Hey! I’m Zoe and I write a vegetarian and gluten free food blog over at eatsleeds.co.uk. I wrote this recipe for Lemon and Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms to feature here on Pesto and Margaritas for the launch of their new Vegetarian, Vegan and Gluten Free section (which I am super-excited about). Give this recipe a try for #MeatlessMondays, and if you enjoy it you should totally come and check out my other recipes.
For vegetarians, stuffed mushrooms are a summer staple: quick and easy, they are delicious grilled, but even better cooked over a flaming barbecue: a little smoky and charred on the bottom. The simple combination of lemon and basil pesto gives this dish a Mediterranean flavour, and the meatiness of Portobellos, and protein-filled quinoa mean that it won’t leave you hungry.
My Ma taught me, when stuffing mushrooms, to always remove the stalks and replace them on top of the stuffing. I’m sure it doesn’t affect the flavour, but it looks so adorable that it is worth the effort – especially if you’re bringing these out to share.
These Lemon Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms are best served al fresco, with a little fresh lemon and basil, a side salad and plenty of sunshine – if you can get it!
- 4 Portobello mushrooms
- ½ cup of quinoa
- 3 tblspn. of olive oil + a little more to drizzle
- Zest of 1 large lemon
- Juice of ½ large lemon (save the other half to squeeze over the cooked mushrooms)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 full bunch of basil (approx. 50g) + a few extra leaves to garnish
- 3 tblspn. of pine nuts
Start by thoroughly rinsing the quinoa in cold water – rinse and drain three times to remove all the bitter saponin. Put the rinsed quinoa into a saucepan with 1 cup of hot water then bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for around 15 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated.
Whilst the quinoa is cooking, make the lemon pesto sauce: add the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, garlic, basil and half the pine nuts to the bowl of a blender and blitz for about a minute – it should be runny at this stage, not thick like regular pesto.
Add the lemon pesto sauce to the pan of cooking quinoa, along with the remaining pine nuts. Stir through, and allow to simmer for around another five minutes, whilst you prepare the mushrooms.
Using a small, sharp knife cut the stalks out of the mushrooms and save them for later, then lay out the mushrooms, gills up, on an oven dish.
Once the lemon pesto quinoa mixture is cooked through and thick, use a small spoon to stuff it into the mushroom cups. There should be plenty of stuffing, so you can pile it up quite high. Replace the stalks on top of the stuffing to finish the stuffed mushrooms.
At this stage you can wrap up the dish and save the mushrooms to be cooked later – they will last for 2-3 days in the fridge. When you are ready to cook them, put them under the grill or on the barbecue, for around 20 minutes, until they begin to turn golden.
Serve up two stuffed mushrooms to each person with just a simple green salad, or one each as part of a bigger spread.
There are countless variations on stuffed mushrooms – try changing basil for parsley, or adding flaked almonds instead of pine nuts. A little hard Italian cheese grated over the top halfway through grilling, would also add a stronger flavour.