Veggie a-la-king

SIP 3-22-17
Veggie a-la-king

Reinventing vegetable cooking can be challenging, especially for vegetarian families that grow tired of preparing them the same way day in and day out. Such was the inspiration for turning this classic chicken a-la-king recipe that has graced our plates for more than 30 years into something just a little different. The important thing to remember when choosing a plant-based lifestyle is that it is not 100% vegan.

While vegans refrain from eating meat, poultry and dairy, the focus of a plant-based lifestyle is to eat primarily whole, plant-based foods. In other words, foods that grow from the grown. Adding a small amount of ingredients such as dairy to a recipe now and then isn’t going to make or break the plant-based lifestyle. In fact, understanding the food and lifestyle choices that led to the precarious state of health in our country and the tremendous impact of nutritionally controllable diseases is only half the battle. The other half is making a conscious decision that you will take the time to plan healthy meals for your family, and cut back on those ingredients that we know can be damaging when eaten in excess. I truly believe that health reform doesn’t start in Washington, it starts in your own kitchen. It’s no coincidence then that full deprivation of any one ingredient (except maybe sugar but that’s a whole other discussion) is not the best way to sustain wellness, lose weight, and feel good about yourself on a consistent basis. In addition to exercise and practicing mindfulness, I recommend setting a goal to eat more vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and seeds than you do meat or dairy to maintain an optimal balance.

She made it for crowds and she made it for our family in the cold of winter when we all craved something warm and satisfying. Back then of course the primary ingredient was always chicken, so if you eat meat, feel free to add that back in. Sorry mom, I think the veggie version stands just as well on it’s own, yet still gives me a way to pass on your joy of cooking to my children.

The creaminess in this recipe comes from the condensed milk, but the best part is pouring it over a crispy puff pastry shell. Feel free to substitute whole grain toast if you desire an extra healthy version. I think you’ll find this recipe a good combination of the “mostly vegetables” goal.

1 vidalia onion
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
1 green bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
2 cups chopped mushrooms
1 8 oz can of evaporated milk
4 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp. butter (for sautéing vegetables)
salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch of freshly chopped parsley for garnish
frozen puff pastry shells or whole grain toast for serving

clean and chop vegetables, then sauté until translucent (about 10 minutes). In a separate crock, make a slurry out of the flour and evaporated milk. Heat vegetable broth separately and slowly whisk the heated broth into the slurry until incorporated. Add vegetables to the crock and continue cooking over low heat for about 20 more minutes. Prepare puff pastry shells according to package directions and pour over when ready to serve.

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