Walnut Mushroom Spread

Seems us melting puddles living in Southwestern Ontario have been living through a prolonged heat wave for weeks. I don't mind the heat, but with the humidity on top of the high temperatures, it can be a bit much to bear. This of course requires simple to prepare meals without much use of the stove and certainly not the oven. The easy way would be to order out I suppose, but that is expensive and I much prefer food from my own kitchen because I can control the quality and quantity of ingredients.

Walnuts are a superfood, especially when combined with legumes and vegetables. Walnuts are high in protein, making them a good choice for vegetarians and vegans, and an excellent source of essential amino acids, fat, dietary fiber and other vitamins and minerals. The best part is they taste wonderful and can be combined with a variety of foods or if you prefer, just snack on them throughout the day. Shelled walnuts should be stored in the refrigerator to preserve their freshness and goodness.

open faced sandwich

Now for my recipe. I served this paste on a lightly toasted ciabatta bread over mixed greens with a simple homemade olive oil dressing. Any crusty bread would work just as well. Essentially an open-faced sandwich, you can't do much better for a simple and nourishing meal that is perfect for summer. The addition of black-eyed peas lend an earthy flavor to this spread that also goes well with chopped fresh vegetables. If you don't think healthy food can taste great, just give this recipe a try and your taste buds will tell you otherwise.

Walnut Mushroom SpreadWalnut Mushroom Spread
Recipe by
Published on July 18, 2012

Creamy and delicious spread made with toasted walnuts, plump cremini mushrooms, black-eyed peas and herbs and spices — great for serving on toast or with crisps or raw vegetables

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Walnut Mushroom Spread

  • 3/4 cup cooked black-eyed peas (1/4 cup dried)
  • 1 cup walnut pieces
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 fresh green or red chili, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme, small leaves removed from the stem
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • pinch or two of cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, chopped

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons soft goat cheese
  • cold water as needed
  • If using dried black-eyed peas, rinse and soak the beans overnight in enough water to cover. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a medium saucepan. Cover with several inches of fresh water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until the beans are soft. Drain and set aside.

  • Meanwhile, dry roast the walnuts in a small pan or skillet over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside. At the same time, soak the sun-dried tomatoes in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes, then drain and chop.

  • Using the same skillet in which the walnuts were dry roasted, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and stir for 5 minutes. Toss in the shallots, garlic, chili, thyme, tarragon, cumin, coriander, cayenne, sea salt and black pepper. Stir for another minute. Raise the heat slightly and add the chopped mushrooms to the pan. Cook, stirring often, for 5 to 8 minutes or until the mushrooms begin to squeak. Add a few teaspoons of water to deglaze the pan and remove from heat.

  • In a food processor, pulse the walnuts into a fine texture. Now add the mushroom mixture, black-eyed peas, sun-dried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and goat cheese. Process until you have a thick paste, adding cold water if necessary.

  • Serve on lightly toasted crusty bread or with toasted pita triangles or raw vegetables.

Makes approximately 3 cups
black-eyed pea spread with crusty bread

More summer dips and spreads you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Corn and Pinto Bean Dip
Cream Cheese and Caramel Strawberry Dip
Olive Hummus

On the top of the reading stack: Lord Krishna's Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Yamuna Devi

Audio Accompaniment: exploring various artists


janet @ the taste space said...

Yeah, the heat is no fun.. I have been eating a lot of raw salads which helps not having to use the oven! I like how you used beans in here, too.. looks like a veritable medley of flavours! :)

Torviewtoronto said...

this looks wonderful