There’s something about this time of year that has us appetizer-obsessed.
Whenever there’s a free minute, we’re poring over magazines and websites looking for the perfect appetizer – something easy, but impressive. Something quick, but looks like you spent all afternoon in the kitchen, channeling your inner Barefoot Contessa. Something that’s not the same old spinach dip in a bread bowl.
Well, we’ve found it. This year, we’re shaking things up a little with our Mediterranean Stuffed Mushrooms. They’re the perfect balance between fancy and friendly, and they are going to be the hit of the party.
We’ve had a few stuffed mushrooms in our time, but these are our new favorites. The crispy parmesan on top is just a hint at the goodness inside. These mushrooms are stuffed with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, onion, garlic, balsamic, oregano, and you can bet your little black dress there’s oats in there.
You know how some stuffed mushrooms look great, but sometimes can get a bit soggy? It’s no wonder – mushrooms are 90% water! Just a half-cup of quick oats stirred into the stuffing keeps the mushroom juices from watering down the filling, preserving all of those bold Mediterranean flavors and preventing the mushrooms from getting too soggy. (Pro tip: keep this in mind whenever a recipe calls for bread crumbs to bind a wet mixture.)
Surprisingly, these stuffed mushrooms are not difficult to make, considering how elegant they look. It won’t take you much longer to make a batch of them than to stuff a bread bowl with spinach dip.
The filling comes together in a snap, so you can afford to take an extra couple minutes to remove the gills from your mushroom caps. Gills? Yeah, you know, the gills; those frilly brown bits on the inside of the mushroom cap. Get rid of those gills and make more room for the delicious stuffing!
When you are ready to stuff your beautiful mushroom caps, pile them high and don’t skimp on the parmesan cheese. And get ready for your calendar to fill up – these are definitely going to get you invited to more parties once the word starts getting around.
- 1 Tbsp olive oil (15 ml)
- 1/2 red onion small, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped
- 3 baby spinach big handfuls, chopped
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes oil-packed, finely chopped (60 ml)
- 1/4 cup pine nuts lightly toasted (60 ml)
- 1/2 tsp oregano dried (2.5 ml)
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (15 ml)
- 1/2 tsp salt (2.5 ml)
- pinch black pepper freshly ground
- 1/2 cup quick oats (125 ml)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated or shredded, (125 ml)
- 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley finely chopped (optional), (60ml)
- 16 crimini mushrooms med-large, or white mushrooms (1 - 2” in diameter)
- Prepare mushrooms by snapping off stems and removing gills with a teaspoon, being careful not to break mushroom. Roughly chop stems and reserve for filling.
- Place mushrooms on a baking sheet, cavity side up, covered with a damp paper towel until ready to use.
- In a large non-stick skillet, sauté onion until soft. Add garlic and continue to sauté for 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
- Add chopped mushroom stems and a pinch of salt. Cook until tender.
- Add spinach and sauté until wilted. Stir in tomatoes, pine nuts, oregano, balsamic vinegar and pepper (to taste.)
- Stir in oats, remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes before stuffing mushrooms.
- Stuff mushroom caps with 1 heaping tablespoon of the filling. Sprinkle each with parmesan cheese.
- Bake at 375° F (190° C) for approximately 12-15 minutes, or until cheese is golden and mushrooms are tender. Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with parsley.