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I’ve noticed a pattern that I fall into every fall. At the very start of it, right as there’s the first serious chill in the air, I get in the mood for all the cozy fall foods. For me, those always involve tons of root vegetables and winter squashes, and I enjoy them very, very thoroughly for the next month or two. That must be why I’m generally already sick of roasted root vegetables and almost can’t look at another squash right around the holidays. Meanwhile, there’s still January, February, and March (maybe even some of April?) to endure. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this :)
Thankfully, there are mushrooms. They have all the elements needed for fall/winter cooking: they are earthy, versatile, satisfying, do well with wintery preparations, and pair well with cozy spices and herbs (and they are decidedly unlike root vegetables or squash). So today we are sharing a meal plan, consisting of 3 distinctly different, umami-bomb mains, centered around a batch of sautéed mushrooms: pasta alfredo, minestrone, and gravy with mash. And as usual, there’s a shopping list and step-by-step prep tips. Hope you guys enjoy this one!
*all recipes are vegan and gluten-free if needed, see the recipes for serving sizes
Bring this list with you when you go food shopping, it’s got all the ingredients you’ll need for the recipes in this meal plan mini. All the items are separated by category, to make the shopping easier and more efficient. Take the time to look over this list beforehand and cross out any items you already have. The hope here is that you own some of the pantry staples, spices, and maybe even some of the produce required, which will help minimize the list. Add whatever other ingredients you’ll need for the week here, if doing shopping for the whole week.
2 large yellow onions
2 lbs mushrooms of choice (ex: crimini and shiitake)
1 large head of garlic
2 medium-large Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes
2 large parsnips
1 small bunch kale of choice
1 large bunch of parsley
rosemary (2 sprigs)
1 cup chickpeas
1/2 cup cashews
olive oil or other oil of choice
10-12 oz penne pasta (gluten-free if needed)
Complete these three steps on the weekend (or whenever you have the time), and these meals will be a breeze to put together during the week, thanks to all the prepared components.
Here, we are cooking our mushrooms with onions and garlic (don’t worry, 2 lbs of mushrooms cook down quite a bit) to use as a base for all three of our meals. Half of them will be left whole and the other half will be blended into the creamy Mushroom Alfredo sauce.
I love this step so much. Cooking beans (don’t forget to soak them overnight) is such a perfect opportunity to also make delicious, homemade veggie broth, and maybe even to boil a few vegetables for another dish in the process (which only further deepen the broth flavor). Here, we are cooking chickpeas for the Chickpea Mushroom Minestrone, boiling potatoes and parsnips for the Potato-Parsnip Mash and magically making a very flavorful broth in the meantime. The broth will be used in the Mushroom Alfredo Sauce and the Chickpea Mushroom Minestrone.
This is a play on a creamy pasta sauce, complete with the earthy and sweet flavors of sautéed mushrooms and onions. Other flavor superstars like balsamic, miso, and lemon juice take this vegan ‘Alfredo’ to the next level. We’ll be using this sauce in the Pasta, Minestrone, and the Mushroom Gravy.