It’s common for people to lean toward more plant-based foods at this time of year. After a holiday season of indulgence, it is a great idea to balance it out with some healthful plant-based meals. However, we are still in the depths of winter, and a cold salad probably does not sound particularly enticing.
Enter this mushroom pie – warm and comforting, and happens to be completely Paleo AND Vegan (not an easy feat). It also contains some fantastic immune supporters including dark leafy greens and mushrooms. I have adapted this recipe from Laura Wright of The First Mess (blog and cookbook) to make it Paleo friendly, while keeping it vegan. There may be a few steps in this recipe, but they are simple and well worth it. Plus, you can make this ahead of time and freeze/refrigerate and reheat as needed.
Preheat oven to 425F. Toss cubed squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread squash evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until squash is tender and lightly golden. Set aside.
Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil and season generously with salt. Add cauliflower florets and one of the peeled garlic cloves and simmer until cauliflower is fork-tender, about 5-8 minutes. Remove cauliflower and garlic using a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl.
Drop the kale into the same boiling water and simmer until kale is just-wilted and bright green, about 1-2 minutes. Drain kale and run cold water over it. Squeeze all of the excess moisture out. Set aside.
In a food processor or blender, combine the drained cauliflower and garlic, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 tablespoons of the non-dairy milk, and plenty of salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Transfer the mashed cauliflower to a medium bowl. Roughly chop the cooked kale and fold it into the potatoes. Set aside.
Lower the oven to 375F. Lightly grease a 9×13 glass or metal baking dish (about 2 inches deep) with olive oil and set it on a baking sheet.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onions to the pot and cook until slightly soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Mince the remaining 2 garlic cloves and add them to the pot along with the herbs. Stir until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chopped mushrooms and stir. Place a tight-fitting lid on the pot and let it sit for 2 minutes.
After two minutes, remove the lid and season the mushrooms with pepper. Stir. Place the lid on and let the pot sit for another two minutes.
Add the roasted squash to the pot. Stir the mushroom and squash mixture and then add the balsamic vinegar, tamari or coconut aminos, and tomato paste to the pot. Stir and scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the pot. Season the mushrooms liberally with salt.
Add the vegetable stock to the pot and stir. Bring the mushrooms to a boil. In a small bowl, stir together the arrowroot powder and remaining 2 tablespoons of non-dairy milk to combine. Add the arrowroot slurry to the pot and stir. Let the mushrooms simmer until the surrounding liquid is slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Dollop the mashed cauliflower on top, and gently spread them over the surface of the mushrooms with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
Drizzle the pie with olive oil and sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Carefully transfer the pie to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbling and the cauliflower is lightly browned, about 25 minutes. Carefully remove the mushroom gravy pie from the oven and let it sit for a minute or two before serving.
Dr. Bianca Drennan is available for nutritional consultations at The Pacific Wellness Institute. If you have employee benefits that cover a naturopath you can claim this service. Call our front desk at 416-929-6958 to inquire.
Squirrels are looking for edibles among rusty leaves on the ground and the sun prefers to hide behind the clouds. The chilling wind is making it hard to believe the world is still beautiful. How can you see any beauty in such misery and emptiness? How can your body deny the fatigue and stop emotions from floating down the spiral of sadness? “What are my choices?” You are asking this question while looking up to heaven and waiting for answers.
The universe has responded: “Remain in purity. If you wish, you can dress it up with Christmas glitter and lights. You can fill yourself with sweets, caffeine and alcohol. You can put on a pretty face and costume and you can pretend you are on holiday for life. And how long will this last?” The universe suddenly throws a question. You come up with a quick answer: “Until the holidays are over. Then detox and back to reality.” “Do you know anything better than this?” You are shooting another question. “Remain in purity” is a persistent answer.
“Remain in your essence. Your essence is made of energy, energy turns into light with the help of love. Light crystallizes and becomes matter. And voila, here you are. Wrapped up in the matter, you, pure loving energy and light. With one thought you can sparkle like diamond dust and emanate the joy of creation. You are what you create. You are all knowing and all inclusive. You are complete. You are everlasting and constant. You are eternal peace and harmony. You are all aware and all knowing. You are timeless and you can disguise yourself in many forms of creativity and choose to play in billions of dimensions. You can play with your creations in any way you like and you will always be you. In the end you always return to your essence.”
Your mind is catching up and agreeing with your heart. “ If I am complete, I am missing nothing. If I am all knowing, I do not fear because nothing is unknown. If I am timeless, I never cease to be. I only play differently each time I want to explore a different way of being, so, I think differently and see differently whenever I choose to create something different”. Although trees have lost their leaves, their naked shapes turn into marvelous sculptures, squirrels gracefully nibble on their edible finds, the skies turn from gray to silver and the sun lights an empty spot between the clouds. And did I mention the wind? It turned into a soothing breath.