This is a vegan recipe that takes advantage of a wide range of whole foods: mushrooms(shiitake), citrus fruit(lemon zest and juice), fresh herbs(sweet basil leaves), chile peppers(pointsettia) and raw nuts(cashews). This combination supplies a wide range of health supporting vitamins, minerals, anti-inflammatory compounds, healthy fats and other micro-nutrients. These stuffed mushrooms can be an appetizer or accompany an entree at the main meal. And they are delicious.
Start with the mushrooms. The best way to get great mushrooms for this type of dish is to find a store that sells them loose by the pound. This allows picking by both quality and size. Clean the mushrooms and cut off the stems even with the inside of the cap. Place the caps upside down on the baking sheet that will be used to cook them and spray well with olive oil or your own favorite high temperature oil. Give the oil a moment to soak in and then turn the caps over.
Next make the cashew cream. I like to make more than needed so I can use the extra for other things over the next few days(it makes a great dip or condiment for raw or steamed vegetables). Place one cup of raw cashew pieces(no need for the more expensive whole or half nuts) into the bowl of a food processor. Add approximately ten medium sweet basil leaves, the juice and zest from 1/4 medium lemon, a pinch of sea salt and some freshly grated black pepper. I like a small amount of whatever fresh or dried red chile happens to be handy when I make this. Add 1/2 cup water, lock the lid in place and process until smooth, stopping a few times to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add more water if too thick(I like a whipped cream consistency).
Fill the mushroom caps with the cashew cream using a small spoon. Be sure the filling makes contact with the lip of the mushroom all the way around the edge so it doesn’t pull away during baking. Place into a 425 oven for about 20 minutes until the cashew cream is lightly browned on top. Larger mushrooms might need longer to get cooked. Remove from the baking tray to plates or a serving tray and let cool for ten minutes before serving.
As with most of my recipes, this one is very easy to modify for other uses. Large portabellas or small button mushrooms or any combination can be used instead of just the shiitakes. Cilantro with lime zest and juice or ground cumin with orange zest and juice are other good flavors. To go with fresh fruit or granola, try flavoring the cashew cream with raw honey and ground cinnamon or with maple syrup and ground clove.
This recipe is vegan, gluten-free and grain-free.
You can easily substitute other varieties of mushrooms in recipe instead of using shiitakes. Large portabella mushroom caps make a very impressive presentation.