Burger with Black Garlic Aioli

    Burger with Black Garlic Aioli

    With a good dash of German October Fest spirit, this Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli might be my ultimate favourite burger. The brioche pretzel buns are chewy, with the typical flavourful pretzel crust, while having the sweetness and tenderness of brioche.
    The burger patty is combining the juiciness of pork with classic beef, adding flavour and crunchy edges with some additional ingredients. Brought together by the umami-sweetness of Black Garlic Aioli lifting this to the level of a feast rather than fast food.

    Why You Want to Make This

    The Burger as Feast

    Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli

    The Buns

    To me, especially after being on my weight loss journey, a burger is a feast, rather than a convenient fast food. Which is exactly the treatment they get in this recipe.

    Having worked in the kitchen of a Rock Café in Hanover for most of my 20s, known for the best burgers in town, I had a few ideas on how to take a burger to the next level.

    Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli

    While we used simple store bought sesame buns in said pub, (Gourmet Burgers weren’t a thing back then, though they were still really good) I decided I wanted the sesame, but up my bun game. As described in detail in my post for the Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns I developed especially for this Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli, you get the rich, soft, and slightly sweet Brioche experience, needed for contrast to the salty burger. It holds the patty firmly in place, avoiding the dreaded patty slip, while soaking up all the flavourful juices, giving you the perfect flavour in each bite.

    A mix of Sourdough, Pretzel and Brioche for the perfect Burger Bun

    But Brioche alone wasn’t what I wanted, or I could just use storebought brioche buns, right? I wanted the added flavour of sourdough and the crust and chewiness of Pretzel buns, topped with salt and sesame. Adding a decidedly German Octoberfest touch. That’s not something I found anywhere. So I made it, and now you can too.

    Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns

    Of course, if you don’t feel like making your own buns, but want to try the rest, feel free to use your favourite shop bought buns.

    The recipe for the Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns is separate, since you’ll want to start the preparation of them 2 days before and can easily bake them the day before, to just reheat them in the oven. Or prepare to just before boiling in baking soda water and get them into the oven an hour before you want to eat, so they can cool down a little.

    The Patty

    While burger purists may object, to me, the pure beef patties were never something I found particularly tempting. I feel they are rather dry with mainly iron flavour from the beef, which I’m sure appeals to the steak lovers. And don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a good steak, but I’d rather have it in its whole form, not ground.

    Then what makes a great patty to me?
    Let’s start with crispy edges. At said Rock Café, they were created by first frying the patties in a pan for meal prep, then deep frying them to heat up before serving. But also: The ingredients of said patties, which I will explain in the Ingredients section.

    While I obviously have no intention of deep frying my burger patties every time, I figured that both air fryer and a second brief fry in the pan will give a very similar crunch. So they get fried just until browned and cooked through first, at which point they are already delicious, but they will be even better when reheated, making them perfect for meal prep and a proper burger feast.

    The Sauces

    Black Garlic Aioli

    Sauces make or break a burger. That much is clear if you look at how popular the Big Mac is. It’s the secret sauce that makes it so addictive. Now I’m not re-creating it here, but rather looking for a gourmet burger sauce, to take this to the next level.
    I found it in Black Garlic Aioli.

    Black Garlic is created by very slowly caramelising bulbs of garlic over several weeks, transforming it into black, shiny nuggets of sweet umami notes, with hints of fruit and garlic. Think balsamic and liquorice, utterly addictive and complex. Some supermarkets offer it these days, or you can make it yourself very easily in a rice cooker or dehydrator. It’s not complicated. All it takes is time, to cause a very slow Maillard reaction.

    The addition of herbs and lemon takes this aioli over the top and makes it utterly addictive. You’ll want it with all kinds of things from fries over sandwiches to using it in a Grand Aioli, it’s just so good.

    If you have a stick blender, it also takes just 5 minutes to make and is super easy. Not that the classic method is hard, slowly drizzling oil into the egg and whisking, it just takes a bit of feel and patience.

    BBQ Sauce

    If I’m creating a feast worthy burger, I’ll create my own Peach BBQ Sauce with Single Malt for it. I mean, who wouldn’t?
    You? Ok, yes, I can see why. And sure, you could use a good shop bought BBQ sauce, I won’t blame you. But if you have 35 minutes to spare, I urge you to try this Peach BBQ Sauce with Single Malt. It’s worth it!
    Sweet and summery fruity notes from the peaches come together with smoky malt whisky together with molasses and brown sugar and liquid smoke, to create a stunningly delicious sauce for all your BBQ needs. It’ll keep for a while, so make extra and enjoy with spareribs or steak.

    Black Garlic Butter with Lemon

    Black Garlic Butter with Lemon

    What do you mean “butter”? In a burger?
    Yup, butter. One of the best kept secrets of that famous “Booster Burger” from said Rock Café (which has long since been eradicated from existence, much to my dismay) was the home made herb butter from the owners’ wife. It was spread onto the cut bun sides, which were then toasted under the Salamander, to have it deliciously melt into the bun, soaking it with garlic-herb flavour.

    I don’t have her secret recipe unfortunately, which consisted of copious amounts of garlic and a lot of fresh herbs, brought to us in huge boxes, we were using so much. But I got pretty close with this one and feel the Black Garlic, which wasn’t in the original, improves it even further.

    Could you just use shop bought garlic butter? Sure. It’ll be delicious. But home made takes 5 minutes (either with black garlic or just fresh, if you can’t find it) and works with so many dishes, you’ll just want it in your fridge all the time. You can also make double and freeze a batch, to have the perfect steak or sandwich butter at your fingertips. Or just make the best garlic bread you ever had.

    The Toppings

    If you use any of the above mentioned ingredients, your burger will already be delicious. So you can choose whichever toppings you love. For me, it’s always the classic combination of crunchy lettuce, fresh cherry tomatoes (Or a really flavourful heirloom tomato if you can find it), sweet dill pickles, red onion rings and crispy fried Serrano ham. Or fried bacon, depending on your preference. I just love how fried Serrano ham shatters into pieces when fried and adds so much salty umami flavour, I don’t miss the fat bacon would bring. And the type of patty I’m making isn’t dry as beef would be, so we don’t need the added fat.

    Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli_Process

    You could of course add avocado, melted cheese, caramelised onions or go a completely different way by using a vegan burger patty.

    Optional Sides

    Since this Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli is on the rich side, I wanted something light to go with it, hinting to Germany, but not…well…Sauerkraut. So I made a super quick Herbed Cashew Aioli Slaw (recipe coming soon), which has white cabbage, basically what Sauerkraut is made of, but fresh and playing with the garlic theme of the burger.

    In the picture you also see Sweet Potato Fries, which I made following this easy recipe.

    My wild guess is though, that, depending on the size of your buns, you probably won’t need many sides. But with this being a proper feast, of course you’ll want all the options.

    The Ingredients

    Buns

    Use either my Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns recipe or get your favourite shop bought burger bun. If I’m in a hurry, I love Brioche Buns.

    The Patty

    While these are super easy to make, it’s part of where the magic of the famous Booster Burger stemmed from. Now this will be controversial with the beef purists, but they are, in fact, made from half pork and half beef mince. Not low fat either, as we want them juicy. I’m using ready minced beef and pork here, but if you want to take this completely over the top, mince your own.

    Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli_Ingredients

    Eggs

    Wait what? Not your standard burger, the Booster Burger was going more into the direction of really good and homemade meatballs the German way. Made with eggs and soaked white bread to bind the burgers and add crispy edges and juiciness.

    Baguette

    Another controversial one, water (or milk) soaked baguette which is then squished, to lower the water content again, is used in a similar way as breadcrumbs in meatballs. It binds and adds both juiciness and crunch to the burger patties, making them utterly delicious on their own.

    Flavourings

    Finely chopped onions, ideally caramelised (though I’ve used raw in the past, when in a hurry) add a lovely backbone to the flavourings of this Burger patty. Some dried parsley, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper complete it. Make more than you need. You’ll definitely want one straight from the pan and freeze some for emergency burger cravings. My freezer is not complete without these.

    Black Garlic Aioli

    Since the black garlic is sweet, the balsamic complements it perfectly, but I felt it needed a more acidic counterpoint, to lift it, hence the addition of lemon zest and juice.

    Black Garlic Aioli_Ingredients

    While the herbs are optional, I urge you to try fresh dill, as it’s very fresh version of anise flavour goes perfect with the black garlic and takes this to a whole different level. The parsley adds minerality, to balance both sweetness and umami. You could use dried, but personal I always miss the freshness when I do.

