Tag Archives: mushrooms

Muy Bueno Vegan Tamales

Yesterday, I made my favorite chili-stuffed peppers, which always leaves me with extra stuffing.  I’ve turned that stuffing into burritos, I’ve turned it into enchiladas; both delish.  This time I got to thinking: tamales!  My friend, the Google, provided me with lots of inspiration–recipes without lard or butter, but still used a fair amount of fat, and some that used very, very little fat.  I decided on one that used vegan margarine, thinking it might create a dough that would be closer to tamales I’ve enjoyed before.  I reduced the margarine by half and upped the other liquid.  The dough was super workable and the resulting tamales were, well, muy bueno!


Another reason to love this recipe is that it only makes 12 tamales.  Very do-able.


  • 4 ounces dried corn husks
  • 2 cups masa harina (a corn flour–find it in most grocery stores)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup vegan margine, room temperature
  • About 1 1/2 cups warm “no-chicken”  broth, plus more as needed
  • 2 cups of the vegan filling of your choice.  I used my pepper stuffing, there are a couple more that sound yummy here.
  • sauce of your choice

First, 15 minutes before starting the dough, soak the dried husks in warm water, using a plate to weight them down.

soak husks

Then, mix the masa harina with the baking powder and salt.  Set it aside.

Whip the margarine until it becomes fluffy.  Add the masa and broth alternately until a light, soft and non-sticky dough is formed.

whip butter, ad masa

soft dough

Pat each corn husk dry and place on a surface, the pointed end toward you.  Roll a two-inch dough ball and place it near the top of the husk.

2 inch dough ball

Smoosh (yes, this IS a culinary term!) the dough ball into a square about four inches per side.

smoosh to 4 inch square

Place 1 1/2-2 TBSP filling down the center and top with the sauce of your choice.  We like enchilada sauce.

add filling and sauce

Roll the husk from the side, encircling the dough and filling.


Fold up the bottom and tie with a little strip of husk if you want.  If you’re making tons of tamales, they’ll hold each other together as they pack in the steamer.  I worried the ones on the edges might flop open, so I tied them.  They’re kinda cute that way; yummy little presents.  🙂

fold up bottom


Place them into a steamer basket open side up, place it over boiling water and put a lid over them.  Steam for 50 minutes to an hour–until the dough firms and pulls easily from the husks.

stand up in steamer

all 12 in steamer

place lid

When they’re steamed, unwrap your yummy little presents and enjoy!


We had just a couple each, with a bowl of squash blossom soup.  We’re expecting a freeze tonight, so I picked all my squash and squash flowers.  The last time we’ll enjoy the soup until next summer, but I’m planning on LOTS of tamales!  Can’t wait to try all sorts of fillings!  Especially at Christmas–tamales are a Christmas tradition I thought I might need to do without. What will you fill your tamales with?



Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Garden produce, Gluten-free, Holiday foods, recipe, side dish, Vegetarian

Chili-Stuffed Peppers

This year has been a very good year for peppers in my garden.  This is the Big Bertha Bell pepper I picked this week that inspired a cruise around my fave vegan blogs for a stuffed pepper recipe.

big bertha

Success!  The Fat Free Vegan to the rescue!  I modified her recipe just a bit and loved the result; definitely a keeper.  I grew up eating peppers stuffed with a burger mixture, which I always loved, and these are just as yummy!


I had everything I needed in my pantry and garden:


  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1/2 package fresh mushrooms, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced (or more to taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 16-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed well (or 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans)
  • 1 1/2 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 1 15-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup prepared rice (I cooked 2 cups, and saved the remainder for other recipes)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or more, to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 bell peppers

For toppings:

  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • cilantro, chopped
  • fresh tomato, chopped
  • avocado, sliced

Preheat oven to 400F.

Saute onion in a bit of veggie broth or water until translucent, about 3-5 minutes.

saute onions

Add mushrooms, jalapeno, and garlic.  Cook until mushrooms soften, adding broth as needed to prevent sticking.

add garlic mushrooms jalapeno

While onions and mushrooms cook, cut an opening down the side of each pepper, leaving the stem end on.  Carefully remove ribs and seeds.

cut opening in peppers

Chop the pepper parts you just cut off and add them to the pan.  Saute for a few more minutes to allow them to soften.

add diced pepper

Add beans, corn, fire roasted tomatoes, and spices.  Stir to combine and cook for a minute or two to blend the flavors.

add beans corn tomato spices

Add cooked rice.  1 cup was what looked right to me, but add more or less to your own taste.  Stir to combine.

add rice

Spray a pan with cooking spray and arrange peppers in it.  Stuff each with the filling.  Don’t they look yummy?!

stuff peppers

Bake 30-40 minutes, until peppers are tender.

bake til tender

Arrange toppings next to a pepper to serve, or place them on top.  Enjoy!



