I first made these Baked Mushrooms with Avocado, Spinach and Walnut Pesto when I was recipe testing for catering to different dietary requirements. A couple of people I know have had to completely change their diet due to health reasons and must carefully watch exactly what they eat. But there seems to be a growing divide when it comes to what we eat. Those who follow a clean and raw diet are seen to be judgemental and missing out on all the pleasure in life. Not true. Those who are able to eat sugar, butter, meat, pastry can sometimes be misjudged with others thinking this is only what they eat or that these ingrdients are somehow evil. Also not true. Now, I love cheese, pastry, bread, burgers, pizza, wine, more wine, gin, butter, slow cooked ribs, pork belly…. the list can go on. And right now some of you will be reading this with an image in your heads of me as some kind of junk food addict (or that this whole blog is a fake!). But I am the complete opposite. While I enjoy the odd after work pizza date night with the husband, a nice bottle of wine at the weekend with dinner, the first to tuck into a cheese board at a dinner party or I find it hard to order anything but the slow cooked ribs at our local gastropub Salt n Bone, I do like to find a balance. In this sense, I guess I am lucky that I have the choice but there are so many people out there who do only eat take aways, microwave meals, bags of crisps. I couldn’t live by a completely raw diet (just read my list of guilty pleasures above!), but there is so much sneering towards it that it is just wrong. Some people have no choice but to avoid certain foods and for some it is simply a lifestyle change in order to eat well and be healthy.
It was when I was recipe testing these Baked Mushrooms with Avocado, Spinach and Walnut Pesto that I noticed such a divide. When I was telling a few people my latest list of recipes and this one came up, I was asked if I am trying to become the new Deliciously Ella or that this dish sounded a bit bland when in fact it is packed full of flavour and tastes delicious. The avocado makes the pesto creamy and the walnuts work so well with the earthy taste from the mushrooms. The pesto is also great with pasta or as a topping/ dressing for a salad. It would be great if we could eat all the cheese and pizza that we want and wash it down with plenty of wine but we can’t. We need to find a balance and quite often that balance opens up a whole new world of flavours and positive eating.
Portobello mushrooms work best for this recipe but these can be hard to find in Berlin, so I use any medium/ large size mushrooms where you can scoop out the middle and they still hold their shape. Small button mushrooms also work well, just make sure to serve up a few extra!
- 8 medium/ large mushrooms.
- 1 avocado (cut in half, stoned removed, peeled and roughly chopped)
- 70g walnuts
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 handfuls of fresh spinach
- Black pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.
- Remove the middle of each mushroom.
- Place the mushrooms on a baking try and then pop in the oven for around 15 mins.
- In the meantime add the avocado, lemon juice, walnuts, and spinach to a food processor. Add a dash of water (about 1 tbpsn size) and blitz until smooth.
- Take the mushrooms out of the oven and spoon the pesto mix into each mushroom. Pop back in the oven for another 5 mins.
- Once out of the oven, plate up and serve with some fresh rocket on the side.