What Life Dishes Out A Gluten Free and (almost) Vegetarian Cooking Blog

November 29, 2010

Magical Mushrooms & “Meaty” Vegetarian Chili

Filed under: Recipes,Soups,Vegan,Vegetarian,Veggies — Tags: , , , , , , , , — admin @ 7:27 pm

Mushrooms are magical.  No, not those kind of mushrooms.  I’m talking about the regular ones.

Minced and cooked, these gems can stand in for meat, bringing an earthy, almost meaty flavor and texture that is way more authentic tasting than any processed soy granules.  Healthier, too!

When I set out to make Chili last weekend, I searched the web and found numerous Vegetarian Chili recipes, and a few called for mushrooms.  It was one of those “Aha Moments”.  I knew that instead of the bag of TVP in my cupboard that I’d had in mind, I’d be using the giant package of fresh mushrooms in my refrigerator. 

Another component of many of the vegetarian chilis were vegetables not traditionally used for chili, like zuchinni and corn.  But I wanted a chili that looked and tasted like real chili.   So, I did what I do best…I adapted.

This recipe is loosely based on an Emeril Lagasse recipe for Vegetarian Chili, which can be found here.

You’ll need:

2 Tbsp Canola Oil

1 large Onion

2 medium Bell Peppers – Red or Green

4-5 cloves Garlic

2 Serrano or Jalapeno Peppers

20 ounces fresh Mushrooms

2 Tbsp Chili Powder

2 tsp Cumin

1 1/2 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Cayenne

1/4 tsp Pepper

3 large Tomatoes

2 – 15 oz cans beans – I used Red Kidney and Black

1 – 15 oz can Tomato Sauce

1 cup Water

What to do:

Prepare vegetables.  First, chop onion.

Chop Bell Peppers.

Mince Serrano Pepper (remove seeds if you don’t like it very spicy) and Garlic.  I used a food processor to get them very fine.

Chop Mushrooms into very small pieces (think burger meat size).  Again, I used my food processor to make this job easy. 

Chop Tomato.

(Oops!  No photo – sorry!)

Rinse and drain beans.

In a large stockpot, heat Canola Oil.  Add Onions, Peppers, Serrano and Garlic and cook until onions start to become translucent.

Add Mushrooms to pot. 

Cook for a few minutes, then add spices and stir for 30 seconds before adding tomato, beans, tomato sauce, and water.

Cook chili over medium heat, stirring often for about 20  30 minutes before serving.

Serve garnished with shredded cheese and sour cream (if desired), beside a hunk of Cornbread or Tortilla Chips. 

This was so Yummy!  The mushrooms really did a great job standing in for the burger meat.  I never would have known the difference, except maybe for the lack of grease!

While were on the subject of mushrooms, have you ever seen a Fairy Ring?  I had always been told that when you found a ring of mushrooms in the grass, you knew the fairies has been dancing there the night before.  

 See?  Mushrooms really are magical.

We were out playing tennis at a nearby park one day last summer and as happens frequently with unskilled players like us, the ball kept going over the fence (never mind that the fence reaches practically to the sky, we somehow managed to still hit it out of bounds over and over again).   During one ball retrieval trip, I spotted this ring of mushrooms and called everyone over to take a look.  My friend snapped this photo, which I just love.

To learn more about fairy rings and their true cause, check it out here.  I, however, am going to hang onto my belief that it really is a mark of the fairies’ recent visit.

September 12, 2010

Gluten Free Quinoa Tabbouleh

My job has been a little too busy for my tastes lately.  Since I work from home, I usually have a fair amount of free time on my hands for cooking, baking, scrapbooking and of course, blogging!   Just think of all the free hours that add up since I save on a long commute to and from the office.  Not to mention not having to shower, get dressed, or apply makeup!  Okay, you probably think I’m joking, but on some days you just might find me chained to my desk (not to worry – only figuratively) and still in my jammies still at 2 o’ clock in the afternoon! 

On these crazy busy days, it helps to have a quick lunch ready to go so I can just grab it and head right back up to my home office.  This dish is perfect served alongside Baba Ghanoush, with a grilled pita or a few raw veggies for dipping.

Traditionally, Tabbouleh is made with Bulgar.  On a Gluten Free diet, Bulgar – which is made from Wheat – is, of course, a big fat No-No!  Yet Quinoa makes a delightful stand-in for the grain and improves on the nutritional value as well.  Unlike wheat, Quinoa’s amino acids form a complete protein, so you can feel even better about this vegetarian dish!

Have you tried Quinoa yet?  This seed (it’s not a grain) is from the Chenopodium quinoa plant.  It originated in South America and was revered among the Incas, but scorned by the Spanish colonists.  What fools those colonists were, because Quinoa is highly nutritious, loaded with fiber, and quite tasty!  It’s also easy as pie to make – it cooks up just like rice!   One of my best friends, who is Gluten-Intolerant, keeps a bowl of cooked Quinoa in her refrigerator.  She tops it with Honey and Cinnamon for a quick breakfast before rushing out the door to work on frantic mornings.  She’s a clever girl!

Okay, enough small talk.  Let’s make lunch.

You’ll need:

1 Large Bunch Fresh Parsley

1 Handful Fresh Mint Leaves (I used Lemon Mint.  If you don’t have Mint at all, you can omit it.  The dish won’t be quite the same, but still will be good!)

1 small Tomato

1 slice Red Onion

Juice of 1 Lemon

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1/2 cup Cooked Quinoa

Salt & Pepper

What to do:

Rinse, drain, and remove tough stems from Parsley.  Then, chop it and throw it in a bowl.

So that it won’t feel left out, chop up the mint as well.  Toss it in with the Parsley.

Ditto the onion…

and Tomato.

To the bowl, add Lemon Juice…

and Olive Oil.

Now, add the cooked Quinoa and a sprinkling of salt and pepper (about 1/4 tsp each).

Stir it all together.  Can’t you just smell it?

Ta dah!

You can serve this up straightaway but for the best flavor, let it sit for a while first to let the ingredients mingle.  My kids like this salad packed into a pita pocket or rolled into Flatbread as a sandwich filling.  And how awesome would this be sprinkled atop Hummous on a sandwich?!?!

Spawn #2 gives this a big thumbs up!  I hope you like it, too! :-)

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