Friday, March 30, 2012

Mushrooms, Spinach & Noodles--Oh My!

I've always loved spinach but have had an off-putting relationship with mushrooms since I was a kid. To me, they were rubbery and had little to no taste. I pretty much stayed away from them till becoming a vegan. Then I looked them over, saw how many recipes used them and decided to find out how to cook them so that I could eat them without gagging.

Well, I did it. For me, a fresh mushroom is still boring and way too chewy. I just plain don't like the feel of it in my mouth. But cook the fungi in a bit of vegan margarine till it is absolutely soft and glazed a dark brown, mix it with a few onions and a bit of garlic, and I have a starter for something tasty.

This whole recipe evolved from a dish I saw cooked up on television when Ina Garten made mushroom lasagna. Since I'm a lazy cook, I turned it into a simple noodle dish and added in some of my own ingredients-- all while turning it into a vegan meal that was beyond delicious. I served it alongside a dinner salad and some garlic toast. If you're a noodle lover, my guess is you'll like this meal. Let me know what you think.


In a large skillet put:
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 lb. any kind of mushrooms, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 of a small onion, chopped
4-6 sun dried tomatoes, sliced
Big pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook over medium heat until the mushrooms begin releasing their water. Cover the pan and move it to a low-heat back burner for at least 30 minutes or until the mushrooms are well browned and soft. When the mushrooms are to your liking, add 1 bag of baby spinach to the pan. Cover and leave it on the back burner another 20 minutes. If the vegetables get too dry, add 1 Tbs. water and put the cover back on the pan.

Cook the noodles in a large saucepan:

4 quarts water, salted and brought to a boil
8 oz. noodles (I used No-Yolk)

Cook the noodles until they are al-dente, about 10 minutes.

Drain the noodles and transfer them into the pot with the mushroom ingredients. Pour the white sauce over the top and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup nutritional yeast and mix again. The nutritional yeast has a Parmesan flavor that goes well with the dish.

Serves 3-4

Vegan White Sauce

Into a saucepan put:

2 Tbs. vegan margarine or olive oil
2 Tbs. flour
Cook over medium heat until the roux is light tan in color. Do not let it burn or you'll have to start over.

Add in 2 cups non-dairy milk
3 Tbs. nutritional yeast
A dash of nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk, stirring constantly over medium heat until the mixture thickens into a white sauce that coats the back of a wooden spoon--about 8-10 minutes. Use as directed above.

Eating vegan is good for your heart!

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