Mushroom Swiss Chard Stir Fry with Huancaina LinguineHere is an excellent Peruvian Chifa fusion dish. It’s different because serving Linguine (Tallerines) with Huancaina Sauce topped with a Chifa Saltado (a uniquely Peruvian Stir fry) isn’t something people would publicize doing (but I know they secretly like it). I’ve had people admit their mothers prepare pasta like this at home, looking at me to see if I will judge them harshly. What a great idea mom! I’m all for it, a cheesy pepper sauce pasta dish! And, here I’ve added a twist on classic Chifa Saltado–it’s now a healthier vegetable stir fry. Often Peruvians will make a Tallarin Saltado, with meat, and then spoon Huancaina Sauce on their plates–but this looks and tastes better because it is decadent, yet mostly healthy! Switch the cheese for tofu (see: Vegan Alternative below), and make the soy sauce low sodium, and you will have a wonderfully healthy combination.

Stir Frying MushroomsTallarin Saltados are basically stir fry pasta dishes that is, you stir fry some vegetables, make a quick sauce at the end of the stir frying and then cook briefly with some al dente pasta. In this recipe I have in essence taken the stir fry, and placed it over an already dressed pasta. This leverages one of the things that is so good about Lomo Saltado, the saucy vegetables dripping over a fatty starch. I think you can only have so much fried food, and Peruvians seem to agree because the basic “Lomo Saltado” popularly becomes “Tallarin Saltado con Lomo de Res” (Linguini with Stir Fried Beef). I believe one can always do with less beef, for many reasons (pick one), so this is a great opportunity to save money, reduce saturated fat, reduce your carbon footprint, save a cow’s life, and exercise your palate a bit by going for the amazingly great taste of sauteed Portobello Mushrooms instead. I’ve provided a great deal of alternatives here, and I hope after cooking this your horizons will be broadened a little. Most of this kind of cooking is very forgiving. You can substitute kale or savoy cabbage for Swiss chard, you could even substitute cauliflower for the pasta (we do it all the time).

So how healthy is it? The big portioned, 411 gram, combined stir fry topped dish has 386 calories, and 15.5 grams of fat, with the vegan alternative having 342 calories, and 13.2 grams of fat. When comparably portioned, a Linguine Alfredo dish has a whopping 1730 calories and 126, artery clogging, grams of fat! So this extremely flavorful dish, comparable in flavor profiles with Alfredo has less than 1/4th the calories and 1/8th the fat. Enough blabbering, on to the cooking!

 

Mushroom Swiss Chard Stir-Fry Linguine Ingredients

 

 

Mushroom Swiss Chard SaltadoMushroom, Swiss Chard Saltado

Peruvian-Chinese Fusion Stir Fry

By ,
July 17, 2013
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Yield: 8 Servings
Nutrition facts:
127 calories,
7.3 grams fat

This adaptation of a healthy Peruvian Chifa stir fry, traditional, entree recipe takes only40 minutes to make and is great over pasta, rice, or cauliflower or as a filling for fajitas or wraps.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Portobello Mushrooms, thick sliced
  • 2 Heads (20 leaves) Swiss Chard, cut into 1 inch ribbons
  • 3 large Roma Tomatoes cut in to wedges (1/6 or 1/8th’s)
  • 2 Large Red Onions cut into wedges (1/8th’s)
  • 2-3 cloves minced Garlic
  • 2 large Aji Amarillo Peppers, seeded, deveined, cut to approx. 1/5th x 2″ wide strips
  • 3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons Red Wine (Burgundy will do)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Soy Sauce (try low sodium)
  • Black Pepper to taste

Instructions:

Wok Method: Saute the mushrooms, onions, peppers, and pepper with oil until golden brown, add the garlic and continue to fry until it is golden as well. Add the tomatoes and saute three more minutes. Add the Swiss chard and saute five more minutes. Add the wine, vinegar, soy sauce and saute until the sauce thickens a bit.

Regular Pot and Pan Method: Saute each of these in batches: mushrooms, onions, peppers, tomatoes and garlic–all in oil until golden brown–setting the browned ingredients aside in a medium pot. Saute the Swiss chard and black pepper with oil until done, about five minutes. Add everything including the wine, vinegar and soy sauce into the pot and cook on medium until the sauce thickens a bit.

 

 

Huancaina LinguineLinguine with Huancaina Sauce

Zesty, Cheesy, Andean Pasta Dish

By ,
July 17, 2013
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Yield: 8 Servings
Nutrition facts:
259 calories,
8.2 grams fat

This is an adaptation of a classic Peruvian stove top, home cooking, entree recipe that takes only40 minutes to make and tastes great.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Linguine
  • 2/3 cup cubed Fresh Farmers Cheese
  • 2-3 cloves Garlic, smashed with the side of a knife blade
  • 2 large Aji Amarillo peppers, deseeded, deveined and coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3/4 cup Evaporated Milk
  • Black Pepper to taste

Instructions:

Saute the onions, peppers and pepper in oil until golden brown, add the garlic and continue to fry until it is golden as well. Add this to a blender, along with the cheese and milk blending for five minutes until silky smooth. If you have ever made Huancaina Sauce, this will be much more watery comparably, to allow the pasta to soak some of it up.

