Mushroom Stroganoff ~ Healthy, Plant-Based, Comfort Food

Plant-Based Mushroom Stroganoff by Produce with Amy“Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.”
~ Wayne Dyer

It is only Tuesday of spring break and this is my fifth blog post. It feels great to catch up on posting the recipes that I have been creating and have not had time to share. Looking back I can see that I need to celebrate that in spite of a hectic schedule, I still have been making it a priority to eat healthy. In the past when I got busy I would often neglect meal planning and grocery shopping and that is no longer the case. One of the healthiest routines that I established when I joined Weight Watchers in 2006 was meal planning and cooking in bulk on the weekends. The extra time that I take to prepare meals guarantees that Mike and I always have healthy food on hand and it saves precious time during the week (and it is easier on our pocketbook since we do not rely on takeout).

It would be an understatement to say that it has been a long winter. Ultimately, with dreary cold weather comes the desire for comfort food. Unfortunately, comfort food does not always translate into healthy food. Add into the equation that I try to maintain a plant-based diet and things get even more challenging. Living in a rural area I do not have access to a lot of plant-based cheeses or dairy substitutes (which is probably a good thing since many are heavily processed) so I have to get creative with the comfort food that I consume since I strive to eat whole non-processed food.

I find that mushrooms make a great meat substitute and I love their texture in a variety of meals. A few weeks ago I decided that I wanted to make a Mushroom Stroganoff and decided to puree roasted cauliflower as the base. I came up with this idea after creating a recipe for Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Carrots. In fact, I used the same roasted cauliflower recipe as I did with the soup and I think that the seasonings added a depth of flavor to the stroganoff. I froze a few portions of stroganoff in individual servings.  I had one tonight with a side of broccoli and tomatoes and it tasted just as fresh as the day that I made it.
Mushroom Stroganoff Over Mashed Potatoes with a Side of Broccoli and Tomatoes by Produce with Amy

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER

Roasted CauliflowerCut one large head of cauliflower into florets and drizzle with the following mixture:

*2 Tablespoons coconut oil
*2 Tablespoons of tamari (soy sauce would also work)
*I Tablespoon Dijon mustard
*1 Tablespoon minced garlic
*1 teaspoon cumin

Roast the cauliflower for 60 minutes at 350 (I flipped the cauliflower at 30 minutes).
Or roast  450 for 30-45 minutes.

MUSHROOM STROGANOFF

  • 1 head of roasted cauliflowerMushroom Stroganoff
  • 2-3 cups of vegetable stock
  • 16 ounces of mushrooms 
  • 1 cup of chopped celery
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup of chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil (or cooking oil of choice)

Saute the celery, onion, garlic, and mushrooms until soft in the coconut oil (15 minutes on low heat). Puree the cauliflower until smooth in a blender with a cup of the vegetable broth (add more if needed) and pour the puree into the sautéed mixture. Add the lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Add more vegetable broth if needed for desired consistency and heat until flavors marry (20-30 minutes). Serve over mashed potatoes, rice, pasta, spaghetti squash, or steamed vegetables.

Optional ingredients that you could add to flavor the stroganoff would be red wine (to saute the mushrooms) and before serving you could stir in a plant-based sour cream or yogurt.

Printable recipe: Mushroom Stroganoff

Mushroom Stroganoff by Produce with Amy

Cauliflower makes a wonderful, healthy, and neutral tasting thickening agent in recipes and if I was served this dish I would not be able to guess that cauliflower was its base. However, at the same time, the roasted cauliflower recipe is so delicious that you may want to roast two heads so you can eat one as it is.

If you try this recipe or any of my others, please let me know. Stop by my facebook page, give it a like, and post a photo of your creation. I would love to hear from you. Thank you for joining me in the journey to eat more fruit and vegetables. I love being part of healthy on-line community. Together we can thrive and embrace a healthy lifestyle.

