Cream cheese stuffed mushrooms may sound like a very easy and cheap combination, and in fact this is a very “student friendly” meal to make. Hazelnut stuffed mushrooms are a slightly fancier twist to this easy classic. With just one more ingredient – the ground hazelnuts – your stuffed mushrooms will turn into a top-class appetizer. The winning element here is the cream cheese hazelnut combination, of course. And according to me, the size of the mushrooms.
I am a happy omnivore who enjoys all kinds of foods, but I am mindful about my meat consumption. Since neither my boyfriend nor I are raw veggies enthusiasts, I try to always come up with meatless dishes that are both nutritious and tasty. In fact, stuffed mushrooms was always one of those dishes that included meat in my family. I remember making them with minced meat when I started cooking for myself when I went to live on my own. But I was always disappointed. The meat filling would always shrink and I would end up with meatballs sitting over softened mushroom caps. Tasty and everything, but aesthetically disappointing.
Take away the meat and replace it with some cheese: problem solved.
Think finger food
When it comes to finger food, size does matter. The smaller the food, the prettier the outcome. In the case of these stuffed mushrooms the size also affects the taste. I have tried making this recipe with mushrooms of various sizes and the smallest ones tasted better. In a way, if the mushroom’s cap is too thick, its taste will overwhelm that of the filling. Smaller mushrooms have thinner caps that suit this recipe better. Plus, they fit in your mouth as single morsels, proving excellent finger food material. You can of course use larger and thicker mushrooms, but for best results I recommend finding the smallest ones available. Please notice that large mushrooms may require longer baking time.
So pick the smallest mushrooms you can find, trust me on this. And read on for a very easy and quick recipe.
Stuffed mushrooms recipe
- 250 g cultivated mushrooms
- 100 g cream cheese
- 1 shallot
- 25 g butter
- 4 tsp ground hazelnuts
- 1/2 tsp dried winter savory
- 1/4 tsp salt
- sprinkle of fresh pepper
Rinse and dry the mushrooms, these devils always have some dirt on them. Separate the stems from the caps. Mince the stems and set aside. Line an oven tray with a sheet of baking paper and place the caps, facing upwards, on it. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat, mince the shallot and sauté it until soft. Add the minced mushroom stems, the salt, pepper and winter savory. This herb is dear to me, if unavailable sub it with dried thyme. Stir for a minute, then add the ground hazelnuts. Keep stirring the mixture until the mushroom stems look cooked and any excess water has evaporated.
Pour the cream cheese in a bowl and add the mushroom stem mixture. Stir to combine and fill every mushroom cap with this cream cheese filling. Bake in the preheated oven at 200°C for 20 minutes. Remember that if your mushrooms are large, baking time might need adjusting.
Mushrooms stuffed with cream cheese are easy to handle. You can make them on the spot and enjoy them fresh (or rather piping hot) out of the oven, or make them in advance and eat them cold. As appetizers/finger food I prefer them cold. Hot they’re kind of impossible to handle without a fork, obviously, thus not cutting it as finger food. To my taste, the hazelnut flavour is less impressive when they’re warm. If it’s the nutty tones you want to highlight, serve these stuffed mushrooms at room temperature.
Cream cheese mushrooms can be stored for a couple of days in the fridge. They’re so delicious, though, it’s highly unlikely there will be any leftovers to store at all. The first time I made them I paired them up with my leek mascarpone focaccia, also served at room temperature and cut into tiny bites. Two bite-sized plant-based alternatives for a party snack that potentially requires no cutlery at all!
It’s really easy to reduce our meat consumption when you get such yummy vegetarian alternatives!