Welcome back to Flawed yet Functional! Do you know what kind of party food I like best? Appetizers, small plates, grazing food…whatever you like to call it! For my extended family gathering this year, we did a potluck, small-plates style get together. Everyone brought their favorite bite-sized food to share, and it was so good! For one of my contributions, I whipped up these very quick dairy-free stuffed mushrooms with sausage, and they were a hit! Try them for your next party!
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Creating Paleo-friendly appetizers can be a bit tricky. Appetizer recipes abound that are loaded with cheese. While cheese is so tasty, my gut does not like it. Traditionally, all dairy is excluded from the Autoimmune Protocol and Paleo diets. After the elimination phase, fermented dairy (yogurt), grass-fed butter, grass-fed ghee, and other dairy products are included in the reintroduction phase. I have not tried any of these foods yet. Honestly, I’m a little afraid to. I have had gluten and egg cross-contamination many times and dealing with high blood sugar for two weeks is not fun.
I suspect that my body will react the same way to dairy, so I just haven’t tried it. One day I will gather the courage to do so though!
However, vegan “cheeses” are easy to find in your local grocery store! If your gut can handle the processed ingredients in these “cheeses” (always remember, vegan cheese is still processed food and shouldn’t be consumed regularly!), then they are a nice substitute for creamy, cheese-like dishes.
A quick note on the healthiness of this recipe. I do not endorse eating processed food on a regular basis. I encourage you to buy faux cream cheese for special occasions only. Even though this cream cheese is made from cashews, I do not feed my family a highly processed food regularly. I would recommend the same for your family too!
Dairy-Free Cream Cheese Options
For this recipe, I have tested out three dairy-free cream cheese options. They all work well but are a bit different in texture, flavor, and presentation. Check out the manufacturer’s website to find a dairy-free option available near you.
This dairy-free cream cheese is vegan and made primarily from cashews. It has the richest flavor and thickest consistency of any dairy-free cream cheese that I have tried. However, it is also the highest in carbohydrates due to the cashew base.
Flavor-wise, it does have a slight nuttiness to it. If you do not enjoy the flavor of cashews, then I would try one of the options below. It is also quite rich, and we have overdone the cream cheese in some recipes. If you’re not going to be using very much of it, I believe this is the best tasting option out there.
This used to be my favorite dairy-free cream cheese until I discovered Miyoko’s. Kite Hill’s cream cheese is made from almond milk which gives it the most mild, least nutty flavor. The consistency of this one is most like dairy cream cheese which is a huge reason why I like it. However, the primary reason I don’t use it often is it is regularly out of stock at my local grocery stores. Sad!
This dairy-free cream cheese has a coconut base and the least cream cheese-like consistency, in my opinion. When you stir it into a recipe it melts and almost disappears. However, looks can be deceiving because the cheesy flavor is still there. Just make sure to not over add just because you can’t see the cheese! Always taste your sausage mixture before adding it to your mushrooms.
This vegan cream cheese feels the most processed and not dairy-like to me. It has a gelatin look and feel to it, and the disappearing factor when melted is deceiving. However, it is always in stock at my local grocery stores. So in a pinch, we grab this variety.
Undercooked sausage scares me. So I would recommend fully cooking your sausage first, then stirring in the seasoning and dairy-free cream cheese to fill the mushroom caps. That way when you put them in the oven, you only need to soften the mushrooms before eating. No need to test the internal temperature of the meat!
There are recipes for sausage stuffed mushrooms out there that use raw sausage in the mushrooms prior to baking. Maybe it’s just me, but I just don’t trust that method. Full cook your sausage first!
Also, don’t worry about softening the dairy-free cream cheese before you add it to the sausage. The heat from the sausage is enough to melt the cream cheese and incorporate all the spices. I brown the sausage in a skillet then pour the cooked sausage, cream cheese, and spices into a mixing bowl mix it up. Simple as that and it’s ready for the mushrooms!
Finally, make sure to cook the mushooms on an oven-safe baking rack. This allows the juices from the mushrooms to pool under the mushrooms resulting in a less soggy appetizer. Soggy is no good!
Depending on where you are with your AIP Journey it, this recipe may not be adaptable to AIP. Some of the dairy-free cream cheeses above have a coconut-base, but they have other thickeners in them that are not compatible with AIP. If you are really craving stuffed mushrooms, then simply brown some sausage and season it, then fill the mushroom caps with plain sausage. It would be delicious just slightly less sticky and cheesy. As always, omit black pepper for AIP compliance.
Baby portobello mushroom caps are my favorite for this recipe, but white button mushrooms would be just as tasty.
To prepare the mushrooms, simply snap the stems off, wipe the tops with a damp cloth remove any dirt, and fill with the sausage mixture.
Leftover Sausage Filling
You will have plenty of filling up leftover from this recipe. Don’t throw it away! My kids love to eat the sausage filling on crackers or pork rinds for a snack. Heck, they’ll even use it as a dip for any raw vegetable: carrots, celery, cauliflower, cucumbers, etc.!
It is also delicious in a jalapeno pepper. Want to make some killer jalapeno poppers? Remove the seeds and ribs from some jalapenos. Fill with this sausage mixture. Wrap them in bacon, then smoke on the grill (or just grill them) until the peppers are soft. Delicious! Dan, my husband, actually makes some awesome jalapeno poppers. I need to share them with you sometime!
Stuffed mushrooms with sausage are the perfect appetizer to bring to your next party or holiday event! You could even bake them at your party because they only take 20 minutes to soften the mushrooms into delicious bombs of flavor! Even if you have a dairy allergy, these dairy-free stuffed mushrooms with sausage will be easy on your gut and delicious on your taste buds. Try them today!
The Best Dairy-free Paleo Stuffed Mushrooms With Sausage
No, seriously. These are the best dairy-free stuffed mushrooms around! A quick browning in a skillet then mix with vegan cream cheese and pop them in the oven. Fast, tasty, and sure to please everyone at your next party!
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 lb. bulk breakfast sausage or sage flavored
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 8 oz. dairy-free cream cheese
- 1 lb. baby portobello mushrooms
Preheat oven to 375° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place an oven-safe baking rack on top of the parchment paper. Baking the mushrooms elevated allows the juices from the mushrooms to drip away and not make the mushrooms soggy.
Next, snap off the stems of the mushrooms and wipe the caps with a damp paper towel to remove any dirt. Avoid rinsing the mushrooms unless you have time to let them dry completely. Too much moisture will make the mushrooms soggy when cooked.
Heat a medium-sized cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and sausage and cook completely. Break the sausage into very small pieces with a wooden spoon as it cooks.
In a mixing bowl, add garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt, black pepper, and cream cheese (Miyoko's, Kite Hill, and Daiya). When the sausage is cooked, pour in the bowl and stir to completely combine. No need to drain the sausage. Taste the sausage mixture and add additional salt and pepper as needed.
Using a small spoon, generously fill each mushroom cap with the sausage mixture. Be sure to round the top. Vegan cream cheese does not run when heated so the sausage will stay heaped on top of the mushroom.
Place stuffed mushrooms on wire racks and bake for 20 minutes or until mushroom caps are softened. Top with minced green onion, parsley, or even hot sauce! Enjoy!