Zel's Vegan NutGourmet

Zel Allen Goes Nuts for Good Health

Posts Tagged ‘mushrooms’

WALNUT STUFFED EGGPLANT RECEIVES APPLAUSE!

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on May 5, 2014

How nice it is to be able to serve a vegan entrée that makes people say WOW! That wonderful compliment came my way very recently at a luncheon attended by 80 non-vegetarians.

The luncheon was held at a very large hotel and conference center. When offered the entrée choices of Rosemary Sage Chicken with Piccata Sauce, Roast Salmon with Red Wine Sauce, or Vegan Walnut Stuffed Eggplant, 21 of the 80 people attending chose the eggplant dish–one of my very favorite recipes from The Nut Gourmet, my cookbook that was published in 2006 and is still in print. Especially rewarding was the lively applause when the chairwoman announced the entrée was my recipe.

I really wanted to thank the chef for accepting my recipe and preparing the eggplant entrée. I asked if was possible to speak to the chef. It seemed rather unusual for the chef at large hotel to even be willing to prepare a recipe from a patron. Within a few minutes, the chef came out with a smile. Desi Szonntagh is the executive chef at the hotel. After we chatted a bit, he said he really liked the recipe and felt it was a good idea to introduce his kitchen staff to something unique. He also appreciated the opportunity to experience something vegan that was not just pasta with vegetables.

If you have family members who really love eggplant, and you serve this delicious entrée, better get ready to receive a few WOWs of appreciation. I have no doubt you’ll agree this is one very killer delicious dish!

This recipe is a hearty Mediterranean dish with Greek ancestry and is pure heaven to walnut and eggplant lovers. Its exceptional flavor comes from the combination of cinnamon, tomato paste, and capers. Because the stuffed eggplant is so special, I keep the rest of the meal simple with stir-fried or steamed vegetables, bulgur wheat in place of a rice dish, and a tossed salad.

 

walnut stuffed eggplant

 

WALNUT STUFFED EGGPLANT

 

Yield: 4 hearty servings.

 

2 (1-pound) eggplants

Extra virgin olive oil

 

1/2 pound tomatoes, chopped

1/4 pound cremini or button mushrooms, sliced

1 cup chopped onions

4 large cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Freshly ground black pepper

 

1 cup raw walnuts, divided

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

3 heaping tablespoons capers, well drained

 

2 to 3 small ripe tomatoes, sliced

Salt

  1. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise, slicing through the stem end. Using a curved, serrated grapefruit knife, scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/4-inch shell, and coarsely chop the flesh. Put the chopped eggplant into a large, deep skillet or flat-bottom wok.
  2. Rub the inside of the eggplant shells with a small amount of olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Place the eggplant shells under the broiler, and broil them 3 inches from the heat source for 5 to 10 minutes, until fork-tender. Watch carefully to prevent burning. Remove the eggplant shells from the broiler and set them aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Add the chopped tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, olive oil, salt, cinnamon, and pepper to the skillet with the chopped eggplant, and cook and stir for 7 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Coarsely grind the walnuts in a hand-crank nut mill and add 2/3 cup to the skillet along with the tomato paste and capers. Mix well.
  5. Fill the eggplant shells with the vegetable mixture and sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1/3 cup coarsely ground walnuts. Top with the tomato slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake uncovered for 25 to 35 minutes.

 

 

 

Posted in Main Dishes, Nut Recipes, Recipes, walnuts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

TREASURED VEGAN DELIGHTS FOR CANADIAN THANKSGIVING!

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on September 28, 2012

Today’s post is from guest host Dianne Wenz, VLC, HHC, AADP, a Holistic Health Counselor, Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Plant-Based Nutrition Specialist. Dianne coaches people from across the country to help them improve their health and wellbeing, and she helps people make the dietary and lifestyle changes needed to go vegan. Dianne lives in New Jersey, where she runs the busy MeetUp group Montclair Vegans. Through the group she hosts monthly potlucks, runs charity bake sales and organizes guest speaker events. An avid cook and baker, Dianne also teaches cooking classes to local clients. She writes the weekly Meatless Monday column on the New Jersey website Hot From the Kettle and is a contributing writer on ChicVegan To explore more of Dianne’s endeavors, visit Dianne’s website and blog at Veggiegirl

Growing up I was never very fond of Thanksgiving. I wasn’t too crazy about any of the food that was served, but I felt that I needed to fake it and pretend that I liked every morsel of it. But now that I’m an adult, and a vegan, it’s become my favorite time of the year. The foods that I despised as a child are now some of my favorites. I usually invite my vegan friends over, and we have a feast fit for royalty. While the menu changes from year to year, stuffing, stuffed mushrooms and roasted Brussels sprouts are so well loved that they’ve become Thanksgiving traditions.