    For oil you could use ¼ cup of a very mild olive oil instead of part of the neutral oil (I’m using Grapeseed oil), but don’t replace it all with olive oil, as it tends to get bitter when used for mayonnaise.
    And fresh egg of course. This emulsifies the aioli together with the mustard.

    Liquid smoke – I’ve added this specifically for these Black Garlic Aioli Burgers, to complement the flavour and despite not grilling them, give a reminder of summer BBQs. You can leave it out if you don’t have it.

    Black Garlic Lemon Butter

    Use good quality unsalted butter here, so you control the saltiness. Several cloves of Black Garlic. You can vary how strong you’d like the flavour of it. Same goes for fresh garlic.
    Some fresh herbs. I like Dill, Parsley and Basil. Though I left out the basil this time, as mine had died it’s usual winter death.

    Black Garlic Butter with Lemon_Ingredients

    The Process

    Buns

    If you chose to make these incredible Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns to take your burgers to the next level, start by feeding the sourdough 2 days before you want to eat them. Then follow the recipe here for the whole process.
    If you’d rather not, get some good burger buns from your supermarket. But honestly: Do make the buns. You won’t regret it, I promise.

    Peach BBQ Sauce

    You can use shop bought. But if you decided to make your own Peach BBQ Sauce with Malt, follow the recipe here.

    Peach BBQ Sauce with Single Malt

    Black Garlic Aioli

    Using a slim jar or container that just fits the stick blenders head with very little room to spare on the sides, you add your egg, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, liquid smoke if using, and lemon juice at the bottom, then top it with all of the oil. Gently lower your blender head, equipped with the whisking disc, all the way down, so it covers the egg. Switch it on at full speed and do not move it for a few seconds. You will see mayonnaise forming right away at the bottom. Keep it still until the white mass doesn’t expand upwards further, then gently tip your blender into a diagonal, and very slowly move it upwards until all the oil is incorporated.

    Black Garlic Aioli_Process

    Mash your garlic and black garlic or chop it, chop your herbs roughly and add all of them with some salt and pepper to your mayonnaise. Blend again with the pureeing attachment, to create a smooth and delicious Black Garlic Aioli. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
    Try not to eat it all with a hunk of fresh bread.

    Keep in a lidded container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

    Black Garlic Butter with Lemon

    Add all the ingredients to the small bowl of your food processor and mix until you have a smooth mass.
    Alternatively, if making by hand: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, let the unsalted butter soften at room temperature. Add all remaining ingredients to the softened butter and mix thoroughly with a fork until well combined.
    Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning if desired.

    Black Garlic Butter with Lemon_Process
    Once the black garlic lemon butter is well mixed, transfer it to a serving dish or roll it into a log shape using plastic wrap.
    Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to firm up the butter.

    Toppings

    Prepare your toppings. Slice pickles, tomatoes, and onions. Wash your lettuce. Fry Serrano ham or bacon until crispy, if using and keep warm in the oven.

    The Patties

    Caramelize Onions

    If you choose to caramelize your chopped onions, do that first. In a pan with a little olive oil, fry them on medium heat slowly, until caramelised. Don’t let them burn, or they will turn bitter.
    Alternatively add your chopped onions raw.

    Soak Baguette

    Rip your baguette into 3 large pieces. In a medium bowl cover with water (or milk, if you like) and let it sit to soak while you add the remaining ingredients to a large bowl.

    Mix Patties

    In a large bowl, add your pork and beef mince, the eggs, Dijon mustard, dried parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
    Squeeze as much moisture as you can out of your baguette, by squishing it with your hands. Add to the bowl with the meat.

    Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli_Process

    Using your hands (this is the fun part), mix the whole thing until you have a relatively uniform dough that holds together nicely.

    Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli_Process

    Fry

    Heat a pan to medium high heat and add some oil. I’m using standard (not extra virgin) olive oil, but any oil that is suited for frying will work.

    Using your hands, form thin, large patties with irregular edges. You don’t want perfectly shaped rounds here, as the edges will crisp up and add the addictive caramelised crunch to the burger.

    Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli_Process

    Once your pan is hot, fry the patties. I usually manage to get 3 into the pan and keep the rest warm, if I plan to eat them right away.

    Re-heat for extra crispy edges

    However, and this is a step I highly advise you to take, you could prepare them the day before (or weeks and just freeze them) and quickly reheat them when you are ready. Either fry a second time in a very hot pan, to crisp them up or in the air fryer at 400°F/200°C for a few minutes, until hot and with crispy edges.
    I know this sounds unusual for burgers, but trust me, it makes them even more irresistible.

    To Serve

    Briefly re-heat your burger buns by sprinkling them with a little water, then baking for 5-10 mins at 350°F/175°C in the air fryer or oven. Slice them open horizontally. Spread some Black Garlic Butter with Lemon on each side and briefly fry in a hot pan until golden. Or put them under your grill in the oven, but keep a very close eye on them, as they burn quickly.

    Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli_Process

    Top both sides with a little Black Garlic Aioli. On the bottom side, stack lettuce, followed by a hot burger patty and add your desired toppings. Drizzle with BBQ sauce. Add the top half of the bun and enjoy your Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli.

    Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli

    Meal Prep

    You can make pretty much everything in this recipe ahead of time, except for slicing your Tomatoes if using, frying the bacon or Serrano ham and re-heating buns and patties.

    Both the Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns and the Burger Patties freeze well. So does the Black garlic Lemon Butter. The Peach BBQ Sauce can me made weeks ahead, the Black garlic Aioli ideally the day before.

    Please Comment

    Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
    Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
    What other recipes would you like to see?

    If you enjoyed this recipe, please share and comment. It helps me a lot.

    Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli

    Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli

    With a good dash of German October Fest spirit, this Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli might be my ultimate favourite burger. The brioche pretzel buns are chewy, with the typical flavourful pretzel crust, while having the sweetness and tenderness of brioche. The burger patty is combining the juiciness of pork with classic beef, adding flavour and crunchy edges with some additional ingredients. Brought together by the umami-sweetness of Black Garlic Aioli lifting this to the level of a feast rather than fast food.
    Prep Time 1 hour
    Cook Time 30 minutes
    Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
    Course Dinner, Feast, Main Course
    Cuisine Fusion
    Servings 12
    Calories 778 kcal

    Ingredients
      

    Black Garlic Aioli:

    • 1 egg or 2 yolks
    • ¾ cup neutral oil such as grapeseed
    • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice
    • Grated zest of 1 lemon
    • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
    • 4 black garlic cloves mashed with a fork.
    • 1 fresh garlic clove minced.
    • ½ tsp kosher salt or more to taste
    • Optional add-ins: 1 tbsp chopped dill or tarragon 1 tbsp chopped parsley

    Black Garlic Butter with Lemon

    • 2/3 cup unsalted butter
    • 4 cloves black garlic mashed
    • 1 clove fresh garlic minced
    • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
    • 1 tbsp chopped dill
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • Zest of 1 lemon
    • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

    Burger Patties:

    • 1 lb pork mince
    • 1 lb beef mince
    • 1 medium baguette ideally stale
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 tbsp dried parsley
    • 2 onions finely chopped
    • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns – Recipe see Link in Post

      Optional Toppings:

        Peach BBQ sauce with Malt - See link in post

        • Crunchy Lettuce
        • Crispy fried bacon or Serrano Ham
        • Fresh sliced tomato
        • Sliced dill pickles
        • Sliced onions fresh or caramelised
        • Cheese
        • Avocado

        Instructions
         

        Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns:

        • Follow the instructions in the provided link to make the Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns. Begin by feeding the sourdough 2 days before you plan to make the buns. Follow the detailed recipe at forthepleasureofeating.com.

        Peach BBQ Sauce (If using):

        • Follow the recipe at forthepleasureofeating.com to make the Peach BBQ Sauce with Malt.

        Black Garlic Aioli:

        • In a slim jar or container, layer egg, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, liquid smoke (if using), and lemon juice.
        • Top with all the oil.
        • Using a stick blender equipped with the whisking disc, blend on full speed without moving for a few seconds until mayonnaise forms at the bottom.
        • Gradually tilt and move the blender upwards until all the oil is incorporated.
        • Mash or chop black garlic and regular garlic, chop herbs, and add them to the mayonnaise with salt and pepper.
        • Blend again with the pureeing attachment until smooth.
        • Taste and adjust seasoning. Keep refrigerated in a lidded container for up to 3 days.

        Black Garlic Butter with Lemon:

        • In a food processor, combine unsalted butter, mashed black garlic, minced fresh garlic, chopped parsley, chopped dill, kosher salt, lemon zest, and freshly ground pepper.
        • Mix until smooth.
        • Transfer to a serving dish or roll into a log shape using plastic wrap.
        • Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to firm up the butter.

