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Raw Vegan Thanksgiving: Walnut And Spinach Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms

Posted Nov 23 2012 5:44pm
Written by Deborah on November 23, 2012 – -

by Joanna Steven

The next entry in A Complete Raw Vegan Thanksgiving Series by Joanne L. Mumola Williams is   another appetizer – Walnut and Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms.  Spinach makes a great pesto and is a lot easier to find in the winter months than basil, which is most commonly used in pesto.

Pumpkins are plentiful this time of year, and there is nothing more festive than Raw Pumpkin Soup.

For the main entree we have Raw Vegan Lettuce Cups with Cranberry Relish. With all of the other side dishes, you only need to plan for one lettuce cup per person

Are you planning a raw vegan or vegetarian feast for the holidays? Be sure to join the Raw Mom Club to swap tried and true recipes with other raw moms!

This recipe combines heart healthy raw walnuts with nutrient-rich baby spinach. Spinach is rich in vitamins A, C, B6, folate, calcium, iron, potassium and manganese. These make very nice appetizers and would be a great dish to serve to guests or bring to a potluck, but you’ll probably have to double it. Served with a raw soup, it makes a nice dinner item.

  • 8 small or 5 medium white button mushrooms
  • 1 packed cup organic baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 full tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • Nama Shoyu soy sauce
  • Carefully remove the stems from the mushrooms and, with a small spoon (a demitasse spoon works well), remove some of the inside so there is room for the filling. Clean the mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Save half of the stems for the filling. Toss the mushroom caps in a little Nama Shoyu and let them marinate for 20 minutes.

    Place the spinach, walnuts, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt, half the mushroom stems and the nutritional yeast in a food processor and process until smooth but do not over process.

    Fill the mushrooms caps and serve. If you want these warm you can place them on a Teflex sheet and dehydrate at 115 degrees for one hour and serve immediately.

    Per mushroom (when making 8 small mushrooms): 36.4 calories, 2.7 g fat, .3 g saturated fat, 0 g cholesterol, 1.4 g protein, 1.7 g carbohydrates and 1 g of fiber.

    This thick and creamy soup provides 150% of your daily requirement of vitamin A – a key vitamin important for vision, growth and development, healthy skin and immune function. It’s also high in vitamin C. Feel free to replace the pumpkin with butternut or other winter squash. [serves 4]

  • 3 cups raw pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen (and thawed) yellow corn
  • 3/4 cups diced red bell pepper
  • 2-1/2 cups fresh apple juice
  • 2 -/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 cup mashed avocado
  • 2 teaspoons raw pumpkin seeds for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped, for garnish
  • In a high speed blender, combine pumpkin, corn, red bell pepper, apple juice, ginger, garlic, salt and avocado.

    Process for several minutes, until smooth. (If too thick, add more apple juice).

    Divide into 4 soup bowls and garnish with raw pumpkin seeds and fresh thyme.

    Per serving: 211.5 calories, 5.8 g fat, 0.8 g saturated fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 3.8 g protein, 39.1 g carbohydrates, 3.9 g fiber, 7,457 IU vitamin A and 51.3 mg of vitamin C.

    Although it’s easy to come up with appetizers, soups, salads, and even desserts, it is really hard to think of something that will pass for an entrée at Thanksgiving.

    This recipe will give you the same effect of crumbled turkey by using raw walnuts and poultry seasoning.  You can put it in a lettuce cup with a dollop of raw cranberry relish and, voila!, a satisfying and meaty- tasting Thanksgiving dish. OK, it’s not baked turkey and gravy but it makes a better presentation than a pile of faux stuffing.

    And, unlike so many raw recipes, it takes minutes to prepare, which is important on a day that you’ll be preparing lots of dishes.

    It’s Not Just for Thanksgiving

    These lettuce cups are also great for lunch or dinner.

    You can even put the mixture in endive and serve as an appetizer.

    This recipe provides large amounts of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids in a perfect 4:1 ratio as an added bonus!

    For the Crumbled Turkey

  • 1 cup raw English walnuts
  • 3/4 teaspoons dried sage*
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped*
  • 2 teaspoons Nama Shoyu soy sauce
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 4 small leaves butter lettuce, cleaned
  • 1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning can be substituted for the sage and thyme
  • For the relish [makes enough for 12 or more lettuce cups]

  • 12 oz package of fresh cranberries, rinsed under cold water and drained
  • 10 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • Combine the walnuts, sage, thyme, Nama Shoyu and black pepper in a food processor with an S blade and process until it resembles crumbled ground turkey. Do not over process. Remove and set aside. Rinse out the food processor to make the relish.

    Combine the cranberries and pitted dates in the food processor and process until it reaches the desired consistency. This will make more than needed.

    To assemble the lettuce cups, divide the turkey crumble into the center of 4 leaves of butter lettuce. Put a heaping tablespoon of cranberry relish in each cup and serve. In a big Thanksgiving dinner with several courses, plan on making one lettuce cup per person. As a whole lunch or dinner, make 2 per person. [makes 4 lettuce cups]


    Per lettuce cup: 208.3 calories, 19 g fat, 1.8 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4.5 g protein, 8.5 g carbohydrates, 2.7 g fiber, 2.7 g omega 3 and 11.1 g omega 6 fatty acids.


    After spending decades as a successful engineering executive at IBM and spending another 9 years as the CEO of Ampro Computer Company in Silicon Valley, Dr. Joanne L. Mumola Williams pursued her PhD in holistic nutrition. Nutrition and health has always been her life-long passion and in 1999 it became her full time mission to help people achieve remarkable health by eating a delicious and nutritious plant-centric diet. From Sebastopol, California, she writes the food blog, where she shares raw and cooked vegan recipes along with articles on nutrition. She is currently working on her first book which will be published next year.

    Joanna Steven is the director of the Raw Mom Club. She’s also the author of Well-Rounded:The Ultimate Guide to a Healthy Raw Food Pregnancy.

    To learn more about Joanna, access our free online community of thousands of raw food enthusiasts doing their best to raise healthy families and help their kids enjoy a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. You can also interact with Joanna at the Raw Mom Facebook Page!


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