Confession: I have a hard time cooking for vegans. Actually, that’s probably an understatement. I strongly dislike cooking for vegans. Sometimes I feel as if they exist simply to make my life more difficult. I don’t mind vegetarians as much, but it’s difficult to imagine a world without cheese and eggs and butter. It actually makes me quite sad to even think about it. However, being a good hostess means you make your guests feel warm, welcome, and comfortable — and I believe that in order to do this one must accommodate a guest’s special dietary needs. Thus, if there’s a vegan coming to dinner, I’m making vegan dishes.
I created these stuffed mushrooms to serve at my cousin’s baby shower. Her mother-in-law is a vegan, so I planned a menu that featured several vegan items. This recipe is a variation of my classic stuffed mushrooms, which are filled with cheese and cream. Stuffed mushrooms are always a crowd-pleasing appetizer, so keep them in mind for the upcoming holiday celebrations. They would be welcome on a Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas cocktail party menu. The stuffing and mushrooms can be prepped one day in advance. Assemble and bake just before serving.
Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms
28 white mushrooms, caps wiped clean and stems removed and reserved
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1 red pepper, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the mushroom caps, stem side down, on a large baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the mushrooms are soft, slightly darker in color, and have released their juices. Let cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, make the filling: finely mince the reserved mushroom stems. Add the olive oil to a large saute pan set over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the onion, red pepper, and chopped mushroom stems. Saute until soft and translucent, taking care not to burn, about 8 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the chopped spinach by the handful, stirring to wilt.
- When all the spinach has been wilted in, remove from heat and season liberally with salt and pepper. Stir in the breadcrumbs.
- When the caps are cool enough to handle, spoon a heaping teaspoon of stuffing inside each mushroom.
- Place the stuffed mushrooms, stuffing side up, on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the stuffing is hot and the mushrooms are dark brown in color. Serve immediately.
Makes 28 mushrooms.