 

 

 

 

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Creamy White Bean Soup with Kale & Green Chilies ~ Plant-Based Comfort Food

Creamy White Bean Soup with Green Chilies & Kale by Produce with Amy

“The snow itself is lonely or, if you prefer, self-sufficient. There is no other time when the whole world seems composed of one thing and one thing only.”
-Joseph Wood Krutch
Last night I peered out the window countless times in a transfixed state of both awe and horror. I was stunned by the beauty of giant, lacy flakes falling from the sky, but at the same time disenchanted that March has nearly come and gone and there are yet to be signs of spring in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In fact, our spring holiday (in the school district that I am a teacher) was extended by a day ~ with today heralding in a snow day. I have lost track of how many we have this year.
Winter WonderlandTrying to remind myself how thankful I was for a warm house and a job that keeps me off treacherous roads on most stormy days, I remembered that this is not the longest winter in human memory (even though it may feel like it). A message from my mom did inspire hope. Five days ago she planted tomatoes in her sun room and they have begun to sprout already. Summer will be here soon and the earth will awaken in green glory.

Our Street Decked Out in Spring Snow This Morning

Our Street Decked Out in Spring Snow This Morning

With winter’s chill still upon us, I figured that today was the perfect time to post a soup recipe. When I created this recipe I was craving a creamy soup so I decided to add body and creaminess to the broth with pureed beans. It is very rustic with pieces of kale, but so silky that it is refined and elegant enough to serve at a dinner party. Green chilies and Rotel tomatoes give it a little heat and the end result is a bowl of healthy comfort food.

When I make soup I make a HUGE batch so I can freeze and have a constant rotation on soup on hand. This recipe makes 14 cups so you may want to reduce the ingredients if you do not want a large amount of soup.

CREAMY WHITE BEAN SOUP WITH KALE & GREEN CHILIESWhite Bean Soup

  • 6 cups of vegetable stock
  • 6 cups of white beans (I cook my own from dried)
  • 4 cups of kale (I roughly tore the leaves)
  • 1 cup of chopped celery
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 3 minced cloves of garlic
  • 10 ounce can of Rotel tomatoes (fire roasted tomatoes would also work well)
  • 14 ounce can of green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander
  • 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil (or your cooking oil of choice)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro 
  • 1 lime cut in wedges
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion, garlic, and celery in the coconut oil in a large stock pot. I like to keep these ingredients whole because I like the chunks in the soup but if you prefer the soup to be completely creamy you can puree the onion, garlic, and celery with the beans.

Puree the beans in the blender with a couple cups of the vegetable stock. Add all the stock and pureed beans to the pot. Add the Rotel tomatoes, the green chilies, the coriander, and cumin and bring to a boil. Turn off soup and add the kale. I wanted the kale to still have a slight crunch and be lightly cooked so its nutritional value was not destroyed.

Finish with chopped cilantro and a fresh squeeze of lime before serving.

Printable recipe: Creamy White Bean Soup with Kale and Green Chilies

This soup was filling and full of flavor. I loved the addition of kale.

This soup was filling and full of flavor. I loved the addition of kale.

Plant-Based Creamy White Bean Soup with Kale, Green Chilis, and Tomatoes

Creamy Bean Soup

 

I enjoyed the soup so much that I photographed it twice.

I enjoyed the soup so much that I photographed it twice.

Soup is such a satisfying and healthy way to add variety and bulk up our meals. If you are familiar with my blog you know that I make a large batch of soup every weekend. If you are interested in other recipes, make sure you check out my Soup tab.

