Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff: Recipe #257

We used to make this dish with beef and dairy, but I’d say we all enjoy this vegan mushroom stroganoff just as much, if not more. It gets bonus points for not leaving a super heavy feeling in your stomach for hours after eating it. Thanks to Sam for the vegan cream of mushroom soup idea!

For today’s inspiration, I’d like to suggest that instead of running away from whatever pain you have in your life, what if you turned towards the suffering, wrapped it in a cozy blanket, and told it you’re here and it will be ok? Sometimes I wrap my fear in a blanket in my mind and it really helps. 🙂

I hope you enjoy this recipe, which is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and yours.

Ingredients ($19 total)

2 tbsp Miyoko’s vegan butter – $0.31
1 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced – $4.98
1 onion, chopped – $0.50
4 cloves garlic, minced – $0.15
1 lb Trader Joe’s beefless ground meat – $2.99
1/4 cup flour – $0.04
2 cups vegetable broth – $1.00
1 12 oz tub Trader Joe’s vegan sour cream – $3.99
1 tsp thyme – $0.28
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg – $0.07
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen peas – $1.00
1 lb of your favorite pasta or noodles – $3.99

Directions for Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff

1. In a large pot, heat the vegan butter over medium-high heat. Add the sliced mushrooms, chopped onion, and garlic, and mix well. Cook for about 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the veggies are nice and brown. Add the ground “meat” and flour, mix well to combine, and cook for 1 more minute.

Next, add the vegetable broth, vegan sour cream, thyme, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Using a wooden spoon, scrape all the yummy bits stuck to the bottom of the pot and stir them in. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a gentle bubble and cook for about 5 more minutes to thicken the sauce. Stir frequently.

2. Meanwhile, boil the noodles according to package directions, then toss the cooked pasta into the finished sauce along with the peas. Mix well, then immediately scoop your vegan mushroom stroganoff into many bowls for hungry mouths. It keeps well for future reheating too. Enjoy the love! ❤️

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 17/18

If any of you amazing home chefs tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Irish Stew (Plant-Based): Recipe #252

On a chilly fall day, there’s nothing like coming home to a bowl of warm, hearty Irish stew. Here’s a plant-based version that nourishes your spirit and sticks to your ribs as much as any meat-based stew would. The bourbon in it gives it a lovely flavor too. Thanks to Sam for inspiring this recipe!

Today’s insight comes from watching the Dalai Lama Summit: all living beings are interconnected. So if we harm other beings, we create pain for ourselves. And if we are kind to others, we create happiness for ourselves.

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. – Dalai Lama

I hope you enjoy this recipe, which is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and yours.

Ingredients ($13 total for a big pot)

2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20
1 onion, chopped – $0.50
2 celery stalks, chopped – $0.15
4 garlic cloves, minced – $0.15
1/4 cup flour – $0.04
2 cups vegetable broth – $1.00
1 cup bourbon – $4.80
3 carrots, chopped – $0.46
2 cups mushrooms, chopped – $2.49
3 medium potatoes, chopped – $0.75
1 1/2 cups pinto beans – $0.99
1/2 cup tomato paste – $0.89
2 bay leaves – $0.28
1 tbsp brown sugar – $0.03
1 tsp thyme – $0.28
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions for Irish Stew

1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add in the chopped onion, celery, and garlic. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes until the onion softens and starts to turn brown.

Next, stir in the flour to coat the veggies and cook for another minute. Then slowly add in the vegetable broth and bourbon, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon as you mix it in.

2. Once the liquid is all mixed in, add in the carrots, mushrooms, potatoes, beans, tomato paste, bay leaves, brown sugar, thyme, salt and pepper. Cover the pot and bubble gently for 10-20 minutes until the potatoes are tender and can be poked with a fork.

Remove the bay leaves and serve your thick Irish stew hot in bowls. It might be even better if you have a loaf of fresh bread to accompany it! Leftovers are excellent the next day as well.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 18/18 (maximum score!)

