These Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms Started Down The Street
There is a little story behind this recipe for vegan stuffed mushrooms. We are fortunate to live barely a mile from a small farm whose owner runs a stand right on the side of the street. So, we get a steady supply of freshly harvested produce all Summer and into the early Fall. July means the basil harvest is in full swing so there are bright, shiny, green bunches of fragrant basil every day that cost far less than basil at the supermarket.
Of course basil goes bad quickly. So every time we buy a bunch, we start up the food processor and get some of our No Compromise Vegan Pesto made. What follows next are many bowls of pasta, slices of pizza, big giant pesto panini sandwiches, and little pieces of bread under the broiler with vegan shreds melted on top (yeah, thats a really good snack!).
Recently we found the most gorgeous batch of portabella mushrooms at the local market. Thats when it hit us: let’s use these for vegan stuffed mushrooms and use up a bunch of that pesto! A few tweaks later we knew we had to share it on the blog.
So, Why Mushrooms?
Why are mushrooms such an excellent choice to stuff with pesto, or just to eat in general? Well, there are two big reasons:
- They are fabulous as a substitute for burgers (veggie or animal meat) because they grill and broil well with a great meaty texture, and are actually cheaper than store-bought burgers, veggie or otherwise.
- Mushrooms are super healthy! They are an anti-oxidant food, strongly linked to breast cancer prevention (more on that at Nutrition Facts). Plus they are naturally low in sodium and a great source of selenium and copper.
Basically, they taste great and are good for you – let’s get cooking!
But What Do I do with Them?
If you already know all about preparing mushrooms, then pop right down to the recipe and go for it! If not, don’t fret: mushrooms are simple. All you have to do is briefly rinse them and gently pat (or air) dry. That’s it! Well, ok, you might want to slice them depending on the dish you are making (like pizza).
Pesto and Portabella Caps – Made For Each Other
As soon as we thought of this recipe we knew it would be a hit. The dark, chewy, earthy portabella caps act as a balance to the rich, sharp taste and bright color of the pesto. Its yin and yang right on your plate!
Make Sure You Have Pesto!
First of all, make sure you have pesto ready. Sure, you could buy it at the store, but when was the last time you found vegan pesto at the market? Probably never, right? We have you covered for this one, no worries: our simple recipe is here.
Pesto Stuffed Mushroom Caps – Your Way
This is a flexible recipe and you can serve them anyway you like. Our first time we ate them right off the plate (like in the photos)! We have enjoyed them in a sandwich, sliced in a wrap, and on a bed of greens. If you have a party coming up you could use baby bellas instead and make an appetizer. Whatever you choose just be prepared: they smell so good cooking you might just find yourself eating them right out of the pan!
- A batch of our vegan pesto works great!
- 2 tsps fresh (or 1 tsp dry) herbs such as thyme, oregano or basil, or a combination. (I have fresh herbs on my deck every summer and I usually just pick a few sprigs of thyme and oregano.)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbs tamari (or soy sauce)
- 2 Tbs agave or maple syrup
- several grinds of black pepper
- 1 Tbs olive oil (optional)
- Remove the stems and brush well or rinse 6 portabella mushroom caps. Place them side by side in a baking pan (with sides), cap side down.
- Combine all marinade ingredients in a blender
- Once well blended, divide the marinade over the mushroom caps. I take a pastry brush to evenly and gently spread the mixture.
- Let sit for at least 30 minutes.
- Place the pan under the broiler and cook for about five minutes or until the juices just start to flow. The time really depends on how close your rack is to the broiler.
- Pull the pan out, gently flip the caps, brushing the tops with the marinade and juices and return to the broiler for another few minutes.
- When the caps are almost at your desired “doneness”, take them out, gently flip them once again, and spread the vegan pesto on the caps.
- Sprinkle with vegan mozzarella style shreds (we like Trader Joe’s), lower the oven rack about one position, and return the caps to the oven until shreds are melted or pesto is warmed (if not using shreds).
- Unlike beef or turkey burgers, there are no safety risks related to how long or thoroughly you cook the mushrooms. It is entirely a matter of taste. Mushrooms will stay juicy even if well cooked so they are terribly hard to mess up.
- These caps can be eaten as is or can be the foundation for a deluxe vegan burger!