Did You Know? Of the 70,000 species of the mushrooms in the world, only about 250 are actually edible.
Mushrooms have always been a favorite food of mine. Ever since I was a baby, I can remember snuggling in my Mema's bed with my sister, and eating bon bons, string cheese, and occasionally stuffed mushrooms left over from dinner, all the while watching Annie or Madeline, two of our favorites. I've always only ever made my Mema's recipe for stuffed mushrooms, basically because they are unbelievable, but ever since I stopped eating cheese, I wanted to try out a vegan recipe.
The recipe I came up with is really quite healthful, and would be an excellent h'orderves to bring to your next Christmas party. Cremini mushrooms, in particular, are an excellent source of selenium, manganese, copper, and zinc, all essential trace minerals, as well as iron, riboflavin and B-complex vitamins. The hummus and walnuts add a good source of protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. The whole grain bread crumbs, olive oil, and basil top it off, for an excellent one or two bite food.
It was a little hard getting my sister to try these out, and since she was the only one home with me when I first made them, I had to get her to eat and like them. I don't know what it is, but every time she hears that the recipe I am making is a vegan one, she's skeptical. She think's the ingredients are going to be unheard of, and the flavors far-fetched. It's pretty annoying most of the time, but I guess most people are put off when they hear "vegan." This one, like most others, turned out delicious - for everyone. One of her friends stopped by soon after I took them out of the oven, and she prefered the vegan mushrooms over the original.
These mushrooms are really easy to make. The only somewhat tedious part is peeling the outer skin off of the mushrooms. It's a step that really isn't necessary, but my grandmother always does it, so that's what I do. I didn't want to talk about the non-vegan mushrooms and then leave you hanging without a recipe for those, so I've posted both. I hope you give the vegan ones a try though, because they were a hit for my family and friends.
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, skins peeled away, and stems removed and set aside*
1/2 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/4 cup pecorino romano cheese, grated
1/4 cup red pepper hummus (I used Joseph's, but homemade would be better)
Salt and Pepper
*To peel the skins away from the mushrooms, I literally just use my finger to peel back the thin, brown layer on the outside of the mushrooms, so that they look like white button mushrooms when finished, and nice and clean.
Preheat oven to 350.
To prepare mushrooms, scoop out insides to make little cavities inside each one to hold the filling. Save the insides that you scoop out, and chop it all up with the stems that you removed previously. You want it to be chopped pretty finely, so that the filling tastes pretty smooth when cooked.
In 2 medium sized mixing bowls, put half of the chopped stem mixture into each. Add 1/4 cup bread crumbs and 2 tablespoons walnuts to each bowl. For the original (non-vegan) mushrooms, add the romano cheese. For the vegan variation, add the hummus. Season each with 1 teaspoon of basil and the salt and pepper. For the original mushrooms, add a few good drizzles of olive oil, to wet the mixture (the hummus does this for the vegan variation). Stir each bowl to incorporate all ingredients. You want to "smoosh?" the non-vegan mushrooms with the back of the spoon, so that it looks like a crumbly paste, and on the wet side.
Fill half the mushrooms with the cheese mixture, and half with the hummus mixture - mounding the filling on top, and packing it down. Place mushrooms on a greased (I used olive oil) baking sheet, and then drizzle a little oil on top of each mushroom.
Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden on top. Enjoy, and let me know what you think of both!