Tag Archives: mushroom

Non-dairy Creamy Pasta with Oats, Mushroom & Avocado

Non-dairy Creamy Pasta with Oats, Mushroom & Avocado

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Non-dairy Creamy Pasta with Oats, Mushroom & Avocado








Haven’t had pasta for quite a while and fancied a comforting bowl of creamy macaroni with mushrooms.

The earlier me would have made it with the classic béchamel sauce but the kooky me of today will not consider that option.

So I was wondering how to make a creamy sauce without butter, milk and flour and hit upon two healthy alternatives to get the velvety texture: instant oats and avocado.

Non-dairy Creamy Pasta with Oats, Mushroom and AvocadoTo bump up the nutritional value, I threw in a yellow pepper and some cherry tomato.

even for those on a low carb diet, pasta with oats, mushroom, avocado, pepper and tomato is a nourishing dish

One cup of béchamel sauce has approximately 280 calories. Ouch!

Creamy oats and avocado help make the sauce luscious and rich without the calories of a conventional white sauce. Sure, avocado is calorific but it has good calories and is very low in saturated fat (the same can’t be said about béchamel sauce which is high in saturated fat).

I cooked this pasta using the absorption method to avoid unnecessary washing-up. Absorption method involves cooking the pasta along with sauce rather than boiling it separately and adding it at the end. The other advantage of cooking this way is that it makes the sauce quite creamy.

The best part is that when you are eating this, you don’t even realise that it has oats in it. So this one’s for keeps.


1/2 Cup dried pasta (short variety like macaroni or penne or farfale)

2-3 Tablespoons instant/quick cooking oats

1 Small, ripe avocado

200 Grams button mushroom

1 Yellow Pepper

10-12 Cherry tomato

1 Onion

1 Pod garlic

1 Stock cube (vegetable or chicken)

1-2 Tablespoons hot sauce (optional)

1-2 Teaspoons olive oil

Salt to taste

Grated parmesan to serve


  1. Wash and chop the yellow pepper.
  2. Wash/wipe and halve the mushroom.
  3. Wash the cherry tomato.
  4. Peel, wash and chop the onion.
  5. Peel and chop the garlic.
  6. Heat the oil in a pan.
  7. Lower the heat and add the onion, garlic and salt to taste.
  8. Stir, cover and let this cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  9. Uncover and throw in the pepper and cherry tomato.
  10. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  11. Uncover and add the dry pasta. Stir for a couple of minutes.
  12. Next, add the mushroom, oats, hot sauce (if using) and stock cube.
  13. Add 2.5 cups of water, mix thoroughly and turn the heat to high.
  14. Once it starts boiling, lover the heat, cover and cook for 10 to 12 minutes.
  15. While it is cooking, peel and finely dice the avocado.
  16. After 12 minutes (or once the pasta is cooked), add the diced avocado, stir, cover and cook for 1 minute.
  17. Take the pan off the heat and let it sit for about 3 to 4 minutes.
  18. Transfer to a pasta bowl and sprinkle the grated parmesan.
  19. Enjoy hot.


  1. Hot sauce is optional but it gives the dish a nice lift. I used my homemade one but you can use bottled sauce.


Pearl Millet Pilaf with Mushroom & Red Pepper

A Nutty & Seedy Pilaf of Pearl Millet, Mushroom & Red Pepper

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Pearl Millet Pilaf with Mushroom & Red Pepper








Wikipedia tells me that “pearl millet is the most widely grown type of millet.” Its roots lie in India and Africa. India is the largest producer of this grain which is also extensively used across the Sahel region and which is a staple of Namibia.

My introduction to pearl millet was by way of bajra roti (pearl millet flatbread) when I was growing up . Till a couple of years back, I would not have considered using the whole grain or its flour in any other type of cooking.

But since I have become an adventurous – albeit a rather kooky (!) – cook, I have started discovering and experimenting with new ingredients along with staples in my quest to make healthy and delicious meals. “Healthy” doesn’t have to mean dull and boring. And today’s pilaf recipe demonstrates just that.

Pearl millet is good for those with gluten allergy and the versatile cooked grains can be used as a base for pilaf, in stuffings, in soups, as a side dish, in puddings, in baked goods and even sprouted.

toasting the grains before soaking and boiling lends them a nice and nutty flavour

I like to consider this pearl millet pilaf recipe balanced as it includes vegetables (mushroom, red pepper, onion, celery and tomato), calcium (cheese), seeds (sunflower and pumpkin),  herb (parsley) and good fat (pistachio nuts and olive oil).


