Authentically Delicious: Lentil-Mushroom Skillet Shepherdess Pie

Lentil-Mushroom Shepherdess Pie

My mom goes to the Senior Center in town every day. We like to look at their cafeteria’s menu while having our morning coffee. Lately,there’s been an “Authentic” Scottish Shepherds’ Pie on the menu. I always considered Shepherds Pie as being an Irish dish. So I did a little research. Some say it’s Irish, others say British. Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales are all part of the United Kingdom, so I guess I’m splitting hairs here. What I did learn is that there is a meat and dairy free version called a “Shepherdess” Pie. Now that I have a name for it, here’s how the recipe came together. The filling ingredients are browned in a skillet, mixed with cooked lentils, then topped with the potatoes and placed under the broiler just long enough to brown the top.  (Make sure to use a skillet that can be placed under the broiler.) While the lentils cook, brown the shallots, garlic, carrots, parsnips and cremini mushrooms. I like parsnips because they add a little “zing” to the flavor. If you don’t have or like parsnips, you can replace them with more carrots. I also prefer to use cremini mushrooms as they tend to be a little “meatier” and lend brown gravy notes to a recipe. Since I try to eliminate as much sodium from my recipes as possible, I used a combination of brandy, red wine and tomato paste to add a hearty flavor. You can use vegetable broth instead of the alcohol if you like. The mashed potatoes were made and mashed in an instant pot; you can cook them on the stove or use your own recipe instead. The the skillet can be prepared ahead of time and reheated over a low flame then placed under the broiler when ready to serve. This Shepherdess Pie is pretty forgiving, so feel free to experiment with different types of root vegetables and change the ratio of ingredients to your liking. While this may not be an “authentic” recipe for Shepherdess Pie, it certainly is authentically healthy and delicious. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Lentil-Mushroom Skillet Shepherdess Pie

Lentil-Mushroom Skillet Shepherd’s Pie

½ cup brown lentils
1 bay leaf

1 lb.Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 small yellow onion, peeled & chopped
Rosemary to taste
1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
¼ cup water
¼ cup soy yogurt, soy milk or soy-cashew sour cream

4 oz crimini mushrooms, chopped
2 carrost, chopped
1 parsnip, chopped
1 shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons brandy
¼ cup dry red wine
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper

Sort the brown lentils and add to a small saucepan with bay leaf and 1-1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer lentils until they are just tender, about 16 to 18 minutes, then drain.

Set an instant pot to saute setting. Add onions and a small amount of water. Cook onions until they start to soften and brown slightly. Add the potatoes, rosemary, nutritional yeast and water. Secure cover on instant pot and set to cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Quick release pressure and remove cover when safe. Drain or cook off any excess liquid. Add soy yogurt and mash with a potato masher. Set aside.

Preheat oven to broil. Heat a large non-stick skillet (10”) over medium-high heat with 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until they begin to soften and turn brown, adding a small amount of water to prevent sticking. Add the carrots and parsnips and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme and cook 1 minute. Add the brandy, red wine and tomato paste; cook until the liquid evaporates. Stir in lentils and heat thoroughly.

Spread the mashed potatoes evenly on top of the lentil-mushroom mixture. Place the skillet under the broiler and bake until the potatoes are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

14 Dec 2017

All-Inclusive Thanksgiving Dinner: Stuffed Mushroom Stacks

Stuffed Mushroom Stacks

Every trip to the grocery store is an adventure for me. Even when I have a list in hand, I enjoy perusing the produce aisle looking for something unusual that I’ve never eaten or a seasonal favorite that I’ve waited an entire year to get my hands on once again. Sometimes, when I spot a standard item that looks super fresh I just go overboard and buy more than I need. This was the case when I picked up a three pound box of extra large snow white mushrooms at a mushroom outlet in Pennsylvania. They were beautiful and perfect . . . and I was happy! Since a lot of my thinking is done in the car, I pondered how I was going to prepare those beauties the entire ride home. With the Thanksgiving holiday just around the corner I thought about a family favorite — stuffed mushrooms. And then I thought about the turkey stuffing we used to make with mushrooms, celery, onions and sage. Why stop there? Why not place dollops of mashed white and sweet potatoes on top? And while I’m at it, I might as well make it festive with creamy mushroom gravy. This is a complicated recipe, but one that is achievable with some planning. First, I placed the sweet potatoes in the oven and baked them until soft. While the sweet potatoes were baking, I boiled the white potatoes on the stove top. I made the stock using onions and the mushroom stems. Next, I made the bread stuffing using one cup of the stock. You can make the gravy at this point or wait until after the stacks are assembled. If you’re feeling overwhelmed right now, don’t despair. Any or all of these elements can be done ahead of time depending on your time constraints and patience. You can use your own recipe for mashed potatoes. You can even use instant mashed potatoes; just use less liquid to achieve a stiffer consistency. You can also use canned sweet potatoes if you prefer. You can simply place dollops of mashed potatoes on top of the stacks instead of using a pastry bag and decorators tip. You can even assemble the mushroom stacks ahead of time and bake the next day. These Stuffed Mushroom Stacks require some thought and planning but they are worth the effort. It’s like an all-inclusive Thanksgiving dinner in every bite! You can serve them as an appetizer or as part of a buffet. You can plate them with green beans or shaved Brussel sprouts and cranberry sauce to serve as an elegant entree. Any leftovers can be served on a slider bun and rewarmed gravy the next day. On Thanksgiving and on every other day, I thank you for being Vegi-curious.

