniku, pizza, natto salad, pita sandwiches, soy milk ice-cream, cakes, and parfait

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Paprika Shokudo Vegan (Osaka)
Located in Osaka. Offering fried soy meat dishes, pizza, savoury and dessert platters, soy-milk ice-cream, and parfait, this was my favourite place to eat in Osaka and definitely worth visiting if you’re in the area!

Art Cafe ELK (Hiroshima)
Located in Hiroshima. Offering traditional Japanese foods such as the Hiroshima specialty yakisoba, a Japanese style vegan plate featuring tempura vegetables, onigiri, and edamame, a tofu salad, and much more

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Ain Soph.Journey
Located in Shinjuku. Offering a range of salads and soups, curry set with rice, fried soy meat, pancakes, salad wraps, and a even vegan omelette

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Kinatei (Nara)
Located in Nara (near JR station). Offering home-cooked Japanese style set lunch, prepared in front of you by the very friendly owner (a vegetarian of 20+ years) and her lovely staff

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Eat cheaply from convenience stores and chain restaurants

It’s not difficult to eat cheap in Japan with thousands of convenience stores and chain restaurants spread across the country. When travelling to more regional areas of Japan or spending full days in transit convenience stores are a absolute life saver for vegans. Examples of the products that we ate regularly while travelling around Japan include:

Breakfast: frozen blueberries, frozen mango, fruit salad, apples, bananas, Kikkoman Kiban brand soy milk, natto (substituting included dashi sachet for soy sauce), microwavable white rice, fruit juices, and corn flakes

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Lunch/Dinner: plain (salted), kombu, umeboshi, and wakame flavoured onigiri from 7 & iHoldings only (other convenience store onigiri contains bonito, tare, and other animal derived ingredients), pre-packaged salads, pickled daikon, charcoal-grilled and packaged sweet potatoes, plain soba noodles, buckwheat noodles, udon noodles, and T’s Tan Tan brand cup ramen from Natural Lawson

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Snacks: edamame, savoury mochi, dried fruits and sweet potato, Giant CornCalbee chips (plain and norishio flavour), Chip Star chips (plain flavour), Calbee Jagabee chips (lightly salted flavour), Calbee Vegips vegetable chips, roasted chestnuts, apples, bananas, fruit salads, mixed nuts, chocolate, plain, and kabocha flavoured macrobiotic biscuits from Natural Lawson, Soy Joy crispy (white macadamia, golden berry, mixed berry, and plain flavours), GariGarikun soda ice bars (soda, cola, pear, yuzu citrus flavours), and adzuki bean ice-cream.

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It’s good to remember that common products that you might assume to be vegan friendly are not necessarily suitable in Japan (i.e. many bakery breads contain milk, only a few offer European breads that are vegan), so it is very important to always check labels or ask if you are unsure. I found the photo section of google translate particularly helpful to decipher what products were suitable for vegans. Other than the obvious non-vegan ingredients its also important to look out for these key words in translation:

– Bonito (fish)
– Katsuo (fish)
– Dashi (fish sauce) – avoid agedashi tofu!
– Tare (sauce with butter)
– Amino acids (derived from animal protein)

There are also a number of chain restaurants in Japan that are great if you’re on a budget, need to eat somewhere with non-vegans, or just looking for a quick and easy meal

Coco Ichibanya Curry House
In Tokyo many Coco Ichibanya Curry House restaurants offer a plant-based menu when requested, featuring curries such as eggplant, spinach, okra, and mixed vegetable, all accompanied with a range of sides and toppings

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Mos Burger
Mos Burger locations across Japan offer two vegan friendly options including the veggie kimpira burger with a rice bun and a veggie patty burger substituting the regular bun for lettuce and removing the sauce. Other side options also include onion rings and fried potato

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Saizeriya
Saizeriya offers a “Peperoncino” pasta consisting of oil, chilli, parsley, and garlic, that happens to be vegan friendly and only costs 299 yen! Other vegan friendly sides include potato wedges and a seaweed salad

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Hanamaru Udon
Hanamaru Udon offers one vegan friendly udon, the oroshi-shoyu, consisting of cold udon noodles (without broth), grated daikon radish, and soy sauce. Additionally, you can add sesame seeds, extra soy sauce, and spring onion from the self service section. For 300 yen per bowl, it was one of my boyfriend’s favourite places to eat while studying in Tokyo!