I couldn’t stop making the yum sound.  I was a bit worried these wouldn’t be as hearty as a meat-stuffed pepper, but turns out they are just as satisfying if not even more so.  I had a fair amount of stuffing left over, which we’ve made into some mighty yummy burritos.  I think it would also be fabulous as a squash stuffing, and as a topper for a tofu scramble.  Yum, yum, yummy!


Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Food memories, Garden produce, lunch, recipe, Vegetarian

Lentil, Mushroom and Rice Cabbage Rolls with Mustard Sauce

St. Patrick’s Day is lurking right around the corner; the time of year this Norwegian starts callin’ herself Fiona and enjoys doin’ the Irish thang: the wearin’ of the green, drinking beer, eating corned beef and cabbage…..Wait!  What’s a vegan to do about that last thing?!  Cabbage Rolls!  Cooked just like corned beef and cabbage, spices and all.  Served with Irish Soda Bread and a stout beer.  Who needs the corned beef?yum4

In spite of the use of a slow cooker, this meal is time-intensive.  If you don’t have all day, cook the cabbage to “harvest” the leaves and make the filling the night before or even on multiple nights before.  The mustard sauce can also be made in advance.  Bake the soda bread right before serving dinner for maximum yumminess.

My go-to vegan blog, FatFree Vegan Kitchen got the cabbage rolling, my recipe is based on hers.

ingredients cabbage rolls

For the cabbage rolls:

  • 1 large cabbage
  • 3 cups cooked lentils (from 1 1/4 cup dry–follow package instructions, adding 2 minced cloves of garlic, salt and pepper to the pot)
  • 1 cup cooked rice (or other cooked grain of your choice:  bulgur, quinoa, barley,….)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced  (4 cloves shown, because you need 2 for the lentils)
  • 1 package mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 TBSP fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flake
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Added to the crock pot to make a whole meal:

  • 4 or 5 carrots, cut into 2″ pieces
  • 3 or 4 potatoes, cut into chunks (peeled or not)
  • 1 celery heart, chopped
  • 1 TBSP pickling spices
  • 1 stout or porter beer
  • No Chicken broth, for the pot and to saute the onions, garlic and mushrooms

Cook the lentils and rice (separately) according to package directions, adding garlic, salt and pepper to lentils as they cook.

simmer lentils

Cutting at an angle, remove the core from your cabbage, along with any outer leaves that look a bit gnarly.

remove core

Place the cabbage, core-side up in a large pot and fill with water until the cabbage starts to float, or is covered.  Bring to a boil and simmer, carefully pulling off leaves with tongs as they begin to loosen.  I helped some of mine to loosen using a knife near the core end.

simmer cabbage, core up

Collect 10-12 leaves if large, up to 14 if you end up with some smallish ones.

collect leaves as they loosen

Saute onions and garlic in broth until onions start to caramelize, about 10-12 minutes, adding more broth as needed.  Add mushrooms and saute until softened and water that the mushrooms give off has cooked off.

saute onions garlic and shrooms

Combine lentils, rice, mushrooms, onions, garlic, parsley, lemon juice and spices in a large bowl.

mix filling

Trim the thick stem on each cabbage leaf to allow for easier rolling.

trim thick stem

Place about 1/3 cup of filling near the stem end of a cabbage leaf.  I measured for the first leaf, and eyeballed it from there.

place filling near stem

Fold the stem end over the filling.

fold stem end over filling

Fold in each side.

fold sides in

And roll tightly, placing rolls seam-side down in the bottom of your crock pot.  I didn’t have some of mine rolled tightly enough and some of the rolls came apart while cooking.  (Lentils on the loose!)  I would recommend refraining from overfilling your rolls (my tendency) so you can get the cabbage to roll a second time over the filling, or to fasten the rolls with toothpicks.

roll up tightly

Keep rolling and packing.  It’s best to try to squish them all on the bottom in one layer.  My crock pot is smallish and making two layers added to the issue with the rolls coming apart–I think.

