Portobello Wellington (Vegan)

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This vegan Portobello Wellington is pretty enough to serve as a main course for Thanksgiving or Christmas. It features layers of rich beluga lentils, whole portobello muchrooms and sauteed garlic spinach. I made a vegan Wellington last year using chestnuts and portobello mushrooms as the predominant ingredients.  While the dish was beautiful, it wasn’t as tasty as I thought it should be.  So this time, I scrapped the chestnuts which are difficult to find, and a bit dry, and layered lentils,  mushrooms and spinach instead.  The dish was a huge success, pretty AND delicious.  Just add mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce!  🙂

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A traditional Beef Wellington is a fillet steak coated with pâté and duxelles, which is then wrapped in pastry and baked.  In this reimagined vegan  version, whole portobellos stand in for the ‘steak’  and the lentils with shallots and garlic would be the ‘pate’ with duxelles, which is just a fancy name for mushrooms sautéed with onions, shallots and garlic.  The flavor combination of the three layers worked so well together in creating a flavorful but still juicy filling.  I cooked the lentils in vegetable broth for more flavor. Of course, adding sauteed shallots and garlic to the black lentils gave them an even richer taste.  They were a great first layer.  Then I placed whole sauteed portobello mushrooms as the middle later and topped with spinach sauteed in garlic.

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Except for the pretty crust, which is what makes this a holiday worthy dish, all of the ingredients add flavor and nutritional value.  Spinach and mushrooms are high in food value, including fiber, vitamins and minerals, plus protein.  They also have zero or low amounts of fat, cholesterol, carbs and sugars.  If I were going to make my own crust, I would try a recipe using white whole wheat flour like this one from King Arthur Flour.  I actually didn’t know I was going to be making this last until the last minute, so I cheated with pre-made crusts.  It happens…

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I chose black lentils, also called Beluga lentils due to their resemblance of black caviar, because I find them the richest in flavor and their texture remains firm when cooked.  However, brown or green lentils would work well here too.  They are also quite healthy.  100 grams of cooked lentils contains 116 calories, 9.02 g of protein, .3 g of fat and 9.02 g of fiber.  They are also rich in minerals and vitamins.  Click for MORE info.

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TIPS:  This recipe is easy to prep a day or so ahead of time and assemble just before cooking.  Just prepare the lentil mixture and saute and drain the mushrooms and the spinach, then place in the refrigerator in airtight containers until ready to assemble.  You can preform them into log shapes before refrigerating for easier assembly.  For those who really like to plan ahead, you could probably assemble the whole thing a day or two ahead and refrigerate until you are ready to bake.

 

PORTOBELLO WELLINGTON

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Note:  This recipe can be made with 3 or 4 large portobello mushrooms.  The 3 mushroom wellington will fit in an 18″ baking sheet, while a 4 mushroom one needs a 21″ pan.  The recipe is for both.  For the larger wellington, use the larger quantities.

  • 1-1 1/4 cup black lentils (or brown)
  • 4-5 cups vegetable broth (optional)
  • 3-4 large portabello mushrooms
  • 3-4 large shallots peeled and minced
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
  • 3 Tbs olive oil (divided)
  • 8-12 oz fresh spinach (3- 4 cups)
  • 2 – 3 blocks or rolls of pastry dough (or puff pastry, if preferred)
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter or soy milk (as pastry wash)
  • salt and pepper to taste

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  • Cook lentils in vegetable broth for more flavor (optional) following instructions on package.  Remove from heat and let cool. Trim mushroom stalks if needed and wipe caps clean with a damp paper towel. Do not immerse in water.

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  • Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a skillet and place the mushrooms, top side down. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Turn them over and cook for another 5 minutes or until you hear the water release and sizzle in the pan. Remove from the heat, and drain on paper towel cap side up as they will release liquid as they cool.

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  • In the mushroom skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil and half of garlic, lightly saute spinach.  Just cook until wilted and liquid releases.  If you decided to use frozen spinach, squeeze out as much water as possible. Remove from heat and let cool

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  • Saute shallots in 1 Tablespoon olive oil until lightly browned.  Add remaining garlic and cooked lentils.  Stir to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.  Remove from heat and let cool.

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  • Once cool enough, you should be able to form it into a log.  If you can’t, it’s probably too wet, so return it to the stove or put it in the refrigerator to firm up.

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  • Roll out pastry dough into any shape you prefer to make both a top and bottom crust.  I used 4 pre-made pie crusts and rolled 1 1/2 together to make the long traditional Wellington shape, however, you can make it a circle, square or rectangle.

