Pesto Portobellos, Olive Focaccia Bread, & Garlicky Balsamic Dijon Vinaigrette Dressing

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Lately, I have been drawing so much inspiration from Pinterest, and Zander has really been binging on tomatoes lately, so last night’s dinner was a hodge podge of tomatoey (?) dishes inspired by multiple pins (sorry I can’t attribute it to any one pin, or I would).

I started by baking some homemade focaccia bread during Zander’s nap. Alex and I promptly ate about half of this heavenly bread fresh out of the oven, drizzled in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, but we did manage to save some for dinner (and even enough for leftovers for today’s lunch). I’ll share the focaccia recipe below.

Next, I spooned a layer of homemade basil and walnut pesto (recipe below) into some portobello mushrooms, topped them all with thinly sliced roma tomatoes and a sprinkle of Daiya vegan mozzarella cheese, and baked them at 350 degrees F for approximately 30 minutes.

The salad was just a simple bunch of mixed greens tossed with diced tomatoes, kalamata olives, and our new family favorite, the garlicky balsamic Dijon vinaigrette dressing that I mentioned in yesterday’s blog (recipe below).

For Zander’s dessert, I layered a few thin slices of apple with a mix of almond butter and maple syrup, then piled some juice-sweetened cranberries on top. This was really popular (photo below).

LEFTOVERS: For today’s lunch, I sliced our leftover focaccia bread into three pieces, halved those and toasted them in the oven with a generous helping of Daiya cheese, then assembled three sandwiches using freshly sliced roma tomatoes and the leftover pesto mushrooms (sliced in half). Why is it that leftovers are often better than the original meal? I am certainly not complaining. We ate like royalty, and now Alex and Zander are both taking an afternoon nap, so this mama has a quiet house all to herself, which is rare. 😉

Here are the recipes, just incase you’d like to create a nice quiet house for yourself one afternoon (hahaha):

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OLIVE FOCACCIA BREAD:

Ingredients:
1 (1/4 ounce) packet of active dry yeast (NOT rapid rise yeast)
1 1/4 cups warm water
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp fresh rosemary, plus extra whole leaves for garnish (I omitted this because Alex hates rosemary)
3 cups all-purpose flour (you could also use 1 1/2 cups white and 1 1/2 cups whole wheat)
1 tsp sea salt
Olive oil for brushing
Course sea salt for garnish
Optional stuff to knead into dough: chopped kalamata olives; sauteed shallots; cracked black pepper; chopped fresh sage, parsley, or oregano; etc. (I used about 1/2 cup of olives–but I will use at least twice that the next time I make this bread).
Optional topping: I added about 2 thinly sliced roma tomatoes to the top just before baking. The next time I make this bread, I will use 5 or 6 thinly sliced tomatoes and layer them all over the top surface. They were so delicious!

Instructions:
Combine the yeast and warm water in a large bowl. Stir in the olive oil, chopped rosemary, and flour, and knead to form a soft dough. If the dough is sticky, work in a little flour, 1 tbsp at a time. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and kneads for 5 to 6 minutes, until smooth. Pour a little olive oil in the original bowl, add the kneaded dough, and turn a few times to coat the dough with oil. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise 1 hour, or until a hole poked into the side of the risen dough fills up slowly.

Punch down the dough, return it to the floured surface, and knead a few times. Then, using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a large circle about 1.5 inches thick. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased cookie sheet. Poke several holes into the dough with a fork, sprinkle with coarse sea salt and rosemary leaves, and brush with a little oil (or even soy milk, for a matte finish). Cover again with dish towel and let rise for 20 minutes.

While the dough is rising for the second time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the bread is lightly browned and firm. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

CREDIT: This recipe was adapted ever-so-slightly from the Fresh Rosemary Focaccia Recipe in VEGANOMICON: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero.

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CLASSIC PESTO:

Ingredients:
1/2 cup walnuts (I had just under 1/2 a cup in my pantry, so I improvised with a handful of sunflower seeds, and this worked out just as nicely)
3 cups packed basil leaves
3 cloves garlic (I used more like 12, but they were small to medium-sized cloves)
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
2 tsp lemon juice

Instructions:
Toast the walnuts in a toaster oven at 350 degrees F for 5 minutes, or on a baking sheet in a conventional oven for 10 minutes, turning once.

Combine the walnuts, basil, garlic, and salt in a food processor or blender and process while you add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Add the nutritional yeast and lemon juice, and pulse to combine. The sauce should be the consistency of a slightly grainy paste, not a puree.

CREDIT: Vegan with a Vengeance, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE SALAD DRESSING:

Ingredients:
6 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup water
1 tsp Dijon mustard (I tend to use more like 2 Tbsp of this)
1-2 cloves garlic (I use at least 6 cloves)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 tsp oregano
Celtic salt to taste

Instructions:
The book says to whisk all the ingredients together in a small mixing bowl or pour them into a glass jar with a sealable lid and shake well, but I like to combine everything in a blender and then transfer to my glass salad dressing bottles. Oh, and I always double this recipe, because we go through it so quickly.

CREDIT: The Sugar Free Lifestyle, by Nancy Desjardins

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About Kim McCoy

Kim McCoy is a passionate animal and environmental advocate with a B.S. in Business Administration from UT Knoxville and a J.D. specializing in Animal and Environmental Law. She graduated with honors from Lewis & Clark Law School, where she served as Editor in Chief of the internationally acclaimed Animal Law Review and interned with the National Center for Animal Law and the International Environmental Law Project. Kim is a member of MENSA (the “high IQ society”) and previously worked for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in a variety of roles, including Executive Director, Director of Campaigns, and Director of Legal Affairs. Kim is also the former Executive Director of the One World One Ocean Foundation and the proud mother of a healthy, thriving son who has been vegan since conception. Currently serving as Executive Director of Big Life Foundation, which protects wildlife and wild lands in Eastern Africa, Kim remains deeply committed to the defense of animals worldwide.
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One Response to Pesto Portobellos, Olive Focaccia Bread, & Garlicky Balsamic Dijon Vinaigrette Dressing

  1. Val says:

    Yum. Major yum. I can’t wait to make this!!

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