place in bottom of cooker

Place carrots, potatoes and celery on top of the rolls.  Sprinkle with pickling spice or place the spice in a tea ball or cheesecloth bag if you want to contain them.  Pour the beer over the top; add No Chicken Broth to cover.

add potatoes carrots celery spices and liquids

Place crock pot on high for 4 1/2 hours.  Sometime during the slow cooking, make the mustard sauce:

ingredients gravy

  • 2 cups No Chicken Broth
  • 2 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 2 TBSP miso (white or yellow)
  • 2 TBSP nutritional yeast
  • 1 TBSP soy
  • 4 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • ground pepper

Place broth in a medium pan and heat to a simmer.  Dissolve cornstarch in non-dairy milk, whisk into the simmering broth.  Whisk in miso, nutritional yeast, soy and Dijon.  Add pepper to taste.  Beware–watch this sauce carefully while heating it.  It boils over quickly and will leave quite a mess for you to clean up.  Not that I’ve ever done that……

simmer until thick

Make soda bread right before the cabbage rolls and veggies are ready, open up a nice, cold, dark beer, top everything with a bit (or  lot!) of the mustard sauce and TADA!


This meal totally has the feel of a corned beef and cabbage meal–just as savory, hearty, filling and yummy!


I made everything in one day and felt like I’d spent all day cooking and washing dishes.  The meal was so worth it, but I’m using the cook some of it ahead of time method next year!  Happy St Patty’s Day!

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Filed under comfort food, crock pot, dairy-free, dinner, Holiday foods, recipe, Vegetarian

Asian-Spiced Mushroom “Burgers”

Sometimes, a burger is EXACTLY what you crave, even if you’re vegetarian or vegan.  I have a habit of watching Food Network while on the treadmill.  I know!  Seems like an oxymoron to watch yummy food being prepared while trying to counter the effects of eating-sins past.  Anyway, at one of those times, Anne Burrell prepared the yummiest sounding turkey burgers since using the Turkey Balls recipe in burger form.  These turkey burgers had all sorts of Asian ingredients and spices, and I just knew I could vegan-ize them, as well as keeping them low-fat.  So, so yummy!


I had to do a bit of shopping for things not usually in my pantry.


  • 1 (14 oz) package Gimme Lean Ground Meat  (This is a soy-wheat gluten product–find it at a natural foods market)
  • 1 package mushrooms, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces.  (I get sliced, because I’m lazy.  These are creminis, but button mushrooms would be yummy, too)
  • 1 onion, chopped into 1/4 inch dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP sambal oelek, optional, but really yummy (This spicy hot sauce is found in the Asian foods area of a grocery)
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 TBSP cilanto puree (From a tube found in the produce aisle) or 1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 (8oz) can sliced water chestnuts, chopped into 1/4 inch dice
  • any burger-y condiments you like–buns, mustard, red onion, tomato, lettuce…..

Saute onions, garlic, salt and pepper in a 1/4 cup-ish of veggie broth until translucent–about 3 minutes.

saute onions and garlic

Add mushrooms and cook until softened and the water they release is cooked off.

add mushrooms

Place all the ingredients in a bowl (except condiments) and mix with your hands to combine.

mix everything

Flatten the mix in the bowl and mark grooves to indicate portions.  I thought 4 would be perfect–this made really large burgers–not that there’s anything wrong with that!  6 might have been a little easier to work with.

score into portions

Lightly spray a non-stick fry pan with cooking spray and place it over medium heat.

Form each portion into a burger and place into the pan, working in batches as needed.  Cook 4-5 minutes, and flip, cooking 4-5 minutes on the second side.  (If you really want to cut the fat, bake them on a cookie sheet, lined with parchment or a silicon mat.)


Place on a bun, top with your favorite burger stuff and voila!  Just what you needed!  Such a delicious combination of flavors, with a bit of crunch from the water chestnuts.  I’ll be making these again for sure!


After dinner was all cleaned up, I got to thinking about this mixture, and how yummy it would be transformed into little appetizer meat(less) balls, baked, skewered on decorative picks, served with some sort of dip–maybe a hot sauce, maybe more soy.  OR!  Maybe serve the little meat(less) balls in butter lettuce wraps, maybe with an Asian slaw….what do you think?!

