Mushroom Bolognese

Italian cuisine is a favorite for plant-based meals. When I come across ways to pack in extra veggies, I will always try. This sauce is perfect for adding in extra veggies and it can be used in so many ways.

Try it with lentil walnut loaf balls, crumble in some tofu, ladled over rice or pasta, or especially good over roasted spaghetti squash.

Mushroom Bolognese

A veggie packed sauce that is wonderful on gluten free penne pasta or roasted spaghetti squash.
Prep Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: gluten free,, plant-based, sugar-free, vegan
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • dutch oven
  • knife
  • food processor (optional)

Ingredients

  • 2 cup yellow onion chopped
  • 1 cup carrots about 3
  • 1 cup celery 2-3 stalks
  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 (15 oz.) can fire roasted tomatoes diced with juices
  • 1 Tbsp tamari
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Heat a dutch oven over medium high heat, when hot add 2 tablespoons of water along with the onions and saute until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  • Add carrots, celery and mushrooms stirring to combine and cook until all become a bit tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in tomato paste and 1/2 cup of water, followed by remaining ingredients. Stir well to combine and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
  • While sauce is cooking, prepare pasta, rice or roast a spaghetti squash.
  • When sauce has thickened a bit, serve over your choice of starch.

Notes

To make light work of the chopping, cut the onion, carrots, celery  and mushrooms into similar sized chunks and place in a food processor and pulse each until finely chopped. there's no need to wipe out container between ingredients. 
If you'd like the sauce to be more "saucey" and less chunky, process half of the cooked sauce in the food processor until smooth and add back to remaining sauce.

Lentil Walnut Loaf

I’ve tried several different meatless loafs and this one that I adapted from Oh She Glows is my favorite at this point.

The lentil walnut mixture can be used to make meatless balls as well. Be sure to press the mixture together tightly when patting it into the loaf pan or into balls.  Try the balls with the mushroom Bolognese sauce or make the loaf slices into meatless loaf sandwiches, that are sure to bring back good childhood memories of grandma’s meatloaf sammy’s.

Lentil Walnut Loaf

This is a hearty plant-based loaf that really is delicious. Oats, flax and walnuts add texture and nutrient density. This recipe is adapted from Oh She Glows.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: gluten free,, nuts, vegan
Servings: 4 people

Equipment

  • loaf pan
  • pot
  • food processor
  • mixing bowl
  • skillet

Ingredients

  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup sweet onion chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup celery (2 -3 stalks) minced
  • 1 cup carrot (2-3) minced
  • 1/3 cup apple shredded
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 3 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 1 cup oats
  • Pinch of cayenne optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  • Grease a 5X9 loaf pan. Add lentils to a pot and cover with water. Cook at a simmer for 25 minutes. then drain and add to a large bowl, mash them with a fork into a chunky paste.
  • While the lentils are cooking, warm oil in a skillet and add onion, celery, carrot and garlic. Cook stirring to prevent garlic from burning. Cook until onion and celery are tender, about 10 minutes, then stir in apple and herbs, stir for a couple minutes and remove from the heat.
  • In a food processor or blender, pulse the oats into a coarse flour, then add the walnuts and pulse on and off to break them into small bits.
  • Transfer the walnuts and oats to the lentils in the mixing bowl and add ground flax. Mix to combine.
  • Stir in the skillet veggie mixture and season to taste. If the mixture seems dry, add 2 tablespoons of water and mix well. Getting your hands into the mix can help to combine and soften the texture of the mixture, also making sure that the mixture will hold shape. Add more water if needed.
  • Transfer mixture to prepared loaf pan and press firmly to form a loaf.
  • In a small bowl combine tomato paste and balsamic vinegar, mix well and spoon over the top of the loaf.
  • Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes, until edges are brown and its firm to the touch. Serve by the slice or crumble over salad.

Notes

To mince the carrots and celery quickly, roughly chop the carrots into large pieces and chunk the celery and add to a food processor and pulse until minced.  

 

Chocolate Swirl Cookies

These swirl cookies are pretty quick to put together. I adapted this from a recipe I saw on Audrey’s unconventionalbaker.com blog. I decided to use almond and tapioca flour along with a 5-seed butter. The flavor and texture is really nice. This recipe is definitely a keeper. You can change up the nut or seed butter to change up the flavor. This recipe makes 12-15 cookies.

  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons 5-seed butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch salt

Process the ingredients in a food processor until a dough is formed. If the dough is too sticky to roll out, sprinkle with a little more flour. If it is too dry to stick together, add a little more syrup. Scoop the dough onto a sheet of parchment and press into a disc. Let this rest while you make the chocolate dough, no need to clean the processor container.

  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons 5-seed butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch salt

Process everything in the food processor until it becomes a dough. Add a little more flour or maple syrup if the consistency needs adjusting. Scoop the dough onto a sheet of parchment and press into a disc. Cover with another piece of parchment and roll out into a rectangle of 1/4 in thickness. Remove top sheet and place on the vanilla dough and repeat, rolling into a rectangle of similar size and thickness.

Remove top parchment sheet and set aside. Take the sheet with the chocolate dough and flip it over onto the vanilla dough and remove the sheet of parchment paper. On the longest side of the rectangle, lift the bottom parchment sheet up and over using it to help roll both layers of dough into a log.

