NEW VEGAN RECIPE - Surrey Fusion Festival Demo - Drew's Catering

What a weekend in the city! So many great events were taking place, including the Deighton Cup, one of Vancouver’s flagship style events, and the amazing Surrey Fusion Festival, an annual celebration hosted by the City of Surrey celebrating food, performing arts and culture. More than 150 performers took the stage over the 2 day festival which saw more than 20,000 attendees.

I was fortunate enough to be one of the Chefs selected to perform at the Safeway Canada cooking stage during the festival, and was greeted by many eager (and hungry) attendees ready to watch and learn! I chose to create a plant-based dish to celebrate the abundance of beautiful summer produce available during the summer months. The dish I created was:

Harissa Spiced Chickpea Cakes with Romesco Sauce & Herb and Almond Pesto

It was so wonderful to see the crowd so engaged and interactive throughout the demo, eager to learn ways to create unique and inspired plant-based food. Let’s get started with the recipe, as promised!

Serves 6

For the harissa spiced chickpea cakes:

  • 2 cups chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cooked lentils
  • 1/2 cup chick pea flour
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped parlsey
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 3 tbsp harissa spice powder (if you choose to make your own, recipe is below!)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • Juice and zest from 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until incorporated. You want the consistency to be even, but not fully pureed. It should look like a rustic hummus.

Place the dough on a large sheet of cling film and roll into a log shape. Keep in the fridge for at least a few hours to firm up.

Breading for Chickpea Cakes:

1 cup coconut milk (in separate bowl)
1 cup gluten free flour (in separate bowl)
1 cup gluten free panic (in separate bowl
1 tsp salt

Add the salt to the coconut milk and set up the ingredients in 3 separate bowls. Take the chick pea dough from the fridge and cut into slices, then form into small cakes. Place the cakes in the flour first, then the coconut milk, followed by the panko. Set aside in the fridge until ready to cook.

For the Romesco Sauce:

  • 3 bell peppers, seeds and core removed
  • 3 roma tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup slivered toasted almonds
  • 1 cup cubed day old bread (gluten free bread is okay)
  • 2 tbsp good quality smoked paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil + extra for sauteeting

In a large heavy sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add tomatoes, garlic and peppers to the pan and season with salt. Pan roast for 12-14 minutes over medium high heat until caramelized and browned. Add. the browned peppers and tomatoes to a blender, and add in the remaining ingredients. Blend on high power, for 2-3 minutes until the sauce is fully blended and smooth. Adjust the seasoning to your taste and set aside.

For the herb and almond pesto:

  • 1 cup parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup slivered toasted almonds

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until the sauce reaches a pesto consistency, thinning out with some extra oil as necessary.

Other garnishes:

Summer Squash, or any seasonal vegetable, lightly roasted
Herbs or edible flowers

To Cook and Plate:

Preheat oven to 350F. Heat a large saute pan with a thin layer of vegetable oil over medium high heat. Brown the chick pea cakes on both sides, for 3-4 minutes/side, and transfer the pan to the oven to continue cooking for an additional 10-12 minutes.

Spoon some of the romesco sauce onto the plate, and arrange the chick pea cakes on the plate. Spoon some of the herb and almond pesto on top, and garnish with the roasted summer squash and herbs or flowers. Drizzle with extra olive oil and harissa spice.


Harissa Spice from Scratch!

1 tbsp Cumin Seeds (or 1.5 tsp. Ground cumin powder)
1 tbsp Coriander Seeds (or 1.5 tsp. ground powder)
1 tbsp Caraway seeds (or 1.5 tsp. ground caraway powder
1 tbsp Fennel seeds (or 1.5 tsp. ground fennel seed powder)
1/4 cup Ground dried chili powder (mild or hot per your preference
2 tbsp Smoked Paprika
2 tsp Garlic powder
1-1/2 tsp Sea salt
1 tsp Ground black peppercorns
1 tsp Dried mint leaves (optional)
1/2 tsp Ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground ginger
1/4-1/2 tsp Ground cayenne pepper (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a blender or spice grinder. Blend until evenly incorporated. Store in an air tight jar.


And there you have it! A versatile summer recipe sure to impress your next dinner party guests. This is very similar to what we serve in the catering side of the business for family style, plated and canapé events and we are thrilled to share it with you. Enjoy and let us know how it turns out!