Black Rice Risotto with Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions

Black Rice RisottoThis one’s going to be a short post today because it’s 10 pm now and the only reason my tired eyes are open is because I can’t wait to share this recipe with you: my Black Rice Mushroom Risotto with Caramelized Onions.

You know I am always looking for easy weeknight recipes to brown bag for lunch, and this one is one of my favorites so far. Black rice, if you’re not familiar with it, is a glutinous rice which makes it perfect for risottos. It cooks up purple rather than black and tastes nutty and quite delicious.

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Black Rice Risotto

It’s also a nutritional star — much healthier than white and even its brown counterparts. It’s packed with antioxidants and ounce for ounce it has more protein and more iron.

But forget about all that for a moment and think of this: isn’t it a little special eating something that — if you were born a few centuries ago– you could have only eaten if you happened to be the emperor of China? True story.

So I promised a short post and a short post it will be. Enjoy the recipe, all, and if you feel just a little blue blooded after eating this incredible dish….well, you could always go to London and look up the queen.

Ciao.

Black Rice Risotto

Black Rice Risotto with Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 cup black rice
  • 4-5 cups of hot water (vegetable stock is even better)
  • 3 tsp olive oil
  • 3 medium onion, one chopped and the other two thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ¼ cup of white wine (optional)
  • 12 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ cup cashews
  • 2 tbsp white miso paste (optional)
Instructions
  1. Make the cashew cheese for the risotto by blending together the cashews and the miso with enough water to make a smooth paste. If you don’t have miso you could use 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, or leave it out altogether and just use the cashew paste.
  2. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a saucepan.
  3. Add the chopped onion, season with some salt, red pepper flakes and ground black pepper and saute until softened, about three to four minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, saute for a few seconds, then add the mushrooms and white wine.
  5. Turn up the flame to medium-high and cook until the wine has evaporated and the mushrooms have taken on a nice sheen.
  6. Add the black rice, season with more salt and pepper to taste, and saute for a minute. Now add ½ cup of water and let it cook until the water evaporates, stirring frequently. Just before the rice dries completely, add another ½ cup of water. Repeat, stirring the risotto frequently, until the rice is cooked but still has a bite to it. This process takes some time, so be patient.
  7. Now add the cashew cheese and mix well. The risotto should have a creamy, slightly soupy consistency when done. Add more salt if needed.
  8. Now heat the remaining 2 tsp of oil in another saucepan, add the sliced onions and sugar with a pinch of salt, and saute, stirring frequently, until the onions turn golden brown.
  9. Top the risotto with the caramelized onions and serve hot.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 246 Fat: 9.2 grams Sugar: 6 grams Fiber: 3.3 grams Protein: 7.7 grams

Black Rice Risotto

 

Asparagus Potato Pizza with Kale Pesto

Asparagus Pizza
This past weekend was pretty much a washout here in the Washington area. It rained in the morning, it rained in the afternoon, it rained in the evening and it rained all night. It rained on Saturday and it rained on Sunday. In fact, it even snowed for a couple of hours. Imagine.

Opie, who will not give up his walks for hail or high water, put his best face on the weather. On Sunday morning he went to his favorite trail, got soaked in the rain, sniffed around three other intrepid (and equally soaked dogs) who were also braving the weather, sat around on the slush-covered grass, and came home smelling like… wet dog. It took Desi the best part of an hour and multiple towels to dry him out.

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Asparagus PizzaWith Opie’s walk out of the way and not much else to do, it was time to get cooking. Something warm and comforting, like sunshine for the belly. And what’s sunnier than a slice of crispy, crusty pizza?

I have been dreaming of an asparagus pizza for months now, and I’d been dreaming of a potato pizza for even longer. Why not combine the two, I thought. I love the idea of potatoes on pizza — in fact, there isn’t a better substitute for cheese, in my mind. Potatoes are just as satisfying as cheese, most people love them, and icing on the cake, they are far healthier with no cholesterol or fat to worry about. Yes, they do have carbs but you are not eating so much potato here that you have to worry about that. In fact, there are just about four super-thin potato slices in each slice of pizza.

