Panko-Stuffed Baby Bella Mushrooms

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Mushrooms and I have a sort of complicated past. As an omnivore, I avoided them completely stating that fungus grows between your toes so why would I want to eat something from the same family? As a vegetarian, I forced myself to incorporate them into my diet but dreaded the standard portobello mushroom burger or grilled portobello mushroom sandwich that every restaurant offered as their veggie option. That was just too much mushroom for me. Now, as a vegan, I have learned to make fungus my friend.

There are so many varieties of mushroom, each with its own distinct flavor, texture and aroma (my current favorites are shiitake, enoki and oyster). Mushrooms translate into so many dishes from so many types of cuisine and lend a hearty, deep richness that will satisfy meat-eaters and vegans alike. This recipe makes a perfect appetizer or side dish, is super easy to prepare and presents itself beautifully. Try it the next time you’re entertaining or whip it up for a healthful, belly-warming dish for your family.

Here’s what you’ll need for about 12 stuffed mushrooms:

  • 12 baby bella mushrooms, stems removed, cleaned with a damp cloth
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • dash of thyme
  • dash of paprika
  • dash of garlic powder
  • freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste

I sometimes make this dish with an optional “cheesy” garnish. If you like the sound of that, then also grab:

  • 1.5 tbsp Earth Balance buttery stick
  • 1.5 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • dash of thyme
  • black pepper and sea salt to taste
  • dash of paprika

After you’ve stemmed and cleaned your mushrooms with a damp cloth (be sure not to submerge your mushrooms or run them under water; it will make them retain too much water), set them upside down on a foil-lined baking sheet for your convection oven. Drizzle some olive oil over them and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the other ingredients and then spoon the mixture into the well of each mushroom.

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Bake in your convection oven at 350 for about 10-15 minutes or until the mushrooms start to turn dark and moist and the panko filling has browned. Watch your oven carefully as the temperatures and cooking times can vary greatly depending on your oven.

Test their readiness by stabbing the center of a mushroom with a small fork or skewer. If it slides in easily then it’s ready.

Serve piping hot.

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stuffedmushrooms3For the cheesy sauce to be used as a garnish, simply heat the Earth Balance and the flour in a small saucepan until it forms a thick paste. Gently whisk in the soy milk and bring the sauce just to a boil. It will be creamy and thick by this point. Reduce the heat to simmer and then add in the nutritional yeast, garlic powder, thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Once the sauce is well combined, place a dollop atop each mushroom or drizzle it over the entire plate. Sprinkle some paprika on top for color.

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Happy eating!

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