These delectable vegan Chickpea Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms make the perfect appetizer for any event or dinner party. The mushrooms are stuffed with good-for-you ingredients, such as chickpeas and spinach – not just bread crumbs. And the lemony, garlicky filling will have everyone coming back for seconds…and maybe even thirds.
How to avoid soggy or rubbery mushrooms
Cleaning the mushrooms:
Mushrooms are about 80-90% water, so if they are not cleaned properly they can get soggy or rubbery. There is a lot of debate about whether or not mushrooms should even be washed at all in water, because they are like sponges and can absorb more liquid, making them even more soggy. Some people are not comfortable with the idea of not thoroughly washing their mushrooms, however.
I recommend one of two methods for cleaning your mushrooms.
- Use a clean, damp kitchen towel, or paper towel to gently wipe off any dirt off the mushrooms.
- If you prefer to wash the mushrooms a bit more thoroughly, rinse them under running water, (don’t soak them) and dry them with a clean cloth or paper towel.
Cooking the mushrooms:
Mushrooms will exude liquid when they are cooked, so make sure not to crowd the mushrooms on the baking sheet. If the mushrooms are packed too closely together, they will end up steaming in their own juices and making your finished stuffed mushrooms soggy.
Toasting the nuts:
Pine nuts are the classic choice in pesto, but they can be quite expensive. Other soft nuts similar in texture to pine nuts, such as walnuts or cashews, work amazingly well as a replacement. Either way, toasting helps release all the natural oils, and heightens the flavor of whichever type of nut you choose to use.
To toast nuts, simply place them in a dry pan and cook for 2-4 minutes over medium-high heat until golden and fragrant. Stir them frequently, and don’t walk away form the pan, as nuts can go from toasty to burnt in mere seconds.
Serving the Stuffed Mushrooms
When I am making these stuffed mushrooms as hors d’oeuvres, I always select small, bite size mushrooms that guests can easily pop in their mouth while enjoying a cocktail. You can also serve these as an appetizer at the table, in which case you can go a bit bigger since people will be sitting down.
We hope you enjoy these Chickpea & Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms at your next dinner party!
Chickpea Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms
- ¼ cup pine nuts walnuts or cashews
- ½ cup cooked chickpeas
- ½ cup basil leaves
- ½ cup spinach
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 4 Tbsp olive oil divided
- ¾ cup bread crumbs divided
- 12 small-medium mushrooms stems removed
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan over medium-high heat for 2-4 minutes, until fragrant and golden. Stir them frequently, and do not walk away from the pan, as the nuts can go from toasty to burnt in seconds.
- Place the toasted pine nuts in the bowl of your food processor. Add the garlic, spinach and basil leaves to the bowl and pulse.
- Add the chickpeas, lemon zest, two tablespoon of the olive oil, and red pepper flakes (if using) to the bowl of the food processor and pulse a few more times. Don't over-process the chickpeas or you will end up with hummus.
- Transfer the mixture into a bowl and stir in ½ cup of the bread crumbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Remove the stems from the mushrooms, and place on a baking sheet. Make sure you don't crowd the mushrooms so they don't steam in their juices.
- Scoop the filling into the cavities of the mushrooms, packing it down. Sprinkle with some more bread crumbs.
- Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and bake for about 20-25 minutes until the mushrooms are tender and the top of the filling is golden brown.
- Serve with a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
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