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Morel Mushroom Risotto

General Posts, Recipes


The other day my daughter was taking a winter survival class. The other two adults and I were standing around, talking wild edibles. I wondered aloud what I might do with the last of my dried morels. The leader of the course answered without hesitation: “Morel Risotto.”

He was right.

Dried Morels

Dried Morels

The key to this delicious vegan dish was using the broth made from reconstituting the morels.

Morel Mushroom Broth Used In The Risotto

Morel Mushroom Broth Used In The Risotto

Morel Risotto - vegan, gluten-free


  • 1 cup brown rice, rinced
  • handful dried morels, soaked in one cup very hot water. Save the broth.
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup cashew milk, watered down with 1 cup water
  • 2+ cups water as needed
  • salt
  • pepper
  • optional: pine nuts for garnish

Soak the Morels in Boiled Water - and SAVE the Broth!

Soak the Morels in Boiled Water - and SAVE the Broth!

To reconstitute the morels:

  • Place dried morels in bowl.
  • Boil water
  • Pour at least a cup of water over morels.
  • Cover and let steep
  • Save broth
  • Take morels out when soft (about 1/2 hour), squeezing broth into bowl. You are saving the broth to use in the risotto.

Chopped reconstituted morels, morel broth, onions, mushrooms, garlic, cashew milk

Chopped reconstituted morels, morel broth, onions, mushrooms, garlic, cashew milk, olive oil


Risotto is made by cooking the rice slowly in liquid, added liquid in small amounts and letting the rice absorb it before adding more. This imparts great richness and flavor into the dish.

  1. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in pan.
  2. Saute onion til soft, about 3-5 minutes, adding a bit of salt to help onion release its juices.
  3. Add fresh mushrooms, cook 3 minutes more.
  4. Add garlic and dried morels. Toss and saute a minute or so.
  5. Add the rinsed rice to the pan and stir to coat rice with the oil.
  6. Add broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until rice dish has absorbed it.
  7. Once the broth is used, add watered down cashew milk (the cashew milk will thicken if you add it without watering.)
  8. Continue to add milk and water.
  9. Add liquid, stir, and cover to let the rice absorb liquid. You can also begin to add a little salt and pepper. You may have to add up to 2 more cups of water until rice is soft…I did!
  10. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  11. Add garnish of pine nuts if desired. Enjoy!

This dish was AMAZING! I served it with salad and roasted sweet potatoes. I’m glad I still have one more handful of dried morels left!

Morel Risotto with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Salad

Morel Risotto with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Salad

Rainbow Salad: cucumber, parsnips, cabbage, carrots, beets over a bed of chopped spinach and Romaine

Rainbow Salad: cucumber, parsnips, cabbage, carrots, beets over a bed of chopped spinach and Romaine

Now I’m anxiously awaiting morel season…still over 3 months away!

Enjoy the winter and your stores of dried edibles!

~ Melissa of Food Under Foot


Top 5 Gourmet Wild Edibles and A Recipe for Palestine Soup


Morel Mushrooms

Morel Mushrooms

Here on Food Under Foot, we celebrate the edible and medicinal qualities of wild plants and mushrooms, be they omnipresent dandelions, invasive Japanese Knotweed or hard-to-find morel mushrooms.

Some of these plants most people classify as weeds. Said columnist Doug Larson, “A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.

Some of these wild plants, including those omnipresent dandelion leaves, can be found at specialty grocery stores, with quite a nice price tag on them.

What are your favorite “gourmet” wild edibles? Maybe you live in the desert and Prickly Pear Cactus is your thing. Or morels from the woodland forests in Pennsylvania. Watercress growing from a stream is a good one…or how about bright yellow chanterelles? French chefs love those!

Here you’ll find an article with my list of my top five (well, seven…I added two more at the end.) It’s an article I wrote for Good Veg Magazine.

Is your list the same as mine? Different? Please let me know.