Make sure that you stop by my Facebook page, follow me on Instagram, Pinterest,Twitter, and Tumblr. I will be sharing at least one new recipe a day this week since I will be home on spring holiday. Let me know if you try this soup recipe or any of my other recipes. I am thrilled to be able to share my passion for creating healthy and delicious recipes with you. Thanks for joining me on my journey to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables. Cheers to thriving together.
Birdfeeder and Birches

 

 

Black Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin, and Tomatoes

“Some foods are so comforting, so nourishing of body and soul, that to eat them is to be home again after a long journey. To eat such a meal is to remember that, though the world is full of knives and storms, the body is built for kindness.”
~Eli Brown

Black Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin, and TomatoesAnother Sunday is here and I have been given the gift of time to relax, reflect, and regroup for a short work week before the Thanksgiving holiday. As everyone else is surely doing today, I find myself wistful for passing time and I cling to each minute ~ wishing that the weekend would never end. Do not get me wrong, teaching is my calling and I love being a teacher, guide, and student in my classroom, but the weekend has been so cozy and peaceful that I do not want to let it slip between my typing fingers. I could easily spend the entire weekend blogging but I also had to fit in my Weight Watchers meeting, shopping, cooking, grading, and household chores. Though, I made sure that I remembered to breathe deep, savor, and find gratitude for some rest and relaxation.

It was snowy, cold, and blustery yesterday and the scale and I were not friends at my Weight Watchers meeting. Or maybe we were, it was just time for a reality check and some tough love. I faltered with my healthy goals in the beginning of November. My bedtime crept up and events pulled me away from exercise. Last weekend I picked myself up, brushed off the excuses, and I am proud to say that I started Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred (today will be Day #6). Sore muscles may have attributed to my gain this week, but I have also been negligent in making sure I am drinking enough water and a couple of days I was sloppy with tracking.

With the Thanksgiving holiday in the distant future, I decided that I do not want to face another gain. What is my plan? My plan is to build in exercise EVERY DAY (yes, even on Thanksgiving) and I will be packing my DVD, yoga mat, and weights when I travel out-of-town to visit family. This week my meals will be brimming with vegetables, I will drink plenty of water, and I will bring some of my own food and healthy snacks on my travels. I know that I can work in indulgences and still stay On Program. I will have to make smart choices and make sure that I am creating balance with nutrition and activity.

One of the secrets to my Weight Watchers success over the past seven years has been soup. Not only does soup make a hearty lunch but it is a terrific way to bulk up dinner. Add a side salad and a cup of soup to a meal and you can eat smaller portions of your dinner entrée (this will also stretch your grocery budget). Though, my husband Mike and I can easily make soup and salad dinner. Mike loves when I top his salad with steak, chicken, or salmon and I can add protein to mine with raw nuts, beans, or tempeh.

Black bean soup is one of my favorites and I make many different varieties. I do confess that I normally do not follow a recipe and often add whatever I have on hand. This means that I often am not being 100% accurate on tracking the Points Plus value of the soup and depending on ingredients count it as 3-5 PP per cup. Imagine my surprise last night when I made a pot of soup and after running it through the Recipe Builder discovered it was only 2 PP a cup. I am thankful that blogging and sharing my recipes with others has made me more accountable to accurate tracking in Weight Watchers eTools.

This soup really is fiber rich and full of nutrients with the addition of sweet potato and pumpkin. Sweet potatoes are my current obsession and I love their taste and texture. I also love spice so I added a large can of Ro-tel brand tomatoes with green chilis and a Tablespoon of taco seasoning. If you do not like spicy food you could use a can of regular diced tomatoes.

Black Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin, and Tomatoes

*4 cups of vegetable stock
*28 ounce can of Ro-tel tomatoes with green chilis (regular tomatoes would work well if you do not want the spice of the chilis)
*3 cups of black beans
*2 cups of peeled and cubed sweet potato (I used one large potato)
*2 cups of chopped celery
*1 cup of chopped green bell pepper
*1 cup of pumpkin (I used canned but fresh/frozen would work well)
*1 cup of chopped onion
*3 cloves of minced garlic
*1 Tablespoon of homemade Taco Seasoning
*1 teaspoon of cooking oil (I used coconut oil)
*Salt and pepper to taste
*Recipe renders 12 cups of soup

10Sautee onion, celery, garlic, and bell pepper in oil until soft.