Use a serrated knife or a length of dental floss to cut through the dough into 1/4 inch slices. Lay the slices flat onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Let cool and then store in sealed container.

 

Pecan Fingers

These delicate cookies are a remake of the traditional buttery sugary cookie that was always one of my favorites. By replacing the sugar, butter and flour, you get a gluten free, sugar free, vegan delight.  Recipe makes about 20 cookies.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup organic vegan butter at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup powdered monk fruit-erythritol blend, more for dusting
  • 1/2 cup almond flour or oat flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Whip the butter and olive oil together until emulsified and light. If you have crystallized and not powdered monk fruit, put a 1/2 cup in a blender and blend until powdered. Add 1/4 cup of the monk fruit and remaining flours and vanilla to the oil mixture and beat until completely combined and smooth. Stir in chopped pecans. Chill the dough for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 . Using a small spoon, scoop and roll into short logs and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes in the middle of the oven, until lightly browned.

Habiscus Ginger Spritzer

  • 3 inches fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon hibiscus petals / tea bag
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ vanilla bean pod, seeds removed (always save empty pods for flavoring) optional
  • Honey
  • 6 cups boiling water
  • Sparkling water

Add water to a pan along with the ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla pod and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and add the hibiscus petals / tea bagcold .  Steep for ten minutes, remove hibiscus and let the tea cool completely with the other spices remaining in the water. Leaving the hibiscus in longer will strengthen the tartness of the tea; keep steeping it with the remaining spices if you want it really tangy.

Add honey to taste, start with 1 tablespoon and add more to your liking.  Drink as is or combine equal parts cold tea and sparkling water for a spritzer. Add frozen cranberries to garnish. Cheers!

Nutty Tahini Fudge

This is a delicious candy alternative and so easy to stir together. It takes a little time to set up in the freezer, but well worth the wait.  This is a treat that is gluten and dairy free. If nuts are something you avoid, add in chopped pumpkin or sunflower seeds for texture in place of the almonds.

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 3 tablespoons of cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoons cacao butter or coconut oil
  • pinch of Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/3 dried cranberries or cherries (optional)

Melt the cacao butter or coconut oil in a mixing bowl over a pot of steaming water.  When melted, add the tahini, cacao powder, maple syrup and salt. Stir with a whisk to combine into until smooth. Then add in the chopped nuts and dried fruit, if using.

Line a small rimmed dish with parchment paper and pour in the mixture, smoothing out the top.

Chill in the freezer for two hours, cut and serve. Keep refrigerated. Fudge will last for two weeks in refrigerator, longer in the freezer.

Gluten-free Pumpkin Molasses Ginger Cookies

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, soft
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon clove powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pink or grey salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Use a blender to mix the coconut oil, coconut sugar, pumpkin and molasses together until smooth. In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and stir to mix well. Then add the pumpkin mixture and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon, just until the flour is completely incorporated. The dough is a little thin, so use a 2 tablespoon scoop to spoon the dough onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Sprinkle a little coconut or cane sugar over each mound of dough. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cookies start to crisp around the edges. Let cool and enjoy!

Cranberry Orange Fig Relish

  • 8 dried figs, softened and chopped
  • One 8 oz bag fresh or frozen cranberries (about 2 cups)
  • 1 navel orange (rind removed using a sharp vegetable peeler and chopped, peel and cut into chunks)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar, powdered
  • 2 tablespoons or more, coarsely chopped crystallized ginger

 

Coarsely chop the figs in a food processor. Add cranberries, orange pieces and rind and pulse to chop and combine with figs. Add in remaining ingredients and pulse to combine.  Pour into container and refrigerate overnight for best flavor.

If the sauce is overly liquid, add a tablespoon ground chia seeds, stir well to mix evenly and let sit to thicken.

Can be made one week ahead. Keeps well in fridge and/or freezer. Serve at room temperature.

Enjoy this relish with herbed hemp spread, as a tart filling with sliced fruit, as a canape topping or spooned over roasted squash! Or really any way you wish.

Herbed Hemp-Pine Nut Spread

  • 1 cup hemp seeds
  • ½ cup pine nuts (may substitute macadamia or cashews)
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of white miso (can be omitted – add ½ t salt)
  • 1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
  • water
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary

Combine everything, except the herbs, in a food processor or  blender and process until a thick paste forms. Start slowly with the water by adding 3 tablespoons initially and adding more if needed. When the consistency is reached, add the herbs and pulse to combine.

Serve this as a spread or dip. This can be layered with pesto, olive tapenade or cranberry orange fig relish to make a festive presentation.

Golden Pumpkin Spice Honey

This recipe is so nice to have on hand for making quick warm spiced drinks to enjoy in place of your morning cup of coffee or as a relaxing evening cup of comfort.

  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon utmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon clove powder
  • 1/4 cup honey

Mix everything together in a small container and jar.

When ready to use, spoon 1 teaspoon into warm plant milk or hot water, stir and allow the spices to disperse andsteep for 5 minutes Enjoy!

this honey mixture can also be stirred into coffee, hot cocoa or drizzled over plant yogurt or baked apple dessert, or blended into a smoothie.