And don’t despair…one of these edibles is in season right now…in the middle of winter! In fact, Dave and I dug up 5 pounds of them the other day and had the most delicious Palestine Soup (recipe below) for lunch today! Did I give it away? You got it: Jerusalem Artichokes!

Sunchoke Tubers

Sunchoke Tubers

Recipe: Palestine Soup

And why, you may wonder, is this soup called “Palestine Soup”? According to, it is a case of a blunder begetting a blunder. You and I both know that Jerusalem artichoke is actually a native American plant, and the name came from the Spanish or Italian word for Sunflower: Girasol. The word Girasol sort of sounded like the word Jerusalem, and so this soup - made of Jerusalem Artichokes, is called Palestine Soup.


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 - 7 tubers Jersalem Artichokes, washed well, peeled half-heartedly (don’t worry about getting all the peel off), and chopped
  • water or stock to cover vegetables
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional, good if not using vegetable stock)
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil


onions and sunchokes

onions and sunchokes

  1. Saute onion in olive oil.
  2. Add Jerusalem artichoke and continue to saute, adding some salt, to bring out flavors.
  3. Cover with water or stock and let simmer until sunchokes are soft, about 20 minutes.
  4. Place in blender with cashews, nutritional yeast, sea salt and pepper. Whizz til smooth.
  5. Reheat and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

This soup is simple and delicious!!!


~ Melissa

Top 5 Gourmet Wild Edibles page in GoodVeg Magazine

Also on Food Under Foot:

Jerusalem Artichokes

Sunchoke Latkes

And please make sure you sign up for our newsletter and receive the first five ebooks in our Wild Edibles Series completely free! (Green box top right: Join The Family!)


It Was Me, Not Them


Chanterelle Mushrooms

Chanterelle Mushrooms


Those most gourmet of edible mushrooms. The bright yellow find in the woods, smelling deliciously of apricot. So good.

So they say.

I have never been a fan of chanterelles. But it turns out it was me, not them.

I should have known 65 million French people couldn’t be wrong.

It turns out I didn’t know how to prepare them. And this year - 2013 - ends up being the year of the chanterelle. At least in the woods of Western PA. A whole group of mushroom hunters couldn’t harvest enough to put a dent in what was out there.

So I did a bit of internet research for chanterelle recipes, and I found this video. I left the butter out to keep the recipe vegan, and used fresh lemon thyme because that is what we have growing. It was the best.

Sauteed chantereels with lemon thyme.

Sauteed chanterelles with lemon thyme.

Lemon Thyme and Garlic Chanterelles

vegan, gluten-free

adapted from this recipe on No Recipe Required

  • 2 cups Chanterelles, washed and cut into equal sized pieces
  • 1 - 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme or lemon thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • sea salt, pepper
  • squeeze of lemon

Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a heavy pan, turn heat to medium high.

Place chanterelles in pan in single layer. Add salt and let them cook until side on pan is browned, about 8 minutes.

Flip chanterelles and cook another 4 or 5 minutes. If pan dries out add more oil.

Add in thyme, then add in garlic, stir.

Turn off heat and grind in pepper and squeeze on lemon, stir again.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

You can use this as a side dish or mix into risotto once the rice is cooked and taken off the heat. Very, very good.

Olive Oil Sauteed Chanterelles with Lemon Thyme and Garlic

Olive Oil Sauteed Chanterelles with Lemon Thyme and Garlic


Vegan (and Soy-Free, Gluten-Free) Cream of Mushroom Soup with Morels and Dryads


vegan mushroom soup

vegan mushroom soup

Amazing, amazing vegan “cream” of mushroom soup…and the mushrooms are MORELS and DRYAD’S SADDLES! It doesn’t get better than this!

yellow morels

yellow morels

Vegan Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup

vegan, gluten-free, soy-free

In a pot with water, boil:

  • 3 potatoes, peeled, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 5 button mushrooms (optional)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • paprika

Boil until POTATOES and CARROTS are tender. Remove from heat.