Tempura Tendonya
Tempura Tendonya offers a mixed vegetable tempura available on rice, and with a side of cold soba. Be sure to order without tempura sauce on top of both and ask for soy sauce instead. Please note there is the risk of cross contamination in the tempura frying process so eat here at your own discretion

Soup Stock Tokyo
Soup Stock Tokyo has a menu that rotates on a daily basis, and has a minimum of one vegan option on offer per day. Luckily, the menu includes easy to understand allergen information, and any further confusion can be cleared up with the friendly staff. Our go-to soups were the tomato minestrone and green vegetable with rock salt, paired with a side of white rice (the bread is not vegan friendly as it contains milk).

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Other non-vegan restaurants with vegan options

Soranoiro
Soranoiro is a ramen restaurant located on Ramen Street within the Tokyo station building. It offers a vegan ramen made with vegetable based noodles, and a vanilla soy ice-cream soft serve, it’s slightly more expensive than T’s Tan Tan but worth trying if you’re eating with non-vegans or feel like something a little different

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Doughnut Plant
Doughnut Plant located in Shinjuku station is a small stall offering at least two kinds of vegan donuts per day. Fruity flavours such as the raspberry, pineapple, and mixed berry are on offer, as well as various soy-milk based flavours such as ‘soy-milk maple’ and ‘soy-milk roasted green tea’, which are specified on the menu

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Boulangerie La Terre 
Boulangerie La Terre is a bakery located on Keiyo Street (near T’s Tan Tan) in Tokyo station building. There is only one vegan friendly brown rice donut available, the regular powdered  flavour (the creme filled variety contains honey). They also offer European style bread such as olive ciabatta, plain baguettes, chocolate and walnut ciabatta, and sourdough bread (see their allergen list for what is vegan)

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Chabuzen
Chabuzen is a hidden gem located in the backstreets of Shimokitazawa. The small restaurant offers authentic vegetarian and non-vegetarian Japanese cuisine, the vegan friendly options include salads, ramen, soup curry, gyoza, rice, a few soy-milk beverages and desserts

Potasta
Potasta is located next door to Doughnut Plant in Shinjuku station and offers two vegan friendly options: the “Kimpira Salad” and “Kinako Bean” sandwiches. This place is great for a small lunch, if you’re in the area or are just passing through

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Nagataya
Nagataya is a busy okonomiyaki restaurant located in Hiroshima (be prepared to queue), and while the bulk of it’s menu is far from vegan there are some options available. From here you are able to order an okonomiyaki made from rice noodles, cabbage, corn, spring onion, garlic chips, and drizzled with a vegetable based sauce. Not only is the okonomiyaki from here delicious and filling, but you even get to watch it cook in front of you on your very own hotplate table

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Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum
Visiting the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum is definitely worth the short trip from Tokyo. Not only are the vegan ramen options that are available extremely delicious, but the museum itself is also very interesting and a nice place to have a look around. There are three stores that offer vegan friendly ramen within the museum, and these are signposted on the vending machines from which you order them (indicated by a green tomato symbol). When we visited we were only able to sample two of them, one from Ryu Shanghai which was miso based and quite spicy (but delicious nonetheless), and one from Komurasaki which consisted of a vegetable based broth and thick slices of vegan chasyu (my favourite of the two)

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Rouran
Rouran is a restaurant located in Ikebukuro serving Taiwanese and Chinese cuisine. The restaurant offers extensive menus for both vegetarian (vegan) and non-vegetarian cuisine. The vegetarian options are similar to what you find at Loving Hut or Gong De Lin in Melbourne, with many dishes based on mock meats, rice, clear soup, and vegetables