MUSHROOM AND SPINACH STUFFING

Ingredients:
• 1 Tbsp. olive oil
• 1 lb. assorted mushrooms (like chanterelle, shIitake, and crimini), sliced
• 1 large onion, diced
• 2 to 3 cups celery stalks, chopped
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
• 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
• 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
• 8 oz. baby spinach leaves
• 10 cups 1-inch cubes day-old bread with crust
• 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
• 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
• 1 cup vegetable broth (plus more, if stuffing is too dry)

Directions:

1. Heat olive in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced mushrooms and sprinkle with a little salt. Sauté until mushrooms are tender and beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Remove mushrooms from heat and set aside in a large bowl.

2. Add onions and celery. Sauté until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Add all herbs and sauté 1 minute longer. Add the spinach and toss until just wilted, about 1 minute. Add vegetables to bowl with mushrooms.

3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Divide bread between 2 rimmed baking sheets. Bake until bread is crusty but not hard. Transfer to very large bowl and cool.

4. Lightly oil a 13” x 9” baking dish. Stir vegetable mixture into the bowl with the bread cubes. Add the broth, salt and pepper, tossing to combine even. Add more broth, ¼ cup at a time if the mixture seems to dry. Transfer stuffing to prepared dish.

5. Bake stuffing uncovered until cooked through and brown and crusty on top, about 50 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes and serve.

ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH TOASTED ALMONDS

Ingredients
• 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
• 1/8 cup olive oil
• ½ teaspoon sea salt
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 1/2 cup slivered almonds

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cut the Brussels sprouts in half and remove any stems and brown leaves.
3. In a large bowl, toss together the Brussels sprouts, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the sprouts out in 9” x 13” baking dish or roasting pan
4. After 20 minutes, stir the Brussels sprouts with a spatula or large spoon to prevent burning and ensure all sides roast evenly. Add the almonds to the dish with the sprouts.
5. Continue to roast the Brussels sprouts for about 20 – 25 more minutes, until they are browned and fork tender.

STUFFED MUSHROOMS

Ingredients
• 12 to 16 large cremini or button mushrooms, stems removed and chopped
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• Salt and black pepper
• 1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until softened, 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms stems and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring until the mixture is softened, and well combined, about 3 minutes.
3. Remove from the heat and mix in the breadcrumbs. Add more olive oil if the mixture seems to try.
4. Stuff the mushroom caps with the stuffing and arrange in a greased shallow baking pan. Bake until the mushrooms are tender and the stuffing is hot, about 20 minutes

Posted in almonds, Appetizers, Celebrations, Guest Posts, Holiday Recipes, Side Dishes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

MORE TASTY DISHES FOR CANADIAN THANKSGIVING

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on September 26, 2012

Following are two recipes for a delicious Canadian Thanksgiving by guest host Carolyn Scott-Hamilton of The Healthy Voyager website

Carolyn is the author of The Healthy Voyager’s Global Kitchen: 150 Plant-Based Recipes From Around the World. Because Carolyn loves to travel the globe, she has embraced cuisines of the world and has tasted the exotic herbs and spices that make international foods so compelling. Her recipes, foreign foods she has veganized, take the reader to far away places. Call it armchair travel with one hand in the kitchen.

MAPLE CHIPOTLE SWEET POTATO BISQUE

Makes about 4 servings

4-5 small/medium sweet potatoes
1 cup plain soymilk (keep extra on hand if you want to thin out the soup a bit)
1 chipotle pepper in adobo
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup vegan sour cream
4 tablespoons softened vegan butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash and peel sweet potatoes, then cube and boil until fork tender. Add cooked sweet potatoes in a large bowl.

In a food processor or using an immersion blender pulse the soymilk and chipotle together. In a saucepan bring the soymilk and chipotle mixture to a simmer on low. Then add the maple syrup, sour cream, butter and salt and pepper to the milk mixture. Pour the soymilk mixture over the cooked sweet potatoes and again use the immersion blender or a hand mixer to mix the ingredients together.

MUSHROOM WELLINGTON

Makes 6 servings

Filling:
1/4 cup basmati rice
1 lemon, zest only
1 onion, finely chopped
2 1/4 cup brown cap mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pastry:
9 ounces ready-rolled puff pastry
vegan gravy, to serve

Cook the rice and lemon zest in a pan according to packet instructions, until tender. Drain well.

