Let’s talk holiday appetizers.
For the past several years, I have spent a lot of time focusing on Christmas cookie recipes this time of year. And, in the interest of full disclosure, I actually had a Christmas cookie planned for todays post. But after several trips to the grocery store, a couple of failed attempts, and a very messy kitchen, I decided to put away my whisk and try something new.
With a little pesto left over from the last night’s dinner, I decided to create a savory, seasonal, holiday treat. And these bite-sized vegan Pesto Stuffed mushrooms are exactly that!
For the mushroom base, I choose to use baby portobellos. Portobellos are richer in flavor than button mushrooms and have a distinctive meaty texture making them one of my favorite whole food substitutes for meat. Since pesto and steak seem to be a beloved combination, I decided to pair pesto with nature’s steak, the portobello mushroom.
For the pesto, I used my arugula basil pesto from the pesto pasta. I love this pesto because the arugula gives it a spicy, earth flavor that balances the creamy richness of regular pesto. Additionally, this pesto is very versatile and lends itself well to variations. One of the variations I’ve tried is swapping macadamia nuts for raw cashews or pine nuts. I also imagine a walnut-based pesto would work very well! The other variation I’ve done with this pesto is swapping kale for the arugula. It provides a heartier texture that pairs well with the portobello.
Once the pesto is made, the rest of the prep goes real quick.
The pesto can be spooned or piped into the prepared mushrooms, topped with pine nuts and thrown in the oven. Ten minutes later…
You get is a roasted, tender, meaty mushroom filled with a sweet and spicy pesto; the perfect Christmastime appetizer.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
While the oven is preheating, make a batch of arugula pesto according to these directions and set aside.
Remove stems from mushrooms, hollowing out the middle. Brush with olive oil and and place on a baking sheet.
Spoon or pipe in about 1-2 teaspoons of pesto in each mushroom. Top with 3-4 pine nuts and bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before serving.
These mushrooms are best served hot so they should be made shortly before serving.
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