Friday nights dinner was so tasty! Thanks, Book of Yum! Back in the day, we were the vegan family, and we still don’t do dairy (because it doesn’t like us). I know that point in our lives influences much of my cooking. I like to cook more seasonally. I try to get my kids involved in all stages of the food (because I want them understand what went into what they are putting into their bodies). I LOVE to cook with as many veggies as possible (my husband says I can’t make a dish with less than 7 colors!). I prefer to cook with unprocessed whole foods, and alternative ingredients weren’t that big of a deal because I had already been exploring them before we needed to be gluten free. I have a deep passion for foods and spice combos of other cultures (especially with heavy veggie influences) and lentils…mmmmm…lentils and legumes. They make me smile… All that exploration happened before we needed to be gluten free, which was such a blessing. My kids and I considered it just another new challenge to explore and experiment with, which really made the transition much easier for us.
Book of Yum’s blog always has tasty looking recipes and photos and she cooks gluten free! I just want to lick my computer screen when I see some of those photos! She does use some dairy, but she doesn’t use it in a way that can’t be replaced and often gives an alternate for non-dairy/vegans. Go check it out!
The Twice Baked Spinach Garlic Stuffed Potatoes were a must make for me. How tasty does that sound? (These could be made smaller as a side dish and I will most likely experiment with making them ahead and freezing them.) At the top is the link the the recipe and below it is repeated with some changes I did. They were pretty minor, mostly in keeping with my unnaturally obsession with adding color and messing with recipes. My notes with be bolded and italicized.) The photo was our dinner. Doesn’t it look yummy?
Twice Baked Spinach Mushroom Garlic Stuffed Potatoes
4 large russet potatoes, scrubbed and cleaned (I used 2 russets and 2 Jersey yams)
canola or other vegan margarine, or favorite high quality flavorful oil like olive oil or coconut oil (I used olive oil)
1 medium onion, diced (I used a red onion)
3 garlic cloves, pressed (I used 4, because YUM!)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp vegan margarine (or more olive oil) (I used olive oil, again)
1-2 tbsp fine brown rice flour
2 cups (more or less, to taste) rice milk, plain (I used unsweetened almond, because that was in my fridge)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast (I used 3 tablespoons, to make more “cheesy”)
1+ package fresh spinach, cooked and drained, chopped (I used a 10 oz pkg. of frozen chopped spinach thawed, drained and extra moisture squeezed out)
Garlic powder to taste
1 portobello mushroom, stemmed, thinly sliced (I used a whole 8 oz pkg of sliced baby portobellos, oh yeah!)
Take baking dish and sprinkle with a layer of kosher salt (large grain). Cover the entire surface of the dish entire bottom of the dish. Prepare your potatoes, making sure to remove any eyes but keep the cuts shallow and leave as much of the skin intact as possible. Place your washed, dried potatoes on the salt covered baking sheet and bake them at 375 or 425 (your preferred temperature) for 1-2 hours, or until the potato squishes slightly when you press it. Rotate your potatoes a few times during that cooking process to make sure it bakes evenly. (I cooked mine 375 on the center reck of the oven, rotating them a quarter turn every 20 minutes until done. Mine took about an 1 hour 20 min. Then I left them to cool until still hot, but so I could handle them without scalding my fingers.) When potatoes are done, slice them in half horizontally and gently remove most of the baked potato flesh, leaving a nice potato skin boat. Rice the baked potatoes if possible and then fold into them some canola margarine or olive oil (or other favorite oil, coconut might be nice if you have it) and rice milk. (I did not add anything to the tatters. I just mashed the russets and sweet potatoes lightly in separate bowls. No oil or rice milk. Also, I used ALL of the potato filling, not just half because I like my stuffed potatoes to be giant mounded towers of potato-y goodness.) Salt and pepper to taste. Make sure your mashed potatoes are not soupy- you want them to be fluffy and fairly dry. If you like, you can enjoy half or more of these mashed potatoes for a snack or side dish right away. You only need about half or a quarter of the recipe for the stuffed potatoes.
This step can be done the night before. Just keep your potato skins and mashed potatoes refrigerated.
Preheat oven to 375.
Heat your oil and margarine (if using) in the pan until margarine has melted but not browned (I used olive oil). Throw in your diced onions and let them start to get translucent. (Add your sliced baby bellas here. Cook until some of the moisture begins to release.) Add your pressed garlic. When the pan begins to release the fragrance of garlic, mix in your fine brown rice flour and let it begin to toast slightly. Add a little garlic powder and mix into the roux. Gradually add your rice milk (I used organic, brown rice milk) (I used unsweetened almond -it was open in the fridge) and create a light white sauce. Whisk often to avoid lumps. When you’ve created a nice white sauce, add your nutritional yeast (this adds both color and flavor) and your chopped, drained spinach. (I cooked all of this a little longer to thicken the sauce more.) When dish has heated through, add a quarter of your mashed potato to the filling and combine. If desired, add more mashed potatoes to taste. (I folded the sauce very gently into my sweet and russet potatoes in a large mixing bowl. I was careful to fold and not over-mix as I wanted to still be able to see clumps of russet and slumps of sweet potato in the stuffing. At this point it only needed some cracked pepper and a smidge of salt.) Taste and add additional garlic powder as you like.
Heat cast iron pan with olive oil and a little margarine if desired. Add your thin portobello mushroom slices and add salt and pepper to taste. When they have softened, turn them over. (I skipped this as all my mushrooms were in my filling.)
To prepare: Fill your potato boats with the spinach white sauce potato filling and top with portobello mushroom strips. (I spritzed them with olive oil before popping them in the oven.) Place in oven and bake until they are heated through and take on a golden brown tinge. Plate and enjoy!