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Portobello Pepper Steak

Portobello Pepper Steak

My mother wasn’t really one who enjoyed cooking but one thing she would make on a fairly regular basis was pepper steak. She kind of had that 1970s Jewish home cook’s thing  with Chinese (or Americanized Chinese) food. I’m pretty sure that this was the most fiber we got in our household, too, and despite not ever really being much of a steak person, I liked this dish because I liked the crunchy bell peppers. This has gone through a substantial reinterpretation as a vegan dish but to me, it still is reminiscent enough of my mom’s old recipe to make me a little sentimental for our yellow and green kitchen. I use two kinds of onions here because that’s how I chose to roll and decided on baby bello mushrooms rather than tofu or another vegan protein. It is very adaptable to whatever meatless protein, though, if you’re squeamish around ‘shrooms, though I am guessing that seitan would taste the closest to the pepper steak recipe you probably grew up on. This colorful comes together very quickly and is full of savory flavor, great with rice or any other grain, and a sprinkling of sesame seeds to add to the visual appeal.


Portobello Pepper Steak

1/3 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
½ large yellow onion
(or 1 medium yellow onion), cut into half-moons
1 tablespoon tamari
16-ounces baby or whole portabella mushrooms, sliced
3 bell peppers, seeded and sliced
6 scallions, sliced
3 -4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
3 tablespoons organic cornstarch
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 ¾ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 tablespoon tomato sauce
¼ teaspoon liquid smoke
Sprinkling of sesame seeds on top

Heat 1/3 cup low-sodium vegetable broth over medium-high heat in a large skillet for one minute. Add the onions and tamari; cook for four minutes, until softened. Add the mushrooms, peppers, scallions, garlic and ginger and sauté for six minutes. Meanwhile, put the cornstarch and the five-spice powder in a bowl or large measuring cup. Slowly, add the broth, whisking to avoid clumps, and the tomato sauce and liquid smoke. Add to the sauté pan and cook for seven minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally as the sauce thickens. Serve over rice or your grain of choice and sprinkle some sesame seeds over the top.

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