Add CASHEWS and blend well. (We used our vitamix, but any blender should be fine.)

In a pan with olive oil:

saute chopped MORELS with salt.

In another pan with olive oil:

saute chopped DRYAD’S SADDLE with salt.

Dryad's Saddle

Dryad's Saddle

(I sauteed in them in two separate pans because later in the season dryad’s can become bitter, and in case this had happened, I didn’t want to ruin the batch of morels!!! But they were just fine.)

Return now creamy broth to pot and adjust seasonings: SALT, PEPPER, PAPRIKA  to taste.

Add sauteed mushrooms and enjoy.


~ Melissa

Food Under Foot

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Starting to Think About A Wild Thanksgiving


Delicata Squash with Wild Mushroom Stuffing (vegan, gluten-free)

Delicata Squash with Wild Mushroom Stuffing (vegan, gluten-free)

Wait, is Thanksgiving next week…already?!? How exciting!
We can get all sorts of wild edibles on our Thanksgiving table, from mushroom to plant…but in our case we are going to let the wild turkeys roam (we are vegetarian foragers!)
So lets have a vegan gluten-free wild Thanksgiving!

I’ve been seeing lots of prime edibles:

  • Burdock root
  • Burdock leaf stalk
  • Dandelion leaves and root
  • Sassafras and Spicebush twigs and root
  • acorns
  • black walnuts
  • hickory nut
  • garlic mustard
  • dead nettles
  • nettles
  • creeping charlie/ground ivy
  • hen of the woods
  • blewit mushrooms
  • abortive entaloma (mushroom)
  • bears tooth or lion’s mane

…so many possibilities!!!

And what about Vegan Gluten-Free Entrees and sides for the Thanksgiving table?

Try stuffed squash, like the delicata squash above with a wild mushroom stuffing with acorn flour biscuits, burdock leaf stalks in gravy and white bean and nettle soup. For a dessert drink: dandelion root coffee pumpkin latte.

Recipe for Wild Mushroom Stuffed Squash100_4766

  • Delicata (or your favorite stuffing squash: butternut, acorn) - cut in half lengthwise, seeds scooped out AND SAVED FOR ROASTING!
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2 cups wild mushrooms, chopped (I used hen of the woods)
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup seeds (I used sunflower seeds and pepitas which are shelled pumpkin seeds)
  • Optional: 2 cups chopped greens such as nettles, deadnettles, dandelion greens or spinach
  • 2 Tbsp gluten-free tamari
  • 1 Tbsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

To Prepare Squash and Roast Seeds

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Slice squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds.
  3. Clean seeds and place on baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and salts and mix thoroughly.
  4. Rub oil on the cut side of the squash and place face down onto cooking tray.
  5. Place Squash and seeds in oven.
  6. After 15 minutes remove seeds and mix again so they cook evenly. Replace in oven and cook 10 to 15 minutes more until done.
  7. Check squash: depending on size/thickness it should take about 40 to 60 minutes to cook. It’s done when it is soft when the top is pressed.
  8. Remove from oven, flip right side up and allow to cool.

To Make Stuffing:

  1. In pan on stove, saute wild mushrooms in olive oil for at least 15 minutes, until thoroughly cooked. Remove from heat.
  2. Saute onion in olive oil with sea salt until translucent.
  3. Add garlic, mushrooms, celery and spices and saute at least 5 minutes more.
  4. If using greens, add them now and saute until wilted.
  5. Add seeds and saute another couple minutes.
  6. Add cooked rice and tamari and mix while heating through.
  7. Taste and season with salt and pepper as necessary.

Fill Squash with stuffing and serve.

I’ll continue planning our Thanksgiving table and keep you updated.

I made a recipe for White Bean Nettle Soup which I will share with you soon as well.

What other things can you think of for the wild table?

Please add your comments below.

