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Brown lentil, sweet potato, and mushroom stew with dates and arugula

Sweet and spicy, this makes a small bowl for 4 and a large one for 2.

Ingredients

2T curry powder
1/2t dried, ground allspice
1/4t crushed red chili (or to taste — I use 1/2t)
1/4t coarse sea salt
3 scallions, minced (3″ – 4″ reserved for garnish)
1T fresh garlic, minced
1t fresh ginger, grated and minced
1 1/2 cup water
1 ‘sprig’ dried kombu (about 1″)
1/2 cup brown lentils (black, green or dupuy will also work)
4 large cremini mushrooms, quartered (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cups sweet potato, peeled and cut 1/3″ dice
2 cups unsweetened plant milk (I use soy)
1/2T white pickling vinegar
2T tomato passata (or puree)
1/4 cup dried, soft dates
1T tapioca flour dissolved in 2T water
2 cups packed baby arugula
Coarse sea salt and chili or black pepper to taste

Optional: Garnish with sour sesame or cashew cream (as show here), a little coconut milk, and/or a little cilantro to add colour and flavour.

Directions

Bring a large frying pan with a lid to heat on medium. Add the curry powder and other spices. Toast for 2-3 minutes until aromatic. Add the scallions, sea salt, garlic, and ginger. Stir fry for 2 minutes.

Add the water and deglaze the pan. Add the lentils and kombu. Bring the pan to a light simmer. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sweet potatoes and simmer covered for another 15 minutes or until the lentils are tender.

At the 30 minute mark, add the plant milk and vinegar. Increase the heat to medium low and bring the pan to a light simmer. Simmer uncovered for 20 – 30 minutes or until the plant milk is reduced by about half. Remove the kombu. Add the dates and passata. Simmer another 5 minutes. Stirring slowly, add the tapioca mixture. Stir until it thickens (should be immediately)

Add the arugula and stir gently but thoroughly to combine. Let stand 2 minutes to cool and to wilt the greens. Season to taste. Ladle out and garnish as you like with scallion greens sliced on an angle.

Turmeric, miso stew with tofu, tempeh, mushrooms, and potatoes

Sweetened with dates, thickened with flax, and finished with baby kale, this is a rich, spicy stew with lots of strong flavour and colour. If you’re not a turmeric lover, keep the amount low to start.

Ingredients

1/4 cup water
1/2t coarse sea salt
2T scallions, finely chopped (reserve a few inches of green for garnish)
1-3t dried, ground turmeric (to taste — I use 1T)
1T fresh garlic, minced
1t fresh ginger, grated and minced
1/2t dried, ground cumin
1/2t dried marjoram, rubbed
1/4t dried red chilis (or to taste — I use about 1/2t)
1 cup cremini mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced, about 1/8″
125g extra firm, high quality tofu, 1/3″ cubes
125g tempeh, 1/4″ cubes (use pasteurized)
1 1/2 cups potatoes, 1/3″ dice (I use organic russets)
1/2 cup dried, soft dates, pitted and finely chopped
1T lemon juice
1 ‘sprig’ dried kombu, about 2″
2 cups vegetable stock
2 cups unsweetened plant milk
3T red miso (or more, to taste)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1T sesame seed butter
2T milled flax seed
3 cups loose baby kale (leave a few leaves for garnish)
Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste

Optional: White, yellow, or other shades of miso will work, but they’ll change the final colour. Use freshly grated turmeric (start with 1T) if you have an easy source. Leave out the garlic if you prefer. A little shredded cabbage added with the plant milk and/or a little cilantro for garnish wouldn’t hurt. Add some fresh blueberries to brighten up the flavour.

Method

Warm a large frying pan with a lid on medium heat. Add the water, sea salt and scallion. Water saute for 2 minutes. Add the turmeric, and other herbs and spices. Saute another minute.

Add the mushrooms. Saute for another 2 – 3 minutes. Add the tofu, tempeh, potatoes and dates. Saute another 2 minutes. Add the lemon and deglaze the pan (if necessary).

Add the stock, bring the pan to a light simmer, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Uncover, add the plant milk. Increase heat to medium low.

Simmer another 30 minutes or so uncovered on low heat (as low as you can set it but still simmer) stirring periodically. Remove from heat. Remove the kombu. Add the miso, nutritional yeast, sesame seed butter, flax and kale. Stir to combine.

Let stand 2 minutes to cool. Season to taste. Ladle out into bowls. Garnish with scallion green sliced on an angle and a few scallion greens and serve.