Add sweet potato and vegetable stock and simmer for 30 minutes or until the sweet potato is cooked through.

Turn off heat and allow the mixture to cool enough to put in blender.

Please excuse my messy blender. ;)

Please excuse my messy blender. 😉

Since I have a high-powered blender (a Vitamix) I did a quick blend (20-30 seconds) because I wanted a little texture to the soup and did not want to completely puree the mixture.

You can skip this step if you want chunks of sweet potato in your soup. Sometimes I cut the potatoes in tiny pieces and skip the blending.

Add the mixture back to the pot and add the black beans, taco seasoning, and pumpkin to the pot. Bring to a boil and turn down and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

*Recipe renders 12 cups. 

Other possible additions to this recipe are corn, spinach or kale, white beans, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, or brown rice.
Black Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin, and Tomatoes

I had two cups of this soup for lunch and before serving I squeezed fresh lime on top and added a dollop of plant-based sour cream, a couple of slices of avocado, fresh cilantro, and a sprinkle of smoky paprika.
Black Bean Soup with Sweet Potato, Pumpkin, and TomatoesBlack Bean Soup with Sweet Potato, Pumpkin, and TomatoesIt was delicious and FILLING. The pumpkin and sweet potato give the soup a slightly sweet background which is balanced out by the spice of the chili infused tomatoes and taco seasoning. Let me know if you try this soup and what you think.

Pin this recipe here.

Check out my soup tab for other recipes.

You can follow my recipes on Pinterest and please like my Produce with Amy Facebook page and join the healthy conversation.

Also, please think about joining my December Green Smoothie Challenge to get a jump-start on the New Year with 31 Days of Health. Stay tuned for  a “Getting Started” post  with a suggested shopping list, tips, nutritional information, and recipes.
December Green Smoothie Challenge

Have a healthy and happy Thanksgiving holiday! May your blessings be so abundant that they are difficult to count and I hope you are able to relax and find laughter and peace. This year I am extra thankful for those who are reading my blog and for the reciprocal nature of social networks. Thank you for sharing this journey!
Gratitude


Plant-Based Comfort Food ~ Red Lentil Sloppy Joes

Lilies from my garden.

Lilies in my garden.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” 
― Mahatma Gandhi

I have been negligent in posting lately. The truth is that I have been in a slump. The start to my summer was very strong with solid routines, blissful time spent outside gardening, and a flourish of writing and new recipes. In the past few weeks my bedtime has crept up later-and-later and because of this I have felt really fatigued. The weather has been an endless cycle of cold and rainy skies and I think that the blues sunk in and dissolved my motivation. Each day I set goals for myself. I even write them down when I am doing my daily journal writing and post them in my Weight Watchers Facebook group. However, for a few weeks I have been coming up short in achieving all of what I set out to do and today I am determined to reclaim my productivity. When I do not follow through with things that I want to achieve I felt guilty and depressed. With only a few weeks left of my summer holiday, I am going to make the most of the time left. The beginning of the school year is exhausting (so is the middle and end) and I want to start the year out with a clean and organized spaces (both my house and my classroom) and a positive attitude.

One of the goals that I set for myself a couple of weeks ago was a two-week Raw Food Challenge. Last year when we bought a Vitamix the idea was that we would incorporate more raw meals into our diet. I started off strong and found a fantastic blog called This Rawsome Vegan Life and I tried three recipes which I loved and will be making again (in fact, I did made the Beet Soup three times and the Raw Lasagna twice already). The recipes that I tried: Beet & Avocado Soup with Cashew Cream, Raw Lasagna with Cashew Cheese and Broccoli and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto, and Raw Vegan Burrito Wraps. Once the weekend arrived, with more lousy weather, my resolve fizzled out.  I tried to recover my 229challenge on Monday, but I ended up deciding to end it instead. However, I am still committed to learning more about raw food. In the coming weeks I will try to incorporate a raw food plan for a couple of days out of the week. Mike really LOVED the Raw Lasagna and I know that I will be making it again soon with fresh zucchini from our garden.

