Plant Based Mushroom Bolognese with Banza Pasta | Vegan & Gluten Free

Now that it is winter, I wanted create a warming, rich delicious pasta dish. I went to the farmers market and on intuition picked several items that I wanted to used, including the cutest plump kumatos and oyster mushrooms. Kumatos are beautiful brown-red tomatoes that are incredibly sweet and burst will flavor you can eat them as is if you desired.

Cooking, for me, has become a type of therapeutic activity. When I step into the kitchen i remove myself from anything on my mind and devote myself completely to culinary alchemy. It might sound a little odd but I believe in positive intention and as my mother says: Its an experience, learn from your steps. Heeding her advice, I think its best to do things mindfully – simple acts like enjoying the season and what it has to offer.

This recipe was made for my mother in mind. She loves the addition of wine in cooking but I wanted to make a completely plant based dish full of nutrients and flavor. There in mind came a bolognese sauce which I know she enjoys. For this dish I made my own tomato sauce based and oh-my-gosh making your own tomato sauce is infinitely better than the store brought. I also mixed in some lightly sautéed oyster mushrooms to give it texture and “meatiness.” This decadently tasting and make sure get a good red wine because it adds so much distinct flavor.

Banza is an amazing chickpea-based pasta that has a taste similar to wheat except it is completely gluten free. Its has bite and fares favorably well when it comes to nutrition on its own (14 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber & half the carbs of regular pasta, GMO-free and it’s vegan) The pasta was also named one of Time Magazines 25 Best Inventions of 2015. Feel free to check out their shop for a variety of styles although the pasta is beginning to show up in more natural food stores which is great! I love the flavor of the pasta and that it holds up so well. I have a few more recipes in the works using this amazing brand. Follow Banza on Twitter & Instagram!

Ingredients
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup chopped mushroom of choice (I used baby bella)
1/2 cup chopped eggplant
3/4 cup of chopped organic kumato, or a cherry/grape tomato or diced tomato
1/2 cup of organic red wine like Pinot Noir
2 cloves of garlic
2 sprigs of rosemary, remove from stems and finely chop the leave
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4th cup pasta water, water or no sodium veggie broth
olive oil
pink salt
pinch of white or black pepper
oyster mushrooms
Banza Pasta

  • To save time and speed clean up chop up all veggies and place them on a cutting board or plate
  • Heat a saucepan or dutch oven on medium heat and add olive oil, add the diced yellow onion and a pinch of salt and pepper and then add the mushrooms
  • Cook until onion and mushrooms have lightly brown and softened
  • Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan then add 3/4 cup of chopped kumato or tomato of of choice, eggplant, carrot and mince the garlic, rosemary and dried oregano, extra pinch of salt and pepper
  • Continue cooking on medium heat until the all the veggies soften, stir and add a little more olive oil if needed, about 15-20 minutes 
  • Remove veggies from saucepan, transfer to a blender and pulse but dont overdo it, you want a little texture but make sure veggies get processed. Taste to to see if you need more salt, pepper, or want to puree it more
  • In another pot, begin cooking the Banza pasta (I used Rotini) or pasta of choice, cook according to the box instructions and drain.
  • Meanwhile in the saucepan, add the red wine with the heat turned up to medium high, you want the red wine to reduce by half. This can take up to 10 minutes. After the wine has reduced, lower to medium low heat and add the veggie sauce you blended back into the saucepan and 1/4 cup of water or veggie broth. Stir while it simmers for about 10-15 minutes. 
  • This is optional but after I finished the sauce, I chopped several oyster mushrooms and lightly cooked them over medium heat with olive oil and salt + pepper
  • Add the pasta to a serving dish and ladle the sauce. Serve accordingly, and top with the cooked oyster mushrooms

Planted Based Mushroom Bolognese with Banza Pasta | Vegan & Gluten Free//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Autumn Necessities

Autumn is here, although here in Southern California the sunshine is still brightly beaming. I’m hoping that changes soon. Like tomorrow. Like now, please? Sigh.

Anyways! Autumn essentials are always necessary to get into that cooler-weather, falling leaves feelings so here are some things I recently bought to celebrate the season of Autumn

Neccesities

 1. Beeswax Candles from Green Leaf Candles

This is a lovely brand on Etsy that make eco-friendly candles. I bought these because I was on the hunt for affordable, natural beeswax candles. Normal candles made of parrafin is actually harmful to the air. Green Leaf Candles also makes soy, & palm candles.

 2. Hot Apple Cider Tea from The Republic of Tea. Apple cider is one of my favorite things, Tea is one of my most favorite things. Ever. Like near obsession maybe. So I got this tea to further enjoy in one of my favorite seasonal drinks, I love Republic of Tea’s products and they also have a season Pumpkin Spice Tea wich lucky for me came as a sample from their catalogues, and it was quite delightful! Not caffiene free though! I will definetely purchase it later in the Autumn season, But I did also get their Caramel Apple Red Tea

    3. Yarn from KnitPicks for knitting all Autumn to Winter long..you know, when I am not terribly busy stressing over school work. And maybe finally tackling crochet! 

 4. Boots. I may or may not treat myself to these beautiful lace-up boots from American Eagle. I bought     myself some boots from them a few weeks ago but I really love a good lace-up boot. Even if I don’t exactly  live in the coldest of climate areas…
   5. Very Structured by Essie They make such great colors! I tend to go for a darker nail color but lately I’ve been feeling the burnt sienna colors, perfect for Autumn. 

6. Thigh High Socks, from Forever 21 I’m a sucker for a good sale, and I saw these long socks for under $5 so I picked up charcoal (featured) and cream. Beautiful and warm. These by HUE are also wonderful

7. Lip Protection when it does come to the cooler, colder months, my lips have the unfortunate habit of getting dry. So I picked up these lip balms by Desert Essence (each one is under $3) and really liked the way they left my lips, they are clear, one has Jojoba Oil and the other Tea Tree Oil (they have other varieties too) and what I liked about these is they do not have petroleum, pesticides or synthetic fragrances. I really enjoy these and they really moisturize your lips.

                                

8. Moisturizer with SPF – Along with lip care, its smart to keep your skin healthy and moisturized too especially during the cooler climates, I enjoy this Aloe Soothing Moisturizer with SPF 15 from the Body Shop, it has sesame seed oil, oat extract and I use the Aloe line because its great for sensitive skin, which is me, everyday of my life But another great product is the Josie Maran Argan Oil

Heres an image of some of the stuff so far. Now if y’all will excuse me, I’m going to go finish my paper and have a Wonder Years marathon. Bye!

From Winter to Spring..

Saying farewell to the days of Winter
Into the arms of Spring

Its the first day of Spring. Go pick some flowers, make a crown and wear them in your hair, dance with sunlight and pretend you are a honeybee and find some nectar to drink.