Heat the onion and mushrooms and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the cooked rice, herbs and cranberries until well combined. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

For the pastry, cut an 8-inch x 12-inch rectangle from the puff pastry. Spoon the rice mixture down the centre of the pastry. Bring the sides of the pastry together and seal with oil or melted vegan butter. Chill for 30 minutes.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until crisp and golden-brown. To serve, place one slice of the Wellington onto each of six serving plates. Top with gravy.
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Posted in Celebrations, Guest Posts, Holiday Recipes, Main Dishes, Soups | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

ALMOND BUTTER HITS THE SOUP BOWL!

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on February 8, 2010

What could be better than a bowl of hearty, steaming soup on a rainy or stormy day? In my book, nothing touches the comfort soup delivers when the weatherman decides to give us the shivers. Soup is so nurturing. It’s TLC in a bowl. Far different from the traditional Mushroom Barley Soup, this recipe came about from ingredients I happened to have on hand at the end of the week.

Not only is this soup delicious, it’s also enriched with a generous quantity of almond butter
that doles out the serving size recommended in many health studies, about 1 to 1.5 ounces per person. The recipe contains no added fat to add pounds or raise cholesterol and provides an abundance of soluble fiber provided by the barley. All in all, this tasty soup is a winner for everyone and especially for anyone trying to lower cholesterol.

MUSHROOM BARLEY SOUP WITH EGGPLANT AND ALMOND BUTTER

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

8 cups water, divided
1 cup pearl barley or pressed barley
1 teaspoon salt

1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound), cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced, stems discarded
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
1 parsnip, sliced
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1-inch piece ginger, minced or grated
1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup almond butter

1/2 to 1 pound firm or extra firm tofu, cut into bite-size pieces

2 green onions, sliced

1. Combine 3 cups the water, barley and salt in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a boil over heat. Reduce the heat to low and steam for about 50 to 55 minutes, or until the barley is softened and the liquid is absorbed. Set aside.
2. In an 8 to 10-quart stockpot, combine the remaining 5 cups water, eggplant, shiitake and cremini mushrooms, tomato, parsnip, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer about 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Add the almond butter and stir in with a wire whisk until fully incorporated. Add the tofu and cook briefly.
4. To serve, spoon a generous portion of the barley into each bowl and ladle the soup over the barley. Garnish each bowl with a sprinkle of sliced green onions and savor every warming spoonful.

Note: If you relish your winter soup with a little heat, zap it with 1 or 2 jalapeno peppers, minced, or use a pinch or two of cayenne pepper.

Posted in almonds, Nut Recipes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

WALNUTS TAKE A MEDITERRANEAN TOUR

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on April 8, 2009

My husband and I were going to a potluck gathering for a small crowd, and I was asked to bring the appetizer. I had just bought a 2-pound bag of shelled walnuts and decided they were going to become the focus of my contribution.

Then I poked my head into the refrigerator to see what I had on hand and discovered the button mushrooms and the tomatoes I had bought just two days ago. The were still quite fresh and plump looking, so they, too, were included in what turned out to be a delicious starter that came together very quickly.

I always keep Spanish olives on hand because they compliment so many dishes that need a little touch of something pungent.

The end result is that I was able to capture the flavors of southern Italy and northern Spain in one tasty, no-cook appetizer that instantly beckoned with its good looks.

These special mushrooms are best eaten the same day they are prepared.
walnutmushroom
WALNUTTY MEDITERRANEAN MUSHROOMS

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

12 to 16 large button mushrooms, about 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter

Stuffing
2 slices whole wheat bread

1 medium tomato, de-seeded and diced
1/2 cup walnuts coarsely ground in a nut mill
1/3 cup diced sweet onions
1/4 cup minced Spanish olives
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt

Garnish
1 or 2 leaves green leaf lettuce
1 or 2 sprigs parsley or cilantro

1. Wash the mushrooms and pat them dry with paper towels. Apply gentle pressure with your thumb to remove the stems. Set them aside for a future recipe.
2. Break the bread into small pieces and put them into a medium bowl. Moisten the bread by pouring warm water to cover over the pieces. Then drain thoroughly and squeeze the bread dry.
3. Add the diced tomato, walnuts, onions, Spanish olives, vinegar, garlic, and salt to the moistened bread and mix well. Stuff generous portions of the bread mixture into the mushroom cavities.
4. To serve, line a serving dish with lettuce leaves, arrange the mushrooms on top, garnish each with a tiny sprig of parsley, and enjoy a nutty good starter.

Posted in Nut Recipes, walnuts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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