Today is World Tapas Day! Tapas are small, beautifully arranged foods originating in Spain that are typically served with drinks at a bar. These snacks, or canapés, come in several different forms and even vary from town to town in Spain. There are a few different tapa origin stories, but my favorite involves King Alfonso X (El Sabio or “The Wise One”) who found himself in a tavern where he ordered a glass of sherry. The sherry was served covered with a slice of ham (or was that tofu…?) to keep sand from blowing into the drink. The king enjoyed receiving a bit of food with his drink and requested a second glass to be served topped with another slice. And so tapas were born.
I don’t have much experience with this beloved “mini cuisine,” but I do enjoy making cute little appetizers, so I came up with this rather simple recipe for “Ricotta” Stuffed Cremini Mushroom Tapas. These whimsical treats look a little bit like cupcakes–but I promise they’re savory! The roasted mushrooms and sautéed squash and blueberries melt in your mouth while a touch of lemon and fresh thyme brighten every bite.
I would serve these mushroom tapas with a light and dry white wine–perhaps a muscadet–if there were any in the house. But I don’t recommend trying to use these tapas as glass toppers!
Vegan “Ricotta” Stuffed Cremini Mushroom
- 12 cremini mushrooms
- 12 yellow summer quash, sliced into 12 rounds
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 cup raw cashews (preferably soaked for 2 hours)
- juice of one lemon
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon, divided coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/2 cup blueberries
1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place a baking sheet in the oven.
2. Prepare the mushrooms. Clean with a damp paper towel and de-stem. Place into a large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon coconut oil until thoroughly coated. Toss with a pinch of salt. Place the mushrooms on the baking sheet, stem-side down, around the edges of the baking sheet. Roast for 10-15 minutes or until they’re brown on the bottom.
3. Prepare the vegan ricotta: In a high-speed blender or food processor, combine cashews, lemon juice, garlic, nutritional yeast, and a pinch of salt. Process until mostly smooth–a few chunks here and there are ideal.
4. Steam the rounds of summer squash until they’re easily pierced with a fork. Remove from heat. Alternatively, you can sauté them in a bit of oil–whichever way you prefer summer squash.
5. In a small saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon coconut oil over medium-low heat. Sauté blueberries for 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat.
6. For assembly: Place the mushrooms on plates, topside down. Fill with vegan ricotta mixture. Place a squash round on top of stuffed mushroom. Add a small dollop of ricotta to the squash round. Stick a blueberry or two onto this dollop. Garnish with lemon zest and fresh thyme. Enjoy!
Related: Easy Jalepño Poppers
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Photos: Mary Hood Luttrell