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Marilyne Defer, the founder and chef behind Pumpkin & Kale, shares easy techniques to transform 5 routine dishes into delicious plant-based ones.

On Season 3 of our Deep Fried podcast, we’re shining a light on homegrown businesses across the country. One market that is providing a lot of fertile development space for entrepreneurs and small businesses is the one that caters to vegan and/or plant-based diets. One of those entrepreneurs is Marilyne Defer,the founder behind a home-delivered meal service called Pumpkin & Kale which used to operate out of Abu Dhabi. But they have recently shifted to Dubai and are relaunching their services on March 14 2021 with new ambitious plans to expand the meal plans and offer a catering service with top-notch vegan food for events of all types, from intimate dinners to big time birthdays. You can find Pumpkin & Kale online, on Instagram and Facebook.

Tune in to the player below to hear Marilyne’s techniques for transforming 5 routine dishes into scrumptious plant-based meals or keep reading for the round-up of dishes.

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All credits to Marilyne from Pumpkin & Kale for these delicious plant-based ideas! 

Pumpkin & Kale’s Plant-Based Bolognese

1. Plant-Based Bolognese

Make your own homemade tomato sauce by blending together fresh tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, spices, herbs de provence, olive oil, salt and pepper. Then throw in some beans (azuki beans, lentils, black beans or another bean of your choice) and add some powdered raw parmesan cheese (you can make your own with cashew nuts, nutritional yeast, salt). Toss in the pasta and voila! This dish is featured as part of Pumpkin & Kale’s meal plans.

2. Un-Classic English Breakfast

Switch up the eggs with scrambled tofu (simply firm tofu crumbled up and cooked with shallots, a splash of coconut milk, turmeric for that yellow eggy color, salt, pepper and a pinch of black salt/kala namak for that egg-like sulphurous aroma). Marilyne suggests replacing the sausages with either store-bought plant-based sausages or better still, do some good ol’ recipe hunting on google and make them at home with a base of seitan or chickpeas.

3. Meat-Free Shawarma

Replace the meat with jackfruit cooked in veggie broth and spices. Wrap and go! Or easier still, you can find this dish featured as part of Pumpkin & Kale’s meal plans.

4. Vegan Burger

Make your own wholesome burger with black beans/red kidney beans/chickpeas, quinoa and flaxseeds. And if you’re looking for a no-bun burger, sandwich the patty between two portobello mushrooms. Frying Pan founder and the host of our Deep Fried Podcast, Arva, swears by the vegan V8 burger at Burger Fuel.

5. Plant-Based Mac n’ Cheese

Sub out the cheesy sauce with a cashew cream sauce: soaked cashews, lemon juice, water and nutritional yeast for that cheesy flavour. Toss in the pasta and you’ve got a high protein, healthier take on mac n’ cheese. Marilyne offers this dish in her meal plans at Pumpkin & Kale.



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