Marfigs' Munchies

Adventures in vegan eats and feats

Lunch of champs: stuffed portabello + cauliflower steak pitas

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pita1It’s amazing what just a few things can do to improve one’s sense of well being and to restore a sense of balance to the world. The week started off pretty horrible at work, which is why I’m very grateful to have been able to take leave today. I’ve also organized to have one day a week off for the next seven weeks, because my colleague is going overseas to present a paper and then I’ll be slogging away in his stead. Being able to wake up half an hour later today, having the time to put on the oven and faff around in the kitchen…glorious! I’ve now got at least five drafts of goodies that I want to make in the upcoming month or so with all these days of me-time. I’m pretty introverted, so working with and for people is rather stressful – most days I thrive under the idea that it’s a craft to step outside yourself and be part of a service-delivery machine, but there are moments where I just want to put up glass, like on a pope-mobile, and wave at people as I drive away. 

Man-thing is always very supportive in terms of letting me vent, or giving me half an hour after we get home to just unwind in silence. Last night he went a step further and actually marched us to the Woolies after work so he could pick out ingredients to make a salad for me. This is a pretty big deal for Man-thing, who insists that soy mince pasta is the threshold of his creativity in the kitchen, and is pretty quick to give up once I start “making suggestions” (admittedly I’m pretty possessive of the kitchen and the way things are done…yikes!). It’s always perplexing to live with someone who essentially dislikes cooking, but he’s slowly becoming more spontaneous in the kitchen, suggesting dishes, ingredients, or being more critical about presentation. It’s all rather sweet, especially considering the set up I came home to yesterday evening after the gym. The works!

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Man-thing will be quick to point out that he took these photos while I was quickly showering, but just look! An entire serving bowl, all for me – and you can bet I did inhale it all (except the croutons…I nibbled on a few and then gave them to him to munch). I was very clear to point out a blog post I read a while back about a foodie who used serving bowls for her daily salads because faffing around with tiny bowls was getting her down, and darn right – I’m now very proud to whip out our big tupperware and rock that if I’m doing salad with or for lunch and dinner, as I usually do.

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Anyway, isn’t that adorable? Candles? Presentation? Gold star! :p

He will also be quick to point out that he also came up with the idea for today’s lunch: portabello pitas.Well, he forgets he fought me on the pitas, but he wanted portabello mushrooms, and who can blame him? Nature’s prime cut (if I can say that without giving anyone omni flashbacks). These are rather quick to make, and come out super tasty as a carb-y treat. We usually don’t do pitas or big sandwiches (or rather, I don’t), but sometimes the need for comfort food reverberates throughout the universe, and all converges on the need for nom.

This is nom.

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This is also Man-thing’s plate: he wanted me to show off his idea of “manly” presentation, or how men eat all the delicate ideas one comes up with. *le sigh!*

Ingredients: (feeds 2)

  • 2 large portabello mushrooms
  • 2 thick slices cauliflower (cauliflower steak)
  • 4 TBSP pesto of choice (we used an olive pesto)
  • 2 brown/wholewheat pitas
  • 1 1/2 cups stir fry
  • 1 cup relish of choice/ratatouille/chutney/whatever you prefer – add 1 tsp of curry powder to this
  • spices to taste (smoked paprika!)
  • 2 TBSP hummus

How-to:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C
  2. Bake your mushrooms stem down on baking paper for 10 minutes, as well as the cauliflower steaks. It will let loose a lot of moisture.
  3. Drain the liquid and turn the mushrooms cap up. Spread 1 TBSP of pesto inside the cap of each mushroom. Splash some smoked paprika on top. Bake for 10 minutes,
  4. Turn the cauliflower steak over and smear it with pesto. Splash smoked paprika on top! Bake it for another 10 minutes on the top grill.
  5. Meanwhile, in a non-stick pan, fry up your stir fry for a few minutes on medium heat so that it loses its moisture.
  6. Mix the relish and curry powder, then add the relish to the stir fry and cook for another 6 or so. Add spices to taste.
  7. Heat your pita in the toaster or in the microwave until it puffs up (see your package, ours took 30 seconds). If you’re less lazy you can bake it puffed open, but I forgot about that by the time I switched the oven off!
  8. slice open on edge of the pita and smear 1 TBSP of hummus inside, then add a few tablespoons of the stir fry relish, then stuff the portabello steak and mushroom steak in there, adding stir fry in between, on the sides and on top. If you like, add more hummus, a drop of balsamic…anything goes! Some grated carrot would go great in there.
  9. Heat up your pita before serving, because with all the fussing it gets chilly and that’s just sad.

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This was such a fun and delicious lunch! I really enjoy “adventure food” like this, which is outside the norm of my usual lunches of salads with beans and some species of steamed veggie. It’s such a ridiculously straight-forward concept that instructions are probably not even necessary, so this was just actually a post to gloat about the yummy food I got to eat.

Man-thing doesn’t like cauliflower (although he’s happy to eat it in ignorance if it happens to be the base for a pizza or other treat) so he got a second mushroom and I got a second cauliflower steak to glomp later on. Win win, but my pita was obviously better :p

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Anyway, after this lazy-inducing lunch we rounded off the daylight portion of my day off lying in bed with the cat watching walking dead. Now that winter is going full blast it’s the only logical place to sit still for a long while, and this way we get to spend time with Gatsby, who is feeling very neglected with all the kitten fostering we’ve been doing. BUT (I know I shouldn’t start a sentence like that, drat), we have already gotten Pig and Puff adopted!! Now only poor Plaster remains, but this kitty has crawled into my heart- if you even look in his direction he starts purring! ❤ Life is pretty good after all, so I go back to work tomorrow with a much better attitude, which is actually the key to doing anything in life, be it work or what.

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Puff: adopted!

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Pig: Adopted!

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Plaster is so frakkin cute – just look at all that fluff and those love-struck eyes!

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Author: Marfigs

Ahoy, I’m Margaux! History teacher and freelance editor; wench to my Man-thing; volunteer at a cat shelter; and handmaiden to our kitsy cats, Gatsby, Freyja and Atlas. This blog is dedicated to vegan food, occasionally overthrown by pictures of foster kittens and other fluffy creatures. I love sharing ideas and recipes, so don't be shy: stop by and say hi!

5 thoughts on “Lunch of champs: stuffed portabello + cauliflower steak pitas

  1. Aww that is such a sweet thing to do! And the fact he even thought to take photos is just adorable! (A huge sign that they are with a food blogger!). And I think with just the cauliflower (my partner isn’t a mushroom fan) those pitta breads would be great for him! Lovely ^^

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    • 😀 It is rather shiny regarding the photos. Every time he sees a new fridge or freezer he asks me if I’m done taking photos and whether he can eat as much as he likes :p Cauliflower steaks are *so* delicious – I would also just rock them alone, but then there’d be space for more pesto and nomness.

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  2. This recipe is delicious and the photos are incredible! 🙂

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