Weeknight Vegetarian is here!

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You know those nights when you really should cook instead of go out?  Or you start rifling around in the phonebook drawer for to-go menus, even though you know that stuff is costly and often very unhealthy? You know, those nights when you want to feed your family something healthy, and well, awesome, but you’re all out of ideas?  You’ve already done tired old spaghetti and canned chili one too many times this month.

Then let me introduce you to my latest book, Williams Sonoma Weeknight Vegetarian. In it, I give you 4 seasons  full of recipes and tips for new, inventive, tasty-as-heck meals that are ready in 45 minutes or under. Oh yeah, and they just happen to be vegetarian, but meat eaters won’t notice any lack of anything.

The trouble with most vegetarian recipes is that they are very labor intensive. When you’re making vegetarian food, you can’t lean on the old “3 point landing”–a chunk of meat and a little pile of veg and a little pile of starch, so a lot of authors make up for that by writing recipes that are an arm’s length long. That’s not a tenable solution for weeknights.

Instead of relying on long ingredients lists and even longer preparation, I used years of experience writing 30-minute recipes for national magazines and my love of ethnic cuisines to come up with a really exciting array of quick, easy recipes using little tricks I’ve learned along the way that make putting dinner on the table easy.  In Weeknight Vegetarian,  you’ll find recipes for trendy foods like Lemongrass Tofu Banh Mi with sriracha mayo, Pea Risotto with Pea Shoots and Roasted Meyer Lemon, Northern Thai Curry with Tofu, Mexican Quinoa and Vegetable Casserole, Japanese Okonomiyaki, and Crispy Kale and Peppadew Pizza. And they’re super duper easy.

There’s comforting classics in Weeknight Vegetarian, too, because sometimes the only cure for a crappy Monday is gooey Macaroni and Cheese with Peas and Crispy Breadcrumb topping. Or a big ol’ bowl of Cheddar Grits with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Spiced Pecans. Or Black Bean and Butternut Chili with tender little masa dumplings bobbing in it. And there’s cool recipes you might never have thought you could do yourself. Homemade Veggie Hot Dogs! Vegetarian Corned Seitan Reubens! Squeeze bottle Spaetzle with Cabbage, Apples, and Alpine Cheese!

I just got my authors’ copies, and I must say it came just in time! I was in a serious quesadilla-pasta bake-“let’s just order Thai” rut.  Even though I wrote Weeknight Vegetarian, I needed the book and the beautiful photos by Kimberley Hasselbrink to remind what I wanted to make for dinner. The first recipe I revisited? This gorgeous mixed mushroom and Gruyere cheese savory strudel. MAN! It’s a keeper! Give it a try, and click the Weeknight Vegetarian link anywhere on this page to order your copy now!  If you’d like a personalized book plate, please email me (link above) and I’ll be happy to sign one and get it off to you immediately.

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Mushroom-Chestnut Strudel

—From Williams Sonoma Weeknight Vegetarian, 2015, by Ivy Manning,  all rights reserved

This savory strudel features sautéed mushrooms, roasted chestnuts, and nutty Gruyere cheese rolled into a crispy, savory pastry that’s certainly not dessert. Though quick to make, it is elegant enough to serve as a vegetarian entrée at your next holiday feast.

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

1/2 pound wild mushrooms (porcini, chanterelle, morel, maitake), sliced

1/2 pound sliced cremini mushrooms

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

2 teaspoons minced garlic

Salt

1/4 cup Masala wine

Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup (4 ounces) peeled and roasted chestnuts, roughly chopped (optional)

1 1/4 cups grated Gruyere cheese

12 sheets defrosted phyllo dough

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup fresh whole wheat or rye breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large (14-inch) skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the leek and sauté, stirring frequently, until tender, 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, thyme, garlic, and a sprinkle of salt. Cook until the mushrooms have released their liquid and they begin to brown, 8 minutes. Add the wine and simmer, scraping up the browned bits, until the liquid has evaporated. Add the chestnuts and season with salt and pepper, scrape the mixture into a bowl, and chill while you work with the phyllo dough.

Place one piece of phyllo dough with the long side facing you on a large cutting board. Brush with some of the melted butter and sprinkle evenly with some of the breadcrumbs. Top with another sheet of phyllo dough, brush with butter and sprinkle with crumbs. Repeat, buttering and sprinkling the remaining phyllo sheets; do not add crumbs to the final sheet.

Stir the cheese into the cooled mushroom mixture. Place the stacked dough on the baking sheet. Spread the mushroom mixture in a strip along the long side of the dough 1 inch from the edge. Lift the phyllo up and over the filling and then roll up into a tight cylinder with the seam-side down. Brush the outside of the pastry with butter and bake until golden brown, 25 minutes. Let the strudel cool for 5 minutes. With a sharp serrated knife, slice the strudel into eight slices.

–Serves 4

Quick Tip: Look for pre-sliced cremini mushrooms in the produce department to save time on prep work.

Quick Tip: Peeled and roasted chestnuts are available in jars at well-stocked supermarkets.

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