Stuffed Mushrooms are the quintessential appetizer for just about any occasion and for health-conscious people, it’s a quick, ‘pop in your mouth’ snack or even a great side dish! I made a few of these Callaloo and Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms for a post lunch snack and had some left over to go with dinner. They were so delicious that we ate them all in one day!
If you’re from the Caribbean, you know Callaloo. It’s a green leafy vegetable that is often seen as similar to spinach or collard greens. It has a beautiful earthy flavour and is very soft and delicate when you harvest it before it gets too old. Most Jamaicans chop callaloo finely, stalks and all and cook ’em with onions, tomatoes and garlic etc. It’s very popular and scores a solid 7 on the taste score board but I much rather using the callaloo leaves and stalks separately to make all sorts of things like flat breads, smoothies, pasta or cooked in dishes like these here stuffed mushrooms. I don’t limit this tasty vegetable and it sucks that it’s so under-utilized in Jamaica but here’s one way to use it that’s different from the traditional ‘steamed’ callaloo.
I harvested my callaloo leaves from the garden literally minutes before I cooked them up! Nothing beats gathering your food from your garden and cooking it… that level of self-sufficiency is so rewarding and yes, nourishing my body with organic, healthy greens is a major plus!
If you aren’t able to get callaloo where you live, feel free to use spinach or collard greens or just about any leafy green vege. As for the quinoa, if you got it, use it but you can definitely substitute with brown rice or wild rice or some other grain. You really should never feel obligated to get just the same ingredients I use, it’s most important to use the fresh ingredients that you can get your hands on.
So along with the callaloo and quinoa, these little mushroom ‘poppers’ came together quickly in a hot pan with some raisins, almonds, the mushroom stems that I snapped off the caps, Parmesan cheese (non-dairy peeps can use vegan Parm cheese) and fresh mint leaves.
I used some coconut milk to moisten the whole thing and sorta thicken it up so the mixture holds its shape when you stack it inside and on top of the mushroom caps. Organic and homemade coconut milk is the way I like to go; it takes time but it’s all worth it. We always keep a few coconuts in the kitchen for milk making.
My favourite ingredient in these little guys is the fresh mint; it’s such a pronounced flavour that creates an unreal harmony with the sweet raisins. I love mint so much that I’m growing a bunch of different mint plants all over the garden and these things spread like weeds which I’m all for.
#1 rule when cooking with mushrooms is never wash them. Always clean them with a damp, clean towel to remove the soil or dirt. If you make the mistake of washing them, you’ll end up with wet sponges full of water! Not very appealing. So after you clean them up, season them with salt, pepper and some olive oil and get them stuffed.
Lay them out on a parchment lined sheet pan and bake ’em at 350°F for just 10 minutes; they’re ready in no time.
The filling is injected with different flavours, its just punch after punch after punch and then that bright, herby mint steps in and just mellows out the taste, making everything sit nicely on your palate. The mushrooms are a burst of juices on their own and when you first bite into them you’re getting a great intro to all the flavours you have to look forward to.
These Callaloo and Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms are so good I could sit back and pop them in my mouth, eating them by the dozen. You gotta try this one!
Click here to get the recipe.
I hope you shine today!