Vegan MoFo 2010: Day Three

Day Three: Fine Dining - Entree

From my own experiences in "high class" dining facilities, I've safely assumed that most mainstream chefs have little to no imagination when it comes to vegan entrees. Too frequently I have been presented with a plate of overcooked penne and out-of-the-jar marinara sauce or an under-seasoned slab of tofu accompanied by rice pilaf (which is really just white rice and a couple of peas). The worst meal I've received from a restaurant (with a fixed menu) was stuffed zucchini...stuffed with itself. The insides were scraped out, shredded and stuffed back into the zucchini for a 20 minute bake. I couldn't find a single teaspoon of seasoning, let alone a grain of salt or pepper. Such a dish has scared my interpretation of "stuffed" vegetables. Out of my frustrations came an unrelenting persistence. I would reclaim and recreate the forlorn stuffed vegetables of mainstream commercial kitchens! No longer will the zucchinis and eggplants and portobellos be forced onto a plate, embarrassed by their near nakedness! I'd stuff a mushroom, and I'd stuff it good.

Stuffed Portobellos with Sun dried Tomatoes and Basil
Plated on Homemade Tomato Sauce with Toasted Walnuts

The recipe I used can be found in Donne Klein's The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen.* The filling was simple, fresh, uncomplicated and absolutely delicious. Sun dried tomatoes lend a sweet and tangy essence to the earthy basil and parsley. Homemade vegetable broth prevents the filling from drying out, and the portobellos absorb any access liquid. My addition of homemade marinara and toasted walnuts finalize this satiating meal.

*Amazingly and unlike most cookbooks geared towards veg*nism, Klein completely disregards to use of soy products and meat/dairy/etc. analogues! This a great book for someone without access to well stocked grocers or health food stores. More to come on her cookbook - a Cookbook Challenge is on the agenda!


  1. Anonymous11/03/2010

    That looks fantastic! I am always so suprised (even though I should be used to it) that people in fine dining can never do vegan well at all.

  2. I would be thrilled to get this at a restaurant!

  3. Your stuffed mushroom looks so good!

  4. @Jackie Smith (the other one): me too!

    @Tami: Thanks, Tami. It was really simple to make.