Karla Salinari, Latina chef and author of Abuela’s Plant Based Kitchen



Karla Salinari, author of the newly released Abuela’s Plant-Based Kitchen, will be at Barbara’s Bookstore in Yorktown Shopping Center in Lombard, 120 Yorktown Center, on Saturday, June 3 at 4:30 PM to sign copies of the new book. 



Mushroom Ropa Vieja


Splitting time between Miami and Puerto Rico, some of the dishes we had in Miami were heavily influenced by traditionally Cuban cuisine. You might notice that Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Dominican dishes have a lot of similarities. My mom was always picking up culinary tips from my stepfather, integrating techniques and ingredients from his cultural dishes into her Puerto Rican dishes. It’s this beautiful mashup that makes family recipes so special, I think.

Ropa vieja is the ultimate Cuban dish. It’s traditionally made with beef, but my version swaps out the beef for king oyster mushrooms, which have a similar fibrous texture and absorb the heavily aromatic sauce so perfectly. Mushrooms also encourage blood sugar control and provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. There’s so much to love with this updated fan favorite. Enjoy!


4–5 king oyster mushrooms
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1⁄2 medium yellow onion, chopped
1⁄2 red bell pepper, cut into strips and seeds removed
1⁄2 green bell pepper, cut into strips and seeds removed
1⁄2 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips and seeds removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 dried bay leaf
1⁄2 cup tomato sauce
1⁄2 cup white wine
6–10 Spanish olives
1 tablespoon capers
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
  2. Using a damp paper towel, clean the mushrooms. Using two forks, shred the mushroom stems and caps into long pieces.
  3. Set the shredded mushrooms on the lined baking dish, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and roast for 15 to 20 minutes or until the edges start to crisp. Remove from oven and set aside.
  4. Heat the remaining olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and peppers and let cook until caramelized, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic, oregano, cumin, bay leaf, tomato sauce, and wine and combine. Add in the cooked mushrooms and mix well. Let cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until all the flavors are well incorporated.
  6. Add the olives, capers, salt, and pepper and mix. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
  7. Serve with Arroz Congrí and Frituritas de Platano. Enjoy!