Enjoy the fall!!

~ Melissa


CSF Week 14

CSF Newsletters, Recipes

Amaranth, lambs quarters and purslane abound this time of year! Take a walk and look around: they’re even coming up through the concrete sidewalks! These plants are strong and when you eat them you take in all that strength and resilience. (”You are what you eat” after all!) More than just the tremendous amounts of vitamins and minerals these plants have, they have an energy about them, and that energy is imparted to you! These are the freshest, most local, hardy veggies you will find. Enjoy!

This week’s share:

  • wild grape leaves *NEW
  • wild apples *NEW
  • lambs quarters
  • amaranth greens
  • peppergrass
  • purslane
  • sumac
  • wood sorrel (*New-ish…it was in your greens mix in week 9.)

We have included wild grape leaves this week! There are actually two kinds of grape leaf in your share this week: our planted ones (which are white on the back) and wild ones. We wanted to give you both so you could sample each.

pan fried stuffed wild grape leaves

pan fried stuffed wild grape leaves (recipe below)

Grape leaves are delicious…you may know them from eating stuffed grape leaves you find in Mediterranean markets and restaurants.¬† I have made them before and I love them. You can look up recipes online…some are very simple, stuffing with rice, pine nuts, lemon juice, salt and some have more elaborate stuffing. Here is an easy to follow recipe for delicious vegetarian dolmas (stuffed grape leaves.)

If you plan to boil the grape leaves after stuffing, you actually do not need to cook the rice first. The rice will cook as you boil the grape leaves. Just add uncooked rice as you saute onions, mint, salt, pepper, pine nuts and lemon juice. Then stuff and roll the grape leaves. Place them in a pan or pot and cover with water plus another inch. Then put a heat proof lid on top of the grape leaves and weight it down with a clean rock so they don’t float around and open up as they cook. Cook 45 minutes to an hour.

To avoid having to do that, stuff with cooked rice which is sauteed with onions, mint, salt, pepper, etc. Then you can either pan fry or lightly steam the grape leaves instead of needing to cook them for so long.

Here is a site I found last night that has a lot to say about grape leaves, and gives a recipe for stuffing and a how to on making the grape leaves. She also tells you how to brine them if you don’t want to use them right away.

To brine: store them in very salty water (brine) and put them away for later use. The website I mentioned recommends at least 4 Tbsp salt per quart of water.

Pan Fried Stuffed Grape Leaves

Boil the grape leaves until soft (about 5 minutes).

I let them cool in the water, then I removed them and cut off the stems.


I recommend cooked brown rice, onions, pine nuts, mint, salt and pepper - saute in olive oil and add lots of lemon juice when done.

What I used (because I had no onions or pine nuts): cooked brown rice, jalepeno pepper (chopped), chives (cut into small pieces), mint (chopped), salt - sauteed in olive oil and then I added lots of lemon juice.

* salt, olive oil and lemon juice seem to be the key to yummy grape leaves! *

** if you are going to boil the stuffed grape leaves instead of sauteing, you do not have to cook the rice first. Stuff and roll grape leave and place in pot, cover with water plus an inch, place something on top of the grape leaves (like an overturned heat-resistant lid weighted down with a clean rock) and gently boil/simmer for 45 minutes.

Here is how to stuff/roll grape leaves:

boil grape leaves. The planted ones are on bottom and turned olive green right away. The wild grape leaves on top stayed a more vibrant green.

boil grape leaves. The planted ones are on bottom and turned olive green right away. The wild grape leaves on top stayed a more vibrant green.

Lay the grape leaf out top down (underside with veins up):

100_4121Add a little filling to bottom of leaf:

100_4122Fold bottom up, then sides in:

100_4123Continue rolling:

100_4124Continue until all grape leaves are stuffed, seam down:

100_4125Saute in olive oil for a few minutes, then flip to saute other side.

100_4127Drizzle with extra lemon juice and ENJOY!!!

