Tag Archives: mushrooms

Stroganoff Non-Hamburger Helper

25 Feb

A skillet meal the gloved one would be proud of....Lefty, not Michael Jackson. But I bet he'd like it too.

When I was a kid, the sight of few human beings made me as happy as a vision of Betty Crocker’s anthropomorphic meal-time-in-a-box mascot, Lefty the Helping Hand, hanging out on our kitchen counter. Because that meant only one glorious thing: Helper was coming!

As I’ve mentioned before, my mom is not a fan of the kitchen. So Helpers were a common sight in our house — much to the joy of little Bridget. They were so gooey. So noodely. So salty. So yum.

In particular, I adored the 1990 version that featured Lefty wearing a Russian hat:

The Berlin wall is down! Creamy noodley goodness for all!

Anyway, that was 24 years ago. Flash forward through slap bracelets, Tamogotchis, Britney and Justin’s matching denim ensembles, MySpace and the resurgence of all things Apple, and while 29-year-old Bridget no longer eats animal foods, I still cherish the hell out of some Helper memories.

So, not too long ago, I decided I was going to turn this most-dear childhood staple into something a little healthier. The first step? Way less salt. And, obviously, no artificial preservatives. Easy peasy.

Now, your typical stroganoff sauce consists of sour cream, oil, butter, beef broth, onion, garlic powder and salt and pepper. As you know, I don’t play with those first four items. So I improvised. I traded out cashews for the artery-clogging trifecta of cream, oil and butter, added apple cider vinegar for the sour tang, and replaced the beef with a combo of vegan, meatless soy crumble and vitamin-D-packed mushrooms. Mmm, shrooms.

I also felt the need to squeeze some green into my ode to a healthier Lefty. I went with a cup or so of frozen peas, but spinach or kale would be a good plan, too.

The results did not disappoint.

Before I give you the play-by-play on how to whip this up, here’s a little info on why cashews are so awesome:

Cashew apples. These are a thing, apparently.

Cashew apples. These are a thing, apparently.

While they’re not fat free by any stretch of the imagination, cashews certainly kick butter, cream and plain old olive oil’s asses. First of all, they’re actually less fatty than some of  their other nut brethren, and they boast unsaturated fat (the kind that’s good for you).  They’re also made up of a bunch of minerals, which make your skin, hair and nails all pretty-like. Plus, cashews provide B vitamins, and they contain several antioxidant compounds regarded as anticancer agents. Also, they’re actually a seed (Mr. Seed to you). Who knew?

And now, let’s pig out!…

Stroganoff Non-Hamburger Helper
Serves ~4

Ingredients

Sauce (makes about 3 cups)

  • 2 cups non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup water or vegetable broth
  • 3 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup soaked raw cashews
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • A generous shake of dried parsley
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
Everything else
  • 6 oz. non-egg noodles
  • 6 oz. vegan meatless crumbles (I used Gardein)
  • 4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup frozen peas (or other veggies, such as kale, spinach, etc.)
Directions
  1. To make them as creamy as possible, soak your cashews for at least a half an hour. If you are lucky enough to own a Vitamix or similarly turbo-powered blender/food processor, then you can skip this step.
  2. Combine all your sauce ingredients in your blender/food processor, and whiz until smooth.
  3. In a non-stick skillet, combine noodles, sauce, mushrooms and peas and heat to boiling, stirring occasionally.
  4. When mixture bubbles, turn heat to low, cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Dig in!

Bon apetit! 

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Alfredo Pizza with Kale, Squash and Mushrooms

6 Dec

Mmm...pizza. Food of the gods.

There’s no point in slicing it. I’m eating the whole thing. In one bite.

This adorable puppy wants you to make pizza.

We all seem to really like puppies, too. But, sadly, this post has nothing to do with them.

There are very few things everyone agrees on. A casual perusal of your Facebook wall ought to make that evident. But one of those rare nouns that can bring us all together in agreement — think Pepsi lovers and cat ladies joining hands with Coca-Cola worshipers and dog people — is pizza. Thanks, Italy!

