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.  

 

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.

Chickpea Oat Burgers

  • 1 T flax or chia meal plus 3T water
  • 1 T nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp granulated onion
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup mixed chopped veggies (carrots, celery, cauliflower, turnips, peppers, onion)
  • 1 can white beans or chickpeas, mashed

Combine flax meal and water in a small bowl, stir and set aside to thicken.

Combine spices, oats and flour in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the water and mix well.

Add the flax mixture. Stir well.

In a food processor or with a knife, finely chop the vegetables and add to the oat mixture.The vegetables can be anything you have on hand or need to use up.

Use a fork to mash the beans in a bowl and add the beans to the oat mixture.

Mix well pressing everything together to form a firm dough.

Use a half cup measure to scoop and make into patties.

*Flavor profiles:

For Buffalo burgers, substitute buffalo sauce for a portion of the water. For Mexican burgers, add 3 T of salsa and 1 t of cumin. For Smokey Mushroom, add 1 cup mushrooms sauteed until dry and add 1 tsp smoked paprika.

To cook:

Place skillet over medium heat, spray with a little oil if necessary, place burgers into pan and cover, cook for 5 minutes on each side.

Burgers should be light brown on each side, cook longer if needed.

To bake a larger amount, place burgers on a lightly oiled sheet pan and bake for 30 minutes, flipping half way through cooking time. This recipe can be made in larger quantities and patties frozen for quick and easy dinners.

Nutty Stuffed Delicata Squash

This recipe comes together quickly, but will take about 40 minutes to bake depending on the size of your squash. The one I used in this recipe was pretty large for a Delicata. But this recipe works with any size squash.  Delicata is easy to work with because there’s no need to peel this squash, the skin is tender enough to eat and doesn’t really have much flavor.  Just be sure to wash the squash before using.

The filling is a combination of sauteed onions, garlic and nuts. I used almonds and walnuts, but pecans and pine nuts could be thrown into the mix as well. To bind these together we’ll mix equal parts chickpea flour and water, add some nutritional yeast and plant milk and any herbs you’d like to bump up the flavor. Mix this with the onions and nuts and spoon into the squash. Place in the oven and bake until tender.

Here’s the quantities I used:

  • 1 large Delicata squash
  • 1 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/3 cup almonds, shopped or slivered (pecans, hazelnuts)
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped (pine nuts or seeds)
  • 1/4 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 T plant milk
  • 1-2 T nutritional yeast ( to your liking)
  • fresh herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme or go sweeter with cinnamon, nutmeg and clove)

Wash your squash, halve it and scoop out the seeds. in a bowl, combine the chickpea flour, water, plant milk and nutritional yeast. In a skillet over medium high heat, saute onion and garlic until soft and golden. Add the nuts, herbs, a couple pinches of salt and stir to combine. Turn off the heat and pour in flour mixture. Stir to evenly mix. Spoon this into the squash halves. Depending on the size of your squash, you may have extra filling. If you do, cook the filling in muffin tins, it will make a mock mini quiche.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the squash is tender when pierced.

 

Cauliflower Happiness + 3 Recipes

I’m sure the cauliflower farmers are happy with all the new cauliflower products out there (pizza, buffalo tenders, tortillas) and the push to substitute this bland low carbohydrate vegetable for potatoes and rice. But we can be happy as well, because it is easy to prepare and is a nutritional powerhouse boasting high amounts of vitamin C and B6, calcium, magnesium phosphorus and potassium, antioxidants and fiber. All this leads to improving memory, inflammatory response, blood pressure, cardiovascular risk and cancer reduction.

I love it and use it as a base for cream sauces, frozen and added to smoothies, and as the star of a crunchy turmeric salad. If you try these recipes, please leave a comment.

Creamy White Sauce / Gravy 

  • 4 cups cauliflower, separated into florets
  • 1 cup yellow onion
  • 1-3 garlic cloves (how you like it)
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup broth or plant milk
  • 1 T white miso
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning (or thyme, oregano, marjoram)
  • pinch cayenne or black pepper to taste
  • For Gravy: 1 lb mushrooms, sliced

Add the cauliflower, onion, garlic and water to a pot, bring to a boil and turn heat down to low, cover for 10 minutes until cauliflower is very tender. When done cooking, add the mixture to a blender along with the cashews, broth/milk, miso, and seasonings. Let cool a bit so the heat doesn’t blow the top off the blender. 🙂  Blend for a full minute, scrape down the sides of container and blend for another 30 seconds. It should be thick and creamy.  Use this as a white sauce for noodles, over root vegetables to make a scalloped casserole, in a squash lasagna or to make creamed greens.  For a gravy, slice and saute mushrooms and another cup of chopped onions, and pour this sauce into the pan once the mushrooms have cooked and lost most of their moisture. Use the gravy over grains, cooked with lentils, on top of veggie burgers or as a Rague with kale, chard and collard greens.

Cauliflower Berry Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup frozen cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1-2 cups spinach
  • 1 cup nut or oat milk
  • add in to your taste, some cinnamon & ginger, or maca & cacao

Blend everything until thick and smooth. Drink Up!