Other ways to use grape leaves:

  • try them and see if you like them! You may want to use them (raw or cooked) as wraps for all kinds of food
  • saute them into dishes
  • chop and add to soup
  • when pickling other things like cucumbers - especially if fermenting/pickling the cukes raw in salt water -¬† adding grape leaves on top will keep the cukes/pickles crunchier.

Have you seen the book Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods by Sandor Katz? I love this book! A great way to use some of these greens is to add them to ferments like sauerkraut, or perhaps even pickle as is. I think pickled purslane would be awesome. I will try some and get back to you. When I make pickles I do it the raw way…I will fill a jar with some wide stemmed large leaved purslane, put some garlic cloves in and maybe some dill seeds, fill the jar with water and add lots of salt (4 Tbsp per quart of water.) Add a grape leaf or two to keep the veggies nice and crunchy.

Wild Apples!

Wild apples

Wild apples

Yes, the have some blemishes. But they are delicious! Cut off the messy parts and cut the apple first (looking for worms.) Discard wormy areas if any and enjoy! If you want you can juice them or cook them into apple sauce.

I have been adding lambs quarters and amaranth greens to all sorts of dishes: lasagna, stir fry rice, stuffing (for zucchini), soup. I also enjoy lambs quarters as a fresh green on a sandwich. They both are great tossed in salads.

The wood sorrel is sort of new…you had it briefly in a salad mix back in week 9. This is a delicious and very sour green. It’s fun to eat by itself or add to salads. It’s best raw because it’s so zesty! Cooked is ok too, but it loses some flavor (and turns from a bright green to a sort of dull olive green.)

One word of warning: wood sorrel, lambs quarters and amaranth greens all contain oxalic acid, which is not good for people with or prone to kidney stones (similar to spinach.) Please eat these greens in moderation if at all if you are someone who is prone to kidney stones.

If you haven’t tried the sumac lemonade yet, please do! It is so delicious and refreshing on these hot days! If you have tried it you know what I mean and I’m sure you appreciate getting the sumac in the share again.

Enjoy this week’s share!

wood sorrel leaf

wood sorrel leaf

Love and wood sorrel leaves,



Vegan Chicken Mushroom Fricassee (With Cashew Cream Sauce)


Vegan (and gluten free) chicken mushroom fricassee with cashew cream sauce

Vegan (and gluten free) chicken mushroom fricassee with cashew cream sauce

Here is a delicious recipe using the wild Chicken Mushroom, or Sulfur Shelf (Laetiporus sulfureus). This is one of my favorite wild mushrooms. It tastes delicious once cooked (it must always be cooked!) and is fun to find. Bright yellow/orange, this shelf mushroom grows on dead wood (occasionally you’ll find it growing on live wood). It has no gills on its underside - this is very important! A gilled yellow mushroom growing on wood could be the poisonous Jack O’Lantern. The Chicken mushroom is a polypore, so its underside is made up of very tiny pores which you would actually need a magnifying glass to see. Just make sure there are no gills!

Chicken mushroom/Sulfur Shelf

Chicken mushroom/Sulfur Shelf

As I was “plating” this recipe for photographing, the word “fricassee” popped into my head. I wanted to call it “Chicken Mushroom Fricassee,” but truth be told, I wasn’t 100% sure what “fricassee” meant. So I looked it up and here is what it said on wikipedia:

Fricassee is a catch-all term used to describe a stewed dish typically made with poultry, but other types of white meat can be substituted. It is cut into pieces and then stewed in gravy, which is then thickened with butter and cream or milk (see white gravy). It often includes other ingredients and vegetables.”

