For me, one of the things that make vegan eating so much fun is experimenting with all the different savory or “umami” flavors at my disposal. Savoriness for omnis tends to revolve around dairy cheese, which has a very powerful umami flavor profile and high fat, so basically tastes amazing. But, once you go vegan, you open your taste buds to a lot of foods that you didn’t even realize were actually savory. For instance, roasted broccoli and garlic, parsnip mash, Brussels sprouts, roasted tomatoes, miso, or shiitake mushrooms have all very intense umami flavors. The key is to transform a plant ingredient through cooking.
This portobello bacon does just that, and makes for such satisfying and “meaty” topping over a beautiful bowl of grains and vegetables! It’s so simple to prepare and fun to eat–proof that eating healthy can be so comforting and delicious.
Quinoa Bowl with Vegan Portobello Bacon
1 1/2 cup dry quinoa
2 cup water
1 tsp olive oil (optional)
salt and seasoning to taste (I like to add whatever spices that fits my mood–turmeric, five spice powder, garam masala, cumin, coriander, garlic powder…)
1 medium head broccoli, chopped into small pieces
1 small carrot, diced
1/2 avocado, sliced
other vegetables, to taste (I used beets–try using contrasting colors like tomatoes for red, or red cabbage for purple)
2 portobello mushroom caps, in 1/4″ thin slices
1.5 tbsp soy sauce
1.5 tsp liquid sweetener (like agave)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
fresh cracked black pepper
1. In a medium pot, bring 2 cups water to boil. Add quinoa, seasonings, and salt, and olive oil if using. Lower heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
2. Add chopped vegetables to the pot and simmer for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, fluff with a fork and put the cover back on. Let rest for 10 minutes.
3. In the meantime, whisk together soy sauce, sweetener, and garlic powder in a small bowl.
4. Turn on the oven to broil and set a baking tray with foil. Lay the mushroom slices on the tray and drizzle with marinade. Broil under the flame for 8-10 minutes until the mushrooms are browned. Flip over to the other side, drizzle with remaining marinade and broil for an additional 3-5 minutes.
5. To assemble, take a bowl or a plate and add about a cup of quinoa. Arrange additional vegetables on top. Add the portobello bacon and drizzle with remaining marinade and serve.
More healthy lunch ideas: Quinoa and Seaweed Salad
Fennel, Mushroom, and Kale Sandwich
Photo: Peaceful Dumpling