        Toppings:

        • Prepare toppings by slicing pickles, tomatoes, and onions, and washing lettuce.
        • Fry Serrano ham or bacon until crispy, if using, and keep warm in the oven.

        Burger Patties:

        • Optionally caramelize chopped onions in a pan with olive oil until golden.
        • In a medium bowl, soak large baguette pieces in water or milk.
        • In a large bowl, combine pork and beef mince, eggs, Dijon mustard, dried parsley, salt, and pepper.
        • Squeeze moisture from the soaked baguette and add it to the meat mixture.
        • Mix by hand until a uniform dough forms.
        • Heat a pan with oil and form thin, irregularly shaped patties with your hands.
        • Fry patties until cooked through and crispy at the edges.

        To Serve:

        • Reheat burger buns by sprinkling with water and baking at 350°F/175°C for 5-10 minutes in the air fryer or oven.
        • Slice buns horizontally and spread Black Garlic Butter with Lemon on each side.
        • Briefly fry in a hot pan until golden or place under the oven grill.
        • Top both sides with Black Garlic Aioli.
        • On the bottom side, stack lettuce, a hot burger patty, and desired toppings.
        • Drizzle with Peach BBQ Sauce.
        • Add the top half of the bun and enjoy your Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli!

        Notes

        Meal Prep
        You can make pretty much everything in this recipe ahead of time, except for slicing your Tomatoes if using, frying the bacon or Serrano ham and re-heating buns and patties.
        Both the Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns and the Burger Patties freeze well. So does the Black garlic Lemon Butter. The Peach BBQ Sauce can me made weeks ahead, the Black garlic Aioli ideally the day before.
        Since both burger size, calories of the buns and toppings vary, I'm giving you a rough estimate of the calories of the patties, rather than the whole burger.
        The other recipes have calories included on their own posts, so you can add them depending on the parts you are using.
        Burger Patties:
        Total Calories per Portion: Approximately 387 calories
        Total Protein per Portion: Approximately 27 grams
        Total Carbohydrates per Portion: Approximately 15 grams
        Total Fat per Portion: Approximately 24 grams
        Total Sodium per Portion: Approximately 376 milligrams
        For the complete Burger as I made it, it added up to this:
        Calories: Approximately 778 calories
        Protein: Approximately 14.2 grams
        Carbohydrates: Approximately 29.7 grams
        Fat: Approximately 32.3 grams
        Sodium: Approximately 393 milligrams

        Nutrition

        Calories: 778kcal
        Nutrition Facts
        Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli
        Amount per Serving
        Calories
        778
        % Daily Value*
        * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
        Keyword Black Garlic, burger bun, meal prep, Pretzel, Protein
        Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
        Black Garlic Pork Ramen

        Black Garlic Pork Ramen

        Last but not least in my Pork Shoulder Series, I have a stunning Black Garlic Pork Ramen bowl for you. Sweet and savoury marinated pork, Pickled vegetables, crunchy fresh ones, some bamboo, and water chestnuts for good measure. Topped by addictive Korean marinated eggs and black garlic oil, this tastes as amazing as it looks. Just right for the colder days that are starting now.

        Why You Want To Make This

        If you followed along and already have pork shoulder and pickled vegetables, you are half done, and this will be a quick leftover dinner, with just a few added ingredients. Many are optional but recommended for layers of flavour and a party in your mouth.

        I’m giving you the luxury version with all the bells and whistles here, from which you can pick and choose which parts you’d like to try.

        Don’t be scared by the long list of ingredients. Most can be prepared well ahead of time and used throughout the week. Several are optional, but recommended.

        The important parts: Broth, Tare, noodles, a protein, and some vegetables. Some say eggs are mandatory, but if you’d rather not add them, you will still have a really flavourful bowl.

        Don’t get me wrong, this is not an authentic Japanese ramen, which would be called “Tonkotsu Ramen”, and a great recipe can be found here.
        That one takes more than a day to make. And while I’ve been known to do more elaborate recipes at times, this isn’t one of them.
        Rather a use for leftover pork, with lots of added vegetables, marinated eggs and ways to meal prep the whole thing, so you have a fresh, steaming, and flavourful bowl on your workdays.

        Ingredients

        The Pork

        I’m using my Cuban marinated air fryer pork for this, as it slices nice and thin, which is great for adding the Asian marinade, to make it really sing in Pork Ramen.

        It’s the same marinade and pork I used for the Pork Banh Mi, so if you want to make both, just double the amount and you’ll be set for the week and have two different veggie packed dishes to spoil yourself and your family with. You can use other meats here or tofu, if you prefer a vegetarian version. The marinade will work for all of them.

        Cuban Air Fryer Pork Shoulder

        If you haven’t made them, check the Marinade part in the Process section or the recipe, where you’ll find the details. It just takes minutes to put together.

        Pork Bánh Mì Marinade Ingredients

        The Pickled Vegetables

        The acidity and freshness of the Quick Pickled Vegetables cuts through the richness of the pork and adds lots of crunch to the Ramen.

        They can also be used in many other recipes, like my Banh Mi  or, as I love them, simply as snack, straight from the fridge. You can flavour them any way you like. A classic would be hot, with fresh chili, but I’m not a big fan, as I always feel I can’t taste anything else, as soon as chili is involved, so I left it out.

        Quick Pickled Vegetables

        I’m using 3 different ones for the Ramen: Sweet, crunchy carrots, vibrant red cabbage, and cute mini sweetcorn cobs. These are optional, so they are not in the recipe itself, to not overload and scare you away. You can just make one or leave them out. Or even add ready made Kimchi for example, if you like it.

        The Stock

        I’ve used homemade stock here, as I had it in my freezer, but you can use ready-made chicken, vegetable, or beef stock. Whatever you prefer.
        What transforms it into Ramen is 1 piece of Kombu (showing beside the spring onions) and optional katsuobushi or bonito flakes, which are preserved, fermented tuna flakes.

        The Tare

        Or the soul of any good Ramen. Tare is a mix of Miso, Japanese sesame paste and a variety of other flavourful ingredients. It’s usually put at the bottom of your ramen bowl and stirred in, to add lots of Umami, hints of sweet and sour and sometimes hot flavour, depending where go get it.

        Black Garlic Pork Ramen_Tare_Ingredients

        Miso – This is the main flavouring here. I’m using white, which is slightly sweeter than the darker versions. You can use whatever miso paste you enjoy or have on hand. It adds the typical umami flavour that you know from ramen.

        Sesame paste – Since it is notoriously difficult to find any exotic ingredients in Ireland, I went with Tahini instead of the traditional Japanese sesame paste. I’m using my favourite Al Nakhil here, which I order from an Asian shop.

        I would either look out for a really good quality Tahini, which should be creamy and runny, not firm, as the standard supermarket ones you get. Otherwise you might end up adding a very bitter flavour to your ramen, which is not what we want.
        Failing that, you could use roasted peanut butter, to achieve a similar effect, which is that of slightly thickening your broth and adding a toasted, nutty flavour.

        Toasted Sesame Oil – To get the toasted notes back in, that are missing from the Tahini in lieu of toasted sesame paste, I’m adding toasted sesame oil, which is very intense in flavour, so you need very little.

        Tamarind Paste – For adding fruity flavours of sweet and sour, I love using Tamarind paste, which is widely available these days. It comes either in form of a block of pulp, which has to be soaked in hot water, then pulled apart, cooked, pureed, and pushed through a sieve (I did that a few times when I just couldn’t find the ready made version) or as creamy paste, that can just be added as is.
        If you can only find the block and would like to make paste, here is a great recipe I used in the past.

        Soy, Mirin, Garlic, Vinegar – Apart from those three ingredients, it’s soy sauce (you can use Tamari or Coconut Aminos for a gluten free option), Mirin, garlic, vinegar (I used rice vinegar here, but white wine or even cider vinegar work well too) and Gochujang paste for a spicy kick.

        Gochujang – This is a Korean (as I said: Not an authentic ramen) chile paste, that is sweet, spicy and savoury all at once. I got mine here.
        As this is one of the few places in Ireland that sells it and my favourite online shop to find any exotic ingredients I might need for my…let’s just call it “Kitchen Travels”.
        This paste is one of the very few hot and spicy ingredients I actually enjoy, as it adds layers of different flavours to the dishes it touches, not just plain hotness.

        If you can’t find Gochujang, you could use Sriracha or other chile sauces you enjoy. Or just leave it out entirely. Your ramen will still be delicious.

        Marinated Eggs

        You could just use medium boiled eggs if you are in a hurry. Or you could really up your ramen game (and get addicted to these marinated eggs in the process) and throw together a few ingredients the evening before, to make incredibly flavourful Korean marinated eggs from Tiffy Cooks.