Stuffed Mushroom Stacks

3 lbs. large white mushrooms, stems removed and set aside

Mushroom Stock & Gravy

½ onion, thinly sliced
Reserved mushroom stems
2 Tablespoons red wine
4 cups of vegetable broth (Better Than Bouillon No Chicken)
2 Tablespoon arrowroot powder or corn starch
Black pepper

Lightly coat a medium saucepan with olive oil and heat over high heat. Add mushrooms and onions and cook until starting to soften and turn brown. Add red wine and cook until evaporated. Add vegetable broth (I use 1 teaspoon bouillon base to 4 cups of water for lower sodium). Reduce to simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Reserve one cup of the liquid to use in the stuffing. Remove from heat and let cool. When ready to thicken, add arrowroot and bring to a boil. Continue to cook until desired thickness is achieved. Remove from heat and let cool. You can puree the gravy in a blender and return to the saucepan until ready to serve. You can alternately use a hand-held immersion blender to puree the gravy right in the saucepan.


1 large onion (thinly slice ½ for gravy and mince ½ for stuffing)
2 celery stalks, minced
8 slices of sliced bread, toasted
1 cup of the reserved mushroom stock
Dried sage, oregano, marjoram to taste
Black pepper to taste

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add a few tablespoons of water to skillet then add the onion and celery. Saute until vegetables are soft and golden.
Cut or tear the toasted bread into small pieces, almost as if it’s shredded. Place in a large mixing bowl and add the vegetables, mushroom stock and seasonings. Toss until combined.

Mashed Potatoes

1 lb. potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
2 Tablespoons (or more) soy yogurt or non-dairy milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Place potatoes in a medium saucepan and add cold water to cover by a few inches. Bring to a boil and cook until soft. Drain well. Use a potato masher to mash the potatoes. Mix in enough yogurt or milk to make the potatoes stiff enough to pipe onto the mushrooms. I don’t recommend using an immersion blender to remove lumps as this can make the potatoes gluey. Set aside.

Sweet Potatoes

1 lb. sweet potatoes, baked until soft
¼ to ½ cup oat flour (optional)
2 Tablespoons brown sugar (optional)

Remove the skin from the baked sweet potatoes. Place in a bowl and mash until smooth. If you want a stiffer consistency, add the oat flour one tablespoon at a time. Likewise, if you like sweeter add the brown sugar. You can use an immersion blender to remove lumps. Set aside.


Preheat oven to 400F.

Lightly coat a rimmed baking sheet with oil. Press the stuffing mixture into the mushroom caps, then pipe on either the mashed potatoes or sweet potato puree. Lightly coat the tops with non-stick spray. Place a few tablespoons of water in the bottom of the pan and place in oven. Bake until mushrooms are tender and browned and potatoes are browned, about 45 minutes. You can turn on the broiler during the last few minutes to brown the tops. You can assemble the mushrooms ahead of time, cover lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.