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Filed under appetizer, dairy-free, dinner, lunch, recipe, Vegetarian

Baked Polenta with Mushroom Sauce

I know where the clearance areas are in every store I usually shop.  I love to find little bargains, sometimes things I need anyway, and sometime things I didn’t know I needed.  Last weekend I found a discounted package of prepared polenta, basil-garlic polenta–yum!  It’s been hanging out in the fridge, waiting for inspiration.  Inspiration struck from the memory of a dish I’d had at a local restaurant, a gnocchi with mushroom sauce.  Polenta could be the gnocchi, right?  Yes!  Earthy, rich, perfect balance of flavors.  Quick and easy enough for a weeknight, thanks to the prepared polenta.  I’ll be making this again….


Such a luxurious dish from such basic ingredients.  Serves two as an entree, 6-8 as an appetizer.


  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms (I used creminis and shitakes)
  • salt and pepper (I used truffle salt–really ups the mushroomy yum factor if you can find some)
  • veggie broth for sauteing
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2-3 TBSP fresh parsley, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • a dollop of plain soy yogurt
  • a few grinds of dried porchini mushrooms, optional  (My wonderful sis-in-law found this porchini grinder on Amazon and sent it to me.  Adds a depth of flavor to the sauce, but still optional.)
  • 1 (18 oz) package of prepared polenta

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicon baking mat, or spray with baking spray.

Cut polenta into 1/2 inch thick slices.  Lay on the prepared  baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

slice polenta and bake

Meanwhile, start some veggie broth heating in a large skillet.  Mince the garlic and add it to the pan.

saute garlic

Clean and slice the mushrooms.  Shitake caps can be stacked and sliced.  (Shitake stems are woody, discard them or save them to make mushroom broth later.)

clean and slice mushrooms

Add mushrooms to the pan when the garlic becomes aromatic.  Add salt, pepper and dried porchini, if using, to taste.  Saute until softened.

add mushrooms

Deglaze the pan with the wine, stirring to pick up any yummies sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Add parsley and simmer to reduce the wine by half.

add wine and parsley

Add milk and stir, bringing the sauce back up to a simmer.  Stir occasionally as the sauce reduces and thickens.  Taste the sauce and adjust seasonings as needed.

add milk

Stir in a dollop of yogurt to finish the sauce.

add yogurt

Place polenta slices on plates and spoon the mushroom sauce over the top.  Sprinkle chopped parsley over the top and voila!  (A sprinkle of parmesan would be perfect!)


Simple, earthy, date-night-worthy.  Perhaps even Valentine’s-worthy.   It’s that kind of yummy and decadent. With as low-fat as this dish is, you’ll have plenty of calories to spend on a killer dessert–bonus!  Check out a few from Somethin’ Yummy!

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Filed under appetizer, comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Holiday foods, recipe, Vegetarian

Mushroom Ravioli with Asparagus and Parsley Pesto

Oh Spring, how I love your warming weather, the trees greening up, flowers blooming and especially asparagus doing its asparagus thing!  The first fresh-picked asparagus of the season deserves a special meal to help celebrate it!

Amazing yumminess comes from just a few ingredients!

  • wonton wrappers
  • 8 oz mushrooms (I used pre-sliced baby bellas)
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 large shallot, chopped 
  • 1/2 cup parsley pesto
  • asparagus, cut into bit-size pieces and steamed
  • chopped walnuts (optional)

Place a large pot of water on the stove to boil.

Saute mushrooms and shallots in 1 TBSP butter and 1 TBSP olive oil.

When mushrooms soften and shallots are transluscent, place in a food processor and give them a rough chop.

Add ricotta cheese and process to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place 1 tsp-ish of the mushroom mixture in the center of a wonton wrapper.

Wet the edges with water on your finger, fold in half and seal, then fold the long points over, pressing together with water to seal.

Continue with the rest of the mixture.  You’ll end up with 24-30 cute little packages.  Place them in the boiling water. 

When they rise to the top, scoop them out with a spider, allowing them to drain.  Place in a bowl.

Dilute the pesto with a ladle or two of the pasta water and pour over the ravioli.  Top with the steamed asparagus and chopped walnuts if desired.  My parsley pesto is made with walnuts, so I thought they’d add a layer of yummy crunchiness to this otherwise very tender dish.

Place ravioli on plates, top with grated parmesan and enjoy!

These were so spring-time yummerific and totally easy-peasy.  The perfect smooth combination of mushrooms and cheese in tender little pasta packets with a sauce that complimented the raviolis and the asparaus perfectly.


 There were even enough for a yummy lunch the next day!  What flavors remind you of spring?

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Filed under dinner, Garden produce, Vegetarian