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Whole-Foods Recipes from Leslie Cerier

Ethiopian Grain Loaf (including a spring variation)
Vegan Chocolate Mousse Pie

Going Wild in the Kitchen

This month, Leslie Cerier, organic gourmet caterer, cooking teacher, and author of Going Wild in the Kitchen, shows us that quick and easy cooking with whole foods is possible—and enjoyable. Leslie’s approach to cooking is all about abundant choices. Here, she shares two versions of a recipe featuring teff, a gluten-free grain with a subtle hazelnut flavor. A nutritional powerhouse, teff is low in fat, high in fiber, and full of protein, calcium, and iron. Leslie also includes something for those with a sweet tooth—a vegan chocolate mousse pie recipe that is quick and easy to make. To find out more about Leslie, check out her Kripalu bio page or her website,

Ethiopian Grain Loaf

Sweet potatoes and collards cooked with teff, herbs, and spices make a robust loaf with a beautiful mosaic pattern.

Serves 8.

3½ cups thinly sliced yams
3 cups water
1 cup teff
½ teaspoon sea salt or to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1½ cups coarsely chopped leeks
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon cumin seed
2 cups coarsely chopped collard greens
½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil

1. Put yams, water, teff, and sea salt in a four-quart stockpot. Bring ingredients to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for total of 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat a 10-inch fry pan over medium heat. Add oil, leeks, and fennel and cumin seed, and sauté for two to three minutes, or until fragrant.
3. Add collard greens and sauté, stirring occasionally, for three minutes, or until collards are bright green.
4. Add collards and spices to simmering yams and teff.
5. When all the water is absorbed, turn off the heat. Stir in basil and cilantro.
6. Adjust the seasonings, if desired.
7. Pour into a loaf pan. Let stand for about a half-hour, or until solid like a brownie.
8. Slice and serve.

More about teff from Leslie:

Teff has a subtle hazelnut, almost chocolate-like, flavor and a moist texture similar to millet, but more exotic. Tinier than a poppy seed, teff cooks quickly and is a nutritional powerhouse. An eight-ounce serving of teff yields 20 grams of protein, 32 percent of the USRDA for calcium and 80 percent for iron. Teff is low in fat (1 gram per 2-ounce serving), high in fiber (8 grams per 2-ounce serving), and gluten-free. And that’s not all. Teff is a good source of niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, copper, manganese, boron, phosphorous, and potassium. If I sound excited, I am; teff is my favorite grain.

You can generally buy teff from any well-stocked natural foods market. Companies such as Bob’s Red Mill sell it. Online, the Teff Company ( is an option.

Ethiopian Grain Loaf Spring Variation

Asparagus, peppers, and thyme create a tasty spring variation. Here, I used a little more teff, too.

Serves 8.

4 cups boiling water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1⅓ cups teff
½ cup coarsely chopped leeks
1½ cups coarsely chopped green pepper
1 cup 1-inch asparagus pieces
⅔ cup coarsely chopped collard greens
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste

1. Place oil in a four-quart stockpot over medium heat. Add (in this order) teff, leeks, peppers, asparagus, and collard greens. Sauté for five minutes, or until green vegetables are bright green.
2. Add boiling water, and stir in basil, cumin, and thyme.
3. Bring ingredients to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15–20 minutes, or until water is absorbed.
4. Adjust the seasonings, if desired.
5. If teff is a little creamy, you can serve it as a creamy side dish, or transfer to a loaf pan. Let sit for 30 minutes before slicing.

Source: Leslie Cerier, Going Wild in the Kitchen (Square One Publishers).

Vegan Chocolate Mousse Pie

Chocolate mousse is a favorite dessert in my family. This is quick and easy. You can use the mousse for a cake frosting, serve as is, or pour into your favorite piecrust. This recipe is adapted from my cookbook, Going Wild in the Kitchen, which features several piecrusts, including an exotic piecrust made with Bhutanese red rice flour, teff flour, and hazelnut butter.

Ingredients for mousse
1¾ cups chocolate chips or 8.8 ounces dark chocolate (70 percent)
1 pound silken tofu

1. Drain tofu. Puree in a food processor for about one minute, or until smooth.
2. Melt chocolate in a nine-inch frying pan over low heat. Stir occasionally, for about five minutes, or until chocolate is melted. Or melt in a double boiler.
3. Add melted chocolate to food processor. Blend tofu and chocolate for about two minutes, or until thick and smooth.
4. Taste and add more melted chocolate if desired.
5. Serve immediately, or pour chocolate mousse into baked piecrust. Slice and serve. Enjoy!

Source: Leslie Cerier, Going Wild in the Kitchen (Square One Publishers).

Find more delicious and nutritious recipes in Kripalu Recipes.