No, I am not turning Vegan. But Netflix is mean/good to my diet. I started watching all these documentaries about meat and milk lately and following the example of my Vegan besties Ailine and Sophia, I decided to become "4-days-a-week-vegan" to lower my meat intake. I stopped having cow milk, cheese and yoghurt in my fridge as well.
Bolognese Pasta, is a recipe I repeat every month. But how to make it without beef or minced mixed meat? I talked to Ailine, searched the net, read some magazines and decided for a mix of Walnuts, Pecans & Mushrooms as meat substitute. After testing my recipe a couple of times, I found out the best way to make this sauce and you wont notice there is no meat in it!
3/4 cup Walnuts
1/4 cup Pecans
4 Mushrooms, diced
1 big Onion , diced
3 Garlic cloves, diced
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 cup Carrots, peeled and grated
1 tbsp Tomato Paste
1 can (4oo gr) crushed Tomatoes
1/2 liter Vegetable Stock
1 tbsp Sugar
4 dried Bay Leaves
Salt & Pepper
12 Cherry Tomatoes
Dried Juniper Berries
DELYSOY 100% Soya Bean Fettuccine
Parmesan cheese (vegan or regular)
First of all, turn your oven on. 200 degrees Celsius. Once you diced & grated, throw those nuts in the food processor until they are as small as minced meat.
Heat the oil in a pot and fry the onions & garlic until they are transparent. Stir the mushrooms & nuts in and let them fry for 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft. Add the carrots, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, stock, sugar (to neutralize the acid of the tomato), bay leaves and oregano and stir well. When it boils, close the lid and set the heat to low and let it simmer for 2 hours. Set an alarm for every 30 minutes to check and stir. Dont forget to add salt and pepper at the end.
I cook this sauce a day in advance. I love, LOVE, how bolognese or lasagna tastes the day after. But you can eat it right away. In an oven-proof sheet, bake the cherry tomatoes in halves, sprinkled with olive oil, salt and juniper berries, for 8 minutes and let them rest. Add half of them in the sauce and use the rest for decoration.
I used DELYSOY 100% soya bean fettuccine as I shouldnt eat gluten. I was surprised by how good these soya bean pasta tasted.. nice nice nice. I would definately will try the rest of their sortiment. Serve the pasta, cover with sauce, add some baked tomatoes on top and sprinkle with your favorite vegan parmesan or regular parmesan to add an extra oomph!
Purple Basil Pecan Pesto
There are over 15 different kinds of basil. We mostly know the green rounded one, known as Sweet Basil. But sometimes in the supermarket you will find purple basil or Dark Opal basil. This beautiful basil taste very similar to genovese or sweet basil but a bit sharper.
Pesto has been my favorite dish since I was a kid. In Peru, it is made out of spinach and genovese basil with fresh cheese and no nuts. While walking through the whole foods supermarket I found this basil and I thought about making pesto, purple pesto. As the Dark Opal is more nutty than the regular basil, I went for Pecans so the nut taste wont disappear with this stronger basil (and they looked beautiful with this new napkins I got at Home Go Lucky)
2 cups purple basil
1/2 cup pecan nuts
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
a squeeze of fresh lime
Salt & pepper
Blanching is a very important thing when you want to use basil. Basil tends to change color to brown when you cook it. But blanching helps keep its color. Same goes with purple basil. Prepare a bowl of ice water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Put the basil in a sieve and plunge it into the boiling water, pushing the leaves down into the water and stirring them so they blanch evenly. Blanch for 15 seconds, then plunge the herbs into the ice water to stop the cooking.
Once the basil is blanched, combine it with garlic, pecan nuts and Parmesan in the bowl of a food processor; season with salt and pepper, to taste. With the motor running, add olive oil in a slow stream until emulsified.
Boil 3/4 cup of pasta per person, (I used gluten free Fusilli from Barilla) and add a spoonful of pesto. Stir well and add some parmesan cheese and a squeeze of lime. And then, Enjoy!
Umami Vegan Ceviche
Ceviche as the world know it, is fish or seafood cooked with lime acid instead of heat/fire. It is a peruvian dish that has taken the world in a storm the last years. When I was a kid, I remember we had different kinds of ceviche without anything that lived in the ocean. Like chicken ceviche and mushrooms ceviche.
Ceviche is not just about the taste, but the consistency of the "meat". Button mushrooms have a very fish-y consistency once they are cooked and the umami flavour creates a very believable plant-based ceviche. I am not vegan, but I am trying to cut down on eating meat.
Ingredients (2 pax)
4 big button mushrooms (shiitake, portobello or crimini will work)
4 limes (check that they are juicy and big)
1 red onion, Use a yellow one if you preffer a milder taste
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp chili paste (I use this peruvian chili)
Salt, Pepper and Cumin
Scallions or Koriander
1 big sweet potato
A handful of peruvian popcorn - optional
First, start popping those babies! in a pan with oil, add the peruvian popcorn and put a lid over it. Stir a bit until all are popped. Sprinkle some salt and let them cool. Boil or steam the sweet potato and once is tender, let it cool as well.
Cut the mushrooms in slices or dices. I always go for slices as they feel more like eating fish. Put them in a bowl, Add the onion in julienne, garlic in dices or crushed, chili paste, chili, salt, pepper and cumin.
Now squeeze those limes! take ALL the juice! Dont forget to wash them first. because you want to avoid the bitterness of the skin. Pour the juice over the mushrooms and mix well. Add some scallions or coriander over the mix and let it macerate for at least 40 minutes. Test one mushroom and it should be tender and not crunchy. Add more salt or chili paste if needed.
While the ceviche is "cooking" make a puree out of the sweet potatoes, cook the corn and cut the avocado in slices. Stir the ceviche mix occasionally so all the ingredients cook evenly.
Now its time to plate. Start with a bed of salad. Add the ceviche over it as well as the corn, popcorn, sweet potato and avocado. Pour over some of the lime juice and drizzle some scallions or coriander at the top. Now ENJOY this plant-based umami heaven!
If you want to try the fish variation of it Check this recipe!
I am Andrea, or as my friends call me, Jinx. I am a foodie living in Berlin, eating my way through life. Here are my recipes, cooking events, dining experiences and more...