I recently hosted bookclub at my house and I have to admit I’m always excited about putting together the menu. My bookclub is the most fantastic group of gals that have been noshing, sipping and gabbing since 2009-that’s almost EIGHT years now! We do always discuss the book at some point during the night (if only to validate our name as a book club for our significant others) but first we dig into the spread provided by the hostess with the mostess. This time around while hosting, I wanted to create some food that could be appreciated by my vegan friend (hi Kata!) and that’s the beginning of these Vegan Mushroom Pesto Tartlets.
So the one thing I may love as much as food (besides my family of course) is books. Old fashioned hard cover books, paperbacks, books downloaded onto my Kindle Paperwhite. Podcasts about books. I read cookbooks like novels. I LOVE books. So an event that combines my two loves-books and food-is my happy place. (PS-if you want to talk books feel free to hit me up on any of our socials-I’m so happy to discuss!)
My friend Kata joined our bookclub the summer she moved into our neighborhood. We had done a particularly tough book that month that nobody ended up liking-and even fewer finished (we haven’t had many of these #bookfails over the years, but when we do it’s a doozy). Kata, not knowing the somewhat relaxed nature of our bookclub, finished the whole book. The poor gal actually ended up giving the rest of us the synopsis of the book! That is when we knew exactly how fabulous she was.
I knew Kata was a vegetarian but when I found out a few months later she was vegan I was surprised. No cheese. No cream. No eggs. Whaaaatttt? But then I started doing a little “research”. Turns out there is a whole bunch of vegan food that is so good it doesn’t NEED eggs or cream or cheese. Mind Blown.
These Vegan Mushroom Pesto Tartlets fit that category. Fresh and flavorful, light but still filling. They’re even good leftover!
This recipe was adapted from a recipe by Angela Liddon of Oh She Glows and if you have any interest in vegan cooking, this is a fabulous place to start! Here is a link to the original recipe from her blog post Mushroom Walnut Pesto Tart. She has all kinds of food that is perfect for those of us who think that vegan = starving. (Spoiler alert: cashews make an unbelievable “cream” and the best macaroni and cheese I’ve ever had didn’t contain cheese)
Don’t worry, as I’ve said before, I’m not giving up my bacon. Or my salmon. Or my chicken. Sheesh, I’m not going to deprive myself (nope, that would NOT be in my nature)…but I’m sure I could stand to eat a little less. Or maybe a lot less. And if it’s as good as the falafel I’ve recently made, and these appetizers, and a whole lot of seasonal vegetables, well…I could be convinced.
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- 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 16 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic
- ⅔ cup walnuts
- 1 cup fresh Italian parsely + more for garnish
- ¼ cup good quality olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 boxes of phyllo cups, 15 count each (I used Athens brand)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- In a large skillet heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.
- Place mushrooms in skillet and sauté until mushrooms are cooked down and have become dry and tender (about 20 minutes). Set aside.
- While mushrooms are cooking, add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil to a second skillet and heat over medium heat.
- Place sliced red onion into skillet and cook until soft and caramelized (about 20 minutes). Set aside.
- Place 1 cup of the cooked mushrooms, garlic, walnuts, parsley, salt and pepper into a food processor. Process until coarse.
- Stream oil into coarse mixture to form the pesto.
- Place phyllo cups on a baking sheet.
- Add ½ to 1 teaspoon of pesto to bottom of each phyllo cup.
- Place ½ teaspoon of mushroom mixture on top of pesto.
- Place sprinkle of caramelized onions over mushrooms.
- Bake phyllo cups for 10-12 minutes until edges begin to brown.
- Allow to cool slightly, garnish with chopped parsely and serve.
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