        Black Garlic Pork Ramen_Marinated eggs

        All you need is 6 boiled eggs, peeled, salt, vinegar, garlic, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil and optional Gochujang, spring onions and sesame seeds.

        Vegetables

        You can use as little or as many vegetables to top your Black Garlic Pork Ramen as you like. I love to use a lot, as I enjoy the flavour and crunch they bring to every spoonful. And they help me to stay full by adding volume and fibre, while adding very little calories, which is a great help with weight loss as the linked study shows. It was big part of my journey to lose 70lb.

        Black Garlic Pork Ramen_ Ingredients

        I’ve used broccoli, Pak choy, zucchini, sugar snaps and spring onions fresh. Plus bamboo shoots and water chestnuts from cans, to add an Asian touch to the mix.

        Noodles

        Ramen has to have noodles of course. Personally I don’t want a huge portion of them, so I’m just using about one portion of noodles from a ramen package. You can buy ramen noodles in pretty much any supermarket these days. Choose whichever you love.

        Black Garlic Oil (Mayu)

        If you think this is the slowly caramelised version I’ve used in many recipes on this blog, you will be just as surprised as I was, when I found this recipe.
        I mean, who would put literally burned garlic into their soup, right? Right. Yet, we do. No really.
        That’s what makes this into Black Garlic Pork Ramen.

        Black Garlic Pork Ramen_ Black Garlic Oil_ Ingredients
        And I honestly recommend you try it. It’s incredible. You only need 3 ingredients: Garlic, chopped, oil for frying and toasted sesame oil for finishing. And you’ll have the most amazing condiment for your ramen bowl, that will last for ages.

        The Process

        The Marinated Eggs

        Start with the eggs if you are using them, as they are best when they had a chance to sit in the marinade over night, but at least 2h.

        Boil your eggs for 6-8 minutes. I’m using large ones from the fridge and find 7.5 minutes gives me the perfect consistency with firm white and gooey yolks. You don’t want them soft for this, as it’ll cause a mess when peeling them later.

        Once boiled, put them in iced water, so they stop cooking and are easier to peel.

        Black Garlic Pork Ramen_Marinated eggs

        In a lidded container or freezer bag, mix your marinade ingredients.

        Once your eggs are cool enough to handle, peel them and add them to the marinade. Ideally the marinade should cover them, but I found none of my containers works for that, so I just turn them after 1h. Or even the next morning, if leaving them overnight.

        Black Garlic Pork Ramen_Marinated eggs

        They will have an incredible sweet-savoury-spicy flavour and you can add them to anything you like. A bowl of rice, sandwich, ramen of course, or just eat them as protein snack.

        The Broth

        I’m preparing about 6 cups of stock here, which tends to be enough for roughly 6 large bowls of ramen.

        Bring your preferred stock to the boil. Add the piece of Kombu and the bonito flakes, if using and switch off the heat. Leave for at least 10min. Up to 1h, while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

        When you are ready to assemble, take out the kombu and re-heat. You can use the kombu a second time if you want.

        The Tare

        Mix all your ingredients for the Tare in a jar, which you can keep in the fridge until ready to use.
        When ready to assemble, add to the hot broth and stir. You could also add it just to the bowls, but I love my ramen hot, so I prefer to heat it.

        Black Garlic Pork Ramen_Tare

        The Black Garlic Oil (Mayu)

        Chops your garlic cloves finely. Add your preferred cooking oil (I used groundnut for this) to a small saucepan, ideally non-stick. I used stainless steel, which worked nicely. Add the garlic.

        Black Garlic Pork Ramen_ Black Garlic Oil Process

        Slowly heat everything and cook at medium heat, until your garlic turns very dark brown. Don’t take your eyes of it. You don’t want charcoal. Just about one shade before black. Keep stirring. There might be bits sticking to your pan, that’s fine. They will come lose after cooling down a little.

        Once your garlic is very dark brown, take the pan off the heat and add the sesame oil. Don’t taste this. This is really not one of the condiments that tastes great on its own. It’s also very concentrated, so a little goes a long way.

        Black Garlic Pork Ramen_ Black Garlic Oil

        Once your Pork Ramen bowls are assembled, add about a tablespoon per bowl, drizzled over. Be prepared to be amazed.

        The Pork

        About 20min before you want your ramen, preheat your oven or air fryer to 200°C (400°F).

        Slice your pork of choice thinly and add to a lightly greased ovenproof dish. I’m using Pyrex here, as it can also go in the fridge with the leftovers later. Mix the marinade ingredients together and pour them over the pork.

        Let the meat with the marinade heat and slightly caramelise in the oven/air fryer for about 10-15minutes. I found the air fryer is usually much quicker, so best keep an eye on them. You want the meat really hot and the marinade slightly sticky and caramelised. But not black.

        The Vegetables

        How you prepare them depends a lot on what you are using.

        I’ve used some of my quick pickled vegetables here as a topping, since they can be prepared ahead of time and add a nice tang and crunch.

        For fresh ones, I chopped some tender stem broccoli in half and blanched it in salted, boiling water for about 3-5 minutes until just tender-crisp. Then quickly plunged it into iced water, to keep it bright green and crunchy.

        I sliced the pak choy in half lengthwise and gave it a quick fry of the cut side with some oil in a pan, just to get the leaves a little charred. You could also slice it crosswise and add it to your broth, about 2 minutes before serving, so it gets just heated up, but keeps its crunch.

        If using zucchini, cut lengthwise into half, then quarters. Slice across into bite sized pieces. Add them to the broth 3-4 minutes before serving, to heat them through.

        For the sugar snaps, I like to slice them into bite sized pieces across, then just add them fresh to the assembled bowl, so they stay sweet and crunchy. You could leave them whole, but they might feel a bit stringy. The small pieces get around that.

        The spring onions get the same treatment as the sugar snaps and chopped into fine slices, to be added as fresh topping later.

        Water chestnuts can come whole or sliced in the can. If sliced, just drain them, and add to the broth to heat them through. Since they stay crunchy, there is no special timing required. If they come whole in your can, slice them across into bite sized pieces.

        The bamboo shoots can just be drained and added together with the water chestnuts.

        The Noodles

        About 10min before serving, bring the water for your noodles to the boil. Add the ramen noodles and some salt and boil according to packet instructions. Usually they need about 3-5 minutes. Drain. Add to your serving bowls when ready to assemble.

        Assembly

        When you are ready to eat, reheat your broth and add the vegetables that need a bit of heat to become enjoyable. You don’t want them boiled and soft, just tender-crisp.

        Add the tare to your broth and stir it through.

        Add the cooked noodles to your serving bowls.

        Scoop a ladle full or two of hot broth over your noodles, then top with the remaining veggies, pork, and marinated egg, cut in half lengthways.

        Drizzle with a tablespoon of black garlic oil, sprinkle with some spring onions and maybe sesame seeds and enjoy your incredibly flavourful bowl of ramen.

        Black Garlic Pork Ramen

        Meal Prep

        This whole Black Garlic Pork Ramen recipe is really about meal prep.
        Use leftover Pork for the topping. Prepare Tare, broth, black garlic, pickled vegetables and marinated eggs in advance. Chop and prepare the fresh veggies.

        Keep everything in separate containers in your fridge and just boil the noodles, quickly heat your marinated meat in the oven, and heat your broth with the veggies that need it for a few minutes.

        Black Garlic Pork Ramen_ Meal Prep

        All that’s left is a few minutes of bowl assembly and you have a fresh and delicious bowl of Black Garlic Pork Ramen on every workday.

        It’s my favourite way of meal prep: A dish that looks like you put tons of work into it just now, yet is ready for you within minutes.

        Black Garlic Pork Ramen

        If you liked this, try out the other recipes from my Pork Shoulder series. They are all just as delicious:
        Cuban Air Fryer Pork Shoulder

        Slow Roasted Cuban Pork Shoulder

        Cuban Pulled Pork Salad

        Healthy Leftover Pulled Pork Tacos

        Pork Banh Mi

        Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
        Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
        What other recipes would you like to see?

        If you enjoyed this recipe, please share. It helps me a lot.

