French Black Beans and Mushrooms with Gravy Vegan

There's something really satisfying about mushrooms treated in a french preparation. Wine, mustard and thyme are one of those classic combinations that evoke a fine dining experience without the fine dining price tag. 1 pint baby bella mushrooms chopped small 1 can black beans, rinsed 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 tbl tsps soy sauce 2 tbl spicy mustard 2 tsps  prepared, jarred, horseradish (horseradish, vinegar and salt) 1 tbl hot sauce 1/4 cup dry white wine 2 tbls olive oil 2 tsps dry thyme 1 tsp black pepper 2 tsps salt When you cook down mushrooms some kind of molecular magic happens that turns bland, spongy fungi into a delectable culinary powerhouse. Add some wine and a few other components and you've got a deep, dark saucy ragout that will make anything you cover it with irresistible.  It's a simple mixture that yields complex tastes and textures.  It won't take up a lot of your time to make, but you'll have a hard time not eating it all in one sitting.  Start yo

Vegan Pasta Salad with Tofu

Yesterday I had my first foray into using tofu. While I've eaten it from the Chinese take out, this is the first time I've bought it and used it on my own at home. I made sauteed pasta with tofu.

I liked it very much with balsamic vinegar dressing. I only dressed it with the vinegar because there was already plenty of olive of oil from the sauteing process.

I had meant to take a picture, but forgot. Hopefully I'll remember to add one tomorrow.

Am sure there are many vegan pasta salad with tofu recipes out there, but mine is easier because it uses mostly frozen vegetables. Some people look down on frozen veg. But actually it can be healthier than the stuff from your local produce department. Depending on where you live and where the vegetables came from, they may already be old by the time you get them home. Frozen is quick frozen right after harvest to keep its freshness and nutrients intact while it takes the long trip to get to your local grocery and then waits for you to purchase it.

I think my tofu pasta salad came out very nicely considering it was my first time ever to use it. Maybe next time I'll try to get it a little crispier. But overall an easy and tasty dish. The tofu really sucks up the oil and vinegar flavors, which is a good thing. It's a perfect hot weather meal. Filling, yet cooling.

1/2 box dry pasta
1 can petite cut plain tomatoes
1/2 cup frozen broccoli
1/3 cup frozen colorful bell peppers
1/2 cup frozen crinkle cut carrots
8 cloves garlic smashed and lightly chopped
1/2 package extra firm tofu diced (about 7 ounces)
2 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper
balsamic vinegar

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse in cool water and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a large non-stick skillet coated with the olive oil. When oil is hot add broccoli and carrots and saute for 3 minutes. Douse with a little salt. Add tofu, peppers and garlic and saute 4 minutes more.

Add can of tomatoes and pasta and simmer for 5 more minutes or until most of the liquids have been absorbed or evaporated.

Taste. Add more salt, pepper or olive oil to preference.

Store in fridge and allow to chill at least 6 hours.

Dress individual portions with balsamic vinegar.

Other interesting add ins might be almonds, cashews, black beans, roasted potatoes, corn. Everything is delicious in pasta salad.