Thursday, October 22, 2015

Recipe: Panko Stuffed Mushrooms

I remember how old I was when I tried my very first stuffed mushroom. A family friend had brought them to a get-together and after the first bite (which was only to be polite), I was hooked. Never before had I eaten a mushroom and enjoyed  it. Now I couldn't stop. Early in my marriage when we went out to eat far too often, we frequented The Olive Garden. I ordered their stuffed mushrooms many times as my entire meal (at the time, they had a pick-3-appetizers options, so I got two portions of stuffed mushrooms with a side of fried calamari). Now that seafood is out of my diet and vegan is in, I thought I'd never be able to enjoy stuffed mushrooms again. Last week, that changed. My first attempt was keeping it simple, but it became an instant winner.

Everyone loved them, but what surprised me most was that my husband and my three-year-old, the pickiest eaters in our family, enjoyed them too!

Panko Stuffed Mushrooms

1 lb. white mushrooms
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. chopped fresh parsley
1 c. panko

2-3 Tbsp. vegan margarine, melted (I use Earth Balance)

Wash the mushrooms and trim the very ends (the hard, dried out part) of the stems. Discard.

Remove the remainder of the stems and chop the stems finely. In a frying pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil and add the chopped mushroom stems. Cook these until tender and the juices have been released (approximately 5 minutes). Add sea salt, black pepper, and parsley. Cook for another minute or two. Add panko. Mix this in well with the mushrooms. The panko should absorb the remaining olive oil. If it still appears dry, add a bit more olive oil. Stir until well coated and turn off heat.

In a baking dish, pour the vegan margarine. Prepare the mushrooms by stuffing about 1 teaspoon of panko filling into each mushroom. Some mushrooms may need more, others may need less. Assemble the mushrooms in the prepared baking dish.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, or until the stops of the mushroom filling are beginning to brown.

These may be served as a tasty appetizer or a savory side at any meal. These will most certainly be included on my Thanksgiving dinner menu!

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