Vegan Recipe: Wild Mushroom and Artichoke Risotto

Fancy dried mushrooms combine with baby bellas and marinated artichokes to produce an earthy and tangy risotto more than capable of standing up to any traditional version. 

1 pint baby bella mushrooms, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1/3 cup fancy dried mushrooms, diced (such as chanterelles and morels)
1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup arborio rice
2 shallots, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 1/2 tbls salt
2 tsps black pepper
2 tsps dry thymeI got a large bag of 'chef's blend' fancy dried mushrooms on amazon. It's great for adding umami depth to broths and sauces. 

A mushroom risotto is awesome with just humble mushrooms, but add some more exotic ones as well, and you've really got something. 

Normally I'll use tomato for acid in a risotto, but this time I went with artichokes. I love artichokes. They offer a unique flavor and texture that creates an entirely different risotto experience. I know there is a certa…

Pasta with Lentil Soup Pesto

Here's an interesting convenience food combo which many will probably enjoy. I wanted pasta, but was not in the mood for pasta with tomato sauce. I did have a can of vegetarian lentil soup that sounded really good to me. Lentils and spinach in a salty, oniony brine. Mmmm.

So I thought to myself, why not combine them. Use the lentil soup as a pasta sauce. And so I did.

Boiled the pasta to al dente according to the package. Drain. Leave a little starchy water behind in the pasta. Add soup. Continued to simmer the pasta in the soup liquid for about 3 minutes more.

Added 1 tbl margarine and 1/4 cup nutritional yeast. The margarine helps give body and richness to the sauce. It also adds some thickening properties as the margarine is solid at lower temps. But I'm a firm adherant to the notion that a little bit of fat goes a long way in any given dish. So just 1 tbl. No more. The yeast also gives thickness and contributes a strong depth of flavor with its cheesy/nutty nuances.

Stir over a low heat to melt the oleo and blend in the yeast. Simmer 1 or 2 minutes more until the sauce is a nice consistency.

Done.

It turned out acutally better than I expected. I was really happy with the flavor and texture. The pasta turned a little green and aborbed some of the soup. Almost like a pesto of sorts. Cooking the pasta to only al dente in the water and then finishing cooking it in the soup realy allowed the flavor of the spinach broth to permeate the pasta. If I had a mind to eat a big serving of carbs I'd be more than happy to pig out on this.

It's something I will definitely be making again in the future. Easy, cheap and tastes really good.

I enjoyed my lentil soup pesto pasta on top of a big bowl of romaine lettuce mixed with lightly roasted chopped broccoli, potato matchsticks, several sprays of white vinegar, a very light drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette, a big scoop black beans, 1 tbl spicy hummus and several dashes of hot sauce.

You could definitely add some chopped roasted almonds to top it all off. That would be spectacular.