These stuffed baby bella mushrooms are filled with Italian sausage, Kalamata olives and pesto for a savory two-bite gluten-free appetizer with a pop of acid. This recipe is easily made dairy-free and vegan.
Mushrooms – Baby bella mushrooms (aka crimini or baby portobellos) are my favorite mushrooms for this recipe. They are a good size for a 2-bite appetizer and have better flavor than white button mushrooms. They range in size from 1-3 inches. For a one or two bite serving use approximately 2″ mushrooms.
Cleaning the mushrooms is an important step for this recipe. Mushrooms are like little sponges. Rinse or immerse them in water and they become soggy. It is best if the mushrooms stay somewhat firm. So the best way to clean portobellos, criminis or white button mushrooms is with a very lightly dampened paper towel. Gently rub off the dirt and debris.
Italian sausage makes for an excellent base for stuffed mushrooms. It has seasoning built-in and adds a wonderful savory flavor. You’ll need uncooked sausage either in bulk or in sausage form. Sausage is almost always gluten-free, but it’s best to check the ingredients. If using sausages, be sure to remove it from the casing.
A plant based sausage can make these mushrooms vegan. Impossible Foods makes a spicy or savory sausage (certified gluten-free) that works very well in the recipe. The flavor profile of both the savory and the spicy both fit right in with all the other ingredients.
Kalamata olives and lemon juice add just the right acidy balance to the fat and salt in the sausage.
Gluten-free bread crumbs help to bind the filling, hold on to the moisture and create a creamy texture. Either regular or panko style bread crumbs will work. Kinnikinnick makes gluten-free panko style bread crumbs that are perfect for this recipe.
Basil pesto is an easy way to add more fresh Italian flavor to the filling. Make it from scratch with the recipe below, or use a store-bought one. My favorite store-bought is American Basil’s Dairy-Free Pesto Perfectto. Trader Joe’s also carries a vegan pesto. Here’s a super easy dairy-free pesto recipe:
- Grind 2 Tbsp chopped walnuts or pine nuts with 1 small garlic clove in the food processor or blender,
- Add 2 packed Tbsp finely grated vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast and blend.
- Add 1 tightly packed cup of fresh basil leaves, 1/3 c extra virgin olive oil & 2 pinches salt
- Blend to a paste. Taste and add more salt if needed.
Fresh parsley adds a much need fresh pop of green. These stuffed mushrooms are cute, but not very beautiful to be perfectly honest. So some finely shaved parsley does the trick to make them more presentable. Fresh diced tomato is another option for adding some color and a sweet slightly acidic flavor
- Top with fresh chopped tomato as a garnish
- Add 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast to the sausage mixture
- Mix 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese with the bread crumb topping
- Use sun dried tomatoes (in oil) in place of half of the Kalamata olives
Gluten-Free Sausage Stuffed Baby Bella Mushrooms
- ¾ lb (12 oz) baby bella mushrooms (aka crimini), about 24 2" mushrooms
- ¼ of a medium sized yellow or sweet onion
- 2 tsp olive oil plus extra to drizzle on top.
- ¼ lb uncooked Italian sausage, Impossible vegan sausage is a good sub
- ¼ c finely chopped Kalamata olives, (about 15 whole olives)
- ⅓ c water
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ c plus 2 Tbsp gluten-free bread crumbs
- ¼ c chopped parsley
- Use a lightly dampened paper towel to clean the mushrooms. (Rinsing will make them soggy).
- Remove and chop enough of the stems to make ¼ cup. Discard the rest.
- Mince (finely chop) the onion. It should be about ¼ cup.
- Get all of the ingredients ready and at the stove-top. The process goes quickly and it helps to have everything at your fingertips.
- Heat a medium-large sized skillet over medium high heat for a minute. Add a light coating of olive oil and heat for another 30 seconds.
- Add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the chopped mushroom stems and sauté another minute. Push the mushroom and onion to the outside of the pan.
- Add a little more oil and swirl to coat.
- Add the sausage and brown it, breaking it into small pieces.
- When the sausage is almost cooked through you may want to drain some of the fat if a lot has released. If there is more than a very light coating on the bottom of the pan, drain some of it out.
- Pull the onion and mushroom into the mix and stir in the chopped olives.
- Sprinkle ¼ c of the bread crumbs on top.
- Add the lemon juice and water and cook, stirring constantly. If anything is stuck to the pan, scrape it off and stir it in.
- Cook until the bread crumbs have absorbed the liquid and the mixture becomes almost creamy and pulls together. If it seems too firm or dry, stir in another tablespoon or two of water.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- Drizzle a large sheet pan with olive oil (line with parchment for easier clean up) and spread the oil to coat.
- Stuff the mushrooms with the sausage mixture and place on the pan.
- Sprinkle the remaining 2 Tbsp bread crumbs on top of the stuffed mushrooms. Then drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the oven to broil (keeping the pan on a center rack). Broil for 5-10 minutes or until the bread crumbs brown. Keep a close eye on them.
- Remove from the oven and top with chopped parsley. See above for more serving options.
- These will stay fresh in the fridge for about 5 days or in the freezer for 3 months. Reheat in the oven or toaster oven.