I discovered quenelles roughly 2 weeks after arriving in France and I was surprised, weirded out and confused by them. I had to cook these things for the kids I was babysitting and needless to say they didn’t like the way I cooked them. To my defense, I had no instructions and I spoke little french and online recipes were not helpful. I forgot about quenelles for a long period because that first experience was a bit traumatic but then I re-discovered them and oh my god, they have become an obsession. This recipe is what I cook almost every month and it has become a running joke “oh, it’s Sunday-quenelle” with my boyfriend. So yeah, here is is, my vegetarian quenelles with mushroom & tomato sauce!
How to prepare these vegetarian quenelles
For this recipe you are going to need:
But wait… what are quenelles?
Quenelles are a traditional french thing, it’s a mix of flour, water, butter and eggs and usually they add some fish or poultry. The ones I’m using are 100% nature and vegetarian, aka there is no fish nor meat. They have a chewy-texture when not cooked and once they are cooked they become fluffy and all puffed.
And how do you cook them?
Well, there are many ways but the traditional way is to make a sauce (usually tomato), and cook them in the oven till they have soufflé and they are all good. To make things funkier and to have a full meal, I usually cook them with:
- 1 main veggie (in this recipe, mushrooms)
- Onion & garlic
- Tons of tomato sauce
- Herbs: thyme, rosemary, oregano.. to be honest everything works
- Salt & pepper
- Some olive oil
- And if you want cheese, you can add grated cheese too.
Other ways to cook quenelles
- In a salad: If you slice the quenelles (uncooked), you can pan sauté them and they are gonna be really good as an topping in a salad.
- Other sauces: I have seen many people adding olives to their quenelles sauce and honestly, I need to make that happen. Seems delightful.
- Ratatouille: Also, a great way of eating veggies and having a full meal with your quenelles.
Similar recipes to these vegetarian quenelles
As per last week’s recipe, nothing really similar to this one because it’s very specific to french cuisine and honestly I had never had anything similar, but since it’s a one-pot recipe… here you go:
Vegetarian quenelles with mushrooms & tomato sauce
- Oven safe plate (I used my dutch oven to make them!)
- 1 pack quenelles Nature (you can find them with fish, or poultry but they won't be vegetarian)
- 2-3 cups mushrooms sliced
- 1 onion Diced
- 4-5 garlic cloves Minced
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1 tbsp thyme
- 1 tbsp rosemary
- 1 tbsp parsley
- Salt & pepper to your taste
- Olive oil
- Add some olive oil to your pan or oven safe pan if you have one. I cook everything in my le creuset since it's oven safe. If you don't have any oven safe pot, then cook the veggies in a pot then put everything in your oven safe tray.
- Pre-heat the oven at 210ºC.
- When the olive oil is hot, add the onion & garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add the mushrooms, herbs, salt & pepper and cook for 6-8 minutes.
- Add the tomato sauce and cook for 3-4 minutes more.
- Add the quenelles on top of the sauce, leaving some space between them.
- Add the cream on top and if you want more tomato sauce. Add some grated cheese if you want.
- Cook for 35 minutes or until the quenelles have puffed.
- Add the parsley on top and enjoy! Two quenelles per person is the serving I usually go for.