If any of you amazing home chefs tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Vegan Potstickers/Gyoza/Mandu Dumplings: Recipe #214

Many cultures have a filled dumpling kind of food: samosas, empanadas, pierogies, ravioli, mochi, blueberry buns… Maybe we’re on a quest to try them all! In Japan and Korea these marvels are savory and can be filled with veggies like cabbage and mushrooms. They’re fun to cook, steamed on one side and fried on the other side, then dipped in a sesame soy based sauce. All the kids went back for seconds of these vegan potstickers. Hope you enjoy! Thanks to Bianca for inspiration.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($11 for about 12 gyoza)

Gyoza dough:
2 1/2 cups flour – $0.40
1/2 tsp salt – $0.03
2/3 cup hot water – free
Cornstarch to dust

Filling:
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil – $0.40
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped – $0.15
1 tsp ginger – $0.28
1 leek, chopped – $1.49
1 package enoki mushrooms – $2.49
1 head savoy cabbage, chopped – $2.49
1 orange pepper, chopped – $1.69
2 tbsp soy sauce – $0.20
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar – $0.27
Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp canola oil for cooking – $0.04
1/4 cup water – free

Sauce:
3 tbsp soy sauce – $0.30
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar – $0.27
1 tbsp maple syrup – $0.24
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil – $0.04

Garnish (optional): tofu, sesame seeds, green onion

Directions for Vegan Potstickers

1. Make the dough: In a medium bowl, mix the flour and salt, then pour in the hot water while stirring until it comes together into a ball of dough. Knead with your hands for 5 minutes, then wrap it in cling wrap and refrigerate for 1/2 hour to 1 hour.

After that, roll it out on a board dusted with cornstarch to a round shape as thin as you can make it. Use a round cookie cutter about 3″ wide to cut out circles that will be used to wrap the dumplings.

2. Make the filling: In a large pan, heat the 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil over medium high heat, then add in the garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the garlic starts to turn golden, then add in the ginger and leeks and cook for 3-5 more minutes to soften the leeks.

Add in the mushrooms, cabbage, and pepper, followed by the 2 tbsp soy sauce and 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar. Cook for 5-7 more minutes until the cabbage is wilted and the liquid is mostly gone. Set aside to cool for the filling stage.

3. Assemble and cook the gyoza: Use your fingers to stretch a wrapper out a little bit more, then add a full teaspoon of filling to the center of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper over the filling like a taco shell, working from one end and pinching the two sides along the edge in a diagonal overlapping pattern (see pictures below), or any pattern you like.

Heat up the canola oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the dumplings and cook for about 3 minutes until they get nice and golden on the bottom, then pour in the 1/4 cup water and cover the pot with a lid. Steam for about 8 minutes until the water has evaporated, then remove the potstickers carefully from the pot with a flapjack (they will be a lovely shade of brown after being nicely stuck to the pan).

Stir the sauce ingredients together, and serve with the gyoza/vegan potstickers, the leftover filling, tofu, and any garnishes you like. Enjoy hot from the pan!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings: 2 = 4-6 servings
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If any of you amazing home chefs tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Baked Olive Mushroom Lentil Burgers: Recipe #186

What happens when you mix mushrooms, lentils, kalamata olives, and some delicious spices? A nourishing and delicious veggie burger, much like our hearty meatless burgers and experimental garbanzo burgers. This recipe for lentil burgers comes from the legendary post-punk kitchen. Check it out!

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($6 total for 12 burger patties)

1 tbsp olive oil – $0.10
1 onion, diced – $0.50
1 package brown beech or other mushrooms – $2.69
4 cloves garlic, minced – $0.15
2 celery stalks, chopped – $0.10
1 tsp thyme – $0.28
1 tsp oregano – $0.28
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives – $0.60
1 1/4 cups cooked lentils – $0.65
2 tbsp soy sauce – $0.20
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar – $0.27
1-2 cups Hawaiian sweet roll breadcrumbs – free leftovers

Directions for Baked Olive Mushroom Lentil Burgers

1. In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onions, garlic, mushroom, celery, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft and smell wonderful.

