Tuesday, November 8, 2011


It is autumn, and cooking seems to go with the lush of the season. I am loving experimenting with vegetarian products, and have been converting some old standbyes for my  new lifestyle. I was craving my Mother's Beef Stew and decided to personalize it for my vegetarian ways. With the help of Trader Joes this is what I came up with, and it was amazing. My meat eating husband could not get enough of this cool weather dish. Served with warm rolls, this is a true stick to your ribs recipe and should please even the fussiest of eaters.

You will need:
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 bags mini potatoes
1 bag pearl onions
1 yellow onion, diced
1 bag baby carrots
1 bag crimini mushrooms
6 celery stalks, diced
1 head of garlic, chopped fine or pressed in a garlic press
2 packages trader joes beef-less strips
1 box low sodium vegetable stock
1/2 cup cabernet wine
vegetarian worcestershire sauce, a few tablespoons
1 small can tomato paste
2 tablespoons cornstarch for thickening at the end
salt, pepper, dried basil

In a large pot heat extra virgin olive oil.

Add diced onions, celery, garlic, and mushrooms and saute' until soft and carmelized

Stir in 1 small can of tomato paste

add 1/2 cup red wine,3 tablespoons vegetarian worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and basil. Mix well.

Add vegetarian beef-less strips and break up into smaller pieces, cooking for a few minutes so the veggie beef soaks up the flavor of the worcestershire sauce, wine and vegetables.

Stir in 1 box vegetable stock, carrots, potatoes, pearl onions and mix well. Season with a bit more salt, pepper, and dried basil.

Depending on your tastes, you may wish to add a bit more of the worcestershire sauce for flavor. I was heavy handed, but everyone is different.

Cook stew uncovered for 45 minutes over a medium heat, until the carrots and potatoes break apart with a fork. Stir frequently as your stew cooks.

After the stew is finished, add a few tablespoons of cornstarch for thickening, it should have a gravy consistency and be brown and rich in color.

Serve this dish with some warm dinner rolls or fresh baked biscuits and you will swear you are dining at your grandmother's house. Even though this is a vegetarian dish, it has all the components of those traditional home-made memories you remember from your childhood, but without cholesterol and much lower in fat. Enjoy, and remember cooking is much more fun when you do it for someone you love.