        Black Garlic Pork Ramen

        Black Garlic Pork Ramen

        Last but not least in my Pork Shoulder Series, I have a stunning Black Garlic Pork Ramen bowl for you. Sweet and savoury marinated pork, Pickled vegetables, crunchy fresh ones, some bamboo, and water chestnuts for good measure. Topped by addictive Korean marinated eggs and black garlic oil, this tastes as amazing as it looks. Just right for the colder days that are starting now.
        Prep Time 1 hour
        Cook Time 1 hour
        Egg Marinating time 2 hours
        Total Time 4 hours
        Course Dinner, Main Course, Soup
        Cuisine Asian, Fusion
        Servings 6
        Calories 500 kcal

        Ingredients
          

        Marinated Eggs (Prepare at least 2h ahead. The day before is better)

        • 6 eggs
        • 1 tsp salt
        • 1 tbsp vinegar
        • 3 cloves garlic
        • ½ tsp gochujang paste optional
        • 1 spring onion
        • ½ tbsp sesame seeds
        • ½ cup soy sauce
        • ¼ cup honey
        • ½ tbsp sesame oil
        • ¼ cup water

        Black Garlic Oil (Mayu) – Can be prepared days in advance

        • 12 cloves garlic
        • 3 tbsp neutral oil I used groundnut
        • 1 tbsp sesame oil

        Tare – Can be prepared days in advance

        • ½ cup miso paste
        • 2 tbsp kosher salt
        • ¼ cup water
        • 3 tbsp good quality Tahini or Japanese toasted sesame paste if you can find it alternatively roasted peanut butter
        • 1 tbsp gochujang paste optional. Alternatively Sriracha or chili sauce of your choice
        • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
        • 2 tbsp soy sauce
        • 4 tbsp mirin alternatively 1-2 tbsp maple syrup
        • 5 cloves garlic crushed
        • 4 tbsp tamarind paste optional but delicious

        Pork – Marinade can be prepared days in advance

        • 1 lb roasted pork. You can use ready-made sliced roasted pork from the supermarket or follow the recipe for Cuban Air Fryer Pork Shoulder linked above
        • 1/3 cup fish sauce
        • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
        • 1.5 limes zest and juice
        • 3 tbsp maple syrup
        • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
        • 2 tbsp brown sugar
        • 1 tsp ground ginger
        • 1 tsp garlic powder
        • 1 tsp Chinese 5 spice
        • 1 tsp ground coriander

        Broth – Can be prepared days in advance

        • 6-8 cups ready-made broth of your choice. I’m using vegetable broth here.
        • 1 strip Kombu
        • 2 tbsp katsuobushi or bonito flakes dried tuna flakes. Optional.

        Vegetables – Can be cut and blanched ahead of time

        • 1 small pack tender stem broccoli
        • 1 zucchini
        • 2 Pak choy
        • 1 small pack sugar snaps
        • 1 small can water chestnuts
        • 1 small can bamboo shoots
        • 3 cups pickled vegetables such as red cabbage and carrots
        • 1 bunch spring onions
        • 1 lime for finishing
        • 1 tbsp sesame seeds for sprinkling

        Instructions
         

        Marinated Eggs:

        • Boil the eggs for 6-8 minutes until they have a firm white and gooey yolks.
        • Transfer the boiled eggs into a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking process and make them easier to peel.
        • In a lidded container or freezer bag, combine 1 tsp salt, 1 tbsp vinegar, 3 cloves garlic, ½ tsp gochujang paste (optional), 1 chopped spring onion, ½ tbsp sesame seeds, ½ cup soy sauce, ¼ cup honey, ½ tbsp sesame oil, and ¼ cup water to create the marinade.
        • Once the eggs are cool enough to handle, peel them and add them to the marinade, ensuring they are fully submerged.
        • Allow the eggs to marinate for at least 2 hours or, ideally, overnight.

        Broth:

        • Bring 6-8 cups of your preferred stock to a boil in a pot.
        • Add a strip of kombu and 2 tbsp of katsuobushi or bonito flakes (if using) to the pot.
        • Turn off the heat and let the stock sit for at least 10 minutes, or up to 1 hour, allowing the flavours to infuse.
        • When ready to serve, remove the kombu and reheat the stock.

        Tare:

        • In a jar, combine ½ cup miso paste, 2 tbsp kosher salt, ¼ cup water, 3 tbsp tahini or Japanese toasted sesame paste, 1 tbsp gochujang paste (optional), 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 4 tbsp mirin, 5 crushed cloves of garlic, and 4 tbsp tamarind paste (optional).
        • Store the tare in the refrigerator until ready to use.
        • When ready to assemble, add the tare to the hot broth and stir to incorporate.

        Black Garlic Oil (Mayu):

        • Finely chop 12 cloves of garlic.
        • Heat 3 tbsp neutral oil (e.g., groundnut) in a small saucepan over medium heat.
        • Add the chopped garlic to the heated oil and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic turns very dark brown, just short of black.
        • Remove the saucepan from the heat and immediately add 1 tbsp sesame oil to the garlic oil mixture.
        • Be cautious not to taste the black garlic oil on its own, as it's highly concentrated.
        • Drizzle about a tablespoon of the black garlic oil over each ramen bowl when assembling.

        Pork:

        • Preheat your oven or air fryer to 200°C (400°F) about 20 minutes before serving.
        • Slice 1 lb of roasted pork thinly and place it in an ovenproof dish.
        • In a separate bowl, combine 1/3 cup fish sauce, 3 tbsp oyster sauce, zest and juice of 1.5 limes, 3 tbsp maple syrup, 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp Chinese 5 spice, and 1 tsp ground coriander to make the marinade.
        • Pour the marinade over the sliced pork and mix well.
        • Roast or air fry the pork for about 10-15 minutes until it's hot, slightly caramelized, but not burnt.

        Vegetables:

        • Prepare the vegetables according to your preference.
        • Blanch tender stem broccoli in salted, boiling water for 3-5 minutes, then transfer it to ice water to preserve its colour and crunch.
        • Char the cut side of halved Pak choy in a pan with some oil for a bit of charred flavour.
        • Slice zucchini into bite-sized pieces and add them to the broth for 3-4 minutes to heat through.
        • Slice sugar snaps and add them fresh to the assembled ramen bowls.
        • Drain water chestnuts and bamboo shoots and add them to the broth to heat through.
        • Slice spring onions finely and use them as a fresh topping.

        Noodles:

        • About 10 minutes before serving, bring water to a boil and cook ramen noodles according to package instructions (usually 3-5 minutes).
        • Drain and add the cooked noodles to your serving bowls when ready to assemble.

        Assembly:

        • Reheat the broth and add the vegetables that need heating, keeping them tender-crisp.
        • Add the tare to the hot broth and stir.
        • Place the cooked noodles in your serving bowls.
        • Ladle a portion of hot broth over the noodles.
        • Top with the remaining vegetables, pork, and halved marinated eggs.
        • Drizzle each bowl with a tablespoon of black garlic oil.
        • Sprinkle with sliced spring onions and sesame seeds.
        • Enjoy your flavourful bowl of ramen!

        Notes

        Please note the calories here are a very rough calculation, as they take the complete egg and pork marinade into consideration, which you probably won’t spoon into your soup.
        Calories: Approximately 450-550 calories per serving
        Protein: Approximately 18-22 grams per serving
        Fat: Approximately 20-25 grams per serving
        Carbohydrates: Approximately 50-60 grams per serving
        Fiber: Approximately 7-9 grams per serving
        Sugars: Approximately 20-25 grams per serving

        Nutrition

        Calories: 500kcal
        Nutrition Facts
        Black Garlic Pork Ramen
        Amount per Serving
        Calories
        500
        % Daily Value*
        * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
        Keyword Black Garlic, High Fibre, meal prep, Protein, vegetables
        Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
        Sumac Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Black Garlic Mushroom Sauce

        Sumac Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Black Garlic Mushroom Sauce

        Sumac Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Black Garlic Mushroom Sauce and a side of Arugula with Lemon Tahini dressing and Za’atar

        Are you looking for a lovely vegan Sunday dinner with all the classics, but without the meat? Sumac Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Black Garlic Mushroom Sauce with a side of Arugula with Lemon Tahini dressing with Za’atar is exactly what you need. Hearty, yet fresh, layers of flavour from the fried mushrooms with black garlic, made into a creamy sauce with soy cream. All while your sesame-sumac coated Cauliflower steaks are roasting in the oven. A side of greens with fresh and quick dressing, tying it all together with the addition of Za’atar. No one will miss the meat, trust me.

        Why You Want This

        Sumac Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Black Garlic Mushroom Sauce is a recipe for the whole family, that feels very much like your classic steak Diane, but fully vegan. The Umami hit of mushrooms with black garlic and thyme is supported by soy sauce (or coconut aminos) and balsamic vinegar, for the acidity and flavour kick that usually Worcestershire sauce would provide. Black garlic adds more nuance to it (though if you don’t have it on hand, fresh garlic will do just fine. Shallot of course, for the all-important backbone of almost any sauce. And thyme, as earthy aromatic herb component. Vegetable broth and soy cream provide the sauce fluid base. As usual, the sauce is the real star of this dish.

