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Penne with ‘Meaty’ Vegan Ragu with Gino’s Gourmet Groceries

Penne with ‘Meaty’ Vegan Ragu

I love my pasta. I love how something so simple as boiled dried dough, made out of flour and water, can bring such comfort and delight.

Casalare: Gluten Free Vegie Penne Pasta

Before I became a vegan, one of my favourite pasta sauces to make was ‘ragu’, a meat-based Italian sauce, which is rich, thick, delicious and full of flavours. It was, in more ways than one, awesome.

Spiral Foods: Organic Garlic & Basil Sugo

When I eat food, it invokes all sorts of feelings and emotions inside of me. Not all the time, of course, because sometimes eating is just the mere act of ‘re-fuelling’ oneself. The meal can take many forms, but all share the same mundane, unremarkable purpose, to stop that feeling of hunger in its tracks.

But other times, more often than not, I eat to feel things (as opposed to stop feeling things, like the sensation of hunger). I eat to make myself feel joyful, gratified, indulged, pacified, inspired, delighted, happy, and alive.

Penne with Meaty Vegan Ragu

I wanted to re-create that feeling I used to get whenever I had a good ragu back in the old meat-eating days, only this time with a vegan ragu. And so I went to my kitchen laboratory and started experimenting I chose mushroom and tempe as my plant-based proteins of choice and, boy, did they rise up to the challenge. I also added some shredded kale leaves to give the dish another layer of texture and flavour, and to boost its nutritional content, and because I just love kale in general.

The result is a thick and rich ragu that tastes so ‘meaty’ and delicious that you’ll forget it contains no meat at all. I hope you will give it a go!

Casalare: Gluten Free Vegie Penne Pasta
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Penne with ‘Meaty’ Vegan Ragu

A deliciously rich, protein-packed vegan ragu that's nourishing, satisfying and oh so comforting.
Course Main
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2
Author Keren Natalia

Ingredients

  • 250 g tempeh diced to about 1cm cubes
  • Leaves from three stalks of kale chopped or shredded (optional)
  • 1/3 cup basil leaves
  • 3 large brown mushrooms chopped
  • 1 large red onion
  • 4 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 700 g jar of pasta sauce*
  • 250 g gluten free penne pasta*

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Cook red onion for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until softened slightly.
  2. Add the minced garlic and diced tempeh and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally until browned.
  3. Add the chopped mushroom, cook, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the pasta sauce, bring to boil, then add the chopped kale into the pot and stir until kale is cooked, about 1 minute.
  5. Stir in fresh basil. Remove from heat and set aside.
  6. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water according to the packet instruction until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
  7. Mix sauce with pasta, adding the reserved cooking liquid to coat pasta with sauce. Serve with Vegan Parmesan.

Recipe Notes

*I use Spiral Foods: Organic Garlic & Basil Sugo; and Casalare: Gluten Free Vegie Penne Pasta, both from Gino’s Groceries.

This recipe is sponsored by Gino’s Gourmet Groceries, an online store that partners with the best independent producers who share their values of doing things the right way. They supply real, honest food, with no artificial ingredients and no nasties, at a fair price. I must say that the pasta sauce and the gluten-free vegan penne I got from them were some of the best I’ve ever tasted.

And because the team at Gino’s Gourmet Groceries are awesome, they’re giving you, my lovely readers, a 25% discount on our next purchase with them. Just use the code “PASSIONATELY25” during checkout.

P.S. If you make this, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or find me on Instagram and share your creation. Don’t forget to tag me @passionatelykeren so I won’t miss your post.

Keren x

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Mushroom Risotto with Black Truffles

Oh, those little black gold nuggets… A couple of months ago I impulse-purchased a couple of black truffles from The Truffle Farm because, well, (a) they were in season and (b) I’m weak around fine foods… like… completely helpless! So I made this dish –  Mushroom Risotto with Black Truffle.

Vegan Mushroom Risotto With Black Truffle

Mushroom risotto and black truffle is like the perfect marriage made in foodie heaven I think.

I got a bit nervous (like pretty much every time I make risotto). Did I add enough stock? Did I add too much stock? Is the flavour okay? Is it going to be soggy or too dry?

I just wanted it to be good.

Because..

I can’t live with a bad risotto – at least not from my kitchen.

