Recipe Contest 2020

Recipe Contest
Recipe Contest Winners

The winners of the VN DPG Recipe Contest have been selected! 

Congratulations to our grand prize winners:

  • Coconut Herb Rice Salad, Ginger Hutlin
  • Shiitake Mushroom Lentil Stir-Fry, Anna Tseng
  • Vegan Sweet Potato Black Bean Mash, Anna Tseng

Thank you to all of our participants for making VN’s first-ever recipe contest a success!

Rice Category Winner
Coconut Herb Rice Salad
Coconut Herb Rice Salad
Recipe by Ginger Hultin, MS, RD, CSO, LDN


  • 1 1/2 cups brown jasmine rice3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded dried coconut1
  • 1/2 teaspoons melted coconut oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves chopped
  • 1/8 cup chives chopped finely
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, outer layers removed then chopped
  • 1 small lime, juiced and zested (separated)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
Cooking Instructions
  • Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a pot then add the rice and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the rice from the heat and keep covered for 5 minutes. Then remove the lid and fluff it gently with a fork.
  • While the rice is cooking, add the dried coconut and 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until the coconut flakes begins to brown, 2 - 3 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring constantly to ensure even browning, until it is fragrant, 2 - 3 more minutes. Remove from heat to cool.
  • Using a wooden spoon, gently stir together the basil, mint, cilantro, chives, shallot, lemongrass, lime zest, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl until well combined.
  • Add the rice, 3 tablespoons of the toasted coconut and remaining teaspoon of coconut oil to the herb mixture in the bowl then gently fold the mixture to thoroughly coat.
  • Add soy sauce and lime juice and fold once or twice more to incorporate.
  • Garnish the mixture with the remaining coconut and any leftover herbs you desire.
  • This dish can be served hot or cold. 
* Consider adding tofu for protein!

Beans Category Winner
Shiitake Mushroom Lentil Stir-Fry
Shiitake Mushroom Lentil Stir-Fry
Recipe by Anna Tseng, RD, MPH, LDN


  • 2 cups cooked red lentils [356 g] (using about 2/3 cup of raw lentils or 115 g)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided (or other vegetable oil)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced onion [25 g]
  • 1 cup diced fresh Shiitake mushrooms [84 g] (or 20 grams of dried Shiitake mushrooms)
  • 3 large garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 cup diced tomato [175 g]
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce (or tamari sauce)
  • 1 cup chopped baby spinach and kale leaves [31 g] (or use regular spinach leaves)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Cooking Instructions
  • Cook the red lentils following the directions here (If you already have leftover cooked lentils prepared, skip to step 2.
    • Remember to drain the lentils of excess cooking liquid (using a strainer over a bowl) as soon as the lentils are cooked.
  • Dice up the washed fresh Shiitake mushrooms and other ingredients. (If using dry Shiitake mushrooms, soak these first in very hot water for an hour or until fully soft. Then wash well under cold running water before dicing the rehydrated mushrooms up.)
  • Wash the baby spinach and kale leaves (or regular spinach leaves) well under cold water, then pat mostly dry with paper towels, before chopping up into bite-sized pieces.
  • Meanwhile, heat up half a tablespoon of oil in a saucepan or skillet on medium heat.
  • Once the oil is hot, sauté the garlic and onions in the oil for 1-2 minutes, then add the diced tomatoes.
  • Mix to combine and sauté for about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add in the diced mushrooms and stir again to combine.
  • Cook for about 2-3 minutes or until the mushrooms pieces are soft and cooked through.
  • Using a wooden spatula, move the chopped mushroom, tomato and onion mixture to the side of the saucepan and pour the remaining half tablespoon of oil on the empty side of the saucepan.
  • Add in the drained lentils and mix it with the 2 1/2 teaspoons of soy sauce (or tamari sauce) and the ground black pepper.
  • You may use less soy sauce or tamari sauce if desired.
  • After about 2-3 minutes (or when the lentils are heated through), add in the chopped baby spinach or kale leaves.
  • Stir and cook for another 2 minutes until the vegetable leaves are just wilted. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  • Serve warm and enjoy!
* Recipe Notes: To make this recipe oil-free, use a bit of vegetable broth instead of the oil to sauté the garlic, onions and red lentils. If you don't have Shiitake mushrooms on hand, you can substitute the mushrooms with white button mushrooms or Cremini mushrooms.

Potato Category Winner
Vegan Sweet Potato Black Bean Mash
Vegan Sweet Potato Black Bean Mash
Recipe by Anna Tseng, RD, MPH, LDN


  • 1 ½ cups mashed sweet potato [360 g] (about one large sweet potato)
  • 1 cup cooked black beans (or canned beans, drained and rinsed well)
  • [170 g]½ cup diced onion
  • [36 g]½ tablespoon olive oil (or other vegetable oil)
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper (more if desired)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (use more if desired)
  • dash of paprika (optional)
  • sprinkle of fresh chopped basil on top (optional)
Cooking Instructions
  • Cook the sweet potato using the microwave (poke a few holes into the potato using a fork or knife, sprinkle some water on top of the sweet potato and then heat in a covered microwave-safe dish for 2 minutes at a time until it is cooked through. Test this by inserting a fork or knife into the sweet potato. It should be cooked through if the knife or fork inserts easily. Be careful when removing the potato from the microwave!).
    • Alternatively you can cook the sweet potato on the stovetop using a steamer or in boiling water.
  • Meanwhile, drain and rinse the canned beans (if you don’t have cooked beans available) and dice the onions.
  • Cook your preferred grain or gluten-free alternative on the stovetop.
  • Heat up half a tablespoon of oil in a skillet on medium heat.
  • Once the oil is hot, sauté the diced onions in the oil until soft and translucent (at least 3-5 minutes).
  • Add in the cooked or canned black beans and the salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.
  • Mix together and let cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beans are heated through.
  • While the beans are cooking, remove the skin off the sweet potato and mash.
  • Add the measured amount of mashed sweet potato into the skillet mixture and stir together.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
  • That's it! This dish is ready to serve with your favorite cooked grain or gluten-free alternative.
  • Top with a sprinkle of fresh chopped basil if you like.
Recipe Notes:
  • If you have time, sauté the chopped onions longer until they are caramelized to heighten the flavor of this recipe.
  • For adults, you can use firmer cooked black beans for more texture in this dish, but parents with young children may want to use well cooked black beans instead.
  • This recipe also works well with other cooked or canned beans such as small white navy beans or red kidney beans.
  • You could also sprinkle some fresh chopped cilantro on top instead of chopped fresh basil leaves.
  • This dish also tastes delicious as a topping on wholegrain toast, especially if you smear a layer of a nut or seed butter on the toast first

The Vegetarian Nutrition DPG's First Ever Recipe Contest!

The VN DPG ran the "Food Around the World" Recipe Contest from Thursday, September 10, 2020 - Thursday, October 8, 2020. Preparation of common food staples vary by region, culture, or ethnicity and we encouraged VN Members to share how to they use these ingredients in their cooking. Recipe entries featured Rice, Beans (legumes), or Potatoes.