12 Nov 2017

Saving the Best for Last: Tofu Breakfast Bowl

Tofu Breakfast Bowl

On the last day of our Vermont vacation in July we had breakfast at the August First Bakery. Looking back, I wish we would have gone there on the first day of the trip as they had a few vegan options on the menu. Not only that, they bake delicious breads and pastries in their bakery next door. They have a tofu dish on the menu that they call a scramble bowl, but it’s not a scramble at all. A tofu scramble is supposed to mimic scrambled eggs and is usually mashed up and somewhat greasy. The tofu bowl that they make had large pieces of curry-seasoned tofu, home fries, kale and tomatoes. It was very tasty and filling, yet not too greasy. I came up with my own version for this Tofu Breakfast Bowl. I cooked everything in an air fryer. (You can make it in a non-stick skillet, but you might need a little oil to prevent the tofu from sticking to the pan.) You may want to make this on the weekend as it does require some time to get it all together. I recommend seasoning the tofu and letting it sit for as long as possible, so you might want to do this step either the night before or while you’re waiting for your coffee to brew. I soaked the cut potatoes because that’s what the owner’s manual for my air fryer suggests, but you can probably skip this step. I cooked the ingredients in batches according to how long they need to cook. I started with the bell peppers and onions as they have similar cooking qualities. This also allowed some time for the potatoes to soak. Then I crisped the potatoes. I saved the tofu for last to allow it to absorb the curry seasoning for as long as possible. After the individual components were done, everything went back in the air fryer to blister the tomatoes and let all the flavors mingle. It sounds like a lot of work, but it’s well worth the effort. This method allows each ingredient to shine in its own way without the need for any oil. This dish is spicy, savory, subtly sweet and, oh, so tasty. Any leftovers can be refreshed right in the air fryer for about 5 minutes. We may have saved the best for last on our vacation, but at least it was better late than never. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Tofu Breakfast Bowl

2 potatoes cut into 1” pieces
Salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder

1 lb. extra firm tofu
Curry powder or your favorite seasoning mix
1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey (optional)

1 bell pepper, cut into ½” pieces
1 onion, cut into ½” pieces

1 cup cherry tomatoes left whole

Soak the potatoes in water for about 30 minutes. Drain well and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Set aside.

Remove the tofu from the water and pat dry. Cut into large pieces – cut into 4 slices, then cut each slice into 8 pieces. Place in bowl and sprinkle a good amount of curry powder or other seasoning. Stir gently to coat. Let the tofu sit for as long as possible.

Set an air fryer to 400F. Place the onions and bell pepper into the basket and cook until the vegetables start to soften and turn brown. Remove from air fryer and place in a large serving bowl.

Place the potatoes into the basket and cook until tender and crisp. Remove from air fryer and place in the bowl with vegetables.

Place the tofu into the basket and cook until browned. If you want a glazey exterior you can remove the tofu before completely cooked, toss with maple syrup and then return to the fryer for about 5 minutes. Remove from air fryer and place in the bowl with vegetables. Add cherry tomatoes and mix gently. Return everything to the air fryer and cook until the tomatoes get soft and their skins blister. Remove and serve immediately.

Note: to make in a non-stick skillet, simply brown each component separately then mix everything together to heat before serving.

02 Sep 2017

Ole! Chipotle Sweet Potatoes & Taco Kale

Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

I like to get the most out of my food, so I try to come up with recipes that can be used in a variety of ways. I’ve been thinking about some type of empanada to make for Cinco de Mayo. I wanted it to be easy and definitely not fried. The “easy” parts were baking sweet potatoes, sauteeing kale and defrosting black beans. What’s nice about these recipes is that they can be enjoyed in so many ways. We had the sweet potatoes, kale and black beans plated for dinner one night and I used the left overs to make the empanadas a few days later. The empanadas can be filled a day before you plan to bake them, so this makes them perfect when planning a party. You could also use them to fill burritos or enchiladas. I’m hungry, how about you? Let’s enjoy our dinner tonight and come back for some empanadas later in the week. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

Note: As long as I’m putting on the oven, I usually make a large quantity of sweet potatoes to have for other meals during the week.

About four large sweet potatoes
1 chipotle in adobo sauce (from a can)

Preheat oven to 350F. Place a few potatoes on a baking sheet and bake until very soft and the juices start to ooze out of the potatoes. Remove from oven and cool enough to handle. Remove the skins, measure out two cups and place in a small bowl. Add one canned chipotle pepper and mash to combine.

Serve as a side dish or as a component in burritos or empanadas.

Kale with Taco Seasoning

1 lb. kale, de-ribbed and chopped
6 large garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons taco seasoning

Set an instant pot to saute setting. Add garlic and cook until lightly browned. Add ¼ cup of water and taco seasoning, then place kale on top. Set instant pot to cook on high pressure for 3 minutes. Quick release and remove cover when safe. To cook on stove top, saute garlic in a large non-stick skillet, add water and kale. Cover and cook until wilted, then remove cover to allow liquid to evaporate.