Vegan Mushroom Risotto With Black Truffle

But it turned out beautiful! I don’t know why I worried so much. It was creamy, perfectly al-dente and the flavour of Swiss brown mushrooms…. man, it really made this dish shine. And the thinly shaved truffle… sprinkling it all over the dish was almost like making that crunchy caramel top of crème brulee, it made the dish perfect.

This dish is rich, comforting, and full of the earthy and savoury flavours that I adores so much. I also added a sprinkle of vegan parmesan, and just like that – magic happened.

mushroom-risotto-2

Making risotto requires patience. You have to stand there in the kitchen for almost an hour just stirring the thing. But I guess that’s why it tastes so good – because of all the love you put into it. I’m lucky enough to have a Cuisine Companion, a cooking machine that cooks and stirs at the same time, so I don’t have to go to so much trouble. But I’ve made risotto without it before and it wasn’t too bad, as long as your heart’s in it. Besides, that’s how people have made risotto for years – in a saucepan, over a stove.

Vegan Mushroom Risotto With Black Truffle

Mushroom Risotto with Black Truffles

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Arborio rice (I use SunRice brand)
  • 1 large brown onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, diced
  • 200g Swiss brown mushroom, sliced to 1cm thickness
  • ¼ cup extra virgin oil
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup vegan parmesan
  • 20 gram black truffles (or you can substitute with truffle oil)
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter (I use Nuttelex)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper

Cuisine Companion Method: 

  1. Place in the bowl fitted with the mixer. Add the oil and onion and launch the P1 slow cook program without the stopper for 3 mins.
  2. Add the rice then launch the P1 Slow Cook program without the stopper for 3 mins. Add white wine and relaunch for 1 min.
  3. Add the vegetable stock stock and launch the Slow Cook Program P2 at 95°C for 15 mins without the stopper.
  4. Meanwhile slice mushroom to 1cm thickness.
  5. Add mushroom at the end of the 15 minute program and then relaunch for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the vegan parmesan, salt, butter and gently mix. Adjust the seasoning.
  7. Sprinkle with shaved black truffle or drizzle with black truffle oil.

Manual Method:

  1. Place stock in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until mixture starts to simmer. Turn the heat to low and cover to keep hot.
  2. Heat oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for 3-5 minutes or until onion has softened.
  3. Stir in rice into the cooked onion. Cook, for 1 to 2 minutes or until coated. Add wine. Stir for 30 seconds or until wine has absorbed.
  4. Add ½ cup of hot stock to rice mixture. Cook, stirring, until stock has absorbed. Repeat with remaining stock, ½ cup at a time.
  5. Add sliced mushroom after adding the last cup of stock and cook until liquid has absorbed and rice is tender.
  6. Remove pan from heat. Stir in spinach, parmesan and butter. Set aside, covered, for 2 minutes. Season. Serve with grated parmesan.
  1. Add the vegan parmesan, salt, butter and gently mix. Adjust the seasoning.

Tips:

  • Infuse the rice with the black truffles for five days for a boost of truffle flavour.
  • You can shave truffles using a cheese shaver or a vegetable peeler.

Vegan Mushroom Risotto With Black Truffle

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and/or share a picture on Instagram and tag me :)

Big love,

Keren

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Turmeric, Mushroom, Non-Dairy Icecream, Milk Myth and Curing Diabetes

Green Nutrition News – Top 5 nutrition news items

Each week we bring you the latest plant based nutrition news and articles so you can stay informed and empowered.

This week our top 5 nutrition news items include some of the amazing health benefits of turmeric; ways to make healthy non-dairy ice-cream; dispelling common myths about cow’s milk and calcium consumption; the cancer and immunity-protecting properties of the humble mushroom, and whether or not vegan diets help with diabetes.

SPRING

Why Turmeric May Be a Vegetarian’s Best Friend

Turmeric, a perennial plant belonging to the ginger family, has been used as a spice in Asia for thousands of years. Turmeric can provide a rich, orange-yellow colour to foods, and is used in canned beverages, baked products, dairy products, ice cream, yogurt, yellow cakes, orange juice, biscuits, popcorn colour, cereals and sauces. Turmeric is a significant ingredient in most curry powders.