I think part of my problem with following through with my challenge was that my body started craving comfort foods. Sometimes this can be a challenge with a plant-based diet, especially when you do not feel like cooking. I cook for Mike, but since he eats meat, I do not eat what he is having for dinner.

Today one of my number one goals was to come up with a meal plan for the coming week and write out my grocery list. After inspecting the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry situation I realized that I had enough ingredients to cook quite a few meals already. (I tend to over-shop and stock pile food supplies.) So instead, I decided to engage in a cooking marathon so I have things in the house to eat this coming weekend.

First up I tossed all the ingredients in the crock pot for a soup posted on the fantastic blog, My Whole Food Life, Hearty White Bean Soup. Not only did I have all the ingredients on hand (including white beans already cooked and frozen) but I was able to gather fresh sage, thyme, and parsley from my garden.

I also whipped up a batch of hummus and tabouli for a few Israeli Feast: Mason Jar Salads and a Fennel and Cabbage Slaw that I have been meaning to make (recipe coming soon).

I knew that the Hearty White Bean Soup would cover the comfort food but I wanted something else for lunch today. When going through the pantry I saw that I had the ingredients for Red Lentil Sloppy Joes and decided that was exactly what I was craving. I also decided that I would blog out the recipe right away. No fancy photos (just a couple snapped with my iPhone) and this would help me get my blogging mojo back.

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RED LENTIL SLOPPY JOES

  • 2 cups red lentils (I purchase in the bulk section of our local co-op)
  • 5 cups of water
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 1 cup of chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup of chopped celery
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 6 ounces of tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegan worcestershire (Here is recipe from Martha Stewart for Homemade Vegan Worcestershire)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (or more)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • *Optional ~ hot sauce (to taste)

Directions:

  1. Saute the onion, celery, garlic, and bell pepper until soft (5-10 minutes)
  2. Add in the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 60 minutes. Stir often and you may have to add more water as it cooks.
  3. You may want to add more spices/vinegar/mustard based on your taste. Sometimes I like to add extra hot sauce and an extra splash of vinegar right before serving.
  4. Serve in buns, in pita pockets, or open faced. I like to toast the bread and sometimes sprinkle with a bit of plant-based Daiya cheese and top with dill pickles. If you are trying to watch your bread intake I have had it served over romaine leaves or even as a topping for sauteed cabbage or zucchini.
  5. Makes 7 Cups. If you do not want such a large batch you can use the same amount of ingredients but reduce the lentils to one cup and only add 2 1/2 cups of water.

I do not serve this meal to Mike (he is not fond of the texture of lentils) so I make him the real deal. It freezes well and I find that it really tastes like Sloppy Joes. I think that in order to stick to a plant-based meal plan it is important that you do not feel deprived. My mom always made Sloppy Joes (but we always called them Barbecues) when I was growing up so it reminds me of home. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Let me know what you think!

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You can find this recipe, along with others at my Produce with Amy board on Pinterest. Please consider joining the conversation at my Produce with Amy Facebook page.

I challenge you to join me in finishing out the week strong. Write out that shopping list, buy fresh produce and wholesome ingredients, and fill your refrigerator and deep freeze with meals that are simple and satisfying. A plant-based diet does not have to translate to boring. There are so many healthy comfort foods that will keep us on track. What is your favorite plant-based comfort food?

I think this post was exactly what I needed to get back on track. Today I will be at peace because what I want to do, what I am saying I will to do, and what I am doing are all in harmony. This is a trend that I am going to continue into tomorrow, the weekend, and all the weeks that follow. (((((Productivity)))))

(Click on image for a larger version.)

(Click on image for a larger version.)

Red Lentil Sloppy Joes