30 Apr 2017

Irish & Italians: Corned Beets & Cabbage Dinner

Corned Beets & Cabbage with Chive Potatoes

St. Patrick’s Day was never one of my favorite holidays, but I did enjoy the corned beef and cabbage dinner my parents would make for the occasion. (Actually, I’d take a St. Joseph’s zeppole over corned beef and cabbage any day, but that’s another story.) I don’t remember them having it any other time of the year, so it was a really special treat for us. I remember one St. Patrick’s Day when Dad had a seizure and spent the day in the emergency room and Mom had to leave the dinner partially cooked on the stove. I think Dad, the trooper that he was, was more upset about the ruined dinner than about being in the hospital. Or the time, shortly after she moved in with us, when Mom passed out and hit her head on the kitchen floor for yet another St. Patrick’s Day emergency room visit. I guess the luck of the Irish doesn’t cover the Italians. So I wanted to pay homage to St. Patrick Day (and my parents), and came up with this Corned Beets & Cabbage Dinner. The cabbage, beets, carrots, onions and garlic are braised with vegetable stock, vinegar and pickling spices. I used red cabbage since I new everything would turn purple from the beets. Even the carrots take on a different color. The potatoes are made in an instant pot, but you can use baked potatoes or your favorite steamed or roasted potato recipe. I struggle to find cabbage recipes that we both really enjoy, but I have to say that this recipe came out very tasty. The aroma of the corning spices bring back memories of the corned beef and cabbage simmering for hours in my parents’ kitchen. Remembering all of the happy St. Patrick’s Days spent with my parents, here’s an Irish toast from an Italian girl:

“To all the days here and after
May they be filled with fond memories, happiness, and laughter.”

Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Corned Beets and Cabbage

Braising Ingredients:

3 Tbsp. brown sugar
½ tsp. mustard seeds
8 whole allspice berries
4 whole cloves
2 small bay leaves
½ tsp. black peppercorns
12 whole juniper berries
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. ground celery seeds
2 whole garlic cloves
¼ cup vinegar
2 cups hearty vegetable broth

1 lb. beets, sliced into ¼” thick x ½” wide strips
8 oz. carrots, sliced into strips ¼” thick x ½” wide strips
1 small head of red cabbage

Place all braising ingredients in a deep saute pan. Bring to a boil. Add beets to liquid and place remaining vegetables on top. Lower heat to a simmer, cover and and cook until vegetables are soft and liquid has evaporated. This could take 30 minutes or longer depending on how soft you like your vegetables.

Herbed Potatoes in an Instant Pot

2 lbs. “creamer” potatoes, cut in half (about 1-1/2” chunks)
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
Salt to taste (optional)

Place all ingredients in Instant Pot insert. Add ½ cup water. Pressure cook on high for 6 minutes, then quick release pressure.

Variation: omit rosemary and thyme and add 1 tablespoon dried chives

14 Mar 2017

One Potato, Two Potato . . . Creamy Potato Salad

Creamy Potato Salad

Creamy Potato Salad

Sometimes life can be like a Mother Goose hand-clapping game.

One potato: We got a few red bliss potatoes in last week’s CSA share.

Two potato: eastern potatoes were on sale, so I bought a five pound bag.

Three potato: This week’s CSA box had a bunch of Yukon Gold’s in it.

Four: Better do something with all those potatoes.

With so many varieties of potatoes available these days, it’s hard to keep them straight. Some are good for baking, others make fluffy mashed potatoes and others are better suited for salads. Starchy Idaho and Russet potatoes make fluffy mashed potatoes and waxy potatoes like Red Bliss and Yukon Gold are good for salads. I decided to throw caution to the wind and combined starchy and waxy varieties to make this Creamy Potato Salad. Instead of boiling the potatoes I opted for steaming them with skins intact. (I think this is why the Russets didn’t fall apart.) My Aunt Gracie used to make a scrumptious potato salad with mayonnaise and sour cream and I wanted to capture that flavor in this recipe. I’ve been making a Ranch Dressing with cashew cream and almond milk yogurt as the base, so I went with this combination to dress the potatoes.  The dressing is seasoned with chives, parsley and scallions, but you can switch it up with any type of onion and a different herb like dill weed. Any leftover dressing can be used for green salads or as a dip for crudite. If you like the taste of hard-cooked egg you can sprinkle some black salt onto the salad. Be creative and toss in chopped bell peppers, celery or grated carrots. Served the potato salad alongside corn on the cob and marinated grilled vegetables and you have a summer supper worth clapping about. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Creamy Potato Salad

2 pounds of potatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
Ranch dressing

Place whole, unskinned potatoes in steamer and cook until potatoes are fork tender. Remove from steamer, let cool and cut into 2” pieces. Add onions and enough ranch dressing to coat potatoes. Refrigerate.

