Vegetarian Stuffed Mushrooms

 

A Javabird.com recipe.
 

We often have friends or family over and have served a variety of appetizers, but every now and then, we love making stuffed mushrooms.  Though they’re a bit of work, we love mushrooms and onions so it only seems natural stuffed mushrooms are one of our favorites.  One of the nice parts of this recipe is it is so forgiving, and once you’ve got the basics down you can keep adding or subtracting ingredients depending on your mood.

 

Some Basics

 

Fresh mushrooms work best.  The sides are stronger.

For the best mushrooms use fresh ingredients.

For the purposes of this recipe we’re going to make a dozen mushrooms.  You can usually figure people will eat 1 to 3 mushrooms as an appetizer if given the chance.  We typically buy brown or white mushrooms so almost always have some of these on hand.  Mushrooms vary in water content and density, so cooking times can vary.  We’ve discovered the best stuffed mushrooms are made from mushrooms that are still fresh—avoid those that are turning color and spotting.  The best reason for using fresh is as you pull the stem and scoop out the middle the sides don’t break as easily.

 

 

Let’s Gather The Ingredients

 

12 mid-sized brown or white mushrooms

¼ cup olive oil

¼ to ½ of a mid-sized sweet or yellow onion

1-3 cloves garlic (more or less depending on preference)

1 handful of fresh spinach leaves

¼ to ½ cup bread crumbs (the ones you buy in a can or bag at the store are easiest)

¼ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

2 ounces feta or other flavored cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Preparing The Mushrooms

 

We’ve found that the onions tend to cook slower than the mushrooms if we try to do all the cooking in one step.  For this reason, we usually sauté the onions with the leftover mushroom stems and garlic first.  Let’s break it down:

 

Prepare the mushrooms first.

The first step is to pop out the stems. Then you want to scoop out the insides.

Step 1: Pop the stems out of the mushroom caps and set them aside.  Now, using a spoon carefully scoop out the excess in the middle of the mushroom.  Scoop into a bowl as we’ll be using these leftovers in our stuffing mix.

 

Step 2: Trim the very bottom end of the mushroom stems (about an eighth inch) and discard.  Now, dice the rest into the same bowl used in Step 1:

 

Onions and mushrooms are a key part of the stuffing mix.

Gather the mushroom pieces, onions and garlic in a bowl.

Step 3: Dice up the onion and add it to the mushrooms in the bowl.

 

Step 4:  Crush the garlic into the bowl.

 

Saute over medium heat with a little oil.

Give the stuffing “innards” a head start on the stove.

Step 5:  Turn the stove to a medium high heat, add a splash of oil to the pan and sauté the contents of the bowl.  You don’t need to completely cook the onions; you just want to give them a head start (3-5 minutes).

 

Step 6: In the last minute or so of sautéing throw in the spinach and just stir until it changes to a darker, wetter consistency.  Remove from heat.

 

Preparing the stuffing mix.

Throw the spinach in at the end. It only takes a minute.

Step 7:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

 

A food processor makes chopping and grinding go quick.

This step isn’t critical, but it makes for a smoother stuffing.

Step 8:  Use a food processor or mini-chop to grind the onion/mushroom mix into smaller pieces.  (You can achieve the same result doing this by hand before sautéing.)

 

Stir the stuffing mix well.

Combine all the stuffing ingredients in a bowl.

Step 9:  Pour the contents into a bowl, add the breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, and then stir it all together.  Note: Hold out some cheese to dust the tops of the mushrooms later.

 

Put the cheese in first and then stuff around it.

We used smoky cheddar instead of feta this time around. Either works great.

Step 10: Brush the mushroom cap exteriors with oil (olive oil is best) and then place a small piece of feta inside the cap.  Using a spoon, stuff the mushroom with the mix from Step 8.  Place the now stuffed mushroom in a lightly oiled baking dish and dust the tops with the remainder of the freshly grated cheese.

 

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 -25 minutes.

Don’t forget to add a touch of Parmesan cheese on top.

Step 11: Once all the mushrooms are stuffed, pop them in the oven and set the timer for 20 – 25 minutes.  Cooking times vary depending on the type and size of the mushroom, but they also vary due to the amount of stuffing.  Check the mushrooms at 20 minutes to see if they are done.  If not, add a few more minutes and try again.  If you’re unsure, you can always cut or bite into one, but don’t burn your fingers.  As the mushroom cooks it takes on a darker color and interiors become almost smooth and shiny.

 

Variation On A Theme

 

These mushrooms are ready to eat.  Yum!

After you get the basics down, feel free to mix it up.

We listed feta cheese as the ingredient for the interior of these mushrooms above, but this time around we used smoky cheddar.  We’ve also used fresh mozzarella on occasion—all were delicious.

 

If you have a vegan visiting the household just hold the cheese.  Adding other vegetables like red or yellow peppers or sweet basil make for delicious alternatives.

 

For meat lovers you can add bacon bits or sausage into the onion/mushroom stuffing mix and expect excellent reviews.

 

For those who can’t live without butter feel free to add a touch of that if you prefer.  However, we usually skip the butter as we like to stick to more heart healthy fats like olive oil when we can (see our post on olive oil here).

 

We hope you enjoy these as much as we do.  Until next time.

 

If you enjoyed today’s post, you may also want to read:

 

5 Minute Black Bean Party Dip
In Search Of Perfect Guacamole

 

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