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  • Place bottom crust on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Form lentil log in center of bottom crust and pat into shape

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  • Arrange mushrooms on top of lentils, cap side up

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  • Top evenly with the sauteed spinach.  Pat into as smooth a shape as possible for best results

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  • Place top crust over your lentil, mushroom, spinach creation and smooth it with your fingers.

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  • Cut around the Wellington using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, leaving a generous 1 inch margin.

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  • Using a fork, firmly press the two edges closed going all the way around.

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  • Cut shapes with a cookie cutter to decorate the top if you like.  Save any leftover dough for future use.

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  • Brush the pastry with melted vegan butter or soy milk and poke air holes with a fork.

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  • Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.  If the edges start getting too brown, cover them with strips of aluminum foil.

Portobello Wellington

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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Note:  This recipe can be made with 3 or 4 large portobello mushrooms.  The 3 mushroom wellington will fit in an 18″ baking sheet, while a 4 mushroom one needs a 21″ pan.  The recipe is for both.  For the larger wellington, use the larger quantities.

  • 1-1 1/4 cup black lentils (or brown)
  • 4-5 cups vegetable broth (optional)
  • 3-4 large portabello mushrooms
  • 3-4 large shallots peeled and minced
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
  • 3 Tbs olive oil (divided)
  • 8-12 oz fresh spinach (3- 4 cups)
  • 2 – 3 blocks or rolls of pastry dough
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter or soy milk (as pastry wash)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook lentils in vegetable broth for more flavor (optional) following instructions on package.  Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Trim mushroom stalks if needed and wipe caps clean with a damp paper towel. Do not immerse in water.
  3. Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a skillet and place the mushrooms, top side down. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Turn them over and cook for another 5 minutes or until you hear the water release and sizzle in the pan. Remove from the heat, and drain on paper towel cap side up as they will release liquid as they cool.
  4. In the mushroom skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil and half of garlic, lightly saute spinach.  Just cook until wilted and liquid releases.  If you decided to use frozen spinach, squeeze out as much water as possible. Remove from heat and let cool
  5. Saute shallots in 1 Tablespoon olive oil until lightly browned.  Add remaining garlic and cooked lentils.  Stir to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Once cool enough, you should be able to form it into a log. If you can’t, it’s probably too wet, so return it to the stove or put it in the refrigerator to firm up.
  6. Roll out pastry dough into any shape you prefer to make both a top and bottom crust.  I used 4 pre-made pie crusts and rolled 1 1/2 together to make the long traditional Wellington shape, however, you can make it a circle, square or rectangle.
  7. Place bottom crust on a parchment lined baking sheet
  8. Form lentil log in center of bottom crust and pat into shape
  9. Arrange mushrooms on top of lentils, cap side up
  10. Top evenly with the sauteed spinach.  Pat into as smooth a shape as possible for best results
  11. Place top crust over your lentil, mushroom, spinach creation and smooth it with your fingers.
  12. Cut around the Wellington using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, leaving a generous 1 inch margin.
  13. Using a fork, firmly press the two edges closed going all the way around.
  14. Cut shapes with a cookie cutter to decorate the top if you like.  Save and leftover dough for future use.
  15. Brush the pastry with melted vegan butter or soy milk and poke air holes with a fork.
  16. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.  If the edges start getting too brown, cover them with strips of aluminum foil.

Meatless Monday – Mushroom Pappardelle with Braised Greens

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Calling all Mushroom Lovers!  This one is for you (of course I had to choose between mushrooms and wild boar-more on that later).  I am an official blogger for the Meatless Monday website, as you can see by the cute logo on my sidebar.  The Meatless Monday campaign is working with the Mushroom Council and looking for recipes that substitute mushrooms in traditional meat dishes for their ‘Swap it Out’ contest.  I have already done a Portobello Mushroom Stuffed with Eggplant and Gorgonzola which was pretty tasty but I wanted to come up with something new.  Then I was perusing the pasta aisle and came across  a box of Pappardelle, a California product by Community Grains using 100% whole grain hard amber durum.  Perhaps I got sucked in by the packaging which states that it is “stone milled on a granite wheel”.  That sounds really labor intensive, and almost reminiscent of the Flintstones and their really cool stone age car and gadgets (Yabba Dabba Doo!) so it must be great, right?  I also loved the Tip on the package, “Pasta water should taste like the ocean.”  I had never heard that before, but now I know what I’m aiming for.  So I bought the pappardelle- and it was delicious!  The pasta had great texture and the sauce clung to the surface ensuring that every bite was flavorful.  It is also nice to know that they mill 100% of the grain, the germ, bran and endosperm all together instead of milling them separately and adding them back together (reconstituted), which is more common.  I’m kind of liking the re-emergence of the old tried and true, dare I say Stone Age, methods.

