Stuffed to the Gills | BitterSweet
Some vegetables were made to be stuffed. Cups open, empty, eager to fill, they are more than just an anonymous vehicle for huge amounts of dip. Meaty caps that you sink your teeth into, even simple little button mushrooms can transform the average aperitif into an elegant canape. Popularized around the middle of the 20th […]

Some vegetables were made to be stuffed. Cups open, empty, eager to fill, they are more than just an anonymous vehicle for huge amounts of dip. Meaty caps that you sink your teeth into, even simple little button mushrooms can transform the average aperitif into an elegant canape.

Popularized around the middle of the 20th century, these funny guys have a relatively short gastronomic history, but have been the life of the party ever since. Whatever savory delicacies you find packed in the center, a hot, roasted mushroom with a concentrated umami flavor can't hurt. Bonus points for being a naturally compact, autonomous and perfectly balanced appetizer.

Lightening the load on what tends to be a very rich pile of cheese, cream, breadcrumbs and / or sausage, these baby bellas are filled with everyone's favorite culinary chameleon: Cauliflower! Simmered until tender, a quick mash makes them indistinguishable from less healthy dishes. Resembling vibrant lemongrass and basil, it's hard to resist eating straight out of the pan with a fork. Truth be told, you can easily serve this stuffing instead of mashed potatoes, but the mushrooms really take it to the next level.

This recipe was inspired by Kevin's Natural Foods Lemongrass and basil sauce and is my entry into the "Eat clean. Live happily. Blogger Recipes Challenge.“Like all of these products, my recipe is proudly paleo, keto, gluten-free, and sugar-free. You can get more information and inspiration at Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Don't wait for a special occasion to make stuffed mushrooms. Even if you're throwing a one-person party, the little extra effort will really get your taste buds dancing.

Preparation time 5 minutes

Cooking time 30 minutes

Total time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of Cremini mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 pound of frozen cauliflower florets, thawed
  • 1 pkg. (7 ounces) Kevin's Natural Foods Basil & Lemongrass Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of Tahini
  • 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest

Instructions

    1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
    2. First remove the stems from the mushrooms, remove them for another recipe. Place the caps in a large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of oil. Once coated, transfer to the prepared baking sheet with the gills exposed facing up. Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through and tender. Remove from oven, drain off any excess liquid that may have collected in the caps and set aside.
    3. Meanwhile, put a medium pot on medium heat. Add the other tablespoon of oil along with the onion and garlic. Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until golden brown and very aromatic. Add the cauliflower and sauce, stirring well to incorporate. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, until the cauliflower is very soft.
    4. Transfer to a food processor or blender and beat until creamy, but not quite smooth. It should still have some texture, like a rough mashed potato. Stir in the tahini, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, basil and lemon zest.
    5. Pour the filling into the cooked mushrooms with a spoon, rising in the center. Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown on top. Serve hot.

Notes

To make it a full-fledged side dish, stuff large portobello mushrooms instead of small crémeaux. If you want to make a side dish, add protein by mixing coarsely mashed white beans into the filling.

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Nutritional information:

Yield:

12

Portion:

1

Amount per serving: Calories: 81Total fat: 4gSaturated fat: 1gTrans fat: 0gUnsaturated fats: 3gCholesterol: 0 mgSodium: 149 mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 4g

All nutritional information presented on this site is intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should be used for guidance only. This information is provided free of charge and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these numbers should always be taken as estimates.


It’s easy to be cynical about the idea of New Year’s resolutions, but there is a lot of undeniable and powerful energy surrounding the idea of change at this time of year. For many of us, that change starts in the kitchen.

Maybe it means resolving to cook at home more often, to keep a well-stocked freezer and pantry, to waste less, or to make slightly more wholesome choices. Maybe, for you, this is the year in which you’d like to give veganism ( or vegetarianism ) a try.

Whether you’re trying to dip your toes slowly into the world of plant-based eating, or you’re ready to make a total shift, it can be helpful to keep a few things in mind.

Some people go vegan overnight, and they never look back. But for many others, a slow transition is more sustainable ( and pleasurable ) than a 180-degree turn. If the idea of going vegan feels daunting, start with a couple of small steps, like a Meatless Monday challenge at home, or switching one of your daily meals to a meatless and dairy-free option. ( You’d be surprised at how easy it is to trade your turkey sandwich for hummus, tempeh bacon, and avocado ).

I’m quick to say that vegan food is just food. While there are a couple of secret weapon ingredients to have on your radar ( nutritional yeast, I’m lookin’ at you ), for the most part a saine appetite for grains, beans, and produce is all you really need to get started. With that said, any dietary shift can be tricky, and veganism is no exception. So, before you get started, take just a little time to go over the basics of plant-based nutrition. Find a useful, all-in-one resource, like Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina’s Becoming Vegan, or Ginny Messina and Jack Norris’ Vegan For Life. At some point, someone will ask you where you get your protein ( or your iron, or your calcium ), and while you could laugh the question off, it’s a lot more powerful to supply a quick, confident answer.

