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King Oyster Mushroom Arepas

King Oyster Mushroom Arepas_Chef Alejandra Schrader.jpg
Copyright © Alpha/Kelley Jordan Schuyler, 2021

Chef's Note: “There’s nothing more Venezuelan than an arepa” is a popular saying that highlights just how important these pockets of goodness are in our culture. And they are—arepas were the daily bread in my home growing up. The mushroom shreds will ensure you never miss meat.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup plus 3 Tbsp water, divided, plus more
  • ¾ tsp coarse sea salt, divided, plus more
  • ½ cup whole grain precooked white corn flour (Harina P.A.N. or arepa flour recommended)
  • 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp avocado oil, divided
  • ½ cup warm cooked black beans
  • ½ Tbsp roasted garlic paste
  • 2 extra-large king oyster mushrooms (about 10oz [285g] total)
  • 3 Tbsp finely julienned brown onions
  • 3 Tbsp finely julienned green bell peppers
  • 1 tsp Spicy Adobo Seasoning
  • 1 Hass avocado, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • sunflower sprouts or chopped fresh herbs

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. In a medium bowl, combine ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons of water and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Slowly add the corn flour, mixing with your hand or a spoon to make sure no lumps remain. Allow to hydrate for 5 minutes. Use clean, damp hands to divide the dough into 2 to 3 portions. Form each portion into a ball and then flatten into a ¾-inch disc.
  3. Brush the bottom of a cast-iron pan with ½ to 1 teaspoon of avocado oil. Place the pan on the stovetop over medium-low heat. Once hot, add the discs and sear until a crust with a few dark brown spots has formed, about 4 minutes per side. Place the arepas directly on the middle rack in the oven and bake until slightly puffed and the shell is crusty, about 8 minutes. Remove the arepas from the oven and wrap in a clean towel to keep warm.
  4. In a tall blending cup or wide-mouthed glass jar, use an immersion blender to process the beans, garlic paste, 1 pinch of salt, and the remaining 1 tablespoon of water until a smooth paste forms. Set aside.
  5. Cut the caps off the mushrooms. (Save them for later use.) Use two forks to thinly shred the stems: Work from the center lengthwise toward the end and then turn the mushroom the other way to repeat the process.
  6. In a medium skillet on the stovetop, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of avocado oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring often. Add the bell peppers and sauté for 30 seconds.
  7. Add the spicy adobo seasoning, mushrooms, and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt. Mix until the shreds are evenly coated with spices. Reduce the heat to low and add a little water to deglaze the bottom of the skillet. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring often. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  8. Use a paring knife to slice the arepas in half to create pockets. Spread an equal amount of the bean paste inside each arepa. Use tongs to stuff them with the mushrooms and the avocado slices. Garnish with sunflower sprouts or chopped fresh herbs before serving.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 22 to 23 minutes

Yield: 2 to 3 arepas

Credit: Excerpted from The Low-Carbon Cookbook and Action Plan by Alejandra Schrader, reprinted by permission of Alpha Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2021 Alejandra Schrader

Alejandra Schrader is a plant-based nutrition certified chef, food TV personality, entrepreneur, and activist based in Los Angeles. Her interviews and recipes have been featured in such high-profile printed media as The New York Times and InTouch Weekly magazine. Alejandra is a Sisters on the Planet Ambassador for Oxfam America and she's a founding member of the Chef's Manifesto. For information on how to pre-order a copy of Alejandra’s The Low-Carbon Cookbook & Action Plan, check out the details from publisher, Penguin Random House.

“A welcome roadmap for home chefs of any level who care about the future of our planet and making conscious food choices. Alejandra Schrader blends detailed research with vibrant, delicious recipes [in a] thought-provoking book...a must-read."
- Abby Maxman, President and CEO of Oxfam America

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