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Shiitaki Mushroom Tacos and Salsa

It’s time to free your mind. If you’ve always composed meals around a piece of meat, think veggies instead. Plant-based dishes are an adventure in color, texture, and flavor; they offer a wealth of vitamins and antioxidants — plus a dose of health-promoting phytonutrients you can’t get anywhere else.

Bringing plants to the center of your plate benefits the planet, too. The meat and dairy industries require a lot of resources and contribute significantly to global climate change. You can source meat from small-scale farmers with more sustainable production models (for more on this, read “10 Steps to Climate-Friendly Eating”), but this general rule still holds true: Eating less meat and more plants is a powerful way to reduce the amount of resources required to produce your food.

Far from boring, plant-based cooking can be creative, adaptable, and immensely satisfying. And whether you decide to go plant-based once a week, every day, or whenever the opportunity presents itself, you’ll be doing your body and the planet a favor.

Where’s My Protein?

You can indeed get protein from a meatless meal. Try reaching for some of these plant-based sources.

Whole Food Serving Size Grams of Protein
Tofu 1/2 cup 10
Lentils 1/2 cup 9
Edamame 1/2 cup 8
Black beans 1/2 cup 8
Peanut butter 2 tbs. 8
Quinoa 1 cup cooked 8
Chickpeas 1/2 cup 7
Almonds 1/2 cup 6
Brown rice 1/4 cup cooked 5
Hemp hearts 1 tbs. 5
Potatoes 1 medium 4.5
Spinach 1/2 cup cooked 3
Chia seeds 1 tbs. 2

Download chart.

Shiitake-Walnut Tacos

Shiitake Walmut TacosPhotos: Andrea DAgosto; Prop Styling: Alicia Buszczak; Food Stylist: Paul Jackman

Makes four to six servings | Prep time 15 minutes | Cook time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. shiitake mushrooms, stems reserved for another use
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 2 avocados, sliced (optional)

Salsa Ingredients

  • 2 large mangoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 large jalapeños, seeded and chopped
  • 2 large scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Directions

  1. In a food processor, chop the onion. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and stir in the onions.
  2. In the food processor, pulse half the mushrooms until minced, then scrape into the skillet with the onions. Repeat with remaining mushrooms.
  3. Clean the processor container and add the walnuts. Pulse to mince. Reserve.
  4. Stir the mushrooms until they are shrunken and browned and the skillet is nearly dry. Add the garlic and stir for one minute. Add the chili powder, paprika, cayenne, oregano, and salt. Stir in the walnuts and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Remove from heat and keep warm.
  5. To make the salsa, combine the ingredients in a medium bowl.
  6. Warm the tortillas by toasting each one in a dry skillet over medium heat for about 30 seconds per side. Alternatively, wrap the stack in foil and warm in a 350-degree-F oven for 10 minutes.
  7. Serve 1/4 cup of the filling and 1/4 cup mango salsa in each tortilla. Top with avocado slices, if you choose.

Korean Cauliflower

Korean CauliflowerPhotos: Andrea DAgosto; Prop Styling: Alicia Buszczak; Food Stylist: Paul Jackman

Makes four servings | Prep time 25 minutes | Cook time 35 minutes

Cauliflower Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, trimmed into florets
  • 1 tbs. avocado oil or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup scallions, sliced thinly on the diagonal, as garnish (optional)

Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 tbs. gochujang paste or red-chili paste
  • 3 tbs. rice wine or sherry
  • 2 tbs. rice vinegar
  • 1 tbs. tamari
  • 3 tbs. honey
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs. minced fresh gingerroot

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. To make the batter, combine chickpea flour, smoked paprika, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Whisk, then whisk in the water until smooth.
  3. Toss cauliflower florets in the batter, making sure to coat each piece.
  4. Place a heavy baking sheet in the hot oven and let it heat for five minutes.
  5. Remove and drizzle with avocado or coconut oil, then spread the cauliflower on top of the hot oil. Drizzle leftover batter over any bare spots on cauliflower. Quickly put the pan back in the oven to retain its heat. Bake 25 minutes.
  6. While the cauliflower bakes, make the sauce: In a small saucepan, combine all the ingredients. Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about five minutes, until slightly thickened.
  7. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and flip the cauliflower with a spatula. Drizzle evenly with the sauce and bake for 10 minutes longer.
  8. Garnish with scallions and serve immediately.

Green Curry With Edamame

Green Curry with EdamamePhotos: Andrea DAgosto; Prop Styling: Alicia Buszczak; Food Stylist: Paul Jackman

Makes four servings | Prep time 10 minutes | Cook time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbs. green-curry paste, plus more to taste
  • 1 14.5-oz. can coconut milk
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbs. chopped fresh gingerroot
  • 2 tbs. brown sugar or sucanat
  • 1 tbs. tamari
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 1/2 cups green beans, trimmed and sliced
  • 12 oz. frozen shelled edamame, thawed
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Fry curry paste in the oil for one to two minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant.
  2. Whisk in the coconut milk, garlic, gingerroot, sweetener, and tamari, and bring to a simmer.
  3. Add the pepper and green beans to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and stir until the vegetables start to soften, about three minutes.
  4. Add the edamame and cook for about eight minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens.
  5. Garnish with fresh basil and serve over cooked quinoa or rice.

Socca with Spring Vegetables and Sesame Sauce

Socca with Spring Vegetables and Sesame SaucePhotos: Andrea DAgosto; Prop Styling: Alicia Buszczak; Food Stylist: Paul Jackman

Makes four servings | Prep time 30 minutes | Cook time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups chickpea flour
  • 1 tbs. fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tbs. plus 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika

Vegetables

  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 4 oz. snap peas
  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 1 tbs. capers, drained and patted dry
  • 1/2 tbs. lemon zest
  • 1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat the broiler for the vegetables.
  2. To make the socca batter, whisk the chickpea flour, rosemary, and salt in a medium bowl. In a cup, stir together the water and 1 tablespoon olive oil, then whisk into the chickpea-flour mixture until smooth. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat for 15 seconds, then add 1 teaspoon oil. Measure 1/2 cup of the chickpea batter into the pan and tilt to spread the batter to a 6-inch round. Cook for one minute, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for two more minutes, until the edge of the socca looks firm and the top is evenly bubbly. Use a spatula to flip the socca and cook for two minutes, then flip and cook one minute longer. Continue until all four socca are done.
  4. For the sauce, combine the garlic and parsley in a food processor and process to mince. Add the tahini and lemon juice and process, scraping down and repeating until smooth. Gradually drizzle the water through the feed tube with the machine running. Transfer to a bowl.
  5. Spread the vegetables on a heavy sheet pan, sprinkle with capers and lemon zest, and drizzle with olive oil. Broil for three to four minutes, until the vegetables are browned.
  6. Serve each socca topped with broiled vegetables and drizzled with sauce.

This originally appeared as “Plant Power” in the April 2019 print issue of Experience Life.

Photography by: Andrea D'Agosto; Prop Styling: Alicia Buszczak; Food Stylist: Paul Jackman

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