On January 1st, 2020 I launched a Whole Food Plant Based challenge to encourage us all to eat more plants and eat less meat. This is an effort to move our diets in a more plant-based direction which the research repeatedly shows us is beneficial to our long-term health. This also happens to be kindest way to eat for our planet, climate change and the animals.
The truth is that for those of us who actually enjoy the taste of meat, plant-based meals can sometimes feel like they are missing something. And what they are often missing is that mesmerising umami flavour note, which many meat lovers adore.
With that in mind, I took the classical meat-laden bean stew from Brazil – Feijoada – and swapped out the usual pork for umami-rich mushrooms. Cooked with plenty of bay leaves for a smoky depth, smoky in their own right black beans, lots of black pepper and other aromatics, I kid you not this dish does the job.
Moreover, it’s packed with plant-based protein, complex carbohydrates for slow burning fuel and a boatload of fibre. I served it with wild rice (you can do quinoa or skip the starch to keep things lighter) and wilted swiss chard with garlic and olive oil for a complete, nutritious meal for the whole family.
Simple. Delicious. Kind.
I hope you love it.
Note: My kids love rice and beans but for this meal they had burritos with cashew flour tortillas, the wild rice, feijoada, salsa and guac. My son ate the chard and my almost 3 YO wanted to have nothing to do with the greens <shrug> #reallife
PLANT BASED FEIJOADA
Serves a family of 4
2 tablespoons avocado oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
1 cup baby portobello or shiitake mushrooms
1 cup black beans, rinsed well a few times and soaked (6 – 12 hours) or 1 cup canned or boxed cooked black beans
Salt and pepper
4 bay leaves
Chili flakes (optional)
Small handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
In a pressure cooker or pot, warm the oil on medium high heat until it shimmers.
Add the garlic and saute until it’s fragrant, about a minute. Add the onion and a pinch each of salt and pepper and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes until nice and brown. Add the beans, enough water to cover, the bay leaves and more salt and pepper.
If using the pressure cooker, place the lid on, allow one whistle on high heat and reduce the heat to low. Allow the beans to cook for about 20 minutes. If using cooked beans, you could get away with cooking for 10 minutes though longer cooking times won’t hurt.
If using a regular pot, reduce the mixture to a simmer and cook with the lid on, stirring every now and then for about an hour (or 20-30 minutes for pre-cooked beans).
Adjust the salt and pepper to taste. Finish with chili flakes (optional) and fresh parsley.