Besides, you have all that great healthfulness from the kale pesto that also goes on this pizza, making it super delicious and super good for you. In fact, this kale pesto is perfect not just for this pizza but for pastas as well. Try it and you’ll never stop making it.

Gotta run now, but here’s the recipe. Enjoy, all!

Asparagus Pizza

Asparagus Potato Pizza with Kale Pesto
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • For the pizza dough:
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 package (2¼ tsp) active dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or sugar
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • For the kale pesto:
  • 1 packed cup baby kale
  • ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • For the toppings:
  • 20 asparagus spears, woody ends trimmed
  • 4 red bliss or yukon gold potatoes, sliced very thin (1/8th of an inch). Place the sliced potatoes in a bowl of cold water and let them stand 30 minutes.
Instructions
  1. Make the pizza dough:
  2. Combine the yeast, warm water and sugar or maple syrup in a bowl and set aside to activate the yeast.
  3. After five minutes, add the whole wheat flour and a cup of the bread flour along with salt.
  4. Knead by hand or on low speed in a stand mixer until the dough comes together. If needed, add more flour a few tablespoons at a time. You want a smooth, slightly sticky dough. Continue to knead for another five minutes.
  5. Shape the dough into a smooth ball and place in an oiled bowl, turning over once to coat the top. Cover loosely with a plastic bag or kitchen towel and set aside to rise and double, about 2 hours.
  6. Make the kale pesto:
  7. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until they have broken down into a fairly smooth paste. Set aside.
  8. Prep the veggies:
  9. Heat a large pot of water and add some salt to it, like you would for cooking pasta. Blanch the asparagus and the sliced potatoes by adding them to the pot of boiling water. Let them be for three minutes, then turn off heat, strain the vegetables and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  10. Assemble and bake the pizza:
  11. If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
  12. Remove the dough from the bowl, knead it slightly to deflate, then let it rest for 10 minutes, covered.
  13. Roll out the pizza dough as evenly as possible to a diameter of about 15 inches. If the dough is too resistant, let it rest for a few more minutes, then roll.
  14. Transfer the pizza dough to a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal or, if you have one, a pizza peel also sprinkled with cornmeal. Shape and stretch again with your fingers if the dough shrinks. Using your fingertips, make dimples in the surface of the pizza. This will keep the pizza from forming air pockets when it bakes.
  15. Slather the pesto on the pizza, then top with the blanched slices of potato and asparagus spears. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on top, if desired and sprinkle some salt and pepper.
  16. Place the pizza directly on top of a pizza stone in the preheated oven or leave it in the baking sheet if you don’t have a pizza stone. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the crust is all crispy and golden.
  17. Remove carefully, slice, and serve hot.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 320 Fat: 5 grams Sugar: 4.2 grams Fiber: 6.5 grams Protein: 10.8 grams

 Asparagus Potato Pizza***

More pizza recipes at Holy Cow!

Basil Pizza

 Caramelized Onion Tart with Olives

Pizza topped with Tandoori Tofu

Beet Burger with Chipotle Cashew Hummus

Beet BurgerGet a delicious start to Spring with my Beet Burger with Chipotle Cashew Hummus.

This burger is simplicity itself: instead of making a patty with grated beet and other ingredients, I take a thick, juicy slice of roasted beetroot, saute it with some seasonings to add more flavor, then sandwich it between layers of caramelized onions, hummus flavored with chipotle chili,  and crisp, clean greens. All of this goodness goes on my whole wheat burger bun. Yum.

This is the perfect recipe for the grill: you could marinate the slices of roasted beet in the seasonings and then saute them in a grill wok, adding yet another layer of smoky flavor.