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Pappardelle are large, very broad, flat pasta noodles, similar to wide fettuccine (about the width of a finger). The name derives from the verb “pappare”, to gobble up (in Italian).  I would say this is an appropriate name, since I found myself doing just that with this yummy dish!  Pappardelle is usually topped with heavy sauces that include game like rabbit, duck and wild boar, however, for Meatless Monday, I chose to use the “meaty” mushroom, Portobello, as a stand in for wild boar.  I marinated them first, then seared them on high heat to intensify their flavor before adding them to the sauce.  I also included dried Porcini mushrooms along with garlic, herbs and shallots to give the sauce an earthy and rich flavor.  I threw in a few fresh Criminis for a wonderful mushroom trifecta!  I love braised greens and threw in a few handfuls of arugula and spinach, which really help lighten up a heavy sauce.   We tend to stay away from creamy sauces in our house, as my husband is not a fan, however, sour cream or plain yogurt can be added to this sauce if you crave rich and creamy.

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Of course you have to be a big fan of mushrooms to enjoy this dish, but if you are, lucky you!   ‘Mushrooms are a good source of Vitamin B, potassium and selenium and the only plant based source of Vitamin D.  Low calorie, fat free and gluten free, they have a great nutrient value at little cost.  In addition, mushrooms help satisfy our desire for Umami, which is the fifth basic taste after sweet, salty, bitter and sour. Derived from the Japanese word umai, meaning “delicious,” umami (pronounced oo-MAH-mee) is described as a savory, brothy, rich or meaty taste sensation. It’s a satisfying sense of deep, complete flavor, balancing savory flavors and full-bodied taste with distinctive qualities of aroma and mouthfeel.  The more umami present in food, the more flavorful it will be. All mushrooms are a rich source of umami and the darker the mushroom the more umami it contains.’ – See more at: http://mushroominfo.com/benefits/#sthash.NbUzgRtx.dpuf

So next time you plan to serve pasta with Wild Boar  meat, try a few mushrooms instead…

Mushroom Pappardelle with Braised Greens

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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3 large Portobello mushrooms, sliced
6-8 crimini mushrooms, sliced
2-3 cups vegetable broth
¼ cup dried porcini or mixed mushrooms(about 6 oz)
1/4  cup roughly chopped parsley
3 fresh sage leaves
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 shallots or 1 small onion, roughly chopped
¼ cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt(depending on the saltiness of the broth)
1/4 tsp black pepper (or more to taste)
½ cup dry white wine
2 cups fresh spinach, arugula or other dark leafy greens
8 oz. fresh or dried pappardelle (about 3/4 box)
½ cup grated parmesan(optional)
 
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  • Marinate the sliced, fresh mushrooms in 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil, 1 Tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, pinch of Italian seasoning, salt and pepper (a zip lock baggie works great) and let rest.  The marinade should coat all pieces but they shouldn’t be swimming in liquid.
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  • Pour 1 cup boiling water over dried mushrooms and let sit until soft, about 20 minutes.  Remove mushrooms with a slotted spoon and strain mushroom liquid to remove any sediment.  Reserve liquid.
  • In a food processor (or by hand) finely dice parsley, sage, garlic and shallots in a food processor until smooth; set aside.  Finely dice reconstituted mushrooms.

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  • Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a skillet(preferably cast iron) on medium high heat.  Sear/brown fresh mushrooms one layer at a time and turn to brown the other side.  Remove  and set aside.
  • Saute vegetable purée in about 2 Tablespoons oil, stirring occasionally, for 5 -6 minutes.  Stir in diced mushrooms.
  • Add wine, broth and mushroom liquid and cook, until almost completely reduced, about 10- 15 minutes.
  • Cook pasta in salted boiling water according to package instructions. Drain pasta; add to sauce
  • Stir in greens and let wilt.
  • Add seared mushrooms and half the parmesan ( if using) and toss to combine.
  • Transfer pasta to a serving dish; garnish with finely chopped parsley and remaining parmesan.
 VARIATIONS:  If you prefer a creamy sauce, stir in 1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt before adding pasta.  Fettuccine or other larger shaped pastas will work fine with this dish.
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