Ranch Dressing

½ cup thick cashew cream
½ cup plain almond milk (or other non-dairy) yogurt
2 tablespoons minced chives
2 tablespoons minced parsley
2 tablespoons minced scallions or yellow onions
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon mustard powder
salt and black pepper to taste

Stir all ingredients well. Chill and use within a week.

19 Jul 2016

In Season: Red Potatoes, Asparagus & Mushroom Melange

Red Potatoes, Mushrooms & Asparagus

Red Potatoes, Mushrooms & Asparagus

One of the things I like about belonging to a CSA is that the produce is fresh and in season. This is how we ate long before refrigeration or the food transportation system existed and our species was able to evolve and thrive. Imagine a reality show about a community that ate only food that was in season or preserved after the harvest. For many, including me, that would seem like a harsh reality. The least we can do is buy as much local produce as possible when it’s in season. It’s good for you, good for the local economy and good for the environment.

Here’s a recipe I put together with some of the produce that was in this week’s CSA box. Among other things, we had shallots, red potatoes, asparagus, button mushrooms and rosemary. I steamed the potatoes until they were almost cooked, then browned everything in a non-stick skillet. I topped it off with a creamy cashew cheese sauce, but I bet it would be just as nice served warm with some type of vinaigrette. I can’t wait to see what goodies will be in next week’s box. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Red Potatoes, Asparagus & Mushroom Melange

1-1/4 lbs. small red potatoes
1 large shallot, thinly sliced (about ¾ cup)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1-1/2 lbs. asparagus, tough ends removed and stalks cut into 2” pieces
6 oz. button mushrooms
Herb of choice (rosemary, tarragon, etc.)

Place potatoes in double boiler and steam until almost tender, about 12 minutes. Rinse under cold water and cut into quarters. Set aside

In large non-stick skillet, saute shallots in olive oil or water. Remove to separate bowl. Add garlic and more oil or water and lightly brown. Remove to same bowl. Add mushrooms and saute until softened and browned, about 5 minutes. Remove to same bowl. Add asparagus and saute until browned. Remove to bowl. Add a small amount of oil to skillet, add potatoes and cook over high heat until browned. Add ingredients from bowl to skillet and cook until vegetables soften, about 3 minutes. Add herbs, salt and pepper to taste. Serve with cheesy cashew cream.

Cheesy Cashew Cream

½ cup cashews, soaked
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. tahini
1 large garlic clove (raw or roasted)
¼ tsp fine grain sea salt (truffle salt)
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
¼ cup nutritional yeast
6 Tbsp. water, or as needed to thin out

Place all ingredients in high powered blender and process until smooth. Pour into a squeeze bottle for serving.

09 Jun 2016

Odd Couple: Gigante Beans & Potatoes with Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette

Gigante Beans & Potatoes

Gigante Beans & Potatoes

Prior to adopting a plant-based diet, there were some foods I would NEVER combine in one meal let alone in the same recipe. For instance, I would never have rice and potatoes my plate at the same time. Maybe at a barbeque or buffet I’d have potato salad and macaroni salad together, but that was more an exception than a rule. I would make beans with pasta or rice, but I never thought to pair beans with potatoes. Hmmmm . . . beans and potatoes . . .  they seem like an odd couple. But sometimes necessity is the mother of invention, and I needed to use up some Yukon potatoes and dried lima beans that have been lurking in the pantry. I remembered the Gigante Bean Salad from last year and figured that since I like bean salads and potato salads, this combination might actually work. So I soaked and cooked up large lima beans, steamed the potatoes and roasted cherry tomatoes and garlic for the vinaigarette. I seasoned it with the “tre fratelli” — oregano, marjoram and thyme — but you can use any herbs that tickle your fancy. I bet it would be nice with fava beans or whatever potatoes you have on hand.This dish came out surprisingly tasty and the layer of fresh arugula underneath added a nice contrast to the delicate texture and sweet-tangy flavors of the salad. Since you can serve the salad at room temperature it’s a nice dish to bring to a summer barbeque or for lunch the next day. Just another example of how opposites attract. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Gigante Bean & Potato Salad with Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette
½ pound dried Gigante beans (large lima beans)
2 cloves of garlic, left whole
1 bay leaf

1 pound Yukon potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” chunks

2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
Fresh thyme sprigs
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
Salt (optional) and pepper

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
Oregano, marjoram, black pepper and salt (optional) to taste

Soak beans overnight by placing beans in a large pot and cover with plenty of cold water. Drain and rinse beans, then cover with more water. Add whole garlic cloves and bay leaf to pot. Bring to boil then simmer for about 30 minutes until beans are soft, but not mushy. (Depending on the beans and how long you soak them, this could take longer. You could also make them in a pressure cooker.) When done, drain well and set aside.

