Vegan Aspirations in Holiday Recipes- Mushroom Wellie

100_3055A few years ago, when I was still eating meat, one of my sisters started the journey to vegan eating. Christmas dinner for the extended family was at my house, so I ambitiously decided to provide a vegan roast along with the regular turkey. Somewhere I found a recipe that used wheat gluten and nutritional yeast- things I had never heard of at that time. I boiled up a bland, chewy chunk of seitan with no seasonings to speak of. In a pathetic attempt at humour and to dress it up, I covered it in a paper bag shaped (vaguely) like a turkey. 138(I can’t believe I still have a picture of it- odd camera angle notwithstanding. Those are radish “mice” by the way, made by my daughter. In our family we clearly all work together in a crisis, anything to distract from the roast itself). My poor sister dutifully took a small slice and somehow managed to get it down, but it was not good food. We have a new term in our family, though, as it is again my turn to provide the meatless “paper bag turkey”.

My vegan cooking skills have come a long way since then, so I’m expecting more success with my offerings for this year’s dinner. Also, there are now ready-made alternatives that actually taste good, so I will buy a pre-stuffed seitan celebration roast. I decided I wanted another alternative main dish, and my thoughts went quickly to mushrooms. We have an amazing abundance of mushrooms here in the Pacific Northwest to provide a nice meaty texture and irresistible taste, so I quickly settled on a mushroom Wellington. This weekend I experimented a bit and came up with a fine version that I plan to repeat on the big day with only one change. I wrapped the portabellos up raw, but on Christmas I will give them a quick pre-cooking start (noted in the final recipe here) to ensure they are the right texture when the puff pastry is ready.

Jo’s Mushroom Wellie


  • 2 portobello mushrooms100_2989
  • 1 sheet vegan puff pastry
  • 2 cups (or more) various mushrooms as available
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 6 green onions or shallots
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp tarragon
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1-2 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. rosemary
  • 1-2 tsp mustard seed
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1/8 cup ground flax seed
  • dijon mustard
  • 1/8 cup engevita or nutritional yeast flakes
  • 3 teaspoons vegan spread
  • pepper
  • lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. For the duxelles: Finely chop spinach, the 2 cups of mushrooms (not portabellos, though I included the extra stems), green onions, garlic, spices, mustard seeds, ground flax seed and nuts. Melt the vegan spread in a pan, add the chopped mixture, and cook over med. heat. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and season with pepper to taste.
  3. Scrape the gills from the portobello mushrooms with a spoon and bake for 10 minutes. I also added the portobello stems to the duxelles.
  4. Roll out the puff pastry into a large rectangle. (For ease in transfer, it makes sense to put the pastry on parchment paper after rolling it out and before filling it.)
  5. Spread a layer of the duxelles into the centre of the pastry. Place the portabellos on top of the duxelles (I filled in the spaces with a few extra mushrooms to create a rectangle).
  6. Spread dijon mustard thinly over the portabellos and sprinkle the engevita yeast over all. Cover with the rest of the duxelles.
  7. Fold the puff pastry over top and join the edges. I cut slices into the pastry and crisscrossed it over shoelace style to let steam escape and give it a more decorative look.
  8. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Allow to sit for a few minutes before serving.

This was moist, meaty, and tangy. I think that the flaxseed acted like a “flax egg” binder and made the duxelles a perfect consistency. The engevita gave it a bit of body and the mustard seed and dijon gave it a nice edge. Experiment with the spices and seasonings. In the future I may try it with a bit of marmite or vegemite to “beef” it up a little. You could have several variations to go with whatever mushrooms are in season or available in your area. I just used organic white and cremini mushrooms here because they were on sale, and I wanted to get the recipe figured out before trying more creative combinations. A good red wine sauce would finish it off very nicely, I think!


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