Creamy Roasted Parsnips and Fennel

Spicy parsnips and fragrant fennel bond in a creamy, not-too-rich sauce full of fresh sage flavor. The nuts add just the right amount of texture, in this easy and quick dish that can be adapted to your tastes. Try potatoes and rutabaga with rosemary for another variation. This recipe was also featured on the California Walnuts website.

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Creamy Roasted Parsnips and Fennel

3 tablespoons (45mL) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound (454g) parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 large bulb fennel, cut into 3/4-inch slices
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons (45mL) sweet rice flour (see Note)
2 cups (480mL) unsweetened nondairy coconut beverage, such as So Delicious
2 tablespoons (30mL) finely chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon (3mL) freshly grated nutmeg
Sea or Himalayan salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/3 cup (80mL) finely chopped toasted hazelnuts, walnuts, or both

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Have an 8-inch square glass dish or 9-inch deep dish pie dish ready. Toss the parsnips and fennel with 1 tablespoon (15mL) of the olive oil. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until just starting to brown on the edges, about 25 minutes.

While the vegetables are in the oven, put the remaining olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 1 3/4 cups (420mL) of the nondairy milk. Pour the remaining milk in a small bowl. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Once the mixture on the stovetop is steaming, slowly add in the flour mixture, a little at a time, whisking constantly, to create a smooth consistency. Add the sage, and nutmeg. Continue to whisk the mixture until it has thickened, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside until the vegetables are finished baking.

Once the vegetables are finished, lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Put them in the dish. Top with the sauce mixture. Sprinkle with the nuts. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until bubbling. Serve warm.

Note: Sweet rice flour leaves a smooth finish, perfect for sauces and gravies. It is also sold under the names “glutinous rice flour” and “mochiko”.

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Coconut Noodle Soup

This Thai inspired soup is quick and simple. Perfect for cooler weather, you’ll love how easy it is to throw together after a long day at work.

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Coconut Noodle Soup

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger root
2 stalks lemongrass, peeled and finely chopped
2 medium or large carrots, peeled and chopped
4 green onions, chopped (just the whites)
8 cups water
4 to 6 tablespoons wheat-free tamari
1 (6oz/170g) package super firm tofu
100g/3.5oz rice noodles
1 can (14oz/414mL) lite organic coconut milk
2 1/2 cups beansprouts
4 pak choy or baby bok choy, chopped
1 lime
1 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped
Sea or Himalayan salt to taste
Crushed red pepper, if desired

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the ginger and lemongrass. Cook for 1 minute. Add the carrots and onion, and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes, until carrots begin to soften. Pour the water into the saucepan. Add 4 tablespoons of the tamari, tofu and rice noodles. Let cook for 5 minutes, until noodles are softened.

Add the coconut milk, beansprouts, and pak choy. Let cook an additional 5 minutes until vegetables are softened and soup is heated through. Squeeze in half of the lime, and add the cilantro. Test for seasonings, adding tamari, lime, salt, and red pepper if desired. Serve warm.

Mushroom-Wild Rice Cottage Pie

Commonly known as Shepherd’s Pie, this twist on a cottage pie includes rich mushroom and flavourful, nutty wild rice. Add tempeh, kidney beans, or crumbled tofu after the rice cooks, if desired.

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Mushroom-Wild Rice Cottage Pie

For the potatoes:
Salted water, to cook potatoes
6 to 8 medium yellow-flesh potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1/2 cup mushroom broth (below)

For the filling:
1 .5oz/14g package dried porcini mushrooms
5 cups boiling water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 pounds (680g) cremini mushrooms, chopped
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 turnips (not rutabaga), peeled and finely chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons dried thyme leaves
2 teaspoons ground sage
1 cup wild rice
3 tablespoons roasted cashew butter
2 tablespoons tomato paste

For the potatoes, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes. Cook until tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the dried mushrooms in a large bowl. Cover with boiling water and let stand 30 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the onion, mushrooms, celery, carrots, and turnips. Cook until softened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme and sage, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes longer.

Strain the mushroom liquid into the pot with the vegetables, reserving 1/2 cup. Rinse the mushrooms and finely chop, adding them to the pot. Add the rice. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook 40 minutes. Stir in cashew butter and tomato paste. Let cook an additional 10 minutes, until thickened.

Meanwhile, drain the potatoes. Add the olive oil and reserved broth. Mash well. Stir in the chives and season with salt and pepper to taste. Preheat the oven to 375F.

Once the mixture on the stove top is finished, carefully pour it into a 9×13 casserole dish. Spread with the potatoes. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until the potatoes start to brown and become crispy. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

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