As the weather starts to cool we crave comforting warm foods. Beef Stroganoff, a dish of Russian origin traditionally comprised of flour dredged beef cubes in a sauce of mustard and bouillon that is finished with sour cream, is a favorite on many lists. But when you are determined to embrace a more plant based diet what is a person to do! Enter the mighty mushroom, friend to vegetarians and vegans everywhere! Though neither meat nor vegetable, mushrooms are known as the “meat” of the vegetable world. I really love substituting mushrooms and onions for meat in recipes. The trick is to combine two more types of mushroom to create a meaty texture and heartiness. My favorite combination is cultivated white mushrooms mixed with an equal or greater amount of baby portabella mushrooms. I frequently will toss a box of each kind into my Ninja with a chunked up onion and occasionally a half cup or so of walnuts. The nuts are optional. A few quick pulses later I have a perfect crumble for use in any recipe that calls for ground meat. So when I found myself craving a creamy bowl of Stroganoff, I did not even hesitate! This rich, velvety sauce can be served over potatoes, rice or most any pasta. I prefer to use a toothy pasta like cavatappi which is a fluted corkscrew shaped macaroni. The fluting or ridges of the pasta tubes help the sauce to cling and the thickness of the spiraling macaroni stands up to any fork.
To make this classic dish you start with a basic béchamel sauce. I used unsalted Butter as I am primarily pescatarian. To make this dish Vegan, simply substitute an equal amount of olive oil or Earth Balance butter for the dairy butter I suggest. Once your roux comes together, whisk in your almond milk – I use cold, but traditional béchamel heats the milk first. Keep that whisk going and make sure your sauce is completely lump free. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, roast garlic powder (it is sweeter and milder than regular garlic powder), and about a quarter cup or so of Bragg Nutritional Yeast. Once you have blended all the seasonings into the sauce, set it aside off the heat. On another burner start you water boiling the prepare your pasta according to the package directions.
It’s time to make the “beef!” Preheat a nice big saute pan and once it is warmed, spritz it with some cooking oil. I use coconut oil. Start sweating those chopped onions with a little salt. Once they are translucent add your roughly chopped mushroom pieces and continue cooking until they soften and the onion begins to brown or caramelize. This brings out all the sweetness of that onion. You won’t want to miss any of that glorious flavor on the bottom of your pan either, so deglaze it with your robust Madeira wine and then stir in the seasoned béchamel. Lower your heat to allow the sauce to simmer while you wait for the pasta to finish cooking.
Once the cavatappi is al dente, meaning it is cooked but still has some tooth, this generally takes about eight minutes after you put the pasta in the boiling water, do not drain it. Use a spider tool to ladle the pasta into the sauce — give it a little shake to make sure any excess water is off before you add it to the sauce. Stir it all up together making sure that luscious sauce coats every twist and turn of the cavatappi pasta.
Ladle your Stroganoff into bowls of pure love and serve them alone or with a simple salad. I tossed mixed greens together (mesclun lettuces, arugula, baby kale and such) with a Champagne Pear vinaigrette dressing. A glass of that Madeira as a digestive afterward will be a nice finish!!
- 3 T GF flour
- 3 T unsalted Butter (you could use olive oil or Earth Balance for a vegan version)
- 2 C almond milk
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 1 8oz pkg sliced baby portabella mushrooms, rough chopped
- ½ C Madeira
- 1 tsp roasted garlic powder
- ¼ C nutritional yeast
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- 1 16oz pkg cavatappi pasta
- In a sauce pan melt butter and stir flour in until it is fully incorporated into the butter, giving you a pale yellow colored paste or roux.
- Heat the roux for another minute or so to cook off the taste of raw flour.
- Slowly whisk in cold almond milk making sure no lumps remain.
- Bring to a boil to allow the sauce to thicken into a smooth and velvety texture. If it’s too thick, whisk in a bit more almond milk until it’s just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Season with salt and pepper, roast garlic powder and nutritional yeast. Set aside off the heat.
- Bring water to boil to prepare your pasta according to the package instructions.
- Preheat a large saute pan and spritz it with coconut cooking oil.
- Add the onions and a bit of salt and cook the onions until they begin to soften.
- Add mushroom pieces and cook until mushrooms soften and onions begin to caramelize.
- Lower the heat and deglaze the pan with Madeira wine and stir in the béchamel sauce, season with salt and pepper to taste and allow to simmer.
- When the pasta is al dente, drain and stir it into the sauce. Serve immediately.