In a blender, grind up leftover bread into fine breadcrumbs, then pour the breadcrumbs out of the blender and set aside.

2. In the empty blender, add the stir-fried veggies, kalamata olives, lentil, soy sauce, and apple cider vinegar. Process until mostly smooth – a few chunks are ok. Remove from the blender and stir in the breadcrumbs, as much of it as you need to get a nice burger patty consistency.

3. Form the mixture with your hands into 6 or 12 burgers, depending on how thick you like them. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes, flip over, and bake for 12-15 more minutes until they’re nice and toasty brown. Serve on a bun like any other lentil burgers, or overtop some tasty leftovers like quinoa and stew.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness:  2 = decent meal
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 17/18

If any of you amazing cooks tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Beef and Mushroom Stroganoff: #82 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Stroganoff is one of our regular rotation meals, thanks to my husband’s German-Russian roots. It’s great for a quick weeknight meal that pleases a crowd of hungry stomachs, and the leftovers are delicious too. Feel free to substitute another kind of meat or tofu for the beef if you prefer.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($22 total)

2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20
1/2 onion, chopped – $0.25
1 lb organic ground beef – $5.99
1 container cream of mushroom soup – $1.99
1 pint sour cream – $2.99
2 cups frozen peas – $1.00
1 lb spaghetti or egg noodles – $2.99
4 cloves garlic, minced – $0.15
1 8 oz package crimini mushrooms, sliced – $2.49
1 8 oz package baby broccoli, chopped up – $2.79
Pecorino romano cheese to sprinkle on top – $1.00
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. In a large pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat, then add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent and soft. Add the ground beef and stir until it’s all broken up and there’s no pink left. In a separate pan, heat the other 1 tbsp olive oil and cook the garlic for 2-3 minutes until it starts to brown, then add in the mushrooms, salt and pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the baby broccoli and cook for another 5 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the broccoli is a bright green.

2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot filled with boiling, salted water. It’s usually about 10 minutes but check the package directions. Add the mushroom soup and sour cream to the beef mixture, along with the frozen peas, and mix well. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust as needed. Drain the pasta and pour the stroganoff sauce over the noodles, mixing to combine thoroughly.

3. Serve in individual bowls with a side of vegetables (or mixed in if you don’t have picky eaters), with pecorino romano cheese sprinkled on the side or over top. Freshly ground pepper is great here too. This recipe usually provides 2 dinners for 5 of us.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 1 = wowzers (beef)
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Mushroom Avocado Cheese Omelets With Bacon: #43 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

I only know two ways of cooking eggs: scrambled and hard-boiled. Fortunately, my husband is a more accomplished egg chef than I am. He can whip together an amazing stuffed omelet for a weekend breakfast, while making it look super easy. Feel free to put whatever toppings you like inside, as long as they’re pre-cooked and not too wet.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($10 total)

6 eggs (for 2 omelets) – $1.75
1 package enoki or your favorite mushrooms – $2.99
1 ripe avocado – $1.29
1/2 package bacon, cooked and diced – $2.75
1/2 cup havarti or other cheese, chopped up – $0.97
2 tbsp butter – $0.31
1 tbsp olive oil – $0.10
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Prepare your fillings: I heated up the olive oil in a small pan over medium high heat, then dropped the mushrooms into the hot oil and added salt and pepper. Stirring frequently, they take about 5-7 minutes to cook to a point of being browned and not watery. I also chopped up the avocado, bacon, and cheese.

