Vegan Cashew Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms and Easy Almond Crackers
I'm so happy that people have been loving the chocolate zucchini cake recipe! I've seen at least 10 remakes in the past week and have been re-posting to my instastories.
Today I have savory recipe to share with you. These herbed cashew cheese and caramelized onion stuffed mushrooms are vegan and paleo - and they're absolutely delicious! I've also done something similar with an baked almond cracker as the base. This makes for an elegant, beautiful and yet healthy appetizer that is sure to please anyone, regardless of their dietary preferences. This is my recipe entry to a mushroom appetizer contest that is sponsored by Mushrooms.ca where the winner gets a pass to the Food Bloggers of Canada conference this October. Not only that, the recipe will be sampled out at the event! Super cool, right?
Growing up in Northern Ontario (a little town called Sioux Lookout), I used to go mushroom picking with my dad in the Fall. We picked golden chanterelles and pine mushrooms also known as matsutake which we sold to a guy in my town who shipped them to Japan! Apparently they were in high demand over there and it was big money. It was a fun adventure for me as a child. In those days I wasn't always the biggest fan of eating mushrooms BUT somehow I always loved my mom's stuffed mushrooms! They were filled with cheese and some kind of toasted bread crumb - so unhealthy but so tasty lol. My palate has changed a great deal over the years and now I love all kinds of mushrooms and could eat a whole plate of barbequed or sauteed mushrooms. I also prefer a much healthier filling, but my mom's version inspired me to create the recipe that I'm sharing today.
In this recipe I've used the whole mushroom - why waste, right? The caps are filled with herbed cashew cream cheese while the mushroom stems are finely diced, sauteed, and added to the caramelized onions. I've used both white button and brown mushrooms, both of which are easy to find at the grocery store. They're two of the most versatile ones. Crimini are a little more meaty and flavorful. You could even do this with portobello mushrooms and eat them with a fork and knife for a sit-down meal.
The other great thing is that you can enjoy this appetizer year around. The earthy flavors work well in the Fall and Winter - plus you can serve the mushrooms hot out of the oven. You can also serve this chilled as a Spring or Summer appy and use whatever herbs are in season. Regardless of the season you make them in, they're excellent with a glass of wine (I tested it out on friends hehe). Everyone's recipe entry will be posted on Mushrooms.ca !
Cashew Cheese & Caramelized Onion Stuffed Mushrooms
Feel free to make the onions a day before assembling the mushrooms. They keep in the fridge for 5 days.
1 teaspoon olive or avocado oil
1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
2 pinches of Himalayan salt
*Mushroom stems + drizzle of olive oil+ pinch of salt
Heat a pot with a large bottom to medium heat. Add the oil and then the onions and cook for 10 minutes stirring occasionally (not too often, you want to create some colour on them). Add the salt and maple syrup. Lower to low heat, put the lid on but keep a small opening and cook another 15 minutes stirring periodically. When finished the onions should be soft, dark brown, and taste sweet.
Mixing the mushroom stems with the onions is the perfect way to use them in a discreet and tasty way.
*15 large white mushrooms and/or crimini (brown) mushrooms or 20-24 small ones
Note: Use small mushrooms to keep it to a 1-2 bite appy - I've used large ones here because that's what my grocery store had in stock. I've also made this recipe with small ones. Both are great.
Wipe the mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Stem each mushroom and finely chop the stems (transfer the caps to a baking sheet). Heat a drizzle of oil on medium/high heat in the same pot used for the onions. Add the stems/salt and cook, stirring frequently until golden brown, soft and fragrant. Add to the caramelized onions.
This is delicious in the mushrooms but is also great on crackers, as a veggie dip, or spread in a wrap of choice. You can use whatever herbs you like or leave it plain. Also make sure to use the right amount of salt depending on the use for the cheese. It keeps in the fridge for up to 6 days.
1 cup raw cashew pieces (or whole)
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
3/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt*
1-2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs (I used oregano)
Blend all but the herbs in a high speed blender until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the herbs. Use immediately or refrigerate. It will firm up and become more spreadable as it chills.
*This amount keeps it on the salty side which is important when stuffing mushrooms. If you're making the cheese to enjoy as a dip, stick to only 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Once the caps are baked, the cashew cheese puffs up a bit and thickens.
Stuffed Mushroom Assembly
Preheat an oven to 350F. Use a small spoon to spoon some cashew cheese into each mushroom cap, making sure it slightly mounds over the top. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked through (slightly soft to the touch). A little liquid will come out but that's fine. Arrange some caramelized onions on top and sprinkle with finely chopped red pepper, green onion, and/or fresh herbs (I'm loving fresh oregano right now). These will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days but they're best eaten upon assembly out of the oven.
Baked Almond Crackers
We can't forget the crackers! I personally like a lot of different textures so I enjoy the crunch of a cracker along side the chewy/creamy mushroom caps. These are very simple, yet they're my most favourite homemade cracker!!! You can add dried herbs if desired.
1 1/4 cup blanched almond flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons olive or avocado oil
Preheat an oven to 350F. Stir dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add the water and oil. Stir together using a spoon or your hands. The dough should be very moist and should hold together easily when pressed in your hand. If its TOO moist, add another tablespoon of almond flour. Form into a ball and roll very thin between two pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Either score into squares or use a cookie cutter as I did to make circles. Transfer to a parchment (optional) lined baking sheet. Bake for 8-12 minutes until golden brown (they may look a little bubbly from the heat when you first take them out, that's normal). The time depends on what size you make each cracker, so keep and eye on them, they can brown up quickly. Let cool and they'll be nice and crunchy. Store at room temperature for 2 weeks.
There you have it guys! I hope you give them a try! What are your favourite mushrooms?
Wishing you a great week xo