So in a way: perfect! (and in another way…I replaced chicken with chicken mushroom, and my butter/cream gravy is made with cashew cream, making the whole recipe vegan and gluten-free, and my “white” gravy was orange due to the carrot…so again, perfect! ;-) )

Cashew Cream sauce

  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1 - 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp onion
  • 1 carrot (optional, it will turn sauce orange)
  • 1/2 tomato
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp wheat-free tamari
  • water to cover, and possibly more if needed as blending, should end up being a thick sauce
  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional, adds a bit of cheesy flavor)

Blend all ingredients in vitamix or high powered blender until smooth.

Other ingredients:

  • chicken mushroom, sliced (as much as you want and can find!) we used about a pound or so
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 - 2 Tbsp olive oil (to saute onion and mushroom)
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • pinch cayenne (optional)
  • extra water if necessary
  • extra gluten free tamari if necessary

Saute sliced chicken mushroom and onion in olive oil for at least 15 minutes, adding water to steam if pan becomes too dry.

Add cashew cream sauce, mix and heat through. Add spices. Sauce will thicken, add more water and/or tamari (for saltiness) if necessary. If you’ve added more water continue to mix and heat until sauce regains thick consistency.

chicken mushroom fricassee, still in the pan

chicken mushroom fricassee, still in the pan

Serve over brown rice or noodles.

Very yum!!!

~ Melissa Sokulski

Food Under Foot


Wild Food Holiday Feasts

General Posts, Recipes

Late fall nettles growing around our compost container

Late fall nettles growing around our compost container

There’s still lots of wild food out there (well, depending on where you live)…here are some ideas on how to incorporate it into your holiday meals.

In Western Pennsylvania, you can still find oyster mushrooms, perhaps hen of the woods (though it’s a bit late…but maybe you still have some around you recently harvested), nettles, dandelion greens, burdock root, chickweed, recently harvested black walnuts and hickory nuts and more. There are lots of ways to incorporate some of these yummy foods.

These days our meals tend to be vegan or vegetarian and gluten-free. So here are some ideas:

  • Add burdock root to lentil sweet potato stew.
  • Make candied black walnuts to top this raw cranberry sauce, you can find the recipe for this dish here.

Raw Cranberry Sauce in Orange Halves, topped with Candied Nuts

Raw Cranberry Sauce in Orange Halves, topped with Candied Nuts

Wild Mushroom Stuffing (gluten-free, vegan)

  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 2 cups wild mushrooms (oysters or maitake/hen of the woods)
  • 2 stalks chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped nettles (sure, why not! If you don’t have it you can omit or add spinach or parsley instead.)
  • 2 cups cooked rice, quinoa, or cut-in-little-pieces gluten-free bread
  • salt, pepper
  • dried sage
  • dried thyme
  • olive oil
  • optional: nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese (not vegan)
  • optional: grated cheddar cheese (not vegan) or grated vegan cheese like Daiya brand, which usually melts.
  1. Saute onions, garlic, mushrooms and salt in olive oil until soft, at least 5 minutes.
  2. Add chopped celery and saute a few minutes more.
  3. Add nettles until wilted.
  4. Add pepper, sage and thyme and rice (or quinoa or bread. If adding bread you may need some water.)
  5. Stir all together over heat, adjusting seasonings, adding nutritional yeast or Parmesan cheese if you prefer.

My favorite way to eat this stuffing this fall is in baked squash: either delicata or acorn squash.

To bake squash: Cut in half (lengthwise for delicata) scrape out seeds (and save seeds to roast: we are foragers! we do not throw away the seeds! We may save some to plant next year…but the rest we roast!) Rub squash with olive oil and place face down on oiled baking pan, baking at 350 for 20 - 40 minutes until soft.

  • Put stuffing in squash, top with cheese (optional) and reheat in oven until cheese melts.

To roast squash or pumpkin seeds: wash off squash debris, coat with olive oil or melted butter, add salt, spread on baking tray and bake while squash is baking 10 -15 minutes, stir up, spread again and bake 5 to 10 more minutes, until dry and crispy.

Enjoy your holidays!

Stay safe, stay wild.

~ Melissa and the folks at Food Under Foot

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