2. Then the egg chef took over. Heat the butter in a large pan over medium heat, beat 3 eggs together in a bowl, then when the butter is hot, pour the eggs into the pan. As the bottom of the omelet solidifies, keep going around with a fork – lifting the side of the omelet and tilting the pan towards the fork to let the liquid egg on top run underneath. You should end up with a fairly dry top after a couple of minutes of this.

3. Make sure the omelet can slide around the pan by shaking the pan gently side to side, then arrange your toppings over the top however you like.

Slide the omelet off the pan into your plate, and as you’re halfway through the slide, use the pan to flip the top of the omelet over onto the bottom half that’s already on the plate. These omelets were so big that we cut each one in half and shared them.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  2 = 4-6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact
  • Nutritional value: 1 = eat rarely
  • TOTAL: 14/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Empanadas Two Ways: Recipe #10

Empanadas are a fantastic portable meal originating in Latin America. Bread in Spanish is pan, so empanada literally means wrapping bread around a filling of meat, cheese or vegetables. There are two variations here: one with mushrooms, rosemary ham, broccolini and mozzarella, and the other one (aka saltenas in Bolivia) with leeks, mushrooms, potatoes, plant-based ground meat, and peas. Feel free to experiment with your own fillings!

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($10 total for about a dozen empanadas)

Empanada dough:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter – $1.25
2 cups water – FREE
2 tsp salt – $0.05
3-5 cups flour – $0.48 – $0.80

Ham and cheese empanada:
2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20
1 onion, finely chopped – $0.50
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped – $0.15
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, finely chopped – $2.29
1/2 pound organic baby broccoli, finely chopped – $2.79
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce – $0.10
1/2 tsp each of cumin, paprika, and chili powder – $0.42
1/4 ball mozzarella cheese, chopped into tiny chunks – $0.62
1/4 pack rosemary ham slices, chopped into tiny chunks – $0.82
Salt and pepper to taste

Plant-based empanada:
2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20
1 tsp each of turmeric, cumin, and oregano – $0.42
1 leek, finely chopped – $1.49
2 packages enoki (or other) mushrooms, chopped – $4.98
3 large potatoes, finely diced – $0.75
2 tbsp brown sugar – $0.06
1 pound plant-based ground meat – $7.99
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen peas – $1.00

Directions

1. Make the dough. Mix 2 cups boiling water with the butter in a large bowl. Stir to melt the butter, then cool to room temperature.

Add in flour gradually and stir with a wooden spoon. When the dough starts to come together,  tip it out onto a floured board and knead for 1-2 minutes until smooth and elastic. You may need to add more flour (1/2 cup at a time) if the dough is sticky. Wrap dough in cling wrap and and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to a day.

2. Make the filling. For the meat-based one: Put the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes until tender and translucent. Then add the garlic, mushrooms, baby broccoli, Worcestershire sauce, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper, and cook for 5 more minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the mixture is not liquidy. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside or refrigerate to cool. This can also be made up to a day ahead.

For the plant-based one: Put the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the leek, turmeric, cumin and oregano and saute together for 5 minutes until tender and translucent. Then add the mushrooms, potatoes, brown sugar, and plant-based ground meat. Stir and cook for 5-10 more minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the mixture is hot. Add salt and pepper to taste, then add the frozen peas at the end to cool it off a bit for the filling.

3. When you’re ready to assemble the empanadas, take the chilled dough out of the fridge and pinch off balls about 2″ in diameter. Roll each piece into a 4 1/2″ circle and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.

Put about 2 tbsp of filling in the center of each empanada, adding some pieces of ham and mozzarella as well. Moisten the outer edge of each one with water, then wrap the dough around the filling to form the empanada, pressing the edges together. 

For decoration, you can fold the outer edge back a little and make gentle designs with a fork. These can also be stored in the fridge a few hours ahead of baking.

When you’re ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 375F. Make sure the empanadas are about 1″ apart on the baking sheet. Brush the tops lightly with butter and bake on the top shelf of the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Serve warm to the table.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings:  3 = >6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!