1/2 Cup uncooked pearl millet

200 Grams mushroom (button or any other variety)

1 Red Pepper

2 Onions

1 Garlic pod

2 Tomatoes

2-3 Stick celery

1-2 Birds eye chilli

A small bunch parsley (curly or flat-leaf)

1 Tablespoon shelled, unsalted pistachio

1 Tablespoon mix of sunflower and pumpkin seeds

1 Tablespoon raisin

1 Tablespoon cheese of your choice

1 Tablespoon oil

1 Teaspoon sumac (optional)

1-2 Teaspoons paprika

2-3 Anchovy fillets (optional)

Salt to taste


  1. First we need to work on the pearl millet. Heat a wide base frying pan and throw in the pearl millet. Lower the heat and keep stirring till the grains release a nice and nutty aroma (about 5 to 7 minutes).
  2. Once the grains have cooled, wash and soak them for 8 to 10 hours.
  3. At the end of the soaking period, boil the grains in about one cup of water with a pinch of salt. They will take about 20 minutes to cook but keep checking. If you cook them in a pressure cooker, let them cook on high heat for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain the cooked grains (add a squeeze of lime to the remaining liquid and drink it, nutritious and delicious!).
  5. At this stage, you can refrigerate the boiled pearl millet and cook it later or keep aside and start working on the vegetables if cooking straight away.
  6. Peel, wash and dice the onions.
  7. Peel and slice the garlic.
  8. Was, de-core, de-seed and chop the red pepper.
  9. Wash and chop the celery.
  10. Wash and chop the tomato.
  11. Wash and chop the parsley.
  12. Wash/wipe and slice the mushroom.
  13. Grate or crumble the cheese (will depend on the type of cheese you are using).
  14. Toast the pistachio and seeds together in a dry frying pan till they are nice and toasty and turn a couple of shades darker. Remove and set aside.
  15. Heat the oil in a frying pan to which add the raisins and chilli. Stir around a bit for a minute or so till the raisins plump up a bit.
  16. Now lower the heat and add the chopped onion, tomato, garlic, celery, red pepper and anchovy fillets (if using). Add a pinch of salt, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  17. Once the vegetables are cooked, add the sliced mushroom, paprika, sumac (if using) and a bit more salt to taste. Stir, cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes till the mushrooms are cooked.
  18. Next, add the boiled pearl millet along with the chopped parsley. Stir, check for salt, add some more if necessary, cover and cook for 7 to 8 minutes.
  19. Take it of the heat and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
  20. Scatter toasted pistachio, seeds and cheese on the pilaf before serving.

Green Pea Soup with Mint & Mushroom

Green Pea Soup with Mint & Mushroom









As I wrote in my yesterday’s quinoa post, green peas are in abundance so I bought plenty on impulse. Next comes the case of figuring out how to make use of them!

Seeing as how it was my soup night, I was thinking of ways I could use them in a soup or a broth. Was very tempted to make the classic British pea and ham soup but ham felt a bit indulgent seeing as how I had gorged on prawn biryani in a restaurant the night before! So I was trying to imagine which other vegetable I could pair with fresh peas and suddenly hit upon mushrooms.

mushrooms are similar to ham in terms of texture so I guess you can call this a vegetarian version of pea and ham soup

I think this soup works really well because of the fresh ingredients. It won’t taste the same if using frozen peas and dried mint.

a totally scrumptious soup


1.5 Cups fresh peas

150 Grams button mushroom

1 Cup fresh mint leaves

1 Large onion

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Vegetable stock cube

Salt to taste


  1. Wash the peas.
  2. Wipe/wash and slice the mushroom.
  3. Peel, wash and finely chop the onion.
  4. Wash and chop the mint leaves.
  5. Place the peas in a pan along with 1 cup of water, salt and stock cube.
  6. Bring to boil, cover, lower the heat and let the peas cook for about 10 minutes.
  7. Take off the heat, drain the peas reserving the cooking liquor.
  8. Once the peas have cooled down, puree them.
  9. Add the pureed peas back to the cooking liquor and mix well.
  10. Add the chopped mint leaves to the pea mixture.
  11. Take a soup pot (or equivalent) and heat the oil in it.
  12. Add the chopped onion with a pinch of salt. Stir around a bit, lower heat, cover and let the onion cook for about 3 to 4 minutes.
  13. Uncover, add the sliced mushroom and 1 cup of water, cover and let the mushrooms cook for about 5 to 7 minutes.
  14. Uncover, tip in the pea mixture with mint. Combine well. Cover and gently heat the soup for 10 minutes.
  15. Serve hot.


Fat Free Ginger Redolent Broth of Bean Curd & Vegetables, The Asian Way

Fat Free Ginger Redolent Broth with Bean Ciurd and Tofu, The Asian Way









Since I started my first kooky soup post with a broth and given my current obsession with soups, it seems fitting that I say farewell to 2013 with another one of my fat free broth recipes!

