Last night we made a delicious dinner from recipes in Isa’s Vegan with a Vengence cookbook. How does Black Eyed Pea and Quinoa Croquettes with Mushroom Gravy, Quinoa, and Roasted Kale sound? The Kale was all me- and very simple. Take some mutant green wrinkly kale, wash and salad spin or press in a towel. Cut out the tough kale spine in the center of each leaf. Toss kale with the barest sprinkling of olive oil and kosher salt (less than you think), and roast until kale has reached desired texture. The more spread out they are, the more likely they are to become crisp and papery. DH says they are like fall leaves when papery- I say they’re yummy. But I also like the in between stage when they are still soft and chewy leaves with a hint of crunch on the edges. However, the Black eyed pea and quinoa croquettes and mushroom gravy were all Isa- give or take some de-glutening modifications. I also found out something astonishing. All this time, I’ve thought that I needed to dress quinoa up in elaborate salads with vinagrettes and what not to make it palatable for DH. Imagine my surprise when he, mouth full, says, “Hey, this grain is pretty good! What is it?” When I answered, “Quinoa” he was briefly surprised, and then said, “well, it’s just like couscous, if you ever wondered what couscous was like.” Couscous has never been on my radar, but it was good to know. According to the back of the box (if we can trust packaging), a cup of quinoa contains as much calcium as a quart of milk. And as vegetarians the world over know, quinoa is actually a complete protein. Interesting… It does have a nice fluffy texture, and tastes as innocuous as brown rice, an old friend of mine, with similar cooking time and preparation requirements. I think we may be seeing more quinoa in our future. The quinoa croquettes were quite good as well, although as the book warns, their crunchy, seemingly solid structure is deceptive- dribble them with gravy and they will turn into fake meat crumbles faster than you can say decomposition. Keep ‘em dry and away from the gravy, and you have crunchy, lowfat and very high protein bean/ quinoa nuggets. I liked them. But the real star of the night was the mushroom gravy, a slow simmered veggie stock spiked with savory, healthful surprises like thinly sliced mushrooms, nutritional yeast, and some braggs. I could have drank it like soup, but I tried to have a little more self control and just ladled it liberally on my quinoa. MMmmm- I suddenly felt like one of those people on the V-8 commercials getting their diet “straight”- although with considerably less sodium and.. shudder… celery. I actually made a liquid gravy, but next time I think I’ll make a thicker, heartier version as posted below. This was a great meal- but actually, the next night was even better. I made myself some brown rice, ladled the gravy on it, put a bed of roasted kale down to protect the ever so fragile quinoa nuggets, and then topped them with some leftover nutritional yeast gravy. I’d like my gravy with a side of gravy, if you please. And I think, after you try these recipes, you will too.
Divine Mushroom Sauce
1 1/2 vegetable GF bullion cubes (enough for amount of water below)
3 cups water
2 tbsp. arrowroot flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour, finely ground
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 or 3 cups crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tsp dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
healthy amount of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup white wine
3 tbsp braggs amino acids (or wheat free San J, but for this I prefer Braggs)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup plain soy milk (or other non dairy milk)
Heat water. Add small amount to measuring cup and dissolve bullion cubes. Add rest of water, whisk in flour and arrowroot powder. Add Braggs to liquids. Reserve.
Heat the olive oil in a fry pan or dutch oven and saute the onions and garlic for three minutes. Add the mushrooms and thyme, salt, and pepper, and cook for another five minutes, stirring as needed. Add white wine and bring to a boil for a few more minutes. Add stock mixture (including flour, arrowroot, and braggs), bring to a boil again, and then simmer on low or medium for another fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk in nutritional yeast and soy milk, and whisk for about a minute. Serve.
This sauce was so incredible I was swooning. You can leave out the flour if you like a clear, liquid gravy, but I like a little more substance to my gravies. It was very good even without the flour, though. The flavors in this are amazing!
Nutritional Yeast Gravy
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 1/2 cup water
2 tbsp Braggs GF liquid aminos
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp onion granules
1/4 tsp garlic granules (if desired)
1/8 tsp black pepper
Heat brown rice flour and nutritional yeast flakes in a dry nonstick frypan on a medium temperature, and let them lightly brown and release their fragrance. Take the pan off the heat and slowly add water, braggs, olive oil and seasonings, whisking continuously until mixture is silky smooth. Return to heat and stir until gravy reaches desired consistency.
I serve this gravy every holiday with mashed potatoes and (on thanksgiving) my portabello stuffed acorn squash dish. It’s so easy you can make it anytime, and top brown rice, pasta, baked potatoes or tofu patties. DH enjoys it too, and it’s considerably easier than the typical American gravy made from scratch.