Pasta with Mushrooms & Artichoke-Red Pepper Sauce

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This is the fastest, easiest dinner I’ve made in a long time—and it includes a homemade sauce! In less than 30 minutes, this vegetable-filled pasta dish comes together with a thick, pesto-like sauce. Add chicken sausage if you’re in the mood for meat, but this meal is plenty filling on its own.

The romesco sauce, which is made mostly of artichokes, was one of my early recipes for The Low-Acid Kitchen. I was happy to find that it’s still as tasty as when I first created the recipe. It doesn’t have the tangy bite of traditional tomato- and vinegar-filled pasta sauces, but it ties together a satisfying meal.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 8 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 7 oz high-fiber pasta
  • ingredients for a double batch of romesco sauce
  • sea salt
  • 6 oz mixed baby spinach and arugula
  • handful of parsley leaves
  • parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat a large nonstick pan over medium heat, and set a medium pot of water over high heat to boil.
  2. Add the mushrooms to the pan, cover it, and cook for 8 minutes or until browned. Stir occasionally. IMG_5469
  3. When the water boils, add the pasta and cook according to package directions.
  4. Meanwhile, use a mini-chop or food processor to make the sauce.
  5. When mushrooms are browned, add salt to taste. Then drop the heat to low. Add the sauce and the greens to the mushroom pan, and add the lid to heat through while the pasta finishes cooking. IMG_5471
  6. Add the drained pasta and stir. Sprinkle with parsley and parmesan cheese before serving.

Serves 4. Active and total time 25 minutes.

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Creamy Triple Mushroom Soup

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This soup has more mushroom flavor than any dish I’ve ever had. It reminds me of the mushroom pierogi my Mom gets from the Polish deli at Christmastime. I go nuts over those things, and I was thrilled by the bold flavor of this soup. As my first time using dried mushrooms, it turned out so well.

Mushrooms are satiating in the way meat is, and this was a great recipe to make during my meat-free January. However, I ran into the same issue I have with meat: After a certain amount, I just can’t eat any more. Maybe it’s too much umami, or perhaps my body only accepts my beloved carbs after a certain point.

Anyway, I wasn’t able to eat a full bowl of this a dinner soup. Instead, I had a small serving of it with a salad (lightly dressed with olive oil and rice vinegar). I recommend serving this as a first course—but if you have company, make sure they like mushrooms!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 oz mixed dried mushrooms (I used porcini, shiitake & oyster)
  • 3 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz white mushrooms, sliced
  • 12 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 3/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 4 tsp flour
  • 1 1/4 cups 1% milk
  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • 1 cup packed mixed greens (I used baby spinach, kale & chard)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • sea salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Rinse the dried mushrooms under warm water. Boil the broth in medium saucepan and remove from heat. Add the dried mushrooms and let them soak for 15 minutes. Drain through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, reserving the broth but discarding any sediment. Coarsely chop the dried mushrooms. IMG_5008
  2. While mushrooms are soaking, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium. Add the carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Add the white and baby bella mushrooms and saute until browned, about 8 minutes. (Add a splash of water if it looks like they will burn.) Add the thyme, oregano, onion powder, and dried mushrooms and saute for 2 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms; stir for 1 minute. IMG_5011
  4. Stir in the reserved broth and then the milk. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and add the miso paste and greens. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the parsley and cook for 1 minute. IMG_5015
  5. Turn off the heat and stir in the rice vinegar. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until completely smooth. Add salt to taste (I did 10 grinds from a sea salt grinder), and serve sprinkled with parsley leaves.
Serves 6. Active time 35 minutes; total time 50 minutes. Adapted from http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Wild-Mushroom-Soup-106299

Westville: Market Veggie Plate

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Westville, a casual eatery with several NYC locations, serves so many vegetables. At the Chelsea location I was excited to see the names of their veggie options painted right on the building! This list lured me in after a weekend of decadent New York meals.

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Instead of a typical brunch, I ordered the market plate, which gives the choice of four vegetable sides. Restaurant veggies are often doused in oil, cheese, vinegar, or citrus, so I looked at this with the goal of preventing acid reflux. From about two dozen options, I chose these:

  • Sauteed kale with shallots: This was delicious! The kale was tender and bright green. I picked out the shallot pieces and didn’t have a problem with heartburn—but I enjoyed the flavor the shallots left behind.
  • Artichoke hearts with parmesan: The waitress said the artichokes were roasted, but it seemed like they were canned—which means they were soaked in acidic liquid. The dominant taste was lemon, so these weren’t a good choice for me. At least there wasn’t too much cheese . . . but I ate only about half of these.
  • Mixed mushrooms with leeks and herbs: I’ve never been served a plain pile of mushrooms like this. They didn’t have much herb flavor, so I reached my mushroom limit about halfway through the pile.
  • Autumn quinoa salad: Do people describe quinoa as “al dente”? They should; this quinoa was perfectly cooked and maintained its shape and springiness. It was a treat mixed with butternut squash, parsley, and possibly honey in the sauce.