        Black Garlic Mushroom Sauce Ingredients

        Don’t forget the cauliflower steaks. They are covered with a ridiculously flavourful marinade of Tahini for stickiness, coconut aminos for umami and sweetness, sumac for added lemony notes, thyme, mirroring the sauce. Honey, to balance it all and help the sesame seeds stick for added crunch.

        If you have never tried Sumac, it’s available in most supermarkets these days. It’s a dried and ground berry from the middle east, that has a lovely lemony flavour. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll start using it in all kinds of things.

        Sumac Roasted Cauliflower Steaks Ingredients

        And of course, the classic greens on the side. Here in form of Arugula with Lemon Tahini dressing with Za’atar, again picking up the fresh and acidic thyme theme from the other two components.

        The Process

        Prepare the Sumac Roasted Cauliflower Steaks first. Cut the outer leaves off the Cauliflower but keep the stem intact. You’ll need it to hold the steaks together. You will probably get about 2 full steaks from each head, as only the middle, where the stem is, holds together. Don’t throw out the rest. You can cover them with the remaining marinade and sprinkle with sesame, so they make shapes similar to chicken nuggets, being perfect for kids. Lay all the cauliflower out on 1-2 oven trays.
        Mix all the marinade ingredients and brush them over the cauliflower. Do the side you want to point down first, sprinkle with sesame. Then turn the “pretty” side up and do the same.

        Sumac Roasted Cauliflower Steaks Process

        While the steaks are in the oven, make the Black Garlic Mushroom Sauce. Cut the Mushrooms into quarters or slices (whichever you prefer. I love mine pretty chunky). Fry them in olive oil until nicely browned on medium-high heat. Be patient here and don’t stir too often. You want them slightly crispy and all the fried mushroom flavour you can get, without burning them.

        Black Garlic Mushroom Sauce Process

        Chop the shallot and garlic finely. I’m using 6-7 cloves of black and 1 fresh garlic. If you only have fresh, use 2-3 cloves. Strip the thyme leaves off the twigs. Take the mushrooms out of the pan and put them to the side. Lower the heat to medium and gently fry shallots and fresh garlic until translucent and soft.
        Once both are done, add the vegetable broth and let it simmer until slightly reduced. Add the thyme and remaining ingredients, including mushrooms. Let the sauce simmer for a bit until it thickens a bit. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.

        Black Garlic Mushroom Sauce

        Quickly whisk together the Tahini, balsamic, lemon juice, Za’atar and 3 tbsp water. Season with salt to taste.

        Once the Cauliflower Steaks are golden brown, pierce them to see if they are cooked. They should still have bite and be tender to the knife.

        Sumac Roasted Cauliflower Steaks

        Serve on a big plate or single portions and enjoy.

        Sumac Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Black Garlic Mushroom Sauce

        Meal Prep

        I kept the Sumac Roasted Cauliflower Steaks in a glass container with lid that I lined with baking parchment, and stacked them with baking parchment in between, so the coating wouldn’t come off. They will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge and can be reheated until crispy in either air fryer or oven.

        The Black Garlic Mushroom Sauce is kept in a separate glass container and reheated in the microwave.

        The Lemon Tahini dressing is best kept in a jar in the fridge and the Arugula keeps amazingly well if you wash it (I often let it stand in cold water for 30min to 1h, so it can get really perky and fresh), then line a container with some paper towel and put the washed and spun dry leaves on it with a closely fitting lid. It will happily keep for 4 days at least like this.

        Sumac Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Black Garlic Mushroom Sauce

        Looking to add protein, ideally for dessert? Try my Protein Creme Brulee. 2 variations, so you can pick your favourite.

        Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
        Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
        What other recipes would you like to see?

        If you enjoyed this recipe, please share. It helps me a lot. 🙂

        Sumac Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Black Garlic Mushroom Sauce

        Sumac Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Black Garlic Mushroom Sauce with a side of Arugula with Lemon Tahini dressing and Za’atar

        Are you looking for a lovely vegan Sunday dinner with all the classics, but without the meat? Sumac Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Black Garlic Mushroom Sauce with a side of Arugula with Lemon Tahini dressing with Za’atar is exactly what you need. Hearty, yet fresh, layers of flavour from the fried mushrooms with black garlic, made into a creamy sauce with soy cream. All while your sesame-sumac coated Cauliflower steaks are roasting in the oven. A side of greens with fresh and quick dressing, tying it all together with the addition of Za’atar. No one will miss the meat, trust me.
        Prep Time 45 minutes
        Cook Time 45 minutes
        Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
        Course Dinner, Main Course
        Cuisine Fusion
        Servings 6
        Calories 280 kcal

        Ingredients
          

        • Sumac Roasted Cauliflower Steaks
        • 1-2 heads of Cauliflower depending on size
        • 6 tbsp tahini
        • 2 tbsp sumac alternatively grated lemon zest
        • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
        • 4 tbsp coconut aminos or soy sauce
        • 3 cloves garlic minced
        • 2 tsp honey
        • 6 tbsp sesame seeds
        • Black Garlic Mushroom Sauce
        • 17 ounce 2 packs mushrooms (I used brown button mushrooms, but you can use whichever you prefer)
        • 3 tbsp olive oil
        • 1 shallot finely chopped
        • 1 clove garlic minced
        • 6 cloves black garlic optional but very delicious
        • 1 cup vegetable broth
        • 1 cup soy cream or single cream if you aren’t vegan
        • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves chopped
        • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
        • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
        • 1 tbsp soy sauce or coconut aminos
        • Arugula with Lemon Tahini dressing and Za’atar
        • 1-2 bags arugula (depending on how much greens you enjoy
        • 3 tbsp tahini
        • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
        • 4 tbsp lemon juice about the juice of 1 large lemon
        • 1 tsp za’atar
        • 3 tbsp water

        Instructions
         

        • Sumac Roasted Cauliflower Steaks:
        • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
        • Cut the outer leaves off the cauliflower heads, leaving the stem intact to hold the steaks together. You'll get about 2 full steaks per head.
        • In a bowl, mix tahini, sumac (or lemon zest), fresh thyme leaves, coconut aminos (or soy sauce), minced garlic, and honey to create the marinade.
        • Place the cauliflower steaks on prachment lined oven trays. Brush the marinade over both sides of each steak, starting with the side that will be facing down. Sprinkle sesame seeds on the coated side.
        • Turn and repeat the process.
        • Roast the cauliflower steaks in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or until they are golden brown and tender with a slight bite.
        • Black Garlic Mushroom Sauce:
        • Cut the mushrooms into quarters or slices, depending on your preference.
        • Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until they are nicely browned and slightly crispy. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set them aside.
        • Lower the heat to medium. Add the chopped shallot and minced garlic to the pan. Cook until the shallot is translucent and soft.
        • Pour in the vegetable broth and let it simmer until slightly reduced.
        • If using black garlic, add the chopped cloves at this stage.
        • Add the soy cream, chopped thyme, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and soy sauce (or coconut aminos). Stir well.
        • Return the cooked mushrooms to the pan and let the sauce simmer until it thickens. Adjust the seasoning according to your taste. You may want to add salt. I felt it was fine without.
        • Arugula Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing:
        • In a small bowl, whisk together tahini, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, za'atar, and water until well combined and smooth. Season the dressing with salt to taste.
        • In a large bowl, place the arugula. Drizzle the lemon tahini dressing over the arugula and toss to coat the leaves evenly. (If you plan to keep some for the week, drizzle only the amount you are using today and store the rest in a kitchen towel lined container as described in the meal prep section)
        • Serving:
        • Plate the sumac roasted cauliflower steaks and drizzle a generous amount of the black garlic mushroom sauce over them.
        • Serve the cauliflower steaks alongside a portion of the arugula salad with lemon tahini dressing on the side.

        Notes

        Calories: Approximately 260-300
        Fat: Approximately 18-22 grams
        Protein: Approximately 7-9 grams
        Carbohydrates: Approximately 21-25 grams
        Sugar: Approximately 9-12 grams

        Nutrition

        Calories: 280kcal
        Nutrition Facts
        Sumac Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Black Garlic Mushroom Sauce with a side of Arugula with Lemon Tahini dressing and Za’atar
        Amount per Serving
        Calories
        280
        % Daily Value*
        * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
        Keyword Black Garlic, For Guests, Healthy, High Fibre, Low Calorie, vegan, Vegetarian
        Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

         

        Mushroom Spinach Pasta Bake with Black Garlic

        Mushroom Spinach Pasta Bake with Black Garlic

        An easy and healthy weeknight dish with lots of veggies, this Mushroom Spinach Pasta Bake with Black Garlic has it all: Quick preparation time, vibrant greens, umami-rich fried mushrooms, supported by the balsamic notes of black garlic. The wholewheat pasta is smothered in a tomato sauce while feta and mozzarella make it the perfect comfort food, adding satisfying cheese layers.