Pizza is marvelous and simple and brings a smile to peoples’ faces from Japan to Africa to Uncle Sam’s Land.

Of course, there are tons of ways to doctor yourself up a plant-based pie. But this gem is a little non-traditional, using (to die for) cashew alfredo sauce instead of the traditional red, as well as bright and beautiful — and crazy good for you — kale and summer squash, as well as baby bella mushrooms.

Fun facts time. Did you know that mushrooms are the only plant source of vitamin D? And did you also know that summer squash is a rich source of Vitamin A and C, plus magnesium, fiber, folate, riboflavin, phosphorus, potassium and Vitamin B6? Aaaaand did you know that kale is a demi god? Okay, well not quite, but it can do some amazing stuff for your body.

Alls I’m saying is, this pizza not only tastes faboosh, it’s also good for you. You could amp up the nutrition level by cutting the vegan cheese and using a whole wheat crust, but I chose to go the regular, unbleached white flour route this time, and sprinkle on some Daiya.

FYI, the sauce is also amazing on pasta. Nomnomnom. And it’ll keep in the fridge, covered in an airtight container, for a few days. You can also freeze it for months.

Ingredients

  • 1 prepared pizza crust (my favorite recipe from Veggieful.com)
  • A handful of baby bella mushrooms (or any kind you like), washed and sliced
  • One summer squash, sliced into bite-size pieces
  • A big handful of kale, ripped into bite-size pieces
  • 1/4 cup vegan mozzarella, if you like
  • 1/2 cup cashew cream (recipe below)
  • A splash of grapeseed oil or olive oil (about a tablespoon)
  • A tsp of lemon juice or so (to taste)
  • Garlic powder, to taste
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Dried parsley flakes, to taste
  • 2 Tbsps corn meal

How To

As you can see from the ingredient list, I really eyeball this sauce. I didn’t use any measuring cups, but just mixed as I went and kept taste testing. If you think you’d like some other herbs, throw ’em in! Want more pepper? You add that pepper, gal or guy! But here’s the gist:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Roll out your dough onto your pie pan, and lift up the edges to sprinkle the corn meal underneath. I also sprinkle a little bit on the top, too.
  3. To make your alfredo sauce, mix together your 1/2 cup of cashew cream and the oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, pepper and parsley, taste testing as you go, until you have a sauce you like. Then spread it out over your dough.
  4. Top with the sliced veggies, and cheese if you like, and bake for 30 minutes, until the crusts are browned.

Cashew Cream Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw, whole cashews
  • 1/4 cup cold water

How To

  1. Soak your cashews in cold water for six to eight hours, then strain them.
  2. Place the strained cashews in a food process with 1/4 cup of cold water, and blend, blend, blend some more, until it’s smooth as silk — no bits left. If you want your cream to be thinner, just add a bit more water.

That’s it! This will make you a whole cup, but you can store what’s leftover from the alfredo sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. It makes for a very tasty dill dip for veggies, or salad dressing, too. Just add lemon juice, grapeseed oil, parlsey, a bit of salt and lots of dill.

Bon appétit! 

Cauliflower-powered mushroom Alfredo

13 Mar

Cauliflower alfredo with mushrooms and kale chiffonade.

Made with veggies and magic.

I heart alfredo sauce and have missed it sorely since I stopped consuming animal bits. Although the interwebs turned up a few plant-based recipes, none of them were quite able to fill the sauce-shaped hole that buttery, creamy, traditional Alfredo had left in my heart.

Until now.

After my fabulous boss and friend, Marsha, emailed me a pasta recipe that used cauliflower and white beans as a sauce base, I was inspired.

Cauliflower Clark Kent

Get me a phone booth and I’ll turn into Super Man. True Story.

Turns out, aside from being totes good for you, cauliflower can bring the bam to a whole host of recipes (also, just so we’re clear, I don’t care if I’m nearing 30, I’m going to keep saying “totes.” And you can’t stop me). And white beans also pack a serious nutritional punch, especially when it comes to protein, fiber and antioxidants.

Using those two veggies as my foundation, I Frankenstein-ed my own ideal plant-based Alfredo, complete with not one but two vegan cheezes.