This one is very simple to prepare and tastes absolutely heavenly thanks to the generosity of ginger.

For additional flavour, I added a beef stock cube; you can use one of your choice.

You can play around with the vegetables. I made it with broccoli, mushrooms and baby corn to stick to the Asian theme.


1 Cup washed and chopped broccoli

1 Cup washed and chopped mushrooms

1 Cup washed and chopped baby corn

1/2 Cup bean curd, cubed

Fresh ginger root the size of your thumb twice over

Stock cube

2 to 3 cups water

Salt to taste


  1. Wash and finely grate the ginger. Keep any juices which come out.
  2. Pour the water in a soup pot along with grated ginger, its juice and the stock cube.
  3. Bring to boil, add the baby corn, cover, lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Next, add the bean curd, broccoli and mushrooms along with a pinch of salt.
  5. Cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes till vegetables are tender.
  6. Serve piping hot.


  1. I didn’t peel the ginger but you can do so if you prefer.
  2. You can add some finely chopped spring onion on top if you like.

I chopped the bean curd and vegetables same size in order for them to cook evenly.

Bean Curd and Vegetables for Fat Free Ginger Redolent Broth with Bean Ciurd and Tofu, The Asian Way  Baby Corn for Fat Free Ginger Redolent Broth with Bean Ciurd and Tofu, The Asian Way


Layered Sweet Potato, Mushroom and Avocado Salad


Last night, I had one of the best meals I have ever cooked even if I say so myself!

without further ado

Let’s get on with this yummy salad which came about as a result of my very good friend Meher who got me a haas avocado

this one is dead simple and the best part is that you can adapt the basic premise of this salad to suit your taste

Layer One (bottom layer)


  • A handful of amaranth leaves is what I used but you can use any salad leaves you fancy such as iceberg lettuce, kale, spinach, watercress or even a mixture of leaves and fresh herbs.


  1. Wash the leaves (and herbs, if using).
  2. Pat dry with kitchen towel or put in a salad spinner. The idea is to get all the moisture out.
  3. Do this a couple of hours beforehand so that the leaves are water free when you transfer them to your dinner plate.

Layer Two (sitting above the leaves)


  • 1-2 sweet potatoes (depending on size and appetite)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Seasoning of your choice (I used garlic pepper seasoning from my pantry)
  • Salt to taste


  1. Wash and clean the sweet potatoes.
  2. Slice them in half vertically and either leave them intact or cut them in two depending on their size.
  3. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, seasoning and salt in a non-reactive bowl.
  4. Add the sweet potatoes, mix them well with the marinade, cover and leave till the time you are ready to eat.

Layer three (sits above the sweet potatoes)


  • 250 gms your choice of mushrooms (I used the plain white variety)
  • 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar (any type of wine or sherry vinegar will also work well)


  1. Wash or wipe the mushrooms.
  2. If small, you can leave them whole or split them in half or quarter depending on their size.

Layer four (the top of the salad)


  • One ripe avocado
  • A spoonful of prepared mustard 9I used Colemans)
  • 3-4 tablespoons mild yoghurt (Greek yoghurt works well here)
  • one grated cucumber (optional)


  1. Whisk the yoghurt.
  2. Add cucumber (if using) and mustard.

Cooking and Assembling

  1. Heat a frying pan. When hot, add the sweet potatoes and all the marinade.
  2. Make sure they sit in a single layer, cut side down.
  3. Cover, turn down the heat to minimum and set the timer for 10 minutes.
  4. After 10 minutes, uncover and flip over the potatoes.
  5. Once again, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  6. Once the sweet potatoes are cooked, place them on top of the leaves and herbs which form the base on your plate.
  7. Add the vinegar to the pan to deglaze it along with a couple of spoonfuls of water and the mushrooms.
  8. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  9. While the mushrooms are cooking, peel and chop the avocado and immediately add it to the yoghurt mixture.
  10. Once the mushrooms are cooked, remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on top of the sweet potatoes.
  11. Add any liquid from the pan to the yoghurt avocado mixture, give it a good stir and pour this over the mushrooms.
  12. Voila – your layered salad is ready!

substitute, improvise, replace!

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, you can use whatever you fancy. Chicken or boiled eggs instead of avocados. Broccoli instead of mushrooms. Salad leaves of your choice. Use whatever is available, seasonal, cheap and fresh.

Just follow these steps for layering:

leaves followed by carbs followed by vegetables followed by protein

If you try this out, let me know how you get on and which ingredients you substitute!