Everyone loves sinking their teeth into firm, saucy bite-sized delicacies. While there are certainly meat substitutes that come eerily close to resembling an authentic “hot wing,” I’ve come to fancy mock-ups of the whole vegetable variety—mushrooms to be exact.
These especially saucy ’shrooms were born out of a post-run moment of desperation that went something like, “I need a quick, filling bite to eat, but I’m not sure what I have on hand and I’m definitely craving something nutty and spicy.” To my pleasant surprise, the mushrooms, peanut butter, marinara sauce and Sriracha I scrounged for, came together gracefully to inspire what has become a spicy, saucy staple. With a 15 minute combined prep and cook time, you can’t go wrong with this quick fix. And while this dish makes a hearty bite for one, it is also one that can easily be split between two.
Warning: If you happen to be making these for a date night, you will definitely want to use forks and have ample napkins present. Otherwise the sauciness will get entirely out of hand, all too quickly.
- 8 ounces of whole crimini (baby bella) mushrooms
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 generously large spoonfuls of peanut butter
- 4 Tbsp. water
- 2 Tbsp. Bragg Liquid Aminos*
- 1 Tbsp. Sriracha
- 1/4 cup marinara sauce
*Love soy sauce but don’t like that your hands swell up like balloons after you drown your sushi in it? Allow me to introduce you to Bragg Liquid Aminos. Equally (if not more) delicious and containing less sodium than your standard soy sauce, a bottle of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos is a worthwhile item to keep on hand. Packed with 16 amino acids, a moderately-sized bottle of this Non-GMO liquid protein concentrate will take you a long way.
Although less exotic than other varieties, like their mushroom relatives, criminis offer immune-boosting power and cardiovascular support. They naturally carry anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidants, and B-vitamins. If you are someone who typically turns your nose up at the sight of these fungi, and aren’t a fan of the texture in raw form, once the ’shrooms are cooked to a juicy, tender state and dressed in the sauce, you just might be ready to think again.
Rinse mushrooms thoroughly, gently using your hands to eliminate any visible signs of dirt. Once washed, place in a pan on the stovetop, using an optional touch of select oil to avoid sticking. Add 1/4 cup water to the pan, cover the mushrooms loosely with a lid, and cook on medium – high heat for 10 minutes, or until tender.
While keeping an eye on your ’shrooms and stirring as needed, it’s time to whip up your sauce! In a medium-sized bowl, mix the peanut butter and water, adding in one tablespoon of water at a time, until you’ve arrived at a thick paste. Mix in the Bragg Liquid Aminos, followed by the Sriracha, including more or less depending on how spicy you like it. Then, add the marinara sauce. If you just so happen to have homemade marina on hand, bonus points. If not, a simple jarred variety will do the trick. Look for one with a few key ingredients (tomato, onions, and possibly garlic), with very little to no added sugar.
When the mushrooms are cooked and ready, drain out any residual water that’s left in the pan, and turn the heat down to low – medium. Stir in your sauce, and turn the burner all the way to the off position. Note: The sauce will thicken the longer you allow it to sit in the pan, meaning if you prefer a thinner sauce, scoop your ’shrooms out of the pan pronto and serve. If you crave a thicker finish, be patient and allow your ’shrooms to sit in the sauce for approximately five minutes. Serve your saucy ’shrooms atop a bed of choice greens with optional raw veggies, such as carrots, for munching.
TOP IT OFF
For added nutrients, and a slightly cheesy taste, dust the ’shrooms with a few shakes of nutritional yeast, or “nooch.” If you are not yet familiar with this parmesan-like necessity, “Pass the Nooch” is a tribute piece I wrote, dedicated to the versatility of nutritional yeast. After reading, perhaps you will understand why I have a hard time putting it down. You can rest assured the high and mighty “nooch” will be making its way into many VOTR recipes. Still, the topping off doesn’t have to stop with the “nooch.” For an extra nutty finish, dress up your ’shrooms with a handful of roasted peanuts. And remember, you can never have too much Sriracha.