Our friend The Big Boss from work, a man who could, and did, eat two dozen prawns, half a dozen drumsticks, and an additional two pounds of roasted meat at one sitting, has gone practically vegan. I created these mushroom caps stuffed with red pepper and quinoa for him, a winner of an umami-laden dish that feels hearty and satisfying without any of those pesky high carbs, gluten, or dairy products. My only warning is they take a bit of time. You can make the stuffing in advance; it will keep for several days refrigerated.
- 36 medium-sized mushrooms, washed with stems removed
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 cup water
- 1 red pepper
- generous splash full-bodied red wine (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast plus extra to sprinkle on top
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
- spray olive oil
First, get your quinoa cooking. (Follow these directions from The Kitchn if you’re worried about doing it wrong) Whatever you do, don’t overcook it; there’s nothing worse than soggy quinoa. Ok, there are lots of worse things – I’m thinking about the brussels sprouts creme brûlée from LL’s ill-fated 50th birthday party – but for the purposes of this recipe, you want your grain more al dente than mushy. Let cool.
Then roast your red pepper. I cut it in half, take out the seeds and membrane, and put it right on top of the gas burner on my cooktop just like I roast poblano peppers. Let the pepper cool, then scrape off any black charred spots.
Now simmer your wine burn off the alcohol, or at least most of the harshness. I pour the wine into a saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Let cool.
Roughly chop your red pepper and mushroom stems, then put chopped vegetables in a blender with red wine and pulse until you’ve made a medium paste. Add additional water as needed.
Wheew. Almost done with the prep.
Now get out a mixing bowl and combine combine quinoa, vegetable paste, nutritional yeast, and lemon pepper. Mix well.
Prepare to bake your mushroom caps by preheating the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spray a casserole or baking dish generously with olive oil.
Gently stuff quinoa and pepper mixture inside the mushroom caps and place in the baking dish.
Sprinkle tops with additional nutritional yeast.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until heated through.