A single-skillet quick and easy version of the old Italian favorite Hunters' Stew

2 T balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 C seitan or bean curd
1 C mushrooms
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 sweet bell peppers, 1 green & 1 red, coarsely chopped
3 cloves of fresh garlic (or 1 t dried minced)
28-oz can chunky tomato sauce
1/3 C dry white wine or sherry
2 t dried oregano
2 t sweetener (succanat, sugar or substitute)
1/8 t freshly-ground pepper
1/2 t salt

In a large skillet, saute mushrooms, celery, carrot, onion, peppers and garlic in balsamic vinegar until tender (add a small amount of water, if needed). Add tomato sauce, bean curd, wine, oregano, salt, black pepper, and sugar. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve over rice or pasta.

6 servings, each 164 calories:   6% from fat (0.6 g),  67% from carbohydrates (26.2 g),  30% from protein (12.2 g).  Sodium 284 mg,  Fiber 3.6 g.

Healing Heart Hint

This is the way hunters in old Italy prepared whatever game they found. It's just as delicious made with all vegetables, meat substitutes or low-fat tofu. If bean curd or seitan is not available, crumble in two or three fat-free Boca Burgers instead for a 'beef' flavored dish that meat-eaters will not know was vegetarian.

Dried bean curd (thit chay) is available in many Asian food markets. It comes in many forms, but for this dish, chips are recommended. Be sure to read the labels, some brands of bean curd are high in fat, others contain no fat at all.

Seitan is a meat substitute made from wheat gluten, a protein in wheat that can be boiled and baked with various spices to make it resemble almost any kind of meat or fish. Seitan can be prepared at home, or it can be bought already prepared, usually frozen, in many health food stores and some Asian food markets.

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©2000 Dr. Neal Pinckney Healing Heart Foundation