Mushroom, Lentil and Kale Stew (Vegan!)

SAM_4809This hearty stew is full of fresh veggies like onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms and kale. And it’s vegan, too! Lentils are full of fiber that will help keep you fuller longer and help keep you warm on those chilly winter nights. I like to make this stew with intentions of freezing half of it for when I don’t have time (or don’t want) to cook. This recipe yields a lot of stew, so I’d recommend freezing some of it if you don’t have intentions of eating it throughout the week. This is also a great recipe to make on the weekend when you have a Saturday afternoon free since this crock pot recipe is time consuming.

What you will need:
a large crock pot and medium pot
8 oz crimini mushrooms
1 T vegetable oil
1 c red lentils
1 c green lentils
2 celery stalks
2 carrots
1/2 of an onion
5 c vegetable broth (preferably mushroom based)
1/4- 1/2 lb of kale

Turn crock pot on high heat and start to melt the butter. Cut the crimini mushrooms in half and add to the crock pot, stir and continue to cook for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate pot, bring water to a boil and add the red and green lentils to the pot. Cook for 20 minutes and drain any excess water. You can also chop the onion, celery and carrots while the lentils cook. Set lentils aside. Once the mushrooms have cooked for 45 minutes, add the onions, celery and carrots and continue to cook for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, chop kale into thin slices, then cut those slices in 3rds. Add 5 cups of vegetable broth to the crock pot and add the kale and cooked lentils. Continue to cook for about another hour and a half or until the kale has wilted and the carrots and celery have softened. Serve with crusty, buttery toast on a chilly winter day.


Vegan, Gluten Free Mushroom Gravy

Vegan, Gluten Free Mushroom Gravy

This hearty and savory mushroom gravy holds its own against it’s meaty counterparts. Arrowroot powder substitutes flour in this recipe and also makes it safe to eat for anyone with a gluten intolerance or gluten allergies. Cornstarch would also be a great alternative if you can’t find arrowroot powder. So vegans and the gluten intolerant, don’t spend another holiday meal suffering through dry mashed potatoes! Smother them with this gravy that both meat eaters and vegans alike will love! Makes 2 cups of gravy.

What you will need:
medium to large pot
10 oz of your favorite mix of mushrooms (I used crimini and shiitake), sliced or chopped. If using shiitake or oyster mushrooms, remove the stems as well.
1/2 of an onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 tbs earth balance buttery spread
1 1/2c vegetable stock
1/2c almond milk
3 tbs arrowroot powder
1/4c nutritional yeast
2 tbs Bragg’s liquid amino acids
1 tbs Italian seasoning
a twist or two of the lemon pepper grinder (if you don’t have this ingredient, that’s ok)
fresh sprig of rosemary
liquid smoke

In a pot over medium heat, melt earth balance buttery spread. Add your sliced mushrooms and onions and continue to cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until mushrooms start to reduce and release some of their liquid. Add your minced garlic and continue to cook for another minute. Add your vegetable stock. Turn the heat on high and let the gravy start to boil. While continually stirring, slowly add the arrowroot powder, making sure to not let it stick and clump together. Once the powder is mixed in, turn down the heat and continue to stir. Add the almond milk, nutritional yeast, Italian seasoning, Bragg’s, lemon pepper, rosemary and a couple of drops of liquid smoke and stir until all ingredients are combined. Serve over mashed potatoes or any other part of your holiday dinner.

Vegetarian Meatball Stew

Vegetarian Meatball Stew

This is a great crock pot recipe full of veggie meatballs, mushrooms, onions, butternut squash, and kale. The rich, savory, mushroom and onion soup broth is really what makes this stew so crave-able. My secret is using Lipton Mushroom Onion Soup packets. It’s a dry soup mix that is very hearty, savory, and buttery, giving it a very French feel. It almost tricked my friend into thinking it was beef broth (even though she knows better!).

The great thing about stew is that you can throw in any vegetables you want. If you’re not a fan of butternut squash, you can always use sweet potatoes or just regular old potatoes. Swiss chard and spinach are also great greens to use if kale’s not your thing.

What you will need:
2 large portobello mushroom caps
1 small red onion (or half of a large one), diced
1 box of MorningStar Farms Veggie Meatballs
10 oz package of frozen butternut squash
2 very large pieces of kale, cut into 1/4 inch strips
2 tbs butter, plus more for sauteing
1 1/2- 2 packages of Lipton Mushroom Onion Soup Mix (depending on taste)
5 cups of water

Turn the crock pot on to high heat and add 2 tbs butter. Dice the two portobello mushrooms (including the stem) into large cubes and add them to the crock pot. Large chunks are good here. It’s a stew, so big, “meaty” pieces are a good thing. Dice the red onion and add that to the crock pot as well. Cook for about 45 mins- 1 hour, or until mushrooms reduce and are cooked through. Meanwhile, In a skillet over medium heat, add butter and veggie meatballs and cook until they are golden brown on the outside and heated through. Set them aside. Once the mushrooms are cooked, add the butternut squash and broth. Continue to cook for another 20 minutes. Then, chop the kale into 1/4 strips and add to the crock pot. Continue to cook until kale is wilted. Add the veggie meatballs and serve with bread and butter.

