Herb roasted vegetables with root vegetable mash (vegan)

Spring is here! Doesn’t it feel so good? Unlike many, I wasn’t pining for it. Personally, I feel like we got a but gypped with winter in our little bubble. There was bitter cold, but not enough snowman, snowball, sledding snow. We went sledding twice, and “mudding” once. But still. Spring has a way of enveloping a person with soft, flowery kisses, and the boost of sunshine vitamins is liberating.

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So this dish. Adapted from the Pan-grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Herb-infused Marinade from my cooking Bible from Colleen Patrick-Goudrea, The Vegan Table, this bit of toothsome wholesomeness suits autumn, and winter, too, with the creamy warmth of smashed root vegetables. But to me it also sings of spring. Portobello mushrooms and herbs have such a mellow earthiness about them. The combination of roasted and mashed vegetables carries notes that are both savory and mildly sweet. It’s at once hearty and light.

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Do you ever find your heart and mind keep their own distinct, and differing, means of tracking time? I cannot believe we’ve reached another spring. Intellectually, I acknowledge the calendar, but my heart jumps from point to point in the past with love and longing.

Since Chef F was born, I’ve felt more consciously present than I can remember having ever been before. I’ve watched his personality bloom and unfold daily with tenderness. I see what a big, proper schoolboy he’s become. Yet, every day comes at least one startled moment. I don’t have a baby anymore? I will never have another baby.

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There are plenty of other, relevant moments, but that’s the most prominent. If I could live in the 100-acre wood forever, I probably would. These moments, I yearn for the earth. The most healing medicine is simply getting outside and breathing in spring. Noting and noticing the inherent loveliness in the cycle of all things.

Does this simple, rustic dish bring that kind of comfort? That’s a heavy ask and a lot of philosophy to instill in a meal. But yes. It sort of does. :)

Herb roasted vegetables with root vegetable mash
serves 4

  • 4-5 large portobello mushroom caps

  • 1-2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced

  • 1-2 zucchini, thickly sliced

  • 1-2 medium carrot (or use in mash instead)

  • 1 small red onion, peeled and cut into wedges

For the marinade:

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

  • 1/2 cup tamari or low-sodium soy sauce

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary

  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme

  • fresh ground black pepper to taste

For the mash:

  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped

  • 2 gold potatoes, chopped

  • 1 parsnip, peeled and chopped

  • 1 rutabaga, peeled and chopped

  • 1 turnip, peeled and chopped

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk or other plant-based option

  • 1 teaspoon dried chives (optional)

  • sea salt and black pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine marinade ingredients and stir to combine. Place mushrooms, pepper, zucchini, carrot and onion in the bowl and let marinate 30 minutes to overnight.

Preheat oven to 425 F.Place vegetables in a single layer on a roasting pan and coat lightly with cooking spray. Bake approximately 15 minutes, or until tender. Serve over mashed root vegetables.

Prepare the mash: Place all vegetables in a pot or large skillet with lid, and cover with water. Place over medium-high heat, and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and let bubble until the vegetables are fork tender, 15-20 minutes.Drain and transfer to a mixing bowl; add almond milk, chives, salt and pepper. Mash with a potato masher or lightly blend with a mixer to combine. Keep warm in pot or skillet until ready to serve.