Teaching and Cooking in Peru (with food photos!)

Hard at work.

I was honored to spend a month in the Sacred Valley of Peru (near Machu Picchu), where I volunteered for a group yoga retreat center, teaching the staff vegan cooking and vegetarian classics (all in Spanish!). The kitchen was lacto-ovo vegetarian and the owner wanted them to have some vegan recipes under their belts, so I was invited to teach them the ins and outs of vegan foods.

I really enjoyed teaching and the staff was eager and happy to learn when in the kitchen. I spent a lot of time reading cookbooks and pulling ideas and inspirations and making it work for the available local items. I designed a few menus and taught basics like bread baking, muffins, cookies, pie crusts, tofu making and a number of entrees, salads and desserts. I am most proud of the seed bread I created for them with local whole wheat flour, quinoa, amaranth, flax seed, sesame seed and pumpkin seeds. It was delicious and nutritious. It is very difficult to find whole wheat bread in Peru; the locals bread of choice is basically an eggy white roll, so this was something new for the staff and something the guests loved. (PS Missoula yoga group, I still owe you the recipe, send me an email).

Getting tomatoes and garlic ready for roasting.

The star dish that the staff and the guests loved was my lasagna (my grandma will be proud). We made a hand-rolled vegan pasta, homemade roasted garlic tomato sauce, sauteed spinach and garlic and local mozzarella and house-made ricotta. It came out beautiful and tasty. The vegan version will obviously be sans dairy with the homemade tofu. I taught how to make quinoa milk (recipe below), which was really easy and substituted well for cow’s milk in baking. Luckily, we had easy access to flax seeds, so that was our major egg replacer in baking. The produce was local, beautiful and fresh. Everyone ate well and learned a lot. I even wrote out all the recipes in Spanish so they have a mini cookbook to reference.

Culturally, Peruvians are more laid back than Westerners. It was new to me to take my time in the kitchen, coming out of a culinary education that encourages efficiency and speed in the kitchen. I think we both learned a lot from each other and I focused on teaching the hows along with the whys of vegan cuisine. Plus we had a lot of fun in the kitchen. Enough of this, on to the recipe and pictures!

Quinoa Milk Yields: ~1 quart/liter
This milk will last in the fridge for about a week. For a beverage, you can cook the quinoa with cinnamon to give it a new dimension.
1/2 cup quinoa
4 cups water
pinch sea salt
to taste sweetener of choice (unrefined sugar, agave, honey)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1. Place quinoa in a glass bowl and cover with water. Refrigerate and soak overnight.
2. Strain quinoa well and rinse under running water.
3. Place quinoa in a sauce pot with 2 cups of water and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Place entire contents into a blender and blend on high speed for at least 1 minute.
5. Add enough water for your desired consistency and sweetener to taste. Add vanilla if desired.

Scratch Lasagna.

Apple Pie Muffins (VWAV modified)

Sauco Corn Muffins (like Elderberries)

Rosemary Zucchini Quiche

Chocolate Brazil Nut Cookies and Oatmeal Raisin

Comforting Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Mango Pear Pie (filling: V’con modified)

A slice of heaven (Crust Recipe here)

Carrot Cake (VWAV)

19 Responses to “Teaching and Cooking in Peru (with food photos!)”

  1. Catalina Says:

    Wow, that looks amazing! Your experience sounds like a great way to see Peru.

  2. Allison Says:

    Hi there,
    How long an Quinoa Milk be stored in the refrigerator?

  3. kimmykokonut Says:

    I would store the milk 5-7 days in the refrigerator. Depending on how cold your fridge is, it may last longer. Once it starts to smell sour, I wouldn’t use it anymore. Luckily, quinoa cooks quickly and it’s not hard to make a new batch.

  4. sasha Says:

    oh my goodness! so i searched google for a pumpkin seed recipe, clicked on your site, and then started browsing only to find out that i know you! i saw you mention peru and otra cosa! i’m not sure if you’ll remember me, i’m sasha- i was in huanchaco august-dec 2007, i hung out with marie-lou, annick, and sarah, and i taught english through the library program. anyways, now i remember you saying you were a cook- im vegetarian and i just recently started becoming interested in raw foods. well i hope you’re well and you have a great website!

