A healthy, plant-based/vegan stuffed mushroom appetizer with tasty Parmesan cheese and Italian sausage flavors.
Why I love this vegan stuffed mushroom appetizer
I’ve always been a stuffed mushroom fan. But the traditional non-vegan versions are usually loaded with cheese, and sometimes, sausage.
Here, we keep the yummy, umami cheese and fennel-y sausage flavors, but ditch the meat and dairy.
In fact, we toss in some healthy ingredients like mushrooms (obvs!), diced veggies and protein-packed quinoa. Because party food doesn’t have to mean straying from your healthy diet.
Check out these other healthy, plant-based appetizers, including my Spinach & Cheese Pizza Rolls, Mini Taco Cups, Baked Sweet Potato Fries, Oil Free Baba Ganoush, and Tomato Chia Jam; along with some from my favorite vegan bloggers.
This is definitely one of those crowd pleasing plant-based recipes you’re gonna want to share with your omnivore friends.
How to make this recipe
Like many of my plant-based recipes, this one’s got a few steps, but all of them are easy-peasy (see recipe card at bottom of page for full instructions):
- Get some quinoa cooking and make a batch of vegan Parmesan cheese.
- Clean and stem those mushrooms.
- Chop the filling veggies in a food processor, then saute them in a large saute pan.
- Add the spices, tomato paste & vegan Worcestershire sauce to the pan. Then toss in the quinoa. Turn off the heat and toss in vegan Parmesan and parsley.
- Fill the mushroom caps and bake them.
- Top with more vegan Parm and chopped parsley, and serve.
Like I said, this vegan stuffed mushroom recipe is pretty simple, BUT there are a few tips that will help you make it like a pro:
To clean the mushrooms, DON'T use water. They can get waterlogged and soggy, which can effect cooking time and the final result.
To stem the mushrooms, use a teaspoon and twirl it around the stem to loosen it from the cap, then use the spoon to carefully dig out any leftover stem. Grasp firmly but gently so you don't break the cap.
Quinoa. I prefer tri-colored or red in recipes where I want a dark/'meatier' look or when combined with tomato/tomato paste (as it is here), which can turn white quinoa pink.
This recipe should make about 24 stuffed mushrooms. However, depending on the size of your mushrooms, you may get a few more or less. If you have more than 24 caps and enough filling, go ahead and bake them. Just watch the cooking time as small mushrooms will cook faster.
Quinoa/Parmesan ratio. This recipe is delicious and healthy as written. But if you're a big fan of vegan Parmesan, you can double it and cut the quinoa in half. (1 cup vegan Parmesan + ½ cup cooked quinoa.)
Make ahead tips. Store the mushroom caps and prepared filling in separate containers until ready to cook, then assemble just before cooking. (This helps preserve the texture and flavor.)
You’ll love this appetizer whether it’s game day, a pot luck or no special occasion at all, since these stuffed mushrooms are healthy enough to eat any time.
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Vegan Italian Stuffed Mushrooms
- 24 medium bella mushrooms about 20 ounces (cleaned with a dry cloth, stems removed. See notes. RESERVE 1 heaping cup of stems for the filling)
Filling (makes about 2 ⅓ cups)
- 1 stalk celery
- ½ yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 heaping cup reserved mushroom stems
- 1 T whole fennel seed
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
- 1 t vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 2 T tomato paste
- 1 cup cooked quinoa (I used tri-colored quinoa)
- ½ cup vegan parmesan plus more for serving, if desired. Sub seeds like pepita or sunflower if you have a nut allergy. See notes.
- ½ cup parsley leaves finely chopped
- If you don't have cooked quinoa and vegan Parmesan prepared, do this first. (See notes.)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
To Make the Filling
- Place the onion, garlic, celery and reserved mushroom stems in a food processor, and process into a fine dice.
- In a large saute pan, over medium heat, saute the processed onion, garlic, celery and mushroom steps with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes, or until soft. Add a little water if things begin to stick.
- Add the spices (fennel seed, Italian seasonings, smoked paprika and crushed red pepper flakes), tomato paste and Worcsetershire sauce to the pan, and stir to combine. Cook for another minute or so until heated through and fragrant. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water if the filling seems dry. (It should be slightly moist.)
- Add the cooked quinoa and stir thoroughly to combine and heat through, about 1-2 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Add the vegan Parmesan and chopped parsley, and stir to combine.
To Assemble the Stuffed Mushrooms
- Use a teaspoon to carefully stuff each mushroom cap with the filling mixture until heaping full. Place each stuffed cap on the baking sheets as you go, being sure to spread them out evenly.
- When each baking sheet has 12 stuffed mushrooms (24 total-see notes), place them in the center rack of the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the mushrooms are fully cooked and tender.
- When cooked, remove from the oven. (I like to let them rest a couple of minutes before serving; I think it improves the flavor/moistness.)
- Recommended: top with more vegan Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley for serving.
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