Sneaking in with the easiest, cutest, and tastiest little appetizer today. They get the designation of “very chill” in the title for a reason. If you move quick and with focus, you can have these done in about 20-25 minutes. These heavenly bites are warm, extremely cheesy (in that vegan air quotes “cheesy” way), creamy, crunchy, garlicky, and satisfying to eaters of all dietary persuasions. Added bonus: it’s nice to see something a little bit green on the holiday appetizer table, right?
The key to speed here is making pesto ahead of time (I do like to have it on hand) or using a store bought pesto that you love. For my Ontario people, I’m a huge fan of Sunflower Kitchen’s pesto (and hummus, salsa etc.). Their whole line is nut-free, vegan, and incredibly fresh-tasting. I’ve had great dairy-free pesto from the store-made section of Whole Foods too. The whole point of this recipe is that it’s fairly simple to execute in the crunch of the holidays, so don’t worry about making pesto if that sounds like a step you’d rather not tangle with. I am personally all about simplicity in any way I can get it this time of year.
I quickly toss the mushroom caps with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, tamari, salt, and pepper. Is there anything less appetizing looking than a shrivelled up and dried out baked mushroom? They need a little fat and flavour to shine before they hit the oven. While they bake, I fix up the pesto cream in the blender, sauté up the breadcrumbs, and get my serving plate/possible garnishes out. We can do this!
I know that a lot of stuffed mushroom recipes have diced up and sautéed mushrooms in the actual filling as well. I skip that here and opt for extra pesto cream because WHY NOT. The cream is cashew based with a little punch of miso, nutritional yeast, and lemon. Once you swirl the pesto in, you have a sauce that’s equally fitting on mushrooms as it is with pasta, mashed into potatoes or spread into lasagna layers. I think you guys are going to love this one.
The shower of crunchy bread crumbs at the end is my favourite part though. I make little batches of breadcrumbs (from stale bread) in my little spice grinder all the time. I just tear the bread into little bits, pulse a few times, and it’s done. You could certainly use a gluten-free bread if you need to, and if you’re avoiding bread entirely, you could do my cheesy chickpea crumble or even a healthy sprinkling of my pine nut “parm.”
Also, don’t limit yourself to little mushrooms. This combination is incredible in a super-sized portobello mushroom as part of a plant-based dinner spread. You would bake the portobellos just the same, maybe for a few extra minutes, or keep an eye on them until they’re tender. I personally prefer to scrape the gills out of portobello mushrooms before tossing with oil etc. and cooking, but some people are fine with them. Up to you if you decide to try this variation!
STUFFED MUSHROOMS W/ PESTO CREAM & GARLICKY BREADCRUMBS
Print the recipe here!
SERVES: Makes 24 stuffed mushrooms
NOTES: You could certainly use a gluten-free bread if you need to for the breadcrumbs, and if you’re avoiding bread entirely, you could do my cheesy chickpea crumble or even a healthy sprinkling of my pine nut “parm” on top.
– I would say that my cremini mushrooms were of the average size. I know that someimes you can get those mega ones that are almost like a mini portobello. I’d say you could get about 12 of those with the amount of pesto cream and breadcrumbs here.
-I make fresh breadcrumbs out of stale bread in my spice grinder. I just tear up bits of bread into the grinder, close the lid, and pulse a few times. Easy!
½ cup raw cashews (soaked for at least 1 hour, then drained)
¼ cup prepared vegan pesto
1 teaspoon light miso (I used South River’s chickpea miso)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
24 cremini mushrooms, stems removed
5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon tamari soy sauce OR coconut aminos
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (I used a whole grain sourdough)
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
Make the pesto cream. In an upright blender, combine the drained cashews, pesto, miso, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast. Blend the mixture on high until you have a smooth, pale green cream. Scrape the cream into a bowl and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, toss the mushrooms with 4 teaspoons of the olive oil, the balsamic vinegar, tamari, salt and pepper. Once evenly coated, place the mushrooms face down on the prepared baking sheet. Bake the mushrooms for 15-17 minutes, or until tender and deep brown. Keep warm.
While mushrooms are baking, prepare breadcrumbs. Heat the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the breadcrumbs to the skillet. Stir and toast the breadcrumbs until they are deeply golden brown in spots and slightly “crisp” sounding, about 4 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic and season the breadcrumbs with salt and pepper. Keep toasting the breadcrumbs for another minute.
To serve, flip the baked mushrooms over and fill the caps with dollops of pesto cream. Top each filled mushroom with a hearty sprinkle of garlicky breadcrumbs. Serve warm.