I long shared with you a secret ingredient I sometimes use for getting my now 10-year-old to eat his veggies: puff pastry. Not that I wrap every meal in puff pastry. But sometimes, when I'm feeling a little indulgent, I don't mind using some so I can sneakily and unwittingly get him to develop a taste for foods he will not eat, like mushrooms.
Jay loves this vegan wellington and would eat all of it if I let him, but this is also a recipe any adult -- vegan, vegetarian or omnivore -- will eat, and love, and ask seconds for. I plan to make it for Thanksgiving this year, but I wanted to share it with you first.
Wellingtons are usually made with beef, but for my vegan version I created an aromatic and nutritious filling of lentils, celery, carrots, onions and mushrooms. I first caramelize all the veggies with a dash of wine to really build up the flavor, and finish off with a medley of herbs to add more fragrance and flavor. All of the goodness gets wrapped up in puff pastry that bakes up golden, crispy and delicious. I can't imagine a beef wellington would taste any better than one made with this amazing vegan filling of lentils and veggies.
As stunning as this recipe looks, it is rather easy to make. The puff pastry can be storebought, of course, and the veggies take just moments to chop up. The flour serves to bind up the filling, helping it hold together when you slice the wellington.
This recipe for vegan wellington makes two loaves -- enough to serve a medium-sized gathering. I serve it up with a side of my creamy mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy. Each is a delicious recipe by itself, and together they create the kind of chemistry that will leave you licking your fingers.
Here are some tips on making the best vegan wellington -- one that will be your own:
- Make a whole wheat puff pastry crust, using my recipe. Sub half the all purpose flour for whole wheat flour.
- Try a different combo of veggies. You could use a seasonal squash instead of the carrots, or use dry mushrooms, reconstituted, for more texture and flavor.
- To make this recipe soy-free, leave out the soy sauce and use more salt instead.
- Use leeks instead of onions for a different deliciousness!
- Use a mix of wild or dry mushrooms. Make sure you reconstitute them first, then cook with the rest of the filling.
- You can make the filling in advance! Refrigerate and then roll out the puff pastry and stuff and bake the day you want to serve it.
- Check this post out for more vegan family- and kid-friendly meals.
Vegan Wellington with Mushrooms and Lentils recipe
Vegan Wellington with Mushrooms and Lentils
- ¾ cup brown or green lentils
- 2 sheets puff pastry
- 1 tsp avocado oil (or any vegetable oil)
- 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
- 1 large carrot (finely chopped)
- 2 stalks celery (finely chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (finely minced or crushed)
- ½ cup red wine
- 12 oz crimini mushrooms (finely chopped)
- 2-3 tbsp mix of savory herbs, like sage, rosemary, oregano or thyme, or 2-3 tsp of dry herbs (finely minced)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- ¼ cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 2 tsp nondairy milk
- 1 tsp avocado oil (or other vegetable oil)
- Thaw the puff pastry sheets to room temperature.
- Place the lentils in a saucepan, cover with an inch of water, bring to a boil, cover, and continue cooking 10-15 minutes or until lentils are tender but not mushy. Drain and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the carrots, celery, onions and garlic along with a dash of salt and ground black pepper. Saute, stirring frequently, until the veggies start to caramelize.
- Add the mushrooms, saute for a minute, then add the wine. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the wine has evaporated and the mushrooms are browned.
- Add the herbs, soy sauce or tamari, dijon mustard and salt and ground black pepper to taste.
- Add the lentils and continue cooking until there is no visible liquid in the skillet. Add the flour and mix well until the flour is absorbed by the mixture. Turn off the heat.
- Roll out one of the puff pastry sheets to 11 X 13 inches on a lightly floured surface. Divide the lentil mixture in two and place one half in the center of the puff pastry sheets, forming a loaf with your hands as you go. Press it in firmly so it holds together, then bring one side of the puff pastry sheet over the top, and then the other. Tuck in the top and bottom so you have a neat-looking, fully wrapped log. Press in the seams to seal, brush with water first to help the puff pastry stick. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry and the remaining lentil-veggie mixture.
- Place the logs on a baking sheet, at least two inches apart. Using a sharp knife, score the top of the log in a decorative pattern-- I did a crosshatch that's pretty and also pretty easy to make. Mix the two wash ingredients and brush the wash on the tops of the wellington loaves. This gives the baked loaf a lovely color.
- Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake the wellington logs for 45 minutes.
- Remove, let the wellingtons stand for about 10 minutes, then slice and serve.