Chicken Pesto Mushroom Bites (gluten-free, paleo option)

gluten-free pesto mushroom chicken bites

Seeing people I know from work in other contexts is always so much fun. A co-worker of mine is expecting a baby next month, and I was lucky enough to attend her baby shower last weekend. Over wine, appetizers, and the most delicious mini cheesecakes in Idaho, ten of us laughed, talked, and listened, horrified, to the birth stories the others were sharing with us.

Suffice to say, I am adding to the list of reasons I’m not ready to have children. But I also realized as a result of this shower that I don’t have a single good appetizer recipe that can accommodate a number of dietary restrictions. Hummus is fine, but it needs to go with pita, which is not gluten-free; the mother-to-be doesn’t eat red meat, so my bacon-wrapped dates were out. I debated vegan jalapeno poppers, but that seemed just a little too strange, and more something to spring on my unsuspecting fiance next weekend than something that needed to be good because I was feeding it to other people.

Then, I came up with these mushrooms.

I was inspired by this recipe by Juli Bauer at PaleOMG, but modified it so heavily that pretty much the only thing the two recipes have in common are the mushrooms and the Italian inspiration. You make a very basic sundried tomato pesto, tuck it into mushroom caps, top it with pesto-infused chicken and cheese, and bake.

So simple, and so delicious — and totally reliable, provided everyone at your party eats chicken. If you’re paleo, make your own cheese-less pesto (as opposed to using store bought), and leave out the rest of the cheese.

Chicken Mushroom Pesto Bites

For the sundried tomato pesto
  • 2 Tbsp basil pesto (homemade or jarred)
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, packed in oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • heavy pinch of salt
For the mushrooms
  • 30 white or cremini mushrooms
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 2 Tbsp pesto (homemade or jarred)
  • salt to taste
  • 2-3 Tbsp of Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add basil pesto, sundried tomatoes, garlic and salt to a mini food processor or chopper and process until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Clean mushrooms and remove stems. Place on a dish towel to drain, then place in a baking dish.
  4. Combine chicken with pesto and salt in a medium bowl and stir to combine.
  5. Take sundried tomato pesto and place a generous dab in the bottom of each mushroom cap. Add a heaping teaspoon of the chicken-pesto, then top with Parmesan cheese.
  6. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender, chicken is cooked through and the cheese is melted and a little brown. Serve immediately.
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