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Beet Burger

The hummus recipe, which I’ll also share with you, is a simple variation on the traditional recipe. I love adding chipotle chilies to various sauces (remember my Pasta with Chipotle Cashew Cream?) and this time, instead of tahini, I decided to use roasted cashews in the hummus. The experiment really worked– I know I’ll be making this amazing hummus again and again.

I won’t chatter on too long today because I can’t wait to share the recipe with you. It involves a few steps, but none of them is hard. If you try this once, I guarantee you will be making it again. And again. I know I will.

Beet Burger

Beet Burger with Chipotle Cashew Hummus
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • For Beet Burger Patty:
  • 3 large beets, scrubbed clean
  • Oil to spray
  • 2 tsp minced or crushed garlic
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Ground black pepper and salt to taste’
  • 1 tsp dry sage
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • For Chipotle Cashew Hummus:
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas. If using canned, drain thoroughly.
  • 1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, minced
  • 12 roasted cashew nuts
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (optional)
  • For Caramelized Onions:
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • Leafy greens like baby spinach, baby chard or baby kale. A mix of spring greens would be great here also.
  • For the buns, follow my Whole Wheat Burger Buns recipe but shape into 12 buns instead of 6. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 23 minutes.
Instructions
  1. Make the beet patties:
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Place a large piece of aluminum foil on a baking sheet, spray with oil, place the beets inside in a single row, and fold the foil over to cover completely. Crimp the edges of the foil to seal.
  4. Place the baking sheet in the oven and roast for 45 minutes to an hour, or until a knife inserted in the thickest part of the beet goes through cleanly and without resistance.
  5. Remove the baking sheet and let it cool for 15 minutes, then open the foil and let the beets cool until they can be handled.
  6. Peel the beets by rubbing the skins off, then slice into ¼-inch-thick slices.
  7. Heat the olive oil in a wok or large saute pan.
  8. Add the garlic, sage and salt. Add the beets and salt and saute for about five minutes.
  9. Sprinkle on the lemon juice and set aside.
  10. Make the chipotle cashew hummus:
  11. Place the garlic pods in a small piece of aluminum foil sprayed with oil, roll up the foil into a ball, and roast with the beets for 30 minutes. Once they are cool enough to handle, discard the skins and reserve the gooey, roasted garlic.
  12. Place the chickpeas, cashew nuts, roasted garlic, chipotle chili and salt in a food processor. Add enough water to make a smooth paste that’s thick enough to smear on a burger bun. Blend into a really smooth paste. If you are using the extra virgin olive oil, pour it in through the feed tube as the hummus is blending.
  13. Make the caramelized onions:
  14. Heat the oil, add the caramelized onions and a pinch of salt. Saute for a minute, then add the ground black pepper and sugar.
  15. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the onions become golden brown and soft. Turn off heat and remove to a bowl.
  16. To build your burger, cut a whole wheat burger bun in half, smear some hummus on the base of the bun, layer on some greens, then a beet patty, and finally some caramelized onions. Smear some more hummus on the top half of the bun before capping off your burger.
  17. Dig in, and enjoy!

Beet Burger

Irish Lamb Stew

Irish Lamb Stew Stir up the pot this St. Patrick’s Day with my delicious and meatless Irish Lamb Stew.

I must confess that in days long past, when I ate meat, lamb was a big favorite. Partly because it was the meat I grew up eating in my omnivore Indian home, much more so than chicken which — funnily enough– was rarer to find in India in those days. After becoming vegan I have created meatless versions of many favorite lamb recipes, replicating the same spices and herbs and other seasonings used in the originals to create authentic-tasting dishes, like My Dad’s ‘Not-Mutton’ Mushroom Curry or my Lamb and Cauliflower Curry.

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Irish Lamb StewFor this Irish Lamb Stew made without lamb (honestly, wouldn’t you rather just cuddle one?), I used TVP chunks or soy nuggets which I browned first, just as you would brown meat, to add deep and rich flavor. Browning the TVP first makes the nuggets chewier, giving them a very meat-like texture that’s often hard to replicate in vegan substitutes.