Plus, while this is not quite an oil-free recipe (thanks a lot, Daiya mozzarella I just couldn’t part with), it is very low in oil. Where once I would have used four tablespoons of olive oil, I chose vegetable broth and silken tofu. So, this oil-lite sauce contains only 60 fat calories from oil, versus a whopping 480. And Aunt B’s booty is thankful.

Cauliflower-powered mushroom Alfredo
Makes about 4 cups of sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of Cauliflower (about half a head), cut into large florets
  • 1 cup white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 4 Tbsp vegetable broth, divided
  • 2 Tbsp silken tofu
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 ¼ cup vegan parmesan cheeze (if you don’t have or want store bought, here’s a super-fast and easy recipe at Veggieful.com that I used)
  • 1 cup vegan mozzarella cheeze (I used Daiya)
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 large Toscana kale frond, cut into thin, ribbon-like strips (double this if you’re cooking for two)
  • ½ cup thinly sliced mushrooms (double this if you’re cooking for two)
  • Pasta (I rock the whole wheat linguine)

Alfredo time!

  1. Either make your own parmesan cheeze and leave it in the food processor/blender, or pour your store-bought cheeze in there.
  2. Boil the cauliflower in a medium-to-large-size sauce pan for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until it’s soft.
  3. While your cauliflower is boiling, sauté the shallots and garlic in two tablespoons of vegetable broth until they’re soft and yellowing. If they start to stick, add a little more broth or water.
  4. Plop the cooked and drained cauliflower in the food processor or blender, along with the shallots, garlic, beans, milk, tofu, mozzarella, and white pepper and process until you have a smooth sauce.
  5. After you cook and drain your pasta, put it back in the pot and carefully mix in your sauce.
  6. Season to taste with sea salt.
  7. Sauté the mushrooms in the other two tablespoons of veggie broth before folding them into the pasta, along with the kale, and heating the whole lot through.
  8. Serve yourself the yummiest cholesterol-free Alfredo I have ever tasted, being sure to send good vibes my way.

If you made this a meal for one (as I did), you’re going to have about three cups of sauce left over (lucky you). Store it in an airtight container in your fridge, and it’ll keep for a week or so.

As my beautiful roommate Brynn said upon having a taste of this sauce, “you can put this on anything.” And I plan to — broccoli, asparagus, boots. Got any other ideas? I’d love to hear ’em.

Bon appetit!

Cheesy chick-none and veggie casserole

13 Feb

Mmm...smell the traditionalism.

Just like grandma’s casseroles. Minus the love.

There’s something nostalgic and comforting about a casserole. In fact, when it comes to the old “is there anything more American than…” question, I firmly believe that a casserole can give apple pie, baseball and debatable foreign policy a run for their money.

Gma love.

Me and my Gma. She was a real rad lady.

Casseroles are also some of my favorite dishes, because they’re simple to assemble, please even the stingiest of pallets, make for days of delectable leftovers, and they remind us all of our grandmother’s cozy kitchens (unless you had a rare casserole-less grandma, in which case I invite you to borrow the memory of mine).

For me, this cheesy, seitan- and veggie-full recipe achieves all the important casserole criteria — and I can assure you that it has been thoroughly omnivore tested and approved.

Final note: While the seitan works well as a hearty chicken replacement, and it’s a great source of protein and iron, you can just as easily double the amount of mushrooms and the dish will still be “nomnomnom” worthy.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces whole wheat rotini noodles
  • 1 lb of seitan
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 cup frozen broccoli
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Bridget’s Nommy Good Cheeze sauce (ingredients below)
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (for some crunch, if that’s your bag)

Bridget’s Nommy Good Cheeze Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened soy or almond milk
  • 3 Tbsp vegan butter
  • 3 Tbsp unbleached flour (chickpea flour is gluten free, FYIzzle)
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Dash of cayenne pepper (recommended for those of us who enjoy a good kick in the mouth pants)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Conjure a casserole

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook and drain the pasta, then put it back in the pot and set it aside.
  3. Brown the seitan in a large skillet on medium heat (add 1 to 2 Tbsp olive oil if you like), and break it up into bite-sized pieces while you’re at it.
  4. Combine the sauce ingredients in a mixing bowl or food processor.
  5. Transfer the sauce to the skillet, add in the veggies, mix well, and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. Pour the skillet contents into the pot with the noodles and mix well, then turn the whole lot out into a greased casserole dish.
  7. Sprinkle on the breadcrumbs before baking uncovered for 30 minutes.
  8. Allow the dish to cool before you start shoveling the yummy casserole goodness into your face hole.