While beans are cooking, steam potatoes in a double boiler or steamer basket set in a large pot until tender enough to pierce with a fork yet firm enough not to break apart. Rinse with cold water to stop cooking.

In a large, shallow serving bowl, add balsamic and sherry vinegars, oregano and marjoram. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350F. Coat a glass baking dish very lightly with olive oil (you can opt to omit the oil). Place the tomatoes, garlic, thyme and season, salt and pepper in a small baking pan and cover with foil. Bake for about 20 minutes, until tomatoes soften up. Remove foil and smash tomatoes so juice comes out. Return to oven and cook, uncovered, until tomatoes and garlic start to caramelize. Remove tomatoes from oven and add to bowl with vinegar. Add beans and potatoes and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

23 May 2016

Rebuilding: Creamy Mushrooms & Leeks for Mashed Potatoes

Creamy Mushroom-Leek Saute

Creamy Mushroom-Leek Saute

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a recipe for mushroom, leek and potato soup that looked very tasty. There were two problems, though. First, I really don’t care for soup all that much. Soup always leaves me wanting more  — and that something more is usually bread or dessert. When I do make soup, it’s more like stew — loaded with vegetables and grains and not much broth. Second, this recipe called for two cups of heavy cream. (Wow! I shutter to think that I probably would have made this in my previous life.) If I substituted cashew cream for the dairy cream, it would be rich-tasting, but it would also be too rich in fat and calories. Life can be full of compromises, but I don’t like to settle when it comes to food. So this recipe was on the back burner until I could come up with one that would satisfy my craving for creamy mushrooms and potatoes that’s rich in flavor, not in calories. What I cooked up was a “deconstructed” version of that soup. I rebuilt the recipe by sauteing leeks, garlic and mushrooms, added a splash of red wine and a healthy dollop of cashew cream, then spooned it over mashed potatoes. This dish is uncompromisingly creamy, savory and hearty and you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Creamy Mushroom & Leeks for Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 large leeks, rinsed and sliced thinly
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb. mushrooms, chopped (cremini, white button, shitakes, etc.)
  • ¼ cup red wine (optional)
  • ¾ cup vegetable broth (or 1 cup if not using wine)
  • ½ cup cashew cream

Mashed potatoes

Coat a non-stick skillet with olive oil (or heat up 2 tablespoons of water) over medium-high heat. Saute leeks until lightly browned. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add mushrooms and saute until brown and most of liquid has cooked out. De-glaze pan with wine or ¼ cup of the broth. Add remaining broth and cashew cream and heat thoroughly. Remove from heat. Serve over mashed potatoes.



14 Apr 2016

Breakfast Treat: Praline Sweet Potato

Praline Sweet Potato

Praline Sweet Potato

I baked up some sweet potatoes the other night that were so huge we couldn’t finish all of them. I never throw out sweet potatoes because I like to eat them right out of the fridge. But this one had that nice syrup that leaks through the skin. Sort of reminds me of sweet potato pie. Hmmmm. Pie. For breakfast. Simple. I had some cinnamon Puffins cereal and candied pecans in the pantry. I broke up the cereal in a plastic bag and roughly chopped the pecans, then sprinkled both on the warm potato. Breakfast is served. Breakfast is fun! You can use any cereal you have on hand, but my preference would be for one flavored with cinnamon. I suggest making the Candied Pecans (recipe below) the night before so you can easily treat yourself to breakfast in the morning. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Candied Pecans

  • 1/2 cup pecans (or other nuts)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • optional: spices such as cinnamon, cloves, Chinese 5 spice, nutmeg, ginger

Place pecans, syrup and spices in a non-stick skillet and heat over medium heat. Cook until all of the syrup has coated the pecans and there is none left in the skillet. Remove to parchment paper to cool. Leave pecans whole to use as salad garnish or chop up to sprinkle on sweet potatoes or in baked goods.

05 Apr 2016

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