The TVP also gives the stew a big protein boost, making it pretty much a meal in itself, what with all the veggies in there– the comforting kind, like potatoes and carrots and mushrooms. You can serve it with some crusty bread or some rice or, in true Irish style, with a side of potatoes and cabbage.

Have a great weekend, all, and a happy St. Paddy’s Day!

Irish Lamb Stew

Irish Lamb Stew
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Stew
Cuisine: Irish
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 cup TVP chunks or soy chunks
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour (you can use whole wheat or even a gluten-free flour like rice flour)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups button or crimini mushrooms, halved or quartered if large
  • 3 sticks celery, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into rounds about ⅙th of an inch thick
  • 3 potatoes, cut in a chunky dice
  • ½ bottle of beer (use a Guinness for more authenticity. If you don’t want to add beer, use wine, or just leave it out)
  • 3-5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, minced (substitute with 1 tsp dry)
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced (substitute with 1 tsp dry)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. Soak the TVP or soy chunks in hot water for 30 minutes. Drain.
  2. Mix the flour with some salt and pepper and dredge the TVP chunks in the flour. Shake off any excess flour.
  3. Heat all but 1 tsp of the vegetable oil in a dutch oven or a large, heavy-bottomed pot.
  4. Place the TVP chunks in the dutch oven in a single layer, being careful not to crowd them. Brown the chunks on all sides over medium heat.
  5. Remove to a dish lined with a paper towel and set aside. Also reserve any flour remaining from dredging the TVP because we’ll use that to thicken the sauce.
  6. Add the remaining teaspoon of oil to the dutch oven and add the onions and garlic. Season with some salt and pepper. Saute, stirring frequently, over medium heat until the onions are softened and translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
  7. Add the thyme, rosemary, carrots, mushrooms, potatoes and celery and saute until the vegetables are all well mixed together.
  8. Add the remaining flour and stir well to mix, about two minutes.
  9. Add the beer and 4 cups of the vegetable stock along with the reserved TVP chunks.
  10. Bring to a boil, turn the heat to a simmer, cover with a lid, and cook for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are all tender and the flavors have melded together. Add more stock or water if the stew looks too dry. I made my stew rather thick because that’s how we like it, but you can definitely make it soupier.
  11. Add salt and ground black pepper to taste.
  12. Serve hot. Stew always tastes best when it has had some time to stand and the flavors have mixed together, so this is a great dish to make the day before you want to serve it.
  13. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Calories: 229 Fat: 4 grams Fiber: 9.3 grams Protein: 17.2 grams

Irish Lamb Stew

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For more St. Patrick’s Day recipes, check out these posts:

Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread

Irish Cream Cupcakes

Ethiopian Lentil and Vegetable Stew

Ethiopian Lentil StewWashington, D.C., with its heady mix of history and power, is a special kind of city. 

Everywhere you look in D.C. you can find the story of America, and it’s not just in the Capitol or the White House or the many imposing monuments and memorials and museums that are part of this city. It’s  in the centuries-old rowhouses that line the city’s streets, like the one where Lincoln died or the one Duke Ellington lived in his teens. It’s in the half a dozen black SUVs with dark-tinted windows and police outriders, as they zip down a busy artery ferrying some important dignitary every day of every week. It’s even in the “no-parking” signs tacked up on parking meters outside a hotel because the president is giving a speech inside.

D.C. may be the world’s most powerful city, but to some of us it is also home.  Desi and I moved here to study journalism and we stayed not just because there isn’t perhaps a better place in the world to be a journalist in, not just because its quiet dignity seemed a welcome change from the bustling city we moved here from — Bombay — but because D.C. felt like our own from the moment we set foot in it.

