October 31, 2012
by Zel Allen, author of Vegan for the Holidays
This sumptuous yuletide dish makes a showy presentation on the holiday table. It's a winning entree for those with an inquisitive palate because its deliciously complex flavors present a fun challenge to guess the hidden ingredients.
Yield: Makes 12 balls; 8 to 12 servings
- 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps cut into quarters
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried tarragon
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
- 3 cups cooked short-grain brown rice
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely ground
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup black or regular sesame seeds
- 12 long sprigs fresh rosemary, for garnish
- 6 cherry tomatoes, cut in half, for garnish
- To make the tornadoes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 17 1/2 x 12 1/2-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Combine the mushrooms, onion, tamari, and tarragon in a large, deep skillet. Add water and cook and stir over medium-high heat for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the mushrooms are cooked and the onion is softened and transparent. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water as needed to prevent burning.
- Transfer the mushroom mixture to a food processor and add the olives. Process until smooth and creamy, stopping occasionally to scrape down the work bowl. Spoon the mixture into a large bowl.
- Add the rice, oats, walnuts, salt, and pepper and mix well. Pour the black sesame seeds into a deep, medium bowl.
- Using your hands, form the mushroom mixture into balls about 1 1/ 2 inches in diameter. Roll each one in the sesame seeds to coat well. Place the coated balls on the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes.
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup unsalted tomato paste
- 1 to 2 tablespoons tamari
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
- Pinch cayenne
- 1/2 cup cashews, finely ground
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Freshly ground pepper
- To make the sauce, combine the vegetable broth, tomato paste, tamari, garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, marjoram, and cayenne in a 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to medium and simmer 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the cashews, whisk and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. The sauce will continue to thicken upon standing. Before serving, stir in the lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
- To serve, spoon the sauce into a large, deep platter and arrange the tornadoes over the sauce. To garnish, poke a rosemary sprig into each tomato half and push them into the tops of the tornadoes, so they stand upright.