Bon appetit!

Cheesy quinoa and awesome stuffed peppers

15 Jan

Cheesy quinoa and black bean stuffed peppers

Colorful and also freaking yummy cheesy quinoa and black bean stuffed peppers.

Because I like you guys, I’ll be honest. I’ve made quinoa stuffed peppers before, and they’ve rated a solid “meh” on the flavor scale. But these little guys? On top of being super easy to make, they’re cheesy, they’ve got a little kick, and they will put a smile on your face. And if (for some unforeseeable reason) they fail to accomplish that last bit, try this.

When I first made these, I had a few cups of the extremely filling filling leftover. What was I to do?

Well, piggy enterprising as I am, I figured the filling would make a good dip, and grabbed a handful of tortilla chips to get my appetizer on, fooling myself into thinking I could eat just a few bites and save the rest.

Ha.

Of course, I ended up scarfing down all of it, and wasn’t even hungry for the peppers when they emerged from the oven. No worries, they fed me for the next week, aaaaand I found my new favorite dip recipe, in addition to my new favorite stuffed pepper recipe. And hopefully yours.

That same night, I also ended up spilling an entire glass of wine and a can of black beans on the floor and nearly severing a toe when I lost my grip on my veggie-dicing knife…but that’s another (cautionary) tale of trying to cook whilst clumsy.

Anyway, I believe the credit for how fabulously scrumptious these peppers are goes to the addition of Daiya mozzarella cheese in the stuffing. And maybe the cayenne pepper should get a little nod. But you be the final judge.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 15-ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup quinoa (or you could use rice. But then you don’t get to say “keeen-wah”!)
  • 2 cups + 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup vegan mozzarella cheese (I heart Daiya)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 5 ounces frozen spinach
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots (I threw a few handfuls of baby carrots in a food processor)
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin

Make it so!

  1. Cut your peppers in half, and pull out the seeds and ribbing (the light-colored stuff).
  2. Heat the olive oil in a  saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and celery, and cook 5 minutes, or until soft.
  3. Add the mushrooms, cumin and garlic, and sauté the mix for another 2 minutes.
  4. Break up your frozen spinach as well as you can (I achieve this by slamming the bag against my kitchen counter like a psychopath), and toss that in the pot.
  5. Cook for another 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid is evaporated.
  6. Add in your black beans, quinoa, carrots, and about 2 cups vegetable broth (enough to cover the whole mixture).
  7. Cover the pot and bring your mixture to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes.
  8. My favorite step: Stir in the vegan cheese.
  9. Add in your salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper.
  10. Stick your face as close to the mixture as is safe and take a giant whiff. Yummmmm.
  11. Preheat your oven to 350.
  12. Spoon a heaping helping of filling into each pepper half, and carefully place them in a casserole or baking dish.
  13. Pour about a half cup vegetable broth into the dish, then cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.
  14. Sprinkle each pepper with more cheese, if you like, and then bake uncovered for about 15 minutes more, or until the tops are browned.
  15. Nomnomnom.

In addition to the fact that they taste like joy, another lovely character trait of these peppers is that they keep really well. If you plan to scarf them down in the next few days, just pop them in a fridge-suitable storage container and, when it comes time to nosh, wrap them in tin foil and bake them in the oven at 350 for 20ish minutes.

Or, if you want to make a bunch for a rainy day, place each pepper in individual freezer bags (make sure you get as much air out as possible) and they’ll keep in your ice box for months. Just defrost in the fridge before cooking, and give it the same tin foil and baking treatment.

Bon appetit!

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