        The Inspiration

        Having a bit of black garlic left and feeling the urgent need for pasta, but also meal prep for my workdays, I wanted a dish with lots of veggies that was quick to prepare. Especially considering I had lots of baking to do for my German Plum Streusel Cake that’s coming up soon.
        You can absolutely make this with just fresh garlic instead. I realise not everyone has black garlic at home (Make it! It’s fantastic!), but it adds an incredible fruity-balsamic-umami flavour to anything you use it with. Even cookies! So you know what could be for dessert. 😉

        Mushroom Spinach Pasta Bake with Black Garlic Ingredients

        The Ingredients

        While black garlic and mushrooms go incredibly well with cream, calorie heavy sauce isn’t exactly what I want to eat all week, given half a choice. So, I opted for a ready-made, good quality tomato sauce instead. This one was from a bottle and made of cherry tomatoes with basil and garlic, perfect for what I had in mind. Of course, you could make your own with canned tomatoes, but that defeats the easy weeknight meal, doesn’t it?

        The base flavour comes from slowly fried onions and some fresh garlic, just taken to the point of soft and translucent in a pan.
        For veggies mushrooms and spinach were my choice, as they are perfect for baking. Though I pre-fry them, to get all the amazing flavour from crispy browned mushrooms into this Mushroom Spinach Pasta Bake and have the spinach a bit softened, to mix it easier into the pasta.
        The tomato sauce adds extra veg content, and so do the fresh cherry tomatoes, which also look super pretty on top. Don’t leave them out, as they give extra fresh and juicy pops of flavour to this dish.

        The Cheese

        While I added some feta cubes for tang inside the casserole, I topped it with grated mozzarella for the cheese-string factor. An absolute must have for any comfort food needs in my mind.
        You can use any melty cheese you have in your fridge. It’s a perfect dish to use grated leftovers on. Also any veggie odds and ends you have lying around. Chop and throw them in.

        Mushroom Spinach Pasta Bake with Black Garlic

        How To Make It

        All you need to do here is roughly chop your mushrooms (I usually quarter them, depending on size, as I love the chunky pieces, but you could also slice them if you prefer them smaller). Wash the spinach. Chop onion and garlic into small cubes and slice the black garlic (if using. This is really optional).

        Pre-cook your pasta according to packet instructions. Make sure it still has some bite. You don’t want it to go mushy when you bake it.
        Slowly fry onion and garlic until translucent and soft. Take out of the pan. Add the mushrooms and fry until golden brown. Be patient here, don’t turn them too often. That is the secret to deliciously crispy edges and lots of flavour! Add the spinach and wilt briefly.

        Grease a casserole dish with either butter or a few sprays of olive oil. Add the drained pasta, fried mushrooms, wilted spinach, onions, and garlic. Mix in tomato sauce, crumbled feta, black garlic, and halved cherry tomatoes. Top with grated mozzarella and some fresh basil.

        Bake for 20-25min and you have a steaming, cheesy comfort dish with lots of veggies ready.

        Mushroom Spinach Pasta Bake with Black Garlic

        Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
        Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
        What other recipes would you like to see?

        Mushroom Spinach Pasta Bake with Black Garlic

        Mushroom Spinach Pasta Bake with Black Garlic

        An easy and healthy weeknight dish with lots of veggies, this Mushroom Spinach Pasta Bake with Black Garlic has it all: Quick preparation time, vibrant greens, umami-rich fried mushrooms, supported by the balsamic notes of black garlic. The wholewheat pasta is smothered in a tomato sauce while feta and mozzarella make it the perfect comfort food, adding satisfying cheese layers.
        Prep Time 20 minutes
        Cook Time 20 minutes
        Total Time 40 minutes
        Course Dinner, Main Course
        Cuisine Italian
        Servings 6
        Calories 410 kcal

        Ingredients
          

        • 2.5 cups wholewheat pasta. I used penne here. You can use whatever you have in your pantry.
        • 2 cups ready made tomato sauce of your choice. Cherry tomato sauce is what I used here, as it’s particularly fruity.
        • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
        • 6 cloves of black garlic optional
        • 1 onion chopped
        • 2 packs 500g fresh mushrooms. I used brown. Use whatever you have on hand.
        • 1 bag 250g fresh or frozen spinach. If using frozen, thaw it in the pan instead of just wilting, so you can mix it in easily
        • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
        • 1 block 200g feta
        • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
        • A handful of fresh basil leaves optional

        Instructions
         

        • Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
        • Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until it's al dente. Drain the pasta and set it aside.
        • In a large skillet or frying pan, heat a bit of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and onion, sautéing until they become soft and translucent. Remove from pan.
        • Add the fresh mushrooms to the pan and cook until they release their moisture and get golden brown and crispy around the edges. If you are using frozen spinach, add it now and cook until it is thawed, and any excess water evaporates. For fresh spinach, add and let it wilt for a minute or so.
        • Serve with some fresh basil on top.

        Notes

        This works great for meal prep. It keeps in the fridge for up to 4 days and reheats simply in the microwave for perfectly melted cheese.
        Total Estimated Nutrition per Portion:
        Calories: Approximately 400-420
        Fat: Approximately 16-18 grams
        Protein: Approximately 20-22 grams
        Carbohydrates: Approximately 44-46 grams
        Fiber: Approximately 8-9 grams
        Sugar: Approximately 8-9 grams

        Nutrition

        Calories: 410kcal
        Nutrition Facts
        Mushroom Spinach Pasta Bake with Black Garlic
        Amount per Serving
        Calories
        410
        % Daily Value*
        * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
        Keyword Black Garlic, Easy, High Fibre
        Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

        Black Garlic Sourdough Bread with Chocolate

        Black Garlic Sourdough Bread with Chocolate

        In this Black Garlic Sourdough Bread with Chocolate, I combine the tangy notes of rye sourdough with the sweet balsamic-liquorice-umami addictiveness from the Black Garlic, adding cocoa, which supports the fruity notes and adds depth. The espresso heightens the chocolate flavour even more And a few secret ingredients will give you a crusty, chewie loaf reminding you of the best German artisan bakeries and their “Bauernbrot” with a twist.

        The Inspiration

        Admittedly, thinking about garlic, doesn’t usually bring chocolate to mind, but once you’ve tried Black Garlic, it’s really hard not to think about it. Having the shiny black nuggets in the Fridge brings about the most fun recipes. This started as an experiment after I made my Sourdough Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip Cookies with Black Garlic.
        I loved them so much, I needed more Black Garlic with Chocolate recipes. And I wanted to make bread, and in my search I spotted this gem of a recipe, which is a white version with sourdough.

        My Adaptations

        Personally, being German, I much prefer bread with rye, so I adapted it to get closer to my all-time favourite “Bauernbrot”, which has part rye, part white flour, and a more chewie, moist texture than white sourdough loafs. Adding malty notes with the malt extract and powder, which support the Black Garlic flavour and adds crunch to the crust is one of my favourite ways to improve bread recipes. It also keeps for longer in a bread box.

        Black Garlic Sourdough Bread with Chocolate Ingredients

        The Ingredients

        I’m mixing different flours together here, to achieve the flavour and texture I’m aiming for, which is a moister bread with more bite to it than your standard bubbly and open crumbed sourdough. Experimenting over the years, I found the magic happens around the 1/3 rye to 1-part white flour mark. Plus, a bit of wholewheat for nutty flavour.
        I’m using rye sourdough starter here, for even more flavour. Though if you have just white, it will work fine.
        Cocoa powder and espresso lend a gentle chocolate flavour. But this is not a sweet bread. You could compare it more to the undertones of Mexican mole, which goes fantastic with savoury dishes.

        The Black Garlic acts as add-in similar to dried fruit here, but not as sweet, which again means it’s very versatile in what you can use it for.
        And while the 2 malty additions of malt sirup and barley malt powder are by no means mandatory, they add lots of flavour to the bread and more crunch and colour to the crust.
        The yeast only plays a supporting role here, to give the slightly heavier rye and wholewheat a bit of an extra lift.

        What a Difference a Day Makes

        If you need to make your first sourdough starter, check this post. If you already made one and are wondering why yours is reacting so differently on different days…I posted a picture of my two fed jars of fed sourdough in it. It was a slightly colder day in the the last post, so they weren’t as active.
        On the day of making this Black Garlic Sourdough Bread with Chocolate though, it was a lot warmer, so they were wildly bubbling. Also: These are the containers I keep them in while in the fridge. Because i can’t be trusted with jars that are moist from the fridge.

