Portobello Mushroom Stuffed with Herbed Goat Cheese

Portobello mushrooms aren’t a crowd pleaser by any means. In fact, many people can’t think about choosing that over steak (often the two choices at formal events). But for those of us who prefer portobellos over a piece of meat, it’s refreshing to find a recipe that truly plays to a portobello mushrooms strengths and brings out all the right flavors and textures. This recipe, which features several components that pair well together, is simple in execution, yet complex in flavor.

Portobello Stuffed with Goat Cheese

Ingredients:

> 2 tablespoons walnuts
> 1/4 cup fresh parsley, leaves separated from stems
> 8 ounces goat cheese
> 1 clove garlic
> 1/2 cup artichoke hearts, canned in water
> 1/4 cup jarred roasted red pepper
> 1 tablespoon olive oil
> 4 portobello mushrooms
> salt and pepper
> 3 cups baby arugula
> 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Instructions:

Process the walnuts and parsley leaves in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the goat cheese and a dash of salt and pepper. Puree until smooth. Set aside.

Smash and mince the garlic. Finely chop the artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers. Heat olive oil in a medium saute pan and add garlic, artichoke hearts and red peppers. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring often.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and brush each mushroom with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and place on baking sheet in oven. Roast about 15 minutes. Let the mushroom caps cool for about 5 minutes.

Place baby arugula and lemon juice in large mixing bowl and toss to combine.

Divide the goat cheese and walnut mixture among mushroom caps, spreading on the gill side of each mushroom. Top with a scoop of roasted red pepper and artichoke mixture. Finish with a handful of dressed arugula.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Self.

Lentil and Cauliflower Soup with Gruyere Cheese

I’ve always loved veggie-dominant soups, preferring minestrone to chicken noodle, even before I stopped eating meat. When I stumbled upon this recipe from Martha Stewart, I knew I had to try it because it combines the components that I love about lentil soup (minus the ham) with those from minestrone soup. The smoked gruyere cheese on top is the perfect finishing touch, especially as the cheese melts atop the cauliflower and other veggies. It reminds me a bit of French Onion soup, without being too dominant of a cheese layer. Enjoy!

Lentil and Cauliflower Soup with Gruyere Cheese

Ingredients:

> 1 tablespoon olive oil
> 1 onion, finely chopped
> 1 head of celery, finely chopped
> 2 bell peppers, thinly sliced
> salt and pepper
> 1 1/2 cups lentils
> 4 cups vegetable broth
> 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
> 4 ounces smoked Gruyere cheese, shredded

Instructions:

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and bell peppers and season with salt. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes.

Add lentils and broth. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, cooking until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Add cauliflower and cook about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with cheese on top.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Martha Stewart.

Zucchini Salad

When summer decides to come in the middle of March, the last thing I want to be doing is slaving over a hot stove or oven. But that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor or variety just because you aren’t turning the temperature up to 350°. This raw zucchini is simple, healthy and delicious. The lemon flavor truly shines in this recipe, while the almonds provide a crunch and the feta a creaminess.

Zucchini Salad

Ingredients:

> 6 medium-sized zucchini
> juice and zest from 1 lemon
> 1 tablespoon olive oil
> 1 package alfalfa sprouts
> 1/4 cup slivered almonds
> 4 ounces feta, crumbled

Instructions:

Thinly slice the zucchini lengthwise into ribbons, slender enough to easily twist and bend. Whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Arrange the zucchini and pour the lemon dressing over it. Top with the sprouts, almonds and feta.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Lick My Spoon.

Raw Fig Bars with Pecans

I was never a fan of Fig Newtons growing up — I opted for Oreos or chocolate chip cookies. But as people say, your preferences, including your tastebuds, change every seven years. While I still love sinking my teeth into a rich piece of fudge, my sweet tooth often opts for fruit flavors instead.

Last year, I followed a raw diet for three days, and after three days, I was ready to eat simple things like steamed vegetables and cooked quinoa. Nonetheless, I still like to experiment with raw recipes because eating foods in their raw form keeps all of nutrients intact and at their highest levels. This raw recipe hits the fruit lover’s sweet tooth and is easy to make. My favorite part of this recipe was the combination of the filling and topping, so if you’d like to eliminate some of the carbs here, just try those two layers.

Raw Fig Bars with Pecans

Ingredients:

> 1 cup brown rice flour
> 3 tablespoons maple syrup
> 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
> 2 cups dried Mission figs, soaked in water for 3 hours
> 1/4 teaspoon salt
> 1 1/2 cups pecans

Instructions:

To make the crust, combine the brown rice flour and 2 tablespoons maple syrup in a medium bowl. Add fig water until it sticks together. Press into a 9×9-inch pan.

To make the filling, blend the figs, 1 tablespoon maple syrup and salt in a food processor. Add the fig water until it’s a smooth consistency but still thick. Spread the filling on top of the crust, leaving about 1/4 cup in the food processor.

To make the topping, add the pecans to the food processor and pulse until there are small but chunks, but it’s not too fine. Spread and smooth on top of the fig filling. Cut into bite-size pieces and enjoy.

Makes 9 servings.

Adapted from One Green Planet.