When you caramelize food, the browning effect can enhance umami by as much as seven or eight times! Here, mushrooms get extra sweet and sticky in the pan, and then they’re tossed in some smoked paprika and soy for an extra umami boost. Black-eyed peas and garlicky sautéed greens make this a super-charged, protein- and nutrient-packed plant-based powerhouse. Excerpted from Umami Bomb: 75 Vegetarian Recipes That Explode With Flavor by Raquel Pelzel (Workman Publishing). Copyright © 2019. Photographs by Kate Sears.

Mushroom Lardons With Black-Eyed Peas and Greens [Vegan]

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  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium portobello mushrooms, stemmed and caps sliced into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups cooked black-eyed peas
  • 6 cups roughly chopped kale, collard greens, or Swiss chard leaves, tough stems removed


  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, often stirring, until they brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook until the mushrooms are very deeply and evenly browned, about 10 minutes longer, reducing the heat to medium-low if they begin to darken too quickly. You want them to shrivel and brown. Add the salt, soy sauce, and smoked paprika and stir until the pan is dry. Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl and set them aside.
  2. Place the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in the pan with the garlic, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the black-eyed peas, and once they start sizzling, add the greens. Stir and shift the greens around using a slotted spoon or tongs, and once they begin to wilt, after 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, return the mushrooms to the pan. Cook, frequently stirring until the greens are tender, 2 to 3 minutes more. Turn off the heat and serve.
  3. The mushrooms with black-eyed peas and greens will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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