Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Quinoa and Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

When I was younger, I hated mushrooms. Hate might not be a strong enough word. I absolutely loathed them and flat-out refused to try a single bite of anything that included them. I remember sitting at my grandparents’ kitchen table for hours, because they wouldn't let me get up until I had at least tried them. It was a pretty epic standoff but eventually, they gave up and let me go to bed, mushrooms untouched.

Then one day when I was in my 20's I got a random craving...for stuffed mushrooms. After a mini panic attack (no, I wasn't pregnant) I decided to give them a go. And I liked them! Weird, right? Anyway, I've been eating mushrooms ever since. I enjoy them in everything from farro risotto to bison burgers. Stuffed mushrooms are one of my favorite appetizers.

When I heard that Bilinski's newest chicken sausage included kale and balsamic vinegar, I knew they’d be perfect in stuffed mushrooms (I love mushrooms and balsamic together.) These little bites are perfect as an appetizer or as an afternoon snack. In addition to the sausage, they’re filled with quinoa for texture and bulk, chopped kale for color, cream cheese, and mozzarella. They also have a generous pinch of crushed red pepper - just enough to add a little heat, but not enough to make them “spicy.”

Quinoa and Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
by Lauren

30 ounces crimini mushrooms (about 40), stems removed
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup water
2 Bilinski's Kale Balsamic Chicken Sausages, finely chopped
1 kale leaf, finely chopped
1/4 cup cream cheese
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
1 generous pinch crushed red pepper flakes

Heat oven to 350°F. Arrange the mushrooms on a baking sheet, stem-side up.

Combine the quinoa and water in a small pot. Bring to a boil; cook 10-15 minutes or until the water has absorbed. Remove from heat and mix in the sausage, kale, and cream cheese. Let cool slightly. Stir in the mozzarella and red pepper flakes.

Stuff about 1 heaping teaspoon of filling into each mushroom.

Bake 20 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and begins to brown.

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