  5. coraline Says:

    the quinoa milk recipe looks like it would make a more nutritious smoothie than almond milk
    can’t wait to try it!

  6. jeanne quan Says:

    Hi Kimmy,

    I just met you at today’s “Beyond Yoghurt” class at People’s Co-op. I LOVE your website, not only the recipes but the spirit of it all.

    I would like to begin kombucha making. How can we make that happen?

    I should also mention that I am involved in a food community in Forest Grove (I live in Portland) centered at a friend’s urban teaching farm called Nana Cardoon. We are in the midst of forming a buying group inspired by Southern Willamette Bean and Grain Alliance /Ten Rivers Food Web. You may have seen the article “Bean Man” in Winter issue of Edible Portland about Harry MacCormack.

    Jeanne Quan
    (503) 473-4980

  7. Jim H Says:

    I was surprised to hear the local favorite bread was a white roll. Your seed bread must have been very exotic and appreciated. It sure sounds good. Enjoyed your blog and recipes. Liked the one for homemade sauerkraut. Yes the canned stuff is pretty bad.


  8. Bryan Says:

    Hi I am a VEGAN Chef and love your baking, yummy, I am working on a quinoa ice cream and some other recipe ideas.I am in Tucson, but have been in Portland also.

  9. kimmykokonut Says:

    Thanks for the comment on my blog, glad you are enjoying it. Keep me updated on your quinoa ice cream that sounds wonderful! I”ve always enjoyed cashew based ice cream, but it is costly.

  10. kimmykokonut Says:

    The sad thing is the local favorite most places I have travelled to is white flour based breads. But they did like the multi-grain bread, I just think it is hard to shift back to whole grain diets after experience with non-nutritional white flour. It is addictive!

  11. Linda Sopp Says:

    I am excited to find your web site! And especially pleased to find that you taught cooking classes in Peru. I am going on a 3 wk mission trip to Lima, Peru in December 2009. I will be teaching a seminar on healthful living and am looking for vegan recipes using local foods. On your web site, though, I could not find the seed bread you created using whole wheat. Please, would you send it to me? Also anything else you can pass on to me or advise me on concerning Peruvian foods and lifestyle will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  12. Lynda Walker Says:

    Hi Kimmy,
    Taylor and I took your granola and nut milk class at New Seasons last week and we are hooked! Getting ready to make 3rd batch of granola (tropical, no less by changing out OJ for Mango juice, adding Macadamia nuts and some tropical dried fruit. YUM Do you have nutritional content of the granola recipe? ie, calories, protein, fiber & fat? Don’t want to reinvent the wheel if you have it. Thanks again – you were a great teacher!

  13. kimmykokonut Says:

    Your granola variation sounds amazing! I have emailed you the nutritional info for the granola we made in class.

  14. kimmykokonut Says:

    I’m glad you found my blog, too! The seed bread recipe will be a future blog post but in the meantime I will email it to you. Let me know if you have any specific questions regarding Peruvian lifestyle/foods because I could go on for hours of what I have learned while living there. The most important thing that comes to mind is to always have a roll of toilet paper on you wherever you go!

  15. Victoria Says:

    Hello I am from Peru I found your blog looking for the properties of hierba luisa. I see many nice recipes I am a chef and I am vegetarian too I lived in South Florida.

  16. Fire Basket ยท Says:

    veggan foods are always the best for anyones health because it is low fat and low sodium ::

  17. Reid Batiz Says:

    Thank you, very useful. I wasnt really a big fan of Spinach for many years ( understatement, I hated the stuff), but after marrying a vegetarian I kind of had to put up with it, and have gradually come to totally love the stuff. Spinach curry is now my absolute favourite! I even found adedicated spinach recipes website which is my new favourite site now, you should have a look!

  18. RFID Chip Says:

    well, if you really want to be healthy, i believe that veggan foods are the best :;,

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