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Jan 19, 2018
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By the Book: Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman’s Dijon Portobello Steaks with Roasted Tomato Aioli

January 29th 05:01pm, 2013

To round out our month of health-minded cookbooks, I cooked from The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions: Veganize It! Foolproof Methods for Transforming Any Dish into a Delicious New Vegan Favorite by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman.

I’ll just put this out there: I do not follow a vegan diet, and the idea of schlepping all over the city looking for vegan substitutes sounded like a drag. However, after exploring the book more, I realized how useful it is, acting as both an instruction manual and recipe book. And it’s never a bad thing to become more conscious of my ingredient choices. In addition to vegan substitutes, the book also focuses on how to substitute for gluten, soy, refined sugar, fat and honey. While some of the recipes required quite a few special ingredients, there were plenty that didn’t, so I picked my recipe from those.

If you are someone who does follow a vegan diet though, this book clearly marks the vegan substitute staples that would come up in many of its recipes. From Section Three: Keep the farm animals flourishing! Foolproof substitutions for meat, I chose the recipe for Dijon Portobello Steaks because they looked so meaty and enticing at the grocery store.

The book suggested adding the shrooms to a panini, so I also made the roasted tomato aioli to use as a schmear. The aioli recipe came from Section One: Let the cows come home! Foolproof substitutions for dairy. Making it proved to be fast and easy; it also had an excellent punch.

The ailoi recipe yielded much more than I needed to brush across two paninis, so I plan on using the extra in some sort of pasta dish later this week. 

I completely cheated and opted for egg-tastic Challah and melted Swiss to finish off my portobello, aioli panini. But regardless, I’m glad I was put on this assignment, for although I’m not becoming a vegan anytime soon, I did receive a good education on how to make my cooking more healthful (even if I chose to ignore it).

Dijon Portobello Steaks
Makes 2 servings

There is nothing quite as naturally meaty without being a meat as a thick juicy Portobello steak! Serve the mushrooms with Yucca Fries and punchy Aji Verde sauce, or use them to make an amazing panini with a schmear of Roasted Tomato Aioli. If you have leftover marinade, it works great as a salad dressing!

½ cup mild Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. agave nectar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed

• In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, agave, salt and pepper.
• Place the mushrooms in a shallow dish and cover with marinade. Let soak for at least 15 minutes.
• Remove the mushrooms from the marinade and place them on the grill or in a grill pan; cook for about 7 minutes per side, basting with marinade, until mushrooms are tender.

Roasted Tomato Aioli
Makes 2¾ cups

Serve this creamy concoction as a hot or cold dressing for 1 pound of cooked pasta, with baked potatoes, or as a sandwich spread.

For roasted tomatoes:
1 lb. grape tomatoes
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. fine salt
¼ cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and halved

For aioli:
½ cup vegan mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. blended chopped canned chipotle pepper and adobo sauce
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. fine sea salt
2 tsp. agave nectar
½ tsp. ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

To make the roasted tomatoes:
• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
• Combine all of the ingredients in an 8-inch square baking pan.
• Roast for 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until the tomatoes look like deflated tires. Remove from oven and set aside.

To make the aioli:
• Combine all ingredients and roasted tomatoes in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.
• Serve as is with pasta or baked potatoes, but chill to thicken before using as a sandwich spread.

Reprinted with permission from Fair Winds Press.

What’s your favorite vegan dish to make or your go-to vegan menu item that you order when you’re out? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Sue whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won her a copy of Dirt Candy. Sue, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.

By Julie Cohen

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One Response to “By the Book: Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman’s Dijon Portobello Steaks with Roasted Tomato Aioli”

  1. Charlotte Mielziner Says:
    January 29th, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    This would be excellent Super Bowl fare. Geez, the meat lovers wouldn’t miss it.

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