Italy Meets Thailand Vegan Stew

This is a sweet and spicy concoction that has surprising nuances to offer. The mushrooms are meaty. The tomatoes provide acidity. The black beans fortify the broth into a rich sauce. Ginger and basil smack of Thailand. The sweet tomatoes and earthy mushrooms whisper of Italy. It's weird, but it really works.

There's a lot of flavor to be extracted from this rather mundane list of ingredients. It just takes a little bit of passion and the right techniques.

8 ounces sliced white mushrooms
6 ounces white onion, diced
4 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 jalapeno, chopped
1/2 a hot banana pepper, chopped
1/2 inch fresh grated ginger
1 large handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly

1/3 cup Marsala wine
1 tbl canola oil

1/2 cup cooked white rice
1 cup drained and rinsed black beans

2 tsps salt
2 tsps black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne powder

Add oil and heat a large skillet. Cook mushrooms on medium high heat for 5 minutes. Add wine, onion and tomatoes. Cook 5 more minutes. Add jalapeno, banana pepper, ginger and garlic. Cook 2 more minutes.

Stir in rice and beans. Simmer 3 more minutes.

Add salt, black pepper, paprika, cayenne and basil. Simmer 2 more minutes.

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