Thursday, February 5, 2009

Portobello Mushroom Benedict

Brunch. For those of us that are gluten-free and vegan the word “brunch” in the conventional sense can be equated to “there’s nothing here I can eat.”

I remember most recently meeting my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law at the local Original Pancake House for a Sunday afternoon brunch. After examining the menu and asking a few questions I discovered the only thing I could eat was a grapefruit and a cup of hot tea. Not exactly what I had in mind. I had inquired about the hash browns and after some checking the manager came over to tell me that they used “clarified butter” and that should be O.K. for people with dairy allergies. Obviously the man had no idea what he was talking about so instead of arguing with him, I opted for the grapefruit . Yay.

Thankfully, I’ve found a wonderful little location for a weekend brunch that caters to vegans and gluten free folk like me. It’s a little restaurant called Pizza Luce located on Selby Ave in St. Paul. Not only do they have delicious dishes like tofu scramble, jalapeno hash browns, and vegan sausage patties, they also have $1 mimosas and a Portobello Mushroom Benedict that I have come to absolutely love and have made myself at home.

The only thing I do differently is I leave out the English muffin. The Portobello mushroom and hash browns are more than enough to fill you up, and if you’re really hungry you can substitute a veggie patty for the muffin, placing it under the mushroom. (Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my keyboard.)

I searched for a recipe for the vegan hollandaise sauce and all I could find where recipes that used silken tofu as a base. They didn’t taste very authentic, so instead I created my own using raw cashews and it turned out fantastic.

So, here’s to brunch the way it’s supposed to be eaten! Enjoy!

Portobello Mushroom Benedict
(Serves 4)

4 large Portobello mushrooms
1 bag raw spinach
2 green onions, sliced
4 veggie gluten free veggie burgers (if desired)
1 large bag frozen hash browns
Vegan Hollandaise Sauce (recipe to follow)

Begin preparing hash browns according to the instructions on the bag.

Remove stem and gills from mushrooms, wash thoroughly. Place veggie burgers on a heated grill pan and begin to cook. This will take about 8-10 minutes if they are frozen. Meanwhile, drizzle the mushrooms with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and place on heated grill pan cooking about 5-6 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.
Place the hot mushroom on a handful of spinach leaves and cover with the veggie patty. Drizzle with hollandaise sauce and top with sliced green onion. Add hash browns to the dish, season to taste and serve!

Jenni’s Vegan Hollandaise Sauce

½ cup raw cashews
½ cup water
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp turmeric
1 Tbsp canola oil or grapeseed oil

Place all ingredients into the blender except the oil. Blend until smooth. Slowly add the oil while mixing on low for about 1-2 minutes to combine thoroughly.

You may want to heat the sauce in the microwave for a short time before serving, but be careful, it will burn easily!