Well folks, I have to say that the majority of the dating I’m doing these days is either play dates for my daughter, or a fun night out with friends.
So for this challenge, my date night focus is going to be on a close friend, Shona (especially since the toddler palate is still slightly limited).
I have been very lucky in my adult years to be surrounded by people (in addition to my family) who I love and hold dear.
My friendships are very important to me, and I do my best to make sure I invest my time and energy into them.
I believe you get what you give.
Tonight, I wanted the menu to be something kind of rich and luxurious…
Shona is a mother as well, and we don’t get to experience those types of meals very often in our home settings.
There’s no better way to experience a meal than with a good friend who loves food—and Shona is that friend!
She is one of those people who eats just a little slower than most because she wants to savor each bite!
For the last 12 years, that has been our favorite way to spend time together: we have always liked trying new places and new dishes, and talking about the food while having some kind of delicious cocktail.
Then…we had kids.
Now, that’s not to say life is over or that we can no longer enjoy food—it’s just that we have a lot less time to do so.
Tonight I wanted to show Shona that we can still enjoy our favorite pastime, even though I’m preparing a vegan dish!
I’m going to use deeply flavorful cremini mushroom in a thyme-gravy-like sauce with potato gnocchi, along with some sweet peas to round out the flavor and give it some spring brightness.
I think I just drooled a little thinking about it! Ha!
I hope you enjoy this dish and share it with someone you love.
Dote on that person a little and make them feel special with a home-cooked meal that looks beautiful and fills him or her with comfort—without taking all day or a lot of fuss.
Luxurious Vegan Gnocchi with Mushroom + Thyme Gravy
- 2 to 3 tablespoons grape seed oil or vegan butter, or a mix of both
- 1 small red onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups mushroom or vegetable broth
- 1½ to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 8 to 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, cleaned + stems removed
- ½ cup frozen peas
- 1 package store-bought potato gnocchi
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Heat the oil (or butter) in a large skillet with a lid over medium heat. Meanwhile, add water to a large saucepan over high heat to boil water for the gnocchi.
- Once the oil (or butter) in the skillet is hot, add the onion and sauté until translucent—about 4 minutes. Then add the garlic and sauté—another 2 minutes.
- Create a roux in the skillet with the onion and garlic by gradually whisking in the flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Continue whisking and slowly add the broth to the roux to make a gravy-like sauce; whisk until smooth. Then stir in the chopped thyme until blended.
- Add the mushrooms to the sauce, with the tops up, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer the mixture for about 10 to 15 minutes, checking the mushrooms after 8 minutes (since mushroom sizes vary).
- Once the mushrooms are close to done, add the peas and cover again just to heat through, then reduce the heat to low.
- Meanwhile, cook the gnocchi according to the package directions, then place the gnocchi in a serving dish or on a plate.
- Garnish the pan with the mushrooms with parsley just before serving. Enjoy!