        Schedule wise, I usually take my starter out of the fridge and feed it by simply doubling the amount I have left (or more if needed) by adding flour and water to equal parts in weight. Roughly. I never weigh it though. I just spoon some flour in, pour filtered water on top, stir. Check if the consistency resembles thick pancake batter/warm peanut butter and add flour or water accordingly if not. Then I let it sit over night. Or, if I forgot in the evening, just for a few hours. Both have worked well for me in the past. Though if you are making this in winter, better find a cosy warm spot for it.

        Sourdough Starter

        How to make it

        Now there are two options here to make this bread: You can follow the instructions below by stretching the dough after it’s first resting period every 30 minutes or so. Or you could simply treat it as no-knead bread, place it in the fridge overnight and only stretch and fold it once in the morning, about 2h before you want to bake. Then give it one final rest while it gets to room temperature.
        The results are pretty similar. Check my German Sourdough Rye Beer bread for comparison pictures between the 2 methods.

        The Stages of the Dough

        As most rye containing doughs, this makes a pretty sticky one. So don’t throw extra flour at it, to get to the more typical smooth white sourdough. It’s supposed to be pretty wet as you can see here.

        Black Garlic Sourdough Bread with Chocolate Dough

        If you do add too much flour, you’ll end up with “Dwarf Bread”: You always find something better to eat and can use it instead of bricks to smack intruders over the head or build pretty sturdy houses with it. Have a wild guess how I found out…

        This is how it looks after a few hours of fermenting.

        Black Garlic Sourdough Bread with Chocolate Dough Risen

        To Bake

        Since this dough is so sticky, I usually cover a sheet of baking parchment with some semolina. You can use flour, as I did for this particular bread, to make the scoring more visible. Though semolina adds even more crunch, which I love. Your choice really. Then tip the dough out on it with help of a silicone spatula. Wet or flour your hands, then stretch and fold the dough in thirds 3 times, each time turning it by 90 degrees, to create some tension. Use your hands to form a round shape, pushing the dough underneath itself while doing so. The process here will give you that beautiful domed shape and add some rise. Do all of this gently, to not knock too much of the air out of it.
        Once you are happy with the shape, you can either put it in a well floured bread basket or leave it on the parchment and transfer it back into it’s bowl. Cover with a damp, clean kitchen towel for its final 2h rest.

        Now it’s finally time to bake! The reward is near.
        Preheat your oven to it’s highest temperature. Add your cast iron pot/dutch oven, so it can preheat too.

        Why Cast Iron Pot?

        To get that perfect crunchy, but not too hard crust, you need steam. And since very few people I know have a professional convection oven that can produce steam on command (including me), I’m using my dutch oven/ Cast Iron pot for this. The lid keeps the moisture in and transforms it into steam for the first 20-30 minutes, which gives us the moisture we need. Then, taking the lid off, your bread will develop the beautiful crunchy sourdough crust we want.

        And finally:

        Black Garlic Sourdough Bread with Chocolate

        How to Serve

        This is an incredibly versatile bread, despite the unusual ingredients. I adore it with fresh, cold unsalted butter, when it’s still slightly warm. I know, I know, we are always told to let sourdough bread cool completely, but I’m not one to follow rules very well. So warm bread it is for me.
        I also had it with a bit of apricot jam on top, which was a great contrast. And, oddly enough, a nutty gruyere and some blue cheese, both working incredibly well with the Black Garlic. Oh and, my all-time favourite “Grafschafter Goldsaft”. This is a German sugar beet sirup, which has similar fruity-umami notes to Black Garlic and goes fantastic with any slightly darker bread.

        Black Garlic Sourdough Bread with Chocolate

        Note: None of the links in this post is sponsored or affiliated in any way. I just share what I use and like here.

        Now excuse me while I go and research how to make proper German “Schwarzbrot”, which I’m dearly missing since more than 15 years. And I finally found a fantastic company in Ireland that has Emmer and Spelt berries! Their name is “Riot Rye” which in itself was enough reason to order from them. I’m so excited!

        Before I forget it! Please let me know in the comments of you made this and how you liked it.
        If this Black Garlic Sourdough Bread with Chocolate seems to be a bit too “out there” due to the combination, try my German Sourdough Rye Beer Bread as an easy beginner sourdough recipe. It’s incredibly forgiving in its preparation and utterly delicious.

        Black Garlic Sourdough Bread with Chocolate

        Black Garlic Sourdough Bread with Chocolate

        In this Black Garlic Sourdough Bread with Chocolate, I combine the tangy notes of rye sourdough with the sweet balsamic-liquorice-umami addictiveness from the Black Garlic, adding cocoa, which supports the fruity notes and adds depth. The espresso heightens the chocolate flavour even more And a few secret ingredients will give you a crusty, chewie loaf reminding you of the best German artisan bakeries and their “Bauernbrot” with a twist.
        Prep Time 15 minutes
        Cook Time 50 minutes
        Resting time 21 hours
        Total Time 22 hours 5 minutes
        Course Bread, Dinner, Side Dish
        Cuisine German
        Servings 10 slices
        Calories 105 kcal

        Equipment

        • Dutch Oven/Cast Iron Pot with Lid

        Ingredients
          

        • 1/8 tsp instant dry yeast
        • 1 cup + 3tbsp room temperature water
        • 1.5 cup + 3 tbsp strong white flour
        • ½ cup + 2 tbsp rye flour
        • ¼ cup strong wholewheat flour
        • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
        • 1 tsp malt extract or honey
        • 1 tsp malt powder optional. Gives a lovely crust and flavour
        • 4 tbsp strong coffee or espresso
        • 3 tsp kosher salt
        • ½-1 cup peeled black garlic cloves depending on how much black garlic you have and like in your bread

        Instructions
         

        • In a large mixing bowl, combine the sourdough starter, instant dry yeast, malt extract (or honey), malt powder (if using) and room temperature water. Mix until well incorporated.
        • Add the strong white flour, rye flour, and whole wheat flour to the bowl. Mix until you get a shaggy dough. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes. This resting period is called autolyze and helps develop the gluten.
        • After 30 minutes, add the cocoa powder, and strong coffee or espresso to the dough. Mix thoroughly until all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
        • Now, add the kosher salt and peeled black garlic cloves to the dough. Knead the dough until the salt and black garlic are well incorporated. You can do this by hand or using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment.
        • Cover the dough again and let it ferment at room temperature for about 4 to 6 hours, or until it has doubled in size. During this time, perform a series of stretch-and-fold techniques every 30 minutes to strengthen the dough.
        • Alternatively, you can cover the dough and leave it in the fridge overnight, without the stretches. That’s what I do most of the time and the bread comes out perfectly.
        • After the fermentation period, gently shape the dough into a round loaf. Place it in a well-floured proofing basket or a lined bowl, seam side down. Cover the dough and let it proof for another 2 to 4 hours, or until it has visibly risen and feels airy.
        • While the dough is in the final stages of proofing, preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C) with a Dutch oven or a lidded oven-safe pot inside.
        • Once the dough has finished proofing, carefully transfer it to the preheated Dutch oven or pot. You can do this by inverting the proofing basket onto a piece of parchment paper and gently sliding the dough into the hot pot. Alternatively, you can place the dough on parchment paper and lift the whole thing into the pot.
        • Score the top of the dough with a sharp knife or razor to allow for controlled expansion during baking.
        • Cover the Dutch oven or pot with its lid and place it in the preheated oven. Bake the bread for 20 minutes with the lid on.
        • After 20 minutes, remove the lid and continue baking for an additional 20 to 25 minutes or until the bread has a deep brown crust and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
        • Once baked, remove the bread from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before slicing.

        Notes

        This Black Garlic Sourdough Bread with Chocolate freezes very well. I usually just freeze half of it, to have fresh bread whenever the mood strikes me. Which is often.
        The nutrition below is very roughly estimated, based on this bread making about 10 slices. Which, of course, depends on the size of your slices. 
        Total Estimated Nutrition per Portion:
        Calories: Approximately 100-110
        Fat: Approximately 0.5-1 gram
        Protein: Approximately 3-4 grams
        Carbohydrates: Approximately 21-22 grams
        Fiber: Approximately 2-3 grams
        Sugar: Approximately 0-1 gram

        Nutrition

        Calories: 105kcal
        Nutrition Facts
        Black Garlic Sourdough Bread with Chocolate
        Amount per Serving
        Calories
        105
        % Daily Value*
        * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
        Keyword Black Garlic, Healthy, sourdough, Vegetarian
        Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!