Four Cheese Quinoa and Rice Casserole with Mushrooms, Asparagus and Spinach with a Creamy Brie and Aged Fig Balsamic Sauce

SAM_4313It’s that time of year for warm, comforting, cheesy casserole dishes. This recipe comes as a request from my friend, Kelli. I posted a question on Facebook asking what recipes you guys would like to see, and her request was a rice casserole.

So, I headed over to my friend, Faith’s, house today to have a picnic in her backyard on this beautiful fall day. We worked on this dish together and it turned into a great collaboration between the two of us. Faith made a delicious creamy brie and fig balsamic sauce with fresh garlic, onions, mushrooms and a fig balsamic vinegar that’s been aged 22 years. My main job was to cover the casserole in cheese- and lots of it. Smoked Swiss, Parmesan, Asiago, and Welsh cheddar were my weapons of choice. Makes 4 servings.

What you will need:
6 oz casserole dish and sauce pan

Four Cheese Quinoa and Rice Casserole with Mushrooms, Asparagus and Spinach
1 c cooked quinoa
1/4 c cooked brown rice
1/8 c vegetable broth
5 oz crimini mushrooms
1/2 bunch of asparagus
1 c fresh spinach
4 slices of smoked Swiss cheese
grated Welsh cheddar cheese
grated Parmesan cheese

grated asiago cheese
1/2 c diced scallions
a couple pinches of Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook rice and quinoa according to directions on the package for each. Once both are done cooking, combine in a pot and add vegetable broth. Simmer for about 7 minutes or until the broth is absorbed. Line the bottom of the casserole dish with the quinoa and rice mix and pat down. Then, take the asparagus and cut or break off the hard, tough ends and discard them. Cut the rest of the asparagus into bite size pieces along with the mushrooms and layer it on top of the rice and quinoa. Layer the smoked Swiss cheese evenly over the top of the casserole, then grate the Welsh cheddar, asiago and Parmesan cheeses over top and sprinkle on some Italian seasoning. Bake for 25 minutes. You want the the cheese to be crispy and brown around the edges and nice and toasty on top. Then, cover the casserole with scallions and sprinkle more Parmesan cheese on top, set you oven to broil, and bake for another 3-5 minutes. Serve with with Faith’s recipe for creamy Brie and aged fig balsamic sauce.


Creamy Brie and Aged Fig Balsamic Sauce
1 1/2 tbsp butter
3 shallots
3 oz mushrooms, chopped
2 tbsp aged fig balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 pinches of Italian seasoning
2 pinches of salt
4 oz Brie
1/2 c Greek yogurt

Heat butter in a sauce pan on low heat. Cut shallots into thin, uniform slices and add to the butter in the sauce pan. Continue to cook on medium low heat until onions become translucent, then add the chopped garlic, chopped mushrooms, Italian seasoning and fig balsamic vinegar. Continue to cook on low heat for another 5-7 minutes, then add the Brie and Greek yogurt. Simmer until sauce thickens and serve over the cheesy quinoa and rice casserole.


Faith, sipping her coffee and contemplating how awesome our meal just was.

Scrambled Egg Muffins

Scrambled Egg Muffins

I was delighted to find one of my friends from out of town staying on my couch earlier this week. I’m even more delighted that she’s stayed at my house every night since. So, I woke up this morning and decided to make us all breakfast. Egg muffins are great for when you have company over. They’re super easy to make, inexpensive, and delicious! I used what I had on hand today, which was crimini mushrooms, mini sweet peppers, and red onion. You can also try adding in things like wilted spinach, fresh garlic, cheese, tomatoes- the list goes on and on. This recipe makes 6 egg muffins.

What you will need:
6 cup muffin tin
6 eggs
1/2 c sliced crimini mushrooms
1/4 c sliced mini sweet peppers
1/4 c sliced red onion

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs and add sliced mushrooms, sweet peppers and red onion. Grease the muffin tin with butter and pour the egg mix to the top of each cup (and cover with cheese, if desired). Bake for 20- 25 minutes or until eggs are set and no longer runny. Serve with toast, hash browns and coffee.