Fall is plenteous mushroom season. Mushrooms, both fresh and dried, are available all year round, but fall brings out the best of the best with a myriad of varieties. Whether you cook with fresh or dried, the healthy components of mushrooms provide a compendium of antioxidants, no matter what the season.
Shiitake mushrooms boast antioxidants more powerful than many other plants. Specific to mushrooms, these antioxidants are being studied for their antiaging health benefits and are even being cited by some as “master antioxidants.”
Balsamic vinegar comes in varying degrees of sweetness. This dish requires a rich, flavourful balsamic, not too acidic. Add a pinch of dark brown sugar, if needed, for a full-bodied flavour.
In this recipe, dried mushrooms are an excellent alternative. Simply soak dried mushrooms in hot water until plumped. Strain, using soaking liquid in the recipe in place of stock, or reserve for a soup. Pat plumped mushrooms dry before using in your recipe.
In medium saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil. Slowly whisk in polenta or cornmeal, making sure to remove any lumps. Turn heat to low, and cook uncovered for 25 to 30 more minutes, stirring every few minutes until it thickens and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and begins to firm up. For creamier polenta, add a splash more water. When done, remove from heat and stir in Parmesan and butter, if using. Cut firm polenta into shapes, as we’ve done here, if you wish.
Meanwhile cook mushrooms. In large cast iron frying pan, heat 1 Tbsp (15 mL) grapeseed oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add half the mushrooms and sauté over medium heat until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl. Repeat with another 1 Tbsp (15 mL) oil, adding shallots and garlic along with remaining mushrooms, and sauté until mushrooms are golden. Transfer to bowl with first batch of mushrooms.
Deglaze pan with wine or water, scraping base of pan. Add rosemary and cook over medium heat until liquid is reduced by half, about 1 minute. Add stock and bring to a brief boil and cook until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Whisk in balsamic. Return mushrooms to pan, folding in until glazed. Season to taste with additional balsamic, salt, and pepper, if you wish. For extra glossy richness, stir in butter.
To serve, spoon creamy polenta into shallow serving bowls and top with braised mushrooms. Drizzle with some extra-virgin olive oil, if you wish. Season and garnish as desired.
Custardy French toast drizzled in pure maple syrup is a cozy, cold-weather breakfast classic. We’ve given this recipe a vegan makeover by swapping out eggs in the batter with mashed banana and a bit of ground flaxseed. This clever swap makes the French toast reminiscent of banana bread. Top it off with a decadent drizzle of raspberry syrup and you’re just a quick stint in the kitchen away from breakfast bliss. Citrus swap If you don’t have any bananas around, consider swapping for an orange. In blender, add zest of one large orange along with peeled fruit and other batter ingredients. Blend until smooth and proceed with the recipe as described.
A satisfying plant-based dinner or packed lunch, quinoa and beans add filling protein, while greens, cucumbers, roasted veggies, and a probiotic-rich dressing bring texture and flavour. Try it with a creamy plant-based cheese on top, or goat cheese for non-plant-based eaters. Mix and match Use this recipe as a guideline. Add in your go-tos such as chopped walnuts or hemp hearts, pitted sliced dates, roasted cauliflower, and crumbled feta (plant-based, if desired).
Brown rice and two varieties of lentils cook in one pot with broth, coconut milk, and simple spices. Nourishing spinach and sweet green peas bring this meal to life. It’s true sunshine in a bowl for those cold winter nights. Main grains White basmati rice, short-grain brown rice, quinoa, or millet can be used in place of the brown basmati rice. Try a mixture of grains for added nutrition and taste (e.g., millet and basmati rice, quinoa and millet, and so on).
Sprouted tofu and mushrooms soak up a delicious tamari marinade before being baked along with prepared vegan potstickers and bok choy. A tasty sauce, sesame seeds, and a bed of whole grains to serve tie everything together. Adjust the heat level of this dish in the sauce or at the table so kids can partake. Salad swap Once cool, the tofu mixture can be served on a bed of crunchy romaine for a packable lunch that’ll spark office envy. Keep the sauce on the side and dress right before serving.