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Guest Post – (Almost) Raw Stuffed Mushrooms with Cilantro Pesto and Sundried Tomato Spread

There are few things I enjoy more than sharing good food with friends.  Give me a bottle of wine and a story to tell, and there might be nothing I love more. When Maggie invited me to write a guest post after our Wine and Mushroom night, I immediately said yes. My eagerness may have been due in part to the wine buzz, but I was genuinely excited for the opportunity to do so many things I love at once.

Cooking is one of my favorite ways to create and feel inspired. I love to experiment with ingredients and flavor combinations. Recipes are just a suggestion, for inspiration only, so I prefer dishes that lend themselves well to experimentation.  Stuffed mushrooms were the perfect choice for our evening: they’re such a forgiving dish. As long as the mushrooms are cooked properly (which is just a matter of setting the right temperature), there’s not much you can do to mess them up. Even if you’ve had a few glasses of wine.

After moving to Korea, I developed some food sensitivities and I now eat a primarily plant-based diet. It’s been difficult, but also quite fun as I’ve had to experiment and push boundaries even more. One of my favorite food blogs is This Rawsome Vegan Life, and I used this raw lasagna recipe as the inspiration for my mushroom creation. The recipe pairs a cilantro pesto with sun-dried tomato spread on zucchini “noodles,” topped with marinated mushrooms. Because the mushrooms clicked surprisingly well with the herbs, I thought they might work well together in a different context. Thus was born my idea for (partially) raw vegan stuffed mushrooms.

As I watched Maggie piecing together her caprese-inspired experiment, I knew it would turn out well. I was hungry just looking at it.  Blending my raw cashews and raw cilantro and raw everything, I hoped that my own cold/raw and hot/roasted combo would be a success. I cooked my mushrooms first, then stuffed them. Unlike most methods, I didn’t cook them again. I filled the cooked mushrooms with pesto and tomato spread, topped them with cashew cream sauce and fresh raw cilantro, then served them. I made some changes to my initial recipe, based on what I had on hand and my own intuition. I blended the pesto a bit too much for this batch, and the consistency resembled more of a sauce than a pesto, but that didn’t affect the flavor. In the end, it turned out to be a hit. Maggie and I both loved these mushrooms, so much so that we devoured the remaining pesto and tomato spread on Ryvita (highly recommended!)

 

Photo credit:  ©Spoon in a Saucepan

Photo credit: ©Spoon in a Saucepan

 

(ALMOST) RAW STUFFED MUSHROOMS WITH CILANTRO PESTO AND SUNDRIED TOMATO SPREAD

Serves 5-10

Ingredients:

  • Blender or food processor

Mushrooms

  • 20 mushrooms, stems removed
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped, set aside
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Cilantro-Walnut Pesto

  • 2 cups fresh cilantro (see note below)*
  • ¼ cup raw walnuts
  • ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 peeled garlic clove
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Water, as needed

Sundried Tomato Spread

  • ½ cup raw cashews (chickpeas also work well)
  • 1 tablespoon tahini (can be replaced with 2 tsps hummus, or left out if you don’t have it)
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ⅓ cup sun-dried tomatoes (or dehydrated tomatoes)
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Water, as needed

Cashew Cream Sauce

  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (or to taste)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • water, as needed

Method

  1. Heat oven to 150° C
  2. Wipe mushrooms clean with a damp cloth.
  3. Place in a single layer on a roasting pan, cap down.
  4. Brush with olive oil.
  5. Bake for approximately 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make:

  1. Cilantro pesto: blend all the ingredients in your blender/processor until it becomes a pesto-like consistency, adding water or other liquid as needed. Put in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Tomato spread: blend all the ingredients in your blender /processor until smooth (tomatoes should be in small pieces and starting to turn the mixture a reddish color), adding water or other liquid as needed. Put in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Cashew cream: blend all ingredients until smooth.
  4. Remove mushrooms from oven and let cool slightly.
  5. Layer a spoonful each of pesto and tomato spread in each mushroom.
  6. Drizzle cashew cream on top (I used a plastic bag with the corner cut off as a piping bag)
  7. Top it off with some chopped cilantro and enjoy!

*NOTE: I only used 1 cup of cilantro in the pesto, though the recipe calls for two. I started out wanting to make a half batch, changed my mind after adding the cilantro, and forgot to adjust accordingly. I’ve made the pesto previously with 2 cups, and its flavor is much bolder, which I prefer. I recommend using 2 cups. However, if you only moderately like cilantro, or you’re short on quantity, 1 cup still turned out well.

Tips

Leftovers: Remaining pesto is great with pasta or rolled up into zucchini slices. Extra tomato spread is excellent with pita or baguette.  Use both for dipping fresh veggies or on crackers.

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