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Stay in AirBnBs, rental apartments, or hostels with kitchen facilities and cook at home
In addition to the vegan-friendly ready made products available at convenience stores, staying in AirBnB’s, hostels, or your own apartment gives you the opportunity to cook what you like. Cooking your own food consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables, curries, pasta, and even dehydrated soy meat products from certain Japanese health food stores (which you can find via the Happy Cow app) will allow you to adhere to a budget and eat vegan, particularly in remote locations where access to vegan food outside of convenience stores is limited

Shop at seasonal markets and fresh produce stalls
If given the opportunity you should definitely buy some of seasonal fruits, vegetables, and treats that Japanese market stalls have to offer. Again, this can often be a cheap and easy way to feed yourself and also great way to try new things. For example, along various street markets across the country I was able to try charcoal roasted Japanese sweet potatoes, persimmons, strawberry red bean mochi, vegetable oyaki, and roasted chestnuts for the first time, all of which were extremely delicious! You’ll be surprised what treats you can find given the season

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Learn some basic Japanese words and characters for particular food products
Learning a few words/characters can be really beneficial when trying to decipher menus, ingredients lists on packaging, or communicate your dietary requirements to others. See the list below for some of the more common dietary related words/characters

Yasai (vegetable) 野菜
Kudamono (fruit) 果物
Tounyuu (soy milk) 豆乳
Zerachin (gelatin) ゼラチン 
Gyuunyuu (milk) 
Sakana (fish) 
Bonito/Katsuo/Dashi (fish products) 鰹
Ekisu (extract) エキス
Tamago (egg) 卵
Niku (meat) 
Tori (chicken) 

Thanks for reading! This post is simply a reflection of my personal experiences as a vegan travelling in Japan, so please feel free to comment below with any further information you think would be valuable to other vegan tourists! Itadakimasu!

Additional resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

MIXED BERRY BREAKFAST CRUMBLE

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Ingredients (serves 2)

Crumble

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 6 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tbs desiccated coconut

Filling

  • 1 medium apple, cubed
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1 tsp dutch cinnamon
  • 1 tbs water

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees C
  • Cut apple into small cubes, remove pits from dates
  • In a small pan combine frozen berries, apple, and dutch cinnamon, water, stir,  heat, and allow to simmer for 10 minutes
  • While simmering combine dates, coconut, and rolled oats in a blender until it appears as small, sticky chunks
  • Divide the apple and berry mixture into two small oven-proof dishes, top each evenly with the crumble, and sprinkle with extra cinnamon if desired
  • Bake in the oven for approximately 15-20 minutes or until it appears to be golden and crispy on the top
  • Serve topped with a spoonful of coconut yoghurt

MUSHROOM RISOTTO

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Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegan chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms + 2 cups boiled water
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 6 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 2 tbs pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • cracked black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • In a medium sized bowl add dried porcini mushrooms and water, soak for at least 20 minutes
  • Prepare vegetables: slice leek and mushrooms, wash spinach, mince fresh garlic
  • In a non-stick pan heat garlic and arborio rice until translucent, stir to avoid sticking
  • Add in leaks and mushrooms, and continue to stir until softened
  • Add in soaked porcini mushrooms and soaking liquid, allow this to be absorbed by the rice and then add in vegan chicken stock cup by cup until fully absorbed
  • When adding in the final cup of stock add in baby spinach leaves, toasted pine nuts, and cracked black pepper to taste
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!

PITA BREAD PIZZA

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Ingredients (serves 1)

  • 1 rye pita bread
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • 4 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium sized tomato, sliced
  • ½ chargrilled capsicum
  • 1 large handful roquette leaves
  • coconut feta, crumbled on top (swap for nutritional yeast or another vegan cheese)
  • cracked black pepper, to taste

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees C
  • Spread pita bread with tomato paste and sprinkle with oregano, thyme, and garlic powder
  • Prepare vegetables: slicing onion, mushrooms, capsicum, and tomato
  • Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown
  • Top with fresh roquette, coconut feta, and cracked black pepper to taste
  • Cut into slices and enjoy