These braised mushrooms are paired with nutty spelt, a smooth tofu dressing, grilled baby gem lettuce and a simple pumpkin seed pesto for a truly showstopping naturally vegan main. The combination of textures and earthy, savoury flavours come together to prove that vegan cooking has become a thrilling cuisine in its own right.
Cooking time: 40 minutes
4 large flat mushrooms
1 tsp white miso
2 tbsp of tamari, or soy sauce
1 tbsp of olive oil
80g of spelt, use whole spelt if possible but pearled is fine
150g of firm tofu
1 tbsp of tamari, or soy sauce
1 tbsp of tahini
1 knob of ginger, 8cm in length, peeled and grated
Pumpkin seed pesto
50g of pumpkin seeds
50g of extra virgin olive oil
20g of flat-leaf parsley, plus extra for garnish
10g of coriander
1 baby gem lettuce, halved
1 tbsp of olive oil
parsley cress, (optional)
- To begin, cook the spelt according to the packet instructions. Set aside and keep warm or gently reheat just before serving.
- To make the tofu dressing, place all the ingredients into a small blender and blitz until smooth. Season to taste and set aside.
- To cook the mushrooms, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. When hot, add the mushrooms, skin-side down, seasoning well with salt and pepper. Brown well then turn over. In a separate bowl, whisk together the miso paste and tamari with 4 tablespoons of water until smooth. Add this to the pan and gently simmer the mushrooms until they are cooked through (around 5–8 minutes).
- While the mushrooms are cooking, make the pesto. Place all ingredients into a food processor with 2 tablespoons of water and pulse until combined but still a little chunky. Season to taste and set aside.
- To cook the baby gem, heat a small frying pan over a high heat. Add the olive oil and, when hot, place the gem halves in the pan, cut-side down. Leave to cook for a few minutes until nice and golden brown on the flat side.
- To serve, place a large spoonful of the tofu dressing in the bottom of each bowl. Divide the spelt between each bowl then add the mushrooms, along with any remaining pan juices. Finish with the pesto and baby gem halves. Garnish with parsley and parsley cress, if desired.
- Mushrooms contain Vitamin D, which is great for boosting the stress-fighting neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin; this is especially important when our Vitamin D levels are low in winter
- Spelt contains B vitamins which play a role in our mood stability. The body uses these to turn protein into neurotransmitters. At times of mental stress and anxiety, more B vitamins are needed
- Pumpkin seeds contain Zinc. The immune system is negatively affected by prolonged stress – Zinc is essential for a healthy immune system. It also balances out levels of copper in the body – high levels of which have been linked to chronic anxiety.