Turmeric Cauliflower Salad 

  • 4-5 cups cauliflower florets in bite size pieces
  • 2 T red onion, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas (optional)
  • 1/2 cup veganaise
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric,(more to taste)
  • 1 T rice or cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Break up the florets and add to a mixing bowl along with the onion, celery and chickpeas. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the veganaise, turmeric, vinegar, mustard and pepper. Taste this and see if you’d like more turmeric. Stir this into the cauliflower mixture, tossing to coat everything with the dressing. chill and serve. Keeps for 5 days.

Burrito Bowls or Jars

Make simple sides and build a buffet for making lunch/dinner bowls or lay out a prep area for making meals to grab-n-go.  Layer your choices and enjoy or seal up and refrigerate to grab on your way out.

The dishes just need to work together. For this post I’m serving up burrito bowls  with rice, quinoa or cauliflower rice topped with the fajita beans, fruit salsa, guacamole, cilantro corn salsa, carrot-cashew queso sauce, tomato salsa, romaine and peppers.  Give it a try and let me know how it goes or if you have any questions.

For cauliflower rice: Add 3 cups cauliflower florets to a food processor along with 1 T sesame seeds or cashews, 1/4 tsp salt & pepper, and 1/2 tsp turmeric. Pulse on and off until the cauliflower is “riced” or about the size of rice.

For the Fajita Beans : Combine 1 chopped onion and bell pepper in a skillet and saute to soften. Add a can of pinto, kidney or black beans that you’ve strained and rinsed. Add 2 T of water and 1 T each of chili powder and cumin, stir well to coat everything with spices and turn to low heat to gently simmer and combine flavors.

For the fruit salsa: finely chop or use a food processor to pulse & chop 1 cup pineapple, 1/2 mango, 1 tomato, juice of one lime and 1 jalapeno, seeds removed. Pulse one and off quickly to chop, you want there to be texture, not all mush. (mush tastes good too, though)

For the Corn salsa: use 2 cups of thawed frozen corn or cut corn off the cob. Combine the corn in a bowl with 1/2 cup of chopped fresh cilantro, 1/4 cup diced red onion, diced jalapeno to taste and 1 lime juiced. Stir to evenly mix and enjoy!

For the carrot-cashew queso: Chop 1.5 cups carrots, 1 onion and 3 cloves garlic, and add to 1/2 cup water in a saucepan, cover and cook until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes. Pour the contents of pan into a blender and add 1 cup cashews, 1 cup dairy free milk, 3 T nutritional yeast, 1 tsp each of cumin, smoked paprika and chili powder. Blend for a minute or two until it’s smooth, thick and creamy. Taste and season with salt and pepper and maybe some cayenne if you want it spicy!

Chop your favorite raw toppings and add to the line up. some suggestions are shredded cabbage, fresh cilantro, red onion, bell peppers, radish, cucumbers, crispy lettuce, chopped tomatoes, olives, sliced or mashed avocado, and lime wedges. A few toppings or many work, but having them prepped and ready to go makes for ease in putting meals together.  I hope you’ll try and let me know. 

Rustic Potato & Bean Soup

  • 1 cup white or yellow onion
  • 1 pound yellow potatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans white beans (navy or great northern)
  • 4-6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • 4 cups baby spinach

Chop onion and add to soup pan with a splash of broth and saute for 5 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking. When the onion is tender add the garlic, potatoes,herbs and broth. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes until potatoes are tender, then add nutritional yeast and beans. Cook for 10 minutes and add the spinach, stir to wilt and then serve.

Chop potatoes into small bite size pieces and add to the pot.
Once the onions are softened, add the garlic, potatoes, herbs and broth. Simmer until tender.

 

 

Once the potatoes are tender , add in the nutritional yeast and beans, cook for 10 minutes and then stir in spinach just before serving. Enjoy!

 

Sprouts – Two Salads

Sprouts are filled with vitamins, minerals and proteins and chlorophyll all necessary nutrients for building our red and white blood cells and easing inflammation.

Activated Almond Salad

  • 1 cup almonds, soaked 4-8 hours (sub sunflower or pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 Zucchini
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup fermented pickle, diced
  • 3 T lemon juice
  • 1 T honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 T fresh dill weed or 1/2 T dry
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Lettuce or cabbage leaves

Add almonds or seeds to a food processor and pulse to break up into a flaky texture. Add chopped zucchini and pulse a couple times to chop and mix with the almonds.  Place this mixture into a mixing bowl. Add the chopped celery, diced onion, shredded carrot and chopped pickle. In a small cup or bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, honey or maple syrup and mustard. Stir in the dill and sea salt. Pour this dressing over the nut and vegetable mixture and stir well to incorporate and coat everything with dressing, Scoop this mixture onto lettuce or cabbage leaves or onto a slice of your favorite bread.

Crunchy Super Sprout Salad

  • 3 cups pea shoots or sunflower microgreens, chopped
  • 2 cups leafy green sprouts (salad mix, clover, alfalfa)
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage or slaw mix
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • oranges
  • 1 cup crunchy sprouts (mung bean, lentils, adzuki bean)

Combine all salad ingredients and toss with your favorite dressing or drizzle with the citrus vinaigrette below :

  • ¼ c orange or lemon juice
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T honey
  • 1/2 tsp dijon
  • 1 tsp dried dill, oregano, basil or your favorite herb blend