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Cooking with Caroline: Plant-Based Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms

One of the biggest fears I had about going plant-based was the social aspect. What would I eat at parties? Would people still want to come over to my house for dinner? A few months into eating plant-based, I came to realize my diet had very little effect on my social life. At parties, there is usually something I can munch on (even if I have to eat appetizers and side dishes all night) and hosts are very accommodating.

When I have guest over to my house for dinner I make sure to stay away from processed faux meats and let the natural flavors of fruits and veggies do all the work. People didn’t even realize that the food I serve them is plant-based until I tell them. That said, it’s always a good idea to have an easy potluck or appetizer recipe under your belt, whether you’re plant-based or not. I’ll pass my go-to along to you.

Serves: about 7-10 guests as an appetizer

Prep time: 15 minutes

Bake time: 35 minutes


The juice of 1 lemon (just over 2 tablespoons)

3 cups tightly packed fresh basil, washed

2 large tablespoons *nutritional yeast

3 tablespoons water

½ cup toasted pine nuts (use cashews as a substitute)

3 small garlic cloves, or 2 medium garlic cloves

¼ teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon sea salt (optional)

1 pinch sea salt (optional) and 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast for dusting (In a rush? Make life easy and buy a premade plant-based pesto…remember, no cheese.)

30-40 baby Portabella mushrooms

*Plant-based tip: Find nutritional yeast in the health food or bulk section of your grocery store. Store in a cool, dry, dark place. Nutritional yeast a great source of B vitamins and other important nutrients. It’s cheesy flavor makes it perfect for pasta recipes, and it works great as a garnish.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cut the dark ends off the mushroom stems
  3. Wash mushrooms by soaking them in water (this will also prevent the mushrooms from drying out in the oven when baking without oil)
  4. Remove stems with a small spoon or grapefruit spoon. You can also use your fingers by prying the stem away from the mushroom cap.
  5. Place mushrooms on a nonstick baking sheet (I use a rubber nonstick mat) and bake on 350 for 30 minutes, or until tender
  6. In a food processor, blender, or Magic Bullet combine remaining ingredients (everything but mushrooms) and blend until pine nuts are processed, but still a little chunky. If you over blend, no worries it will taste fine!
  7. Stuff cooked mushrooms with fresh pesto. Use about 1 teaspoon of pesto per mushroom (add a little more if you love garlic). You should have just about enough pesto remaining for 1-2 servings of pasta, so store in your refrigerator to be eaten soon, or freeze single portions in ice cube trays for later.
  8. Dust heavily with nutritional yeast, and enjoy!



What you should do now

  1. We have been where you are and we’ve helped thousands of people (just like you) transition to eating a plant based diet. If you are looking for a guide that can help you with some of the big questions, and dramatically reduce your stress, this FREE Ultimate Little Guide to Plant-Based Eating is a great place to start.
  2. If you’d like to learn about plant-based living go to our Heartbeet Journal where you can read hundreds of “How To” articles. If you’d like to learn about plant-based cooking go to our Recipes Section for easy step by step favorites.
  3. If you’d like to work for us—or see why our team members love working for us—then contact us at and tell us about yourself.
  4. If you enjoyed this article, then so will your friends, so why not share it on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Email

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