Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms
Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms
I take cooking inspiration from all cultures, and nobody does stuffed mushrooms like the Italians! With the combination of cheeses and spices, this is usually a rather indulgent dish, but the veggies and pine nuts in this vegan version add lots of nutrition and protein. Mangia!
- Keyword: Allergens: Nuts
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Allergens: Milk, Tree Nuts
- Servings: 8
- 24 mushrooms (2 inches in diameter, stems removed and chopped, caps reserved)
Fennel and sun-dried tomato stuffing:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup fresh fennel bulb (trimmed, chopped)
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil, drained, chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic (chopped)
- 1/4 cup fresh basil (packed, chopped)
- 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water combined in a small bowl, let sit for 10 minutes)
- 1/2 cup pine nuts (toasted)
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the mushroom caps on the prepared sheet cavity-sides up and brush them with extra oil. Set aside for now.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped mushroom stems, fennel, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic, and sauté until the fennel becomes tender (about 10 minutes).
Transfer the mixture to a medium-sized bowl and mix in the basil, flax egg, and pine nuts, then season it with salt and pepper.
Place the filling in the mushroom cavities and press down to fill well, but make sure not to overfill.
Bake until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is heated through (about 20 minutes).
Let cool briefly before serving. (They can be served warm or at room temperature.)
Pro Tip: Save time and make the fennel and sun-dried tomato stuffing up to 2 days before preparing the mushrooms and baking them. Pair this dish with a simple green salad for lunch or a light dinner, or serve them as an appetizer at your next (socially distant) gathering!
CAN YOU FREEZE MUSHROOMS?
Whether you’ve been growing your own mushrooms or just picked up a bunch at the grocery store or farmers market, it’s helpful to know that you can definitely freeze many variety of mushrooms. Fresh mushrooms keep in the refrigerator in their original packaging, or ideally in a paper brown bag, for about 5-6 days before they start to get slimy on the caps. If you want to preserve your mushrooms for longer than that, follow these tips to properly freeze them without sacrificing taste or nutrients:
- Start with fresh mushrooms: Take note that when it comes to freezing vegetables, soups, casseroles, and the like, it’s always best to freeze these items at their freshest point. Fresh mushrooms won’t emit an odor, and they won’t be slimy and wrinkly. Avoid those with dark spots.
- Always cook before freezing: Mushrooms have high water content and if frozen fresh, they will be soggy once you thaw them. I recommend cleaning, slicing, and sautéing them in a pan with some olive oil, salt, and pepper first, letting their juices cook-off. Make sure they cool completely prior to freezing them.
- Store them properly: Use a few Ziploc bags and store the mushrooms in smaller quantities, leaving a few inches at the top for them to expand when frozen. Be sure to squeeze out the air before closing the zipper! (You can also use small airtight containers.) I like to separate mushrooms in smaller sizes because they will thaw faster, and I can use small quantities as I go.
- Use within 6-8 months: Frozen mushrooms can be used immediately in dishes such as stews and soups, where they will be thoroughly cooked. You can also let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator until they are softened.
SHOULD I WASH MUSHROOMS?
You may have noticed that mushrooms are highly absorbent, especially when you fry them in a pan and they soak up fats (like oil and butter) and sauces readily. The same occurs when mushrooms are soaked or washed for long periods in water — they get mushy. The question of whether or not you should be washing your mushrooms depends on the type of mushroom and how soiled it is. Some of the most common mushrooms you’ll find in your local grocery store — large portobellos, creminis, shiitakes, and button mushrooms — tend to only require a quick (pastry) brush of the caps and stems as they are only slightly soiled. If you don’t have a pastry brush, simply take a damp paper towel and wipe off the dirt, which should loosen easily. Other more exotic mushrooms like chanterelles, lion’s mane, maitake, and morels might have more debris stuck to them and therefore require a deeper clean — in this case, you can wash and dry them then use them right away. Don’t worry if you feel like you didn’t fully clean off your fungus, though; the “dirt” that you see is actually just sterile compost called peat moss, and it’s harmless if ingested.
HOW LONG SHOULD MUSHROOMS BE COOKED for?
Mushrooms, especially dried varieties, are rich sources of umami flavor. This distinct flavor can easily be brought out by cooking the mushrooms in some olive oil and seasoning them with salt and pepper. There are other several ways to make these vegan stuffed mushrooms taste amazing:
- Roast your mushrooms: Toss them in some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast them whole or in half. Mushrooms are full of water, so drain off the liquid that pools on your roasting pan before serving them. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F — you want high heat to caramelize and crisp up the mushrooms — and roast for 25 minutes. For extra flavor, add a few cloves of garlic. Have some fresh thyme or rosemary? Chop up the leaves and throw them into the baking pan before roasting the mushrooms. You can also deglaze the pan with sherry, cabernet sauvignon, or white wine vinegar at the end when your mushrooms are almost done cooking, letting the wine fully cook off.
- Sauté your mushrooms in a pan: This is the easiest method! Simply heat your pan on medium and sauté the mushrooms in oil or butter (vegan or regular!). Because mushrooms contain a lot of water, they’ll release a ton of water and shrink considerably, so you can even skip adding fat and just sauté them in a dry pan if you prefer.
- Grill your mushrooms on a skewer: Heat your grill to medium-high and grill the skewered mushrooms for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until browned.
WHAT CAN I DO WITH MUSHROOM STEMS?
I’m all about no-waste cooking these days, and mushrooms are no exception! Some mushrooms like enoki and king trumpet (also known as king oyster) rely on the stem for cooking. Others, such as shiitake, portobellos, and cremini, tend to have their stems discarded. While certain shiitake mushroom stems can be quite tough, most of the time if the stem is soft enough, it can be taken out of the cap, chopped, and used anywhere that you’re using the caps. If you’re preparing these types of mushrooms, try cooking the stems a little bit longer so that they get as tender as the caps. In this particular recipe I use the stems to add volume to the stuffing, making sure not to waste any part of the mushroom. You can even freeze the stems and use them later to make vegetable broth!
In addition to stuffed mushrooms — vegan and not — I’m sure you’ve seen stuffed bell peppers, but did you know that you can also stuff the beloved avocado? My Veggie-Stuffed Avocado is not only gorgeous to look at, but it’s also super-tasty and healthy. You can also try stuffing other vegetables such as zucchini, winter squash, and eggplant.
Mushroom lovers, this recipe is for you and I can’t wait for you to try it! Please leave a comment below and tell me how you prepare and serve this dish.