Sugar Free Vegan

ABOUT ME:  I have been many things in this life. Among the highlights are: Mother, Daughter, Wife, Sister, Friend, Lover, Soul Mate, Graphic Designer, Artist, Animal Lover, Movie Buff, Bibliophile, Traveler, Homebody, Collector, and Food Aficionado. In my journey to become me, I have experienced a great deal of life lessons. I HAVE: lived, laughed, loved, lost, learned, lied, told the truth, danced and sang out loud (when no one was looking), traveled, been recluse, acted outgoing, been shy, become a wife, known hatred and resentment, been scared,  been divorced, been careless and selfish, found myself, existed, shown selflessness and compassion, been content, found my soul mate, learned true love, lived my life, mourned, found and kept true friends (let the others go bye bye), felt beautiful, felt truly and self-consciously fat, doubted and believed in myself, learned to be content again, felt proud of myself, been ambitious and lazy, and become a mother of the daughter I've dreamed of since I was young. I'm always on the look out for new life lessons, in hopes that I can take them on gracefully.

Throughout my life, food has been a constant companion — whether delicious and memorable, or bland and forgetful. The Sugar Free Vegan developed from a passion for good cuisine, a desire to be healthy and the necessity to cut out sugar. While I was at it, I thought, "why not cut out all animal products and gluten?" Follow my journey to great-tasting Sugar Free Gluten Free Vegan food. Cheers!

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Dec 30 2014

Vegan Carrot & Mushroom Osso Buco

In our home we are mostly vegan... I am vegan, but my husband labels himself a "Cheagan" which he coined as a "cheating vegan," since when we're out on the town he will usually (ok, always) order meat. Although it is usually easy for me to find or alter a restaurant dish to be vegan for myself, entertaining guests at home sometimes causes a little anxiety — as most of our friends and family are complete carnivores.

While for the most part we always try to follow a healthy and natural diet, in the same spirit as ALOHA — during the holidays, especially, it can be a difficult to find a recipe to please multiple meat-eating guests. More often than not, guests don't understand what being vegan really means and think that all they are going to be served is lettuce, on a bed of lettuce, with a side of lettuce.

The trick to making carnivorous guests feel more comfortable coming over for dinner, is to cook vegetables in such a way so that it seems like they are eating meat — and try not to mention "veggies" at all.  For instance, say you're serving Osso Buco — not the more descriptive Carrot and Mushroom Osso Buco. To the non-vegan, Osso Buco seems exotic, delectable and satisfying — while Carrots and Mushrooms sounds nothing at all like turkey dinner!

After I created this meatless version of the classic Italian dish, Osso Buco — roasted pearl onions, cremini mushrooms and rainbow carrots seasoned and stewed in wine — it has become one of our family’s favorite go-to dishes for both holiday gatherings and dinner parties.  It is not only simple to make, it is also so very flavorful and elegant. I guarantee that you will love it — and your carnivores will never miss the lack of meat.

 Vegan Carrot & Mushroom Osso Buco Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb white pearl onions
  • 1 lb heirloom rainbow carrots cut crosswise into 1-1/2 inches thick pieces
  • 20 medium-sized fresh cremini mushrooms, halved
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 ¼ cup dry red wine
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbs Better than Bullion Vegetable paste
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves (no stems)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 8 Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • Vegan Butter such as Earth Balance (approx 1/3 cup)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350°.

Step 2: In a large Dutch oven or deep oven-proof skillet, bring 1 inch of water to a boil. Add the pearl onions and cook for 1 minute. Drain and set aside. 

Step 3: Dry the Dutch oven and return to heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the carrots in a single layer, season with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat, turning frequently until browned, (about 5 minutes per side).

Step 4: While the carrots cook, trim and peel the pearl onions.

Step 5: Remove carrots form Dutch oven and set aside.

Step 6: Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the Dutch oven and add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat until mostly cooked.

Step 7: Add the pearl onions and continue to cook until onions begin to brown.

Step 8: Return the carrots to the Dutch oven.

Step 9: Sprinkle with the curry powder and cook, stirring a few times, until fragrant, (about 1 minute).

Step 10: Add the wine and simmer over medium high heat for 3 minutes.

Step 11: Add the vegetable broth and vegetable paste. Bring to a boil.

Step 12: Cover the Dutch oven with a lid and transfer to the oven and braise for 1 hour and 15 minutes, turning once, until tender.

Step 13: While the carrot mixture is in the oven, peel and quarter the potatoes.  Place them in a pot cover with water and boil until tender.

Step 14: Once potatoes are done, use an electric mixer to quickly whip the potatoes and butter.  Add a generous amount of salt, to taste.

Step 15: Remove the Carrot & Mushroom Osso Buco from the oven and season the sauce with salt and pepper, if needed. Set aside.

Step 16: In a bowl, toss the parsley leaves with the lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Step 17: Spoon whipped potatoes onto dinner plates and form into a saucer shape. Spoon the Osso Buco, including sauce, onto the potatoes.

Step 18: Scatter the parsley leaves over the carrots and serve.

Time Saving Tip: The Carrot & Mushroom Osso Buco can be made a day ahead then reheated gently.

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