Even though it’s usually cold and wet, January is our favourite month, because vegan food is everywhere. The supermarket shelves are full of it, high street menus are bursting with it and most of our friends are eating it. Chilly weather demands warming, hearty food, and that’s exactly what today’s mushroom stroganoff and nooch risotto provide. Nooch, also known as nutritional yeast, is a wonderful source of vegan umami and vitamin B12, while mushrooms are fully loaded with essential vitamins and minerals; they also have a really satisfying, meaty texture that’s great for anyone trialling a plant-based diet.
Mushroom stroganoff (pictured above)
This is super-simple but ridiculously effective: deliciously tender mushrooms in a rich, flavour-packed sauce with lovely, mild spice. Serve with rice, mashed potatoes or pasta for a superb, warming, comforting meal.
Prep 15 min
Cook 55 min
3 vegetarian sausages
3 tbsp light olive oil
½ tsp ground black pepper
¾ tsp dried thyme, or the leaves from 2 fresh sprigs
½-1 tsp paprika (optional)
A few dashes Henderson’s relish or vegan Worcestershire sauce (optional)
200g basmati rice
1 large onion (about 200g)
For the sauce
2-3 tsp dijon mustard
350ml barista-style dairy-free milk
15g rolled oats
Juice of 1 lemon
1 small bunch fresh parsley
First, get the mushrooms going: thinly slice about half of them and thickly slice the rest. Chop the veggie sausages into 3cm chunks. Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a casserole or frying pan over a medium-low heat, add the thinly sliced mushrooms, sausages and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring every few minutes, for 20 minutes.
Mix in the pepper, thyme, paprika and Henderson’s or Worcestershire sauce, if using, turn the heat down low and cook gently for five minutes more, until the mushrooms are reduced and quite dry; transfer to a plate and set aside.
Meanwhile, cook the rice. Rinse the rice under cold running water and tip it into a saucepan. Put the pan on the hob, add 600ml just-boiled water and a pinch of salt, cover and bring back to a boil. Stir once to loosen, then turn down the heat to a very low simmer, cover and cook for exactly 12 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and set it to one side, still covered, but with a small gap to let out steam.
To make the sauce, measure the mustard, milk and oats into a blender, add the lemon juice, then blend.
Halve, peel and slice the onion. Add the rest of the oil to the pan you cooked the mushrooms in and turn on the heat to medium. Add the onion and cook for about eight minutes, until softened and just starting to colour. Stir in the thickly sliced mushrooms, cover and leave to cook for five minutes more, mixing now and again until soft.
Reduce the heat to low, add the blended sauce and the reserved mushroom mix and heat through for 10 minutes.
Season to taste, then put the rice into four bowls, spoon over the stroganoff, sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve.
Mushroom and nooch risotto
This deliciously creamy and rich risotto takes nooch to the next level.
Prep 15 min
Soak 30 min
Cook 55 min
15g dried porcini (optional)
1 celery stick
Salt and black pepper
4 garlic cloves
2 tbsp olive oil
4 sprigs each fresh rosemary and thyme
300g arborio risotto rice
150ml white wine
25g nutritional yeast, plus more for sprinkling
1.4 litres vegetable stock
1 tbsp dairy-free butter
Dairy-free cheese (optional)
8 fresh chives (optional)
Put the porcini, if using, in a bowl, cover with boiling water and soak for 30 minutes. Finely slice the 500g mushrooms.
Peel and finely chop the onion, celery and garlic. Put a large saucepan on a medium heat and add a tablespoon of the oil. Add the onion, celery and a pinch of salt, and saute, stirring regularly, for five minutes, until softened.
Set one sprig of rosemary aside, then pick the leaves from the rest and the thyme and chop finely. Drain and finely chop the soaked porcini, if using. Add half the garlic to the onion pan, saute for 30 seconds, then add the chopped herbs, porcini, rice and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper, and stir for another minute. Add the wine and nutritional yeast, and stir until all the liquid has been absorbed.
Add about 200ml stock and cook, stirring, for three to four minutes, until it has all been absorbed. Repeat over about 20-25 minutes, until you’ve used up all the stock and the rice is cooked but still firm.
Meanwhile, put a second pan on a medium heat and add the remaining oil, mushrooms and garlic, along with a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Add the reserved whole rosemary sprig and cook for 10 minutes, until the mushrooms are dry and all the liquid has evaporated.
To finish the risotto, stir in the dairy-free butter, then halve the lemon and squeeze over its juice. Taste and add more salt, pepper or lemon, if needed. Leave to stand for two minutes, then divide the risotto between four plates and top each serving with the mushrooms. Finish with a sprinkle of nooch and/or dairy-free cheese, if using, and some fresh chives.