Today’s recipe takes a healthy take on one of my mom’s “signature” dinner party dishes, Pasadena Pinwheels. I can’t remember the exact recipe, but I do know they were crammed with ingredients that could be made a lot healthier, with the same snacking satisfaction worthy of becoming an everyday snack.
When I was a kid, we always looked forward to dinner parties, as this was when my mom would experiment with appetizers to serve to our guests. If we were lucky, we could sneak into the room while they were chatting, and pinch as many as we could grab, before getting scolded for not being polite and offering them around. What can I say, I was a chubby kid and I loved snacking!
While I am healthy now, I still love snacking. Often, when we don’t take time to re-charge throughout the day, this wave of hunger can suddenly wash over us. Let’s face it, when this happens, we rarely want to spend anytime cooking, we just want to grab whatever is in front of us and eat it!
These Ooey Gooey Mushroom Pinwheel Wraps are easy to make, and store. You can bring them to work for lunch easy as well, and they keep quite well for a couple of days.
My version of Pasadena Pinwheels contain one of my favourite nutrient-rich foods, mushrooms. Folks, these babies are HARD TO FIND in Rwanda. But this week, I discovered a great place, Kigali Farms, whose mission is to fight chronic malnutrition through mushroom production, promoting it in the Rwandan diet. Rwanda is one of the poorest countries in Africa, and imports 100% of its commercial seeds from the region, meaning the the Government is paying a lot of money to other countries, when it could be improving its own agriculture base. Companies like Kigali Farms and Rwanda Sweet Potato Superfoods are working to bring economic benefits to Rwandans while also incorporating nutrient-rich foods into their diets, reducing malnutrition and a range of other related illnesses. Incredible!
Photo: Oyster Mushrooms
Mushrooms are one of the best sources of plant protein, are easy to grow, store and can really pick up the flavours of whatever they are cooked with. They have a high percentage of essential amino acids and higher vitamin D content than most foods. Vitamin D is essential to regulate blood calcium and phosphorus levels, maintaining bone integrity, and the functioning of muscles, nerves, and glands. Some studies have also shown that some mushrooms, such as shiitakes, can help lower blood cholesterol. In Asia, there are many who consider mushrooms an aphrodisiac! Rock on.
You can buy dried mushrooms, soak them in water for a few hours (depending on their size), and not only use the mushrooms in a range of dishes, but the soaking water is a delicious vegetable stock! You can also buy mushroom powder and add directly to your foods as a nutritious condiment - soups, omelettes, pasta, sauces - there are so many options! There are over 14,000 varieties of these little guys, although always get them from a place that knows which ones can be consumed by humans, as some are extremely poisonous! So even if you think you hate them (such as my husband), experiment, as there are endless possibilities and such great health benefits.
Note - cooking mushrooms is the only way to absorb most of the nutritional benefits, as the cell walls need heat to break them down. So, always try to cook your mushrooms!
Mushroom Pinwheel Wraps
These snacks are easy to store and transport, and can be made easily the night before, then heated up (or served room temperature). Great for lunches, or an on-the-go treat.
- 2 cups roughly chopped mushrooms of your choice. I like oyster and portobello.
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons shoyu (or tamari, or soya sauce)
- 1 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter), or olive oil
- 2 big spoonfuls of tofu cream cheese, sour cream, or anything similar you prefer
- 2 tortilla wraps (preferably high in fibre)
- A few sprigs of cilantro (coriander), or parsley
- Put the pan on medium heat.
- Once pan is hot, add the ghee (or oil) along with the onions. Cook for 1-2 minutes until they start to become soft and translucent.
- Add the mushrooms and garlic, and cook for 3 more minutes, until they start to break down (shrink).
- Add the shoyu, and turn the pan on medium-low heat. Cook for about 5 minutes, until everything is browned and sticky.
- Take your tortillas wraps and brush them lightly with ghee, or oil - put them under the broiler (grill) for about 1 minute, until they just start to brown but are still soft - watch them carefully!
- Take them out, and spread 1 big spoonful of tofu cream cheese (or sour cream) on each tortilla.
- Add the mushroom mixture on top of each tortilla and spread around to the edges of the tortilla, much like decorating a pizza. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro/coriander/parsley. But, leave a space of about 1-2 cm on one side of the tortilla.
- Then roll up the tortilla, starting at the side that has mushrooms to the edge. The cream cheese edge without mushrooms will help stick it together.
- Leave the tortillas to sit. If you are preparing in advance, you can place them in a container and store in the fridge for 2-3 days. The next day, you can heat them for about 30-45 seconds and then cut and serve.
- To serve, cut the tortilla into pieces and turn on their side. Or, you can put a toothpick in each one for easy finger food. Or, you can eat as a wrap. No rules here!
- That's it. Enjoy!