Disclosure: “I received free samples of California Walnuts mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by California Walnuts and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”
If you are looking to make a quick light meal, creamy, garlicky, walnut thyme mushrooms on a crispy toast is a great "go-to" recipe. The biggest lure of the recipe is that it comes together in about 15-20 minutes and taste like "pure comfort," especially on a cool, rainy, spring day. Serve it on its own or with a side of soup--take your pick.
The earthy flavor and meaty texture of mushrooms exude comfort, especially when it is paired with thyme. While thyme and mushroom pairing seems like made in heaven, you can totally swap thyme with rosemary or parsley.
The secret ingredient that takes the mushroom/herb combination to the next level of taste and texture, however, is California Walnuts. The slightly sweet and slightly earthy flavor of walnuts melds with somewhat similar flavor profile of mushrooms. Walnuts, however, lend a lot of crunchiness to compliment the silky texture of cooked mushrooms.
Comfort food doesn't need to equal UNHEALTHY
The ingredient list to make the creamy walnut thyme mushrooms is short and energizing. Most ingredients boast of powerful health benefits. For example,
- Mushrooms are a great source of two important antioxidants ergothioneine and glutathione, which offer anti-aging benefits. You can use any variety of mushrooms; I have tried both cremini (a.k.a. baby bella) and shiitake mushroom varieties and they both work great.
- Walnuts are also an antioxidant-rich food high in omega-3 fatty acids--the kind that is often lacking in our diet. I have used California walnuts in this recipe. A handful of California walnuts is a versatile snack and can satisfy any taste preference, from savory to sweet. Regardless of your flavor preference, walnuts are the only nut to provide an excellent source of the plant-based omega-3, ALA (2.5g/oz). Additionally, California walnuts contain 4g/oz protein and offer 2g of fiber per oz serving.
A layering of textures and flavors
The recipe entails making a cream with walnuts/shallots/garlic and also cooking walnuts for a short period of time with mushrooms. Therefore, there are two layers to this recipe. The walnut/shallot/garlic cream and mushrooms sautéd with walnuts and thyme. If this sounds complicated, it isn't! You can do all in one pan.
Two natural flavorants--thyme and shallots-- are worth mentioning; both work to enhance the overall flavor experience for this creamy walnut thyme mushrooms (on a toast).
- Shallots add a subdued flavor to the recipe. However, if you don't have shallots at hand you can totally replace with white or yellow onion. Go ahead with the red variety if you don't have the lighter-color varieties at hand. Just reduce the amount by half.
- Thyme brings its complex tone of flavors to both mushrooms as well as walnuts. If you don't have thyme at hand, rosemary or parsley should work as well. You can also use dried thyme instead of fresh.
In making a light meal out of this creamy walnut thyme mushrooms and sourdough bread, it is best to first toast the sourdough bread to its maximum crispiness. Then add a layer of walnut/shallot/thyme cream followed by a layer of meaty, slightly crunchy mixture of mushroom and walnuts (please see the step-by-step recipe below). I have also tried it with warm brown rice. Just mix the cream with mushrooms and then serve over a bed of rice.
Meal plan the creamy walnut thyme mushroom recipe
The great thing about California walnuts is that you can store in your fridge for a long time. Just add mushrooms and herbs to your grocery list. To meal plan this recipe:
- You can make the walnut/shallot/garlic cream and walnut/mushroom mixture up to three days in advance of eating. Or you can make them and eat for three days. If you are not going to use it fresh, store in an airtight container for refrigeration. Reheat either in a toaster oven or in microwave before serving with toast or rice.
If you make this recipe, please do leave a comment in the section below.
Creamy Walnut thyme mushrooms (on a toast)
- 1 tsp avocado oil (or any other kind)
- 2 medium shallots (finely chopped, ~heaping 1/2 cup, can sub with a small white, yellow, or red onion)
- 2 cloves garlic (1 tsp minced)
- 1 cup California walnuts*
- 1.25 lbs mushrooms * (around 14-16 medium-sized cremini mushrooms or any other kind)
- 1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt (or to taste, can sub with any other type of salt)
- 4 pinches black pepper (generous pinches)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme** (divided into 1 tsp and 2 tsps, ~4-5 sprigs)
- 1.5 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (can sub with equal amount lime juice)
To make the toast
- 1 tsp avocado oil (or any other kind, optional)
- 8 slices wholegrain sourdough bread (or any other kind)
- Clean mushrooms with a wet paper towel and cut into thin slices. Keep aside. Clean 4-5 sprigs of thyme and either roughly chop or remove leaves from the stems.
- Heat a heavy-bottom, wide-mount, shallow pan over medium heat and add 1 tsp of avocado oil. Once the oil is heated, add the finely chopped shallots, minced garlic, and 1/4 (half) tsp salt. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
- Once the shallot and garlic have softened, stir in all the walnuts. Add 2 pinches of black pepper. Cook, stirring a few times to prevent the shallot and garlic mixture from sticking, for about 3-4 minutes. The walnuts should be slightly darker than their original color.
- Reduce the heat to a low and take out about 1/2 cup shallot, garlic, and walnut mixture from the pan to a blender. Let it cool for five minutes. Then add to it the lemon juice, 2 pinches of salt, 2 pinches of black pepper, and 1/2 cup water. Blend until you have a creamy mixture. Set aside.
- While the mixture cools in the blender, add the thinly sliced mushrooms, remaining salt and pepper, and 1 tsp thyme, to the remaining shallot, garlic, and walnut mixture in the pan. Cook mushrooms stirring often for about 5-7 minutes. Add the fresh thyme leaves and stir a couple of times before turning the heat off. Divide the mixture into 8 parts.
- When you are ready to eat, Heat a medium-sized iron skillet over medium heat. Smear with oil (or go without the oil) and put the sourdough bread slices directly on the skillet. Let is slowly crips both sides; about 1-2 minutes on each side. Alternatively, you can also crisp the bread without oil in a toaster.
- Spread 1 tbsp of blended walnut/shallot/garlic cream over a toast, then add 1/8th of the total mushroom mixture over the creamed toast. Sprinkle the balance of fresh thyme on each toast. Enjoy warm.