Autumn dinner: Hearty Mushroom Stew

This is a richly satisfying meal that happens to be meatless, delicious and incredibly good for you. Best of all, it’s super easy and quick to make. The savory richness of the red wine and mushrooms coupled with crusty bread and sweet butter makes it a comforting meal for a fall evening

I adapted this from a Vegetarian Times cookbook recipe.  As a young bride in the 80s, I was marrying a vegetarian (and was a vegetarian myself until I gave birth) and was gifted this wonderful cookbook.

Their version is truly delicious but mine is perhaps a little simpler, plus I added rosemary.  Their version added the olives to the stew but I serve mine on the side. It is a forgiving recipe so if you don’t have an ingredient, it can still work — but the thyme is a must!

You will need

  • A large pot
  • Two small or 1 large container of whole, white mushrooms, washed
  • 1 regular size can of diced tomatoes in juice (no sodium preferred)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped in chunks
  • At least 3 (or more) garlic cloves, chopped
  • Olive oil and butter
  • Spices: Sea salt (or regular salt), 2 bay leaves, dried rosemary, dried thyme and dried parsley
  • A medium-b0died red wine, like Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel
  • Crusty, rustic-style baguette or loaf and olives

Heat olive oil and butter over medium heat (about 1 to 2 Tbsp of each, or however much is needed to coat the bottom of the pot). Add yellow onion and cook until almost transparent. Add rosemary, thyme and mushrooms and saute for a few minutes. Add tomatoes and juice, along with half a can of water and dried parsley. Let cook for about 20 minutes. Add a splash of red  wine, if desired (about half a cup). Heat through. You can add salt to taste or salt individual servings.

Remove bay leaves. Serve with the bread, green olives, and more olive oil or butter for the bread, if you like. For a heartier meal, add a side of mashed potatoes or a green salad.  If you are craving something sweet later, have a square of Lindt 85% dark chocolate, which will play nicely with any red wine left in your glass.

What an incredibly healthy meal!

Did you know that mushrooms are not a vegetable? They are a good source of selenium, which is important for your memory. Canned tomatoes are a good source of lycopene, an antioxidant that can lower your risk for stroke. Garlic and onions can help strengthen your immune system and contain nutrients that fight cancer. The resveratrol in red wine (in moderation, e.g. one glass) is good for your heart and can help prevent blood clots and may even help prevent dementia. Extra virgin olive oil is a healthy fat that may help stave off diabetes. Rosemary, thyme and parsley are packed with nutrients. Rosemary has been famous for centuries for its impact on memory. That square of dark chocolate is loaded with healthy benefits, not the least of which is its power to help reduce stress.

About Mary Fletcher Jones

Mary Fletcher Jones is a mom, teacher, and blogger. Her blogs include Autumn in Virginia, Cool Yule Blog and You Can't Make This Stuff Up, among others. She is also the creator of "Living Well With Autism," an online resource for caregivers of children, teens, and adults with autism and related special needs.
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