Turmeric also has known medicinal benefits. A recent press release published on 17 June 2015 reported a study that found the yellow pigment and active therapeutic ingredient of Turmeric, curcumin, enhanced the synthesis of DHA in the liver and brain from essential omega 3 fatty acid ALA.

According to researchers in the study, turmeric can be used to help convert plant derived omega-3 fats to DHA. This can potentially be helpful to individuals who do not eat animal-based food, or who are vegetarian/vegan.

Other studies highlighted by Dr Michael Greger on his Nutrition Facts website have shown turmeric/curcumin has protective effects against some cancers, including Multiple Myeloma, colon cancer, and some types of skin cancers .

Mushrooms Enhance Immune Function and Protect Against Cancer

A recent online article by Dr Joel Fuhrman noted the benefits of mushrooms in boosting immunity and protecting against breast and other types of cancer.

According to Dr Fuhrman, mushrooms have certain phyto-chemicals such as beta-glucan, which enhance the activity of certain types of immunity or ‘killer’ cells in the body, which attack and destroy virus-infected and cancerous cells. These immune-enhancers are thought to help the body fight off microbial invaders and developing tumors, and prevent respiratory infections.

Mushrooms also have compounds that protect against the proliferation of stomach, colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers.

Dr Fuhrman advises that mushrooms should only be eaten cooked. This is apparently because several raw culinary mushrooms contain a potentially carcinogenic substance called agaritine, and cooking mushrooms significantly reduces their agaritine content.

How to make dairy-free ice-cream at home

Do you ever feel the need for a delicious frozen treat that won’t ruin your diet, that’s simple to prepare and make at home? Well, dairy-free ice-cream could be your answer

Vicki Brett-Gach, a Certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator writing on the T Colin Campbell Centre for Nutritional Studies website, shows you how make fresh, healthy vegan ice cream or sorbet in your own kitchen.

Vicki uses an ice-cream machine, but provides tips on how to make these treats using a blender or food processor instead. She showcases several of her favourite mouth-watering recipes, including Cinnamon Spiced Ice Cream; Tart Lemon Pineapple Ice with Fresh Blueberries; Bartlett Pear Sorbet and more.

Vicki’s ice-cream recipes are very easy and straightforward to make, and typically use non-dairy milk and maple syrup for the dairy and sugar alternatives, or simply fruit and dried fruit in the case of sorbets.

You can also check out our very own Vegan Mango Ice Cream recipe which we regularly enjoy here at Littlegreenhabits HQ.

So give these recipes a try and let us know how you found them!

Milk-Myths: Getting clarity about calcium

Rosane Oliveira, DVM, PhD is Founding Director of the UC Davis Integrative Medicine program and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Department of Public Health Sciences at the School of Medicine at the University of California, Davis.

Dr Oliveira recently wrote for the ‘Forks Over Knives’ website about calcium and dairy products. She explains how and why a whole food plant based diet can provide adequate calcium, and what can deplete calcium stores from your body.

A study showing the dangers of taking dietary calcium supplements is explored by Dr Oliveira, who notes in closing that:

“You don’t need dairy or supplements to get enough calcium (in fact they may be a hindrance rather than a help). As long as you eat a calorically sufficient whole-food, plant-based diet that drastically reduces or completely eliminates added sodium, you’ll get all the calcium you need.”

Are Vegan Diets effective against Diabetes?

An interesting study revealed last May in the Journal Nutrition & Diabetes was led by doctors and nutritionists at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a non-profit organization that looks for ways to reduce the amounts of medication being used by the patients with healthy diets.

Researchers in the study chose 17 overweight adults with diabetic neuropathy on a five month low-fat diet that consisted of fresh vegetables and high-fiber. This adult group also attended nutrition classes every week and took a vitamin B12 supplement

The participants were compared with 17 other adults, who received the vitamin but were not on the vegan diet. Those with the plant based diet said they felt better and had less pain. Tests done to participants also showed better blood circulation and nerve function. Not only that, the participants lost an average of 14 pounds.

Despite the encouraging findings of the study, doctors are not sure which part of the plant based diet caused the changes, if any. It could all just be them losing weight that made everything change, the researchers said.

Do you have Type 2 diabetes? Have you ever tried eating out as vegan? If so, have you noticed any changes?