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Ethiopian Lentil Stew

Berbere Spice MixThere are many things I love about D.C. But when someone asks me what I love best, I don’t have to think twice– it’s the city’s diversity. It thrills me to know that I live in one of the world’s most cosmopolitan countries. For centuries immigrants have flocked here and refugees fleeing tyranny and strife back home have embraced the capital of the world’s greatest democracy as their home. 

All of this diversity, of course, manifests itself in food, making D.C and its suburbs an adventurous eater’s dream. Because Silver Spring, the D.C. suburb I live in, has in recent years seen a vast influx of Ethiopians, we have been lucky to get at least half a dozen new Ethiopian restaurants in downtown Silver Spring. Which is perfect, because I adore Ethiopian food. In fact, there are days when I would die for it. Almost.

Last week, Desi stopped off at a store and while I waited for him in the car I was nearly driven to madness by these delicious smells wafting out from an Ethiopian restaurant nearby. By the time I got home, I couldn’t bear the idea of another day going by without getting some Ethiopian food inside my belly. So I charged into the kitchen, slammed the saucepan on the stove, and got cooking. And that’s how this delicious Ethiopian Lentil and Vegetable Stew was born.

I had most of the ingredients I needed for this stew in my pantry. I used mushrooms, sweet potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and red peppers in my stew, and you can use some or all of these, or even try different vegetables. Zucchini would be fabulous here, as would be any winter squash.

The Berbere spice mix, a bright red spice mix that takes so many Ethiopian dishes from delicious to sublime, is key to the flavor of this dish, so don’t try making the stew without it.  It is worth the little effort, and you get  enough to last you through three or four uses.

Gotta run now, but here’s the recipe. Enjoy!

Ethiopian Lentil and Vegetable Stew

Ethiopian Lentil and Vegetable Stew
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Includes recipe for Berbere spice blend, an essential spice mix used in Ethiopian cuisine
Author:
Recipe type: Stew
Cuisine: Ethiopian
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • For Berbere Spice Mix (based on this recipe):
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp whole allspice
  • 10 green cardamom pods
  • 8 cloves
  • ½ cup onion flakes or fried onions (like the ones from French’s or sold in packets in Indian store)
  • 6 arbol chiles (can use dry serrano or Kashmiri chillies as a substitute)
  • ¼ cup paprika
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground dry ginger
  • For the stew:
  • 5-6 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 heaping tbsp berbere spice mix
  • 1 tsp wholegrain or Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 cup pink lentils
  • 1 large red onion or two medium, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper (can use green or yellow), finely diced
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
  • 2 cups button or crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large sweet potato, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary (if using dry, reduce to 1½ tsp)
  • 1 tsp finely chopped thyme
  • Ground black pepper and salt to taste
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnish
Instructions
  1. Make the Berbere spice blend:
  2. Heat a small skillet and roast the coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, cloves, allspice, peppercorns, and cardamom until the coriander seeds are a couple of shades darker.
  3. Add the chiles and the onion flakes and grind into a coarse powder in a blender or spice grinder.
  4. Remove to a bowl and mix with the paprika, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and ginger.
  5. Store in an airtight jar.
  6. Make the stew:
  7. In a bowl mix 2 tbsp of the vegetable stock, berbere spice, lemon juice, paprika , mustard and salt. Set aside.
  8. Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Add the onions, herbs and garlic along with some salt and pepper. Saute, stirring frequently, over medium heat until the onions are translucent and just beginning to turn color.
  9. Add the lentils and stir well. Add the tomatoes, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, carrots, and bell peppers along with the berbere spice mixture dissolved in the vegetable stock. Stir well to mix, add 5 cups of vegetable stock, and bring to a boil.
  10. Cover with a lid and let the sauce simmer on medium-low heat about 30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked and soft. If the mixture gets too dry, add more water or stock.
  11. Add salt and more ground black pepper if needed. Turn off the heat and garnish, if desired, with fresh coriander leaves.
  12. Serve hot with rice or bread.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 74 Fat: 1.7 grams Fiber: 3.9 grams Protein: 2.4 grams