These vegan couscous stuffed mushrooms are the ideal meat-free Monday dinner in winter time – with sweet raisins, crunchy pine-nuts and hearty portobello mushrooms, these are a real crowd-pleaser (yes, even for your mushroom-curious friends!).
The other night, my husband and I were up late trying to create a new recipe when he said, “What about mushrooms, stuffed with a type of couscous?”. Now, this sentence out of anyone else’s mouth wouldn’t be too surprising, but my husband happens to hate mushrooms.
Naturally, I thought I had been serving him the wrong “kind” of mushrooms all these years so I jumped at the chance to make a mushroom dish he would like! This meal was one of those rare moments when I completely ‘ad-libbed’ a recipe and it turned out perfectly, and with the cold weather now upon us it’s the perfect time to share this comforting winter dish with all of you!
Why You’ll Love These Couscous Stuffed Mushrooms
It can be hard to find meatless meals in the winter time that still feel hearty and comforting, but the rich, firm texture of portobello mushrooms is the perfect star ingredient. Not only that, but the whole dish comes together in 45 minutes including cook time, so this is the perfect weeknight recipe when you want some big flavors but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen.
Whether you are a vegetarian, or just looking for a meat alternative recipe, these healthy Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms provide a great source of plant based protein and are packed with delicious ingredients.
Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms work well as an appetizer, or as a tasty side dish and leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for several days.
Couscous Stuffed Mushrooms Ingredients
- Pearl couscous: Also known as Israeli couscous, these chewy little balls are made with semolina flour and water, and even though they look like a grain, they are actually small, perfectly round spheres of pasta!
- Portobello mushrooms: Portobello mushrooms are wide and flat, with a large surface area perfect for stuffing! The texture of these mushrooms are often described as ‘meaty’ because of the satisfying chew that they add to dishes.
- Red and yellow onion: The mild yellow onion helps to flavor the couscous while cooking, whereas the sweet red onion adds a last-minute pop of freshness and bite to the stuffing mixture.
- Vegetable broth: When it comes to vegetable broth, you can use stock or broth interchangeably, and the one main difference is that generally stock will be salt-free whereas broth may have added salt.
- Golden raisins & regular raisins: Golden raisins, also known as sultanas, are generally smaller, sweeter and a bit plumper than regular raisins. The combination of the two adds some really interesting variety in texture and flavor to the couscous stuffing mix.
- Toasted Pine Nuts: Pine nuts, often used to make pesto, are the edible seeds of the pine tree! You can buy toasted pine nuts, or toast them quickly yourself by heating them in a dry pan on medium heat until fragrant.
- Cinnamon: You may think of cinnamon as being just a spice for sweet dishes, but used in savory dishes this spice can add an earthy layer of complexity that will have your guests asking for your ‘secret ingredient’!
- Parsley: Even with hearty, comforting winter dishes, I always find that a fresh burst of herbs can really bring the dish to life and highlight all of the other flavors. Parsley has a nice chew and a mild flavor, so it won’t overpower the sweet, delicious couscous mixture.
(Scroll down to the bottom for the printable recipe card with exact measurements and instructions.)
How to Make Couscous Stuffed Mushrooms
- Sauté: Sauté onions until they are softened and just beginning to turn golden. Then add the uncooked couscous into your pan, and stir the couscous around in the fragrant onion.
- Simmer: Add vegetable broth, bring to a boil and simmer. Simmer the couscous until all of the water has been absorbed, and then add in the cinnamon, raisins, onion, salt and pepper, half of the pine nuts (reserve the other half for later) and parsley.
- Put it All Together: In a casserole dish, add in your remaining vegetable broth to coat the bottom of the dish. Take each portobello mushroom, flip them upside down, remove the stem and stuff them with the couscous mixture.
- Bake: Gently lay the mushrooms down in the pan and bake. Once they’ve finished baking, finish them with a sprinkle of parsley, the remaining pine nuts and serve immediately!
Variations and Substitutions
- Gluten-free: To make these couscous stuffed mushrooms gluten free, you could replace the couscous with quinoa, sorghum or brown rice for a similar chewy texture and nutty flavor. Simply alter the ratio of grain to vegetable broth to be appropriate for the grain of your choice, and you may need to alter the cooking time to allow the grain to absorb all of the broth.
- Keto/low-carb: A fantastic low-carb variation for this recipe is to use cauliflower rice instead of couscous. You won’t need to cook the cauliflower rice in any broth, just sauté it with the onions over medium heat until softened and fragrant. Make sure you season your cauliflower rice well with salt and pepper, to make up for the seasoning lost from the vegetable broth.
- Nut-free: While pine nuts are technically an edible seed, they are considered part of the tree nut family so should be avoided by those with a nut allergy. A great alternative is to use pumpkin seeds, which lend a similar crunch and texture to the dish, and you can toast these in a pan just like you would with pine nuts!
Let me know if you try this recipe or any of the variations – with such a quick, versatile and flavor-filled meal I know this will become part of our regular rotation!
- 1 cup uncooked pearl couscous
- 5 portobello mushrooms
- ½ red onion diced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. salt
- A few cracks of pepper
- 1-2 TBS olive oil
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- ½ cup golden raisins (these are difficult to find, but if you live by a Whole Foods, they are in the Dried Fruit and Nut section!)
- ½ cup regular raisins
- ¾ cup toasted pine nuts
- 1 bunch parsley
- In a medium-sized pan, add 1-2 Tbs olive oil and allow to heat. Add the diced yellow onion. Sauté until onion is beginning to turn golden brown, then add uncooked couscous. Allow to cook for about 2 minutes over a medium-high heat, or until the couscous is slightly toasted. Add two cups of vegetable broth and bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the couscous is tender. Add the cinnamon, raisins, red onion, salt, pepper, ½ cup of pine nuts (reserving the rest for later) and parsley.
- Pre-heat the oven to 300. In a casserole dish, add the remaining vegetable broth. Take each portobello mushroom, remove the stem, then stuff with the couscous mixture. Add mushrooms to the pan then bake for 15 minutes. Once done, top with remaining pine nuts and serve immediately!
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