I was satisfied with this meal overall. It made me feel good to sit in front of a plate full of only vegetables. One of the choices was mediocre in taste, and one of them was bad for heartburn—but the helpings were more than enough to fill me up. I’ll judge this a restaurant win. I would return to Westville, although next time I’d try an entree.

Sage & Butternut Pasta

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Sage and butternut squash are a classic combination. This was my first time using dried sage, and I was happy to find that the flavor is just as distinctive as that of fresh leaves. This dish is bursting with savory goodness from the sage and the baby bella mushrooms.

I like my pasta packed with veggies. This roasted butternut squash, although starchy, complements the spinach and mushrooms well here. A bit of goat cheese gives the sauce body, and a sprinkle of parmesan adds a sharp, salty finish. This meal is autumn perfection—I could eat it every day!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups butternut squash, cubed small
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp vegetable broth + more if needed
  • 10 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 4 oz whole-grain pasta (gluten-free if desired)
  • 3 oz greens (I used a mix of baby spinach and baby chard)
  • salt
  • 1 oz goat cheese, softened
  • grated parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Spread the squash on the foil and spray it with cooking spray. Roast for 25 minutes. Do not stir; this will prevent the squash from caramelizing. IMG_4670
  3. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium and boil a medium-sized pot of water.
  4. When the water boils, add pasta and cook until al dente—do not overcook! Drain and set aside.
  5. Add 2 tsp oil and 2 tbsp broth to the skillet and allow to heat. Add mushrooms, oregano, onion powder, thyme, and sage. Stir, cover, and cook over medium heat for 8 minutes, shaking occasionally.
  6. Add greens and cooked squash to the mushrooms, stirring until the greens wilt. Add salt to taste. Then stir in goat cheese until incorporated. IMG_4672
  7. Add drained pasta to the skillet and stir to coat with the sauce. If the pan’s heat has burned off too much of the broth, add a spoonful more at a time and stir.
  8. Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

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Serves 2 to 3.

Chard & Portobello Quiche

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I’ve never been more proud of recipe than I am of this one. It’s healthy, it’s beautiful, it’s impressive, and it’s OK to serve to my gluten-free friends. Also, it’s absolutely delicious!

This quinoa-almond meal crust was perfected by the creative folks at The Fitchen. The crust is crisp at the edges and a bit sweet from the almonds. It stays together well and doesn’t get soggy in the fridge or the microwave.

I made this quiche twice in a week. The first version I ate for lunches at work, and the second (improved) version I served to guests. I’d recommend serving this for any meal of the day.

The portobellos and chard make an excellent filling combo, but I have other ideas for the future. Most vegetables would work; just saute any extra-crunchy ones like I did with the chard. You can vary the spices, too. Next time I want to try ginger and miso instead of basil and thyme.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
  • scant 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 5 grinds sea salt
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 5 large chard leaves
  • 1 portobello mushroom cap
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 10 grinds sea salt
  • 1 tbsp parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Bring quinoa, broth, and salt to boil in a nonstick pan and simmer for 20 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.
  3. Rinse the chard leaves and dry them, but it’s OK if they’re a little damp. Slice and add to a nonstick pan over medium heat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, until the size has reduced by about half.
  4. Line a plate with paper towel and add the cooked chard. Allow any cooking liquid to drain.
  5. When quinoa is done, add to a medium bowl with the almond meal and salt. Mix well.
  6. Put the quinoa mixture into a 9-inch glass pie plate, and use your fingers to press it into a crust. It should be about 1/4 of an inch thick across the bottom and should go up almost the entire side of the pan. Ensure that the top edge has an even height all the way around the pie plate. IMG_4608
  7. Arrange the mushrooms, parsley, basil, and sauteed chard in the crust.
  8. Beat the eggs, egg whites, spices, and cheese until well blended. Pour into the crust to distribute evenly.
  9. Bake the quiche for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. If the eggs don’t look set, bake for an additional 5 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.