Going vegan expanded my palate dramatically : I learned about all sorts of global cuisines, warmed up to my spice rack, and tried ingredients I’d never considered before. But my culinary repertoire was pretty meager when I made the switch. If you already have some culinary experience, don’t assume that you’ll need to acquire an entirely new bag of tricks to eat vegan or vegetarian.

In fact, one really useful place to start is by looking at some of your favorite dinner recipes and thinking about how you might adapt them to be meatless and/or dairy-free. It may be as simple as removing some cheese ( or replacing it with cashew cheese ). It may mean trading the central protein for beans, soy foods, or even a hearty vegetable, like mushrooms.

Until I went vegan, I had never tried tempeh, soba noodles, kimchi, kabocha squash, nutritional yeast, millet, mulberries, or buckwheat…and the list goes on. Becoming vegan encouraged me to explore new ingredients, and it also introduced me to more global dishes.

A great many dietary folklores around the world are already plant-based, which means that vegans and vegetarians have many rich, exciting culinary folklores to draw upon. If you’re new to plant-based cooking, explore meatless dishes and recipes from other parts of the world ( Indian, Ethiopian, and Middle Eastern dishes are some of my personal favorites ). Dust off your spice rack and add new flavors to your food. Use your transition to plant-based eating as an excuse to try new céréales, legumes, and vegetables.

A lot of folks assume that adapting a recipe to be vegan means replacing the meat or poultry with a faux meat, a block of tofu, or tempeh. That’s cool, but it can also be fun to think creatively and imaginatively about how to capture the essence of a traditional recipe without animal protein. No, lentil Bolognese isn’t really Bolognese, but it does capture the heartiness of the original; cashew banana yogurt is a far cry from dairy, but it does evoke the same, sweet creaminess.

Many people are surprised by how easy it is to go meatless. Cheese, on the other hand, is a different story. I myself used to utter the same words I hear constantly from readers, friends, and nutrition clients : ' I’d love to go vegan, but I can’t give up cheese. '

While I won’t pretend that giving up dairy is easy—it’s not, especially because it’s so ubiquitous in restaurant dishes—I will say that I had a much easier time living without it when I learned to make my own substitutes. Store-bought soy and almond cheeses weren’t cutting it ( especially nine years ago, when the options were limited ), and soy creamers and yogurts left me feeling equally flat. Making my first batch of cashew cheese—which authentically captured the tanginess and texture of goat cheese—was a revelation. Homemade nut milk let me create creamy porridge and muesli far more authentically than did store-bought, non-dairy milk.

Over time, I’ve experimented with tofu paneer, tofu feta, and cashew yogurt, and the list is growing. Homemade dairy substitutes are creative, fun, and cost-effective, and I think they’re a big step up from what you can find in the store.

While I’m the first to point out that vegan proteins extend far beyond soy foods—encompassing tonalités of different céréales, legumes, nuts, and seeds—you really can’t beat tofu and tempeh for ' meaty ' texture and complete protein in meatless dishes. Both ingredients can be either memorable or mundane, depending on how you prepare them. I definitely recommend pressing tofu if you’re not already in the habit; it’ll create a firmer, more toothsome matière that most people prefer.

When preparing tempeh, be sure to use a boldly flavored marinade or sauce to help balance tempeh’s earthy taste, and if you find it bitter, you can steam it before marinating, too.

For the most part, I try to feature whole foods and homemade ingredients in my cooking. But in spite of the fact that I love to create my own dairy substitutes and I’d usually rather eat a scoop of lentils than a block of faux meat, I don’t eschew vegan products, and I think that keeping an open mind about them can really enrich the authenticity of your food.

This is especially important when you’re transitioning and vegan cooking still feels like a brave new world. Nine times out of ten, I’ll opt to use cashew cheese in a recipe rather than Daiya ( a melty, commercial vegan cheese ) ; coconut oil in place of Earth Balance ( vegan butter ) ; or grilled tofu in place of Beyond Chicken ( grilled strips of soy and pea protein that taste shockingly like chicken ).

But when I’m aiming for totally authentic, precise results, vegan substitute products can go a long way, and it’s comforting to know that they’re an option if I feel like taking a shortcut.

Over time, I learned to create vegan food with greater sensitivity to others’ tastes and folklores. I love a lot of really crunchy fare, from the aforementioned raw kale salad to tofu, sprouts, and grain bowls. And I know a lot of other folks who love these dishes, too. But sometimes being an ambassador of vegan food means knowing how to create dishes that feel familiar and appeal to a wide array of more conservative palates, like vegan lasagna, shepherd’s pie, or sloppy Joes.

And, if you’re trying to dispel the idea that all vegans eat is salad and prove that vegan food can be filling and hearty, then it’s all the more important to create dishes that evoke a sense of comfort.

Change feels a lot less daunting when you have company. If your family and friends aren’t exploring veganism along with you, then find community in other ways. Explore a vegan meetup or potluck in your community. Become a regular commenter on vegan food blogs. If you do have a friend who’s interested in plant-based cooking, invite him or her over for some recipe testing.

Studies show that failure to stick with a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle is often attributed to feeling ' different ' or isolated. Food is all about community and sharing, so do your best to share this lifestyle with people you care about—even if they’re not making the change along with you.

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