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.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Cut the dark ends off the mushroom stems
- Wash mushrooms by soaking them in water (this will also prevent the mushrooms from drying out in the oven when baking without oil)
- Remove stems with a small spoon or grapefruit spoon. You can also use your fingers by prying the stem away from the mushroom cap.
- Place mushrooms on a nonstick baking sheet (I use a rubber nonstick mat) and bake on 350 for 30 minutes, or until tender
- 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!
- 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.
- Dust heavily with nutritional yeast, and enjoy!