Hearty Vegan Stew that Delivers
A friend asked me to make a dish for a party recently and her restrictions were gluten free and vegan. Easy! But I also wanted to make something hearty and comforting as we were having some crisp Southern California weather. You know, 65 and sunny. I remembered seeing the recipe for a scrumptious mushroom and kale stew on The First Mess and thought I’d give it a try for this party. I made quite a few modifications because I believe there can never be too much wine or garlic in a dish.
I have been trying to incorporate more plant based protiens in my diet because I’ve been missing the mark lately. This dish has lentils and nut milks which pack in some protien and lots of fiber and delicious creaminess. I normally cook lentils into a smooth paste (see Sambar) but for this recipe I wanted them to be nice and separate and firm yet tender in the final product. I chose black lentils for this very reason. They do not cook down so easily and retain their shape and texture better than brown lentils.
Like many delicious things, it all starts off with the oh so familiar sauteeing of aromatic veggies.
The step I changed A LOT was the wine bit. I added a whole lot more wine to this recipe because wine and mushrooms and thyme is heavenly. And who doesn’t need a little more heaven in their life am I right?!
Cooking the mushrooms in the aromatic wine creates a bit of a gravy which adds to the hearty creaminess of this dish. The original recipe calls for scooping out some of the mushroom mixture and then blending it into smooth creamy perfection in the blender. I just didn’t feel like washing the blender so I skipped that part. Adding the mushrooms after the wine preserves the liquid of the mushrooms and combines it with the wine to create a sauce. This would be a one pot wonder if it weren’t for the lentils. But they are well worth it.
Ah kale. It has become a ubiquitous green that is seen in dishes all across the US. From salads to soups to stews to casseroles you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a menu with kale on it. It has also become a staple of my diet as I have been getting it in my CSA haul almost every week for three years. Almost every week. For. Three. Years. At first it was a nuisance but now if I go more than two weeks without kale I start to get withdrawl.
Both times I made this dish I was amazed at how hearty, satisfying and filling it was. I also shared it with other people who loved it as much as I did. Even though it doesn’t get very cold out here in Southern California the days do get crisp and the nights get long and it’s nice to have something warm and comforting to cozy up to for dinner that’s also healthy and nutritious.
Adapted from The First Mess
- 1 1/2 lbs of various mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (crimini, shitake, oyster, button, white, etc.)
- 2-3 shallots minced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2/3 cup of white wine
- 1 Tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves
- 3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 teaspoons Tamari
- 1/3 cup of unsweetened nut milk (I used Califa’s almond coconut creamer)
- 1 to 2 cups of veggie stock (home made is best)
- 1 large bunch of kale, stemmed and chopped
- 3/4 cup of black lentils
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons pine nuts
- In a medium sized pot or large sauce pan add the lentils and enough water to cover by two inches. Add a large pinch of salt and bring the water to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the lentils are tender and still whole. Do not let them cook until they are disintegrating. When they are done, strain the lentils and set aside.
- While the lentils are cooking, heat oil in a dutch oven until it is hot and starts to shimmer. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until it begins to brown but don’t let it burn.
- Add the wine and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the wine is reduced by half.
- Add mushrooms and stir so they are coated in the sauce. Let them sit for a minute or two and then stir. Let them cook undisturbed for another minute or two and then stir. Continue to do this until the mushrooms are tender and cooked through. There should be a bit of gravy beginning to form.
- Add a pinch of salt to the mushrooms and stir well. Cook the mushrooms until they are tender and cooked through.
- Add the Tamari, nutritional yeast and nut milk. Stir well and bring it to a simmer. Add the thyme and stir well.
- Add the chopped kale and stir well until all the kale is wilted and submerged in the mushroom sauce. Add the veggie stock by 1/2 cup fulls until you are able to submerge the kale.
- When the kale is nice and wilted add the cooked black lentils and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes or until the kale is very tender.
- Serve in bowls with toasted crusty bread or just eat it by itself.