Final Preparation and Assembly

Tallarin is LinguiniCook the pasta in salted water until al dente (i.e. slightly undercooked), drain quickly retaining about 1/2 cup of the salted cooking water with the pasta (do not rinse) and return it to the still warm pasta pot. Immediately toss in the Huancaina Sauce. Plate right away, by placing a swirl of pasta in the center of a plate and carefully mounding Mushroom, Swiss Chard Saltado on top. Garnish with thinly sliced scallions. Optionally serve with Peruvian Salsa Macha for added zip.

Vegan Alternative

I’ve made Huancaina Sauce using tofu many times in the states, once for a big dinner serving over 100 environmentalists. It was a hit! Firm Tofu can be used as a direct substitution for the cheese, then replace the evaporated milk with half as much soy or rice milk, doing so reduces the calorie count to 215 and the fat content to 5.9.

 

Note: Please consider reading more as I’ve tried to provide some easy to understand information on how healthy these recipes are, or aren’t, in an interesting way. 😉

Nutritional Information

FYI, we have included the nutritional facts for both recipes and the vegan alternative pasta sauce.

Mushroom Swiss Chard Saltado Nutrition FactsMushroom, Swiss Chard Saltado Nutritional Facts

FYI – the stir fry prepared without the pasta dish can be served alone! So I wanted to show the nutritional facts for this alternative. It has many benefits, and if you use reduced sodium soy sauce (or omit it altogether!) you will be going super healthy. The alcohol is cooked off, and frankly can be omitted as wine often can be in stir fries. This dish has no cholesterol and more importantly, rather than meat we are using the wonderful meat alternative: “Portobello Mushrooms”, which frankly taste like steak! Not using meat reduces the bad fat content considerably and that is what will cause reduced cholesterol in your body.

This dish is high (or very high) in other nutrients like: iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C and is high in dietary fiber.

This is a good meal on its own, but getting some to eat vegetables is a challenge and that is why I’ve paired this with cheesy pasta. Together you have the comfort food (basically a healthier Mac and Cheese or Alfredo Sauce) and a large amount of vegetables, minimally cooked–except the mushrooms with need to be sauteed to the golden brown stage so they taste like bacon! In all, this gets a Nutrition Grade of B. Try this and gradually work toward those A’s!

 

Huancaina Linguine nutrition factsLinguine with Huancaina Sauce Nutritional Facts

FYI – the pasta dish is a much healthier alternative than it may seem, when weighing the alternatives: Macaroni and Cheese and Alfredo Sauce. Both of which usually contain much more saturated fat. Sometimes you want a little bit of comfort in your food, and when the nutritional content isn’t enough, comfort, it might be time for some real comfort food. If you are making the above Saltadao, consider serving it plain or over plain, whole grain pasta. Otherwise, enjoy what is clearly a lesser evil, reduced fat. This dish only has 259 calories, and 8.2 grams of fat, and that isn’t too bad (google some other cheesy pasta alternatives and see what true artery horror is). Pasta is a good source of protein and by all means cook a whole grain alternative. Had I have been able to find a whole grain Tallerin (Linguini) at the market, I would have offered that in this recipe. After all, you are dressing the pasta so it might fly with those usually less enthusiastic about whole grains! This dish gets a Nutrition Grade of B-. Not sure how they do the grading because the next vegan alternative has less carbs and it gets the same score (that might be because soy milk is usually high in sodium).

 

Huancaina Linguine Vegan nutrition factsLinguine with Huancaina Sauce, Vegan Alternative, Nutritional Facts

FYI – and as I mentioned earlier, I’ve served my soy based, vegan version of Huancaina to a large discriminating crowd of tree huggers and they loved it. I think the fact that because the Aji Amarillo, onion and garlic add so much flavor, the use of actual cheese is much less important than usual, for a cheesy dish. This is low in saturated fat, low in sugar, and if you also substitute whole grain pasta it would have a pretty good glycemic index (medium compared to high now). If you have a need to be highly sodium conscious, take a look at the labels on the soy milk you buy, and look for something lower in sodium. I’m sure some other milk alternative would work well because you aren’t cooking this sauce, just dressing the pasta with it. As always with Huancaina, if you find it too thin add a bit of bread or a saltine cracker to the sauce in the blender to thicken it–but the idea is to get the room temperature sauce over the piping hot noodles–so they absorb some of the remaining liquid within a few minutes. This dish only has 215 calories and 5.9 grams of fat. Nice!