These exquisite little mushroom bacon tartlets have been such a popular canapé with my guests over Christmas, and they were all amazed when they found out that they were vegan and gluten free too! They are quite simple to prepare and they taste divine! The sesame flavour in the tahini pastry perfectly complements the black garlic, and the creamy filling is balanced by the salty mushroom bacon on top. Quite simply, I think they are a taste sensation and the perfect little nibbles for your holiday entertaining!
We are still not back to pre-covid style big Christmas parties but we are really enjoying entertaining slightly smaller groups of friends. Since I'm not catering for large numbers, I like to go to a little more effort for little canapés or nibbles that people can graze on while chatting and catching up.
These little mushroom bacon tartlets look and taste very impressive despite being quite simple to make. The vegan and gluten-free pastry is made very quickly in the food processor and then just pressed into the tartlet moulds and baked. The mushroom bacon is just baked marinaded mushrooms and the black garlic cashew cream takes seconds to make in a blender or food processor.
What is Mushroom Bacon?
Mushroom bacon is a relatively new find for me but I am so glad I found it! The similarity to real bacon is uncanny. Even my bacon-loving husband and children, could not get over the fact that this was in fact made from mushroom (and my kids HATE mushrooms!).
Bacon is something that a lot of vegans and vegetarians miss. Its rich salty flavour enlivens even the humblest of ingredients. Now you no longer need to miss out!
If you haven’t used liquid smoke before, don’t worry, it’s actually made from natural ingredients and quite easy to find in the condiments section at the supermarket… even in Qatar!
Tips For Making The Best Gluten-free and Vegan Pastry
The wonderful thing about gluten free pastry is that you don’t need to worry about working it too hard. Gluten free pastry can be pushed and shoved and over-handled because there is no gluten to develop.
For this reason, you can skip the rolling out and instead just get little blobs of pastry and push them into the tartlet moulds. With nimble fingers you can quickly push the pastry against the bottom and up the sides and then just cut it off around the top edge.
For the small quantity in this recipe, it should only take about 5-10 minutes to do and it is so worth it because the flavour and texture of the pastry is a world away from the ready made gluten free pastry you can buy in the shops.
- Portobello Mushrooms - You could use other mushrooms but I find the portobellos work best because they soak up the marinade really well, they get crispier, and they have a more meaty texture.
- Marinade - liquid smoke, smoked paprika, tamari, sesame oil, garlic powder, salt, maple syrup - these are the dream team of ingredients that give that perfect balance of sweet, salty and smoky flavours giving that amazing bacon flavour!
Black Garlic Cashew Cream
- Cashews - these need to be soaked so that they give a gorgeous creamy consistency when blended.
- Black Garlic Paste - this is the easiest way to impart the amazing black garlic flavour. It's quite easy to find in supermarkets but if you can't find any, you can use plain roasted garlic instead.
- Salt - i like to use Himalayan pink salt which is mineral-rich and has only a mild saltiness.
- Coconut Oil - you could use vegan butter instead if you prefer.
- Almond flour - this could be swapped for brown rice flour or a gluten-free flour blend.
- Coconut Flour - since coconut flour behaves quite differently to other flours, I wouldn't swap this flour for something else. However, you could try using the gluten-free tahini pastry in this vegan pot pie recipe which is similar but doesn't use coconut flour.
- Tapioca Flour - this can be swapped for another starch like potato starch or arrowroot.
- Tahini - this is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. It's ubiquitous in the Middle East and is full of calcium so it's great for vegans who don't have dairy-based calcium sources. The sesame flavour of the tahini works brilliantly with the cashew cream and the mushroom bacon in these tartlets.
For quantities and full instructions, please see the printable recipe card below.
How To Make These Vegan Mushroom Bacon Tartlets
I know this recipe looks like it is long and complicated but only because I have given quite detailed instructions to make it as easy as possible. It’s actually very simple to make these and they come together very quickly. The basic steps are as follows:
- Mushroom Bacon - thinly slice the mushrooms, marinade for 15 minutes, then bake in the oven.
- Tahini Pastry - whizz all the pastry ingredients in the food processor, chill, then press into the tartlet tin. Blind bake in the oven.
- Black Garlic Cashew Cream - whizz the ingredients in a high speed blender for a minute or two.
- Assembly - fill the cooked pastry cases with some cashew cream and top with bits of mushroom bacon and garnish with some smoked paprika or chopped chives.
See it really is quite simple isn't it!
Can You Make This Recipe Ahead?
You can make these vegan mushroom bacon tartlets in advance if you wish but keep each part separate until just before serving.
- Make the pastry cases and once they’ve cooled, store in a sealed container for a day or two (be careful not to store until fully cooled or the condensation will make them go soggy).
- Make the cashew cream and mushroom bacon in advance but store in separate sealed containers in the fridge, again, for up to 5 days.
- When you’re ready to serve, leave the cashew cream out for half an hour to come to room temperature, put the mushroom bacon in a single layer on a baking tray in a hot oven for 10 minutes, to crisp up again (it goes a little soggy in the fridge), and assemble the tartlets up to an hour before your guests arrive.
Mushroom Bacon Tartlets FAQs
Mushroom bacon is so easy to make and so delicious too. It is perfect as a vegan alternative to bacon. All you do is:
- mix the marinade ingredients together,
- slice the mushrooms and mix them into the marinade,
- Marinate for 20 minutes or longer,
- Lay the mushroom slices on a lined baking tray,
- Roast for 20-30 minutes at 200°C / 400°F until fully dehydrated,
- Take out of the oven and leave to crisp up for a few minutes.
Mushroom bacon is great to keep on hand for adding to salads, risottos, pasta, and soups. You can add mushroom bacon to any dish where you might use bacon if you eat meat.
Yes! In fact, you might want to make a double batch of the mushroom bacon so that you can keep some in a container in the freezer for whenever you want it! Just take it out of the freezer and warm in a hot oven in a single layer on a lined baking sheet for a few minutes when you want to use it.
These little mushroom bacon and black garlic tartlets are perfect for entertaining vegans and non-vegans alike. They cater to quite a few dietary concerns being egg-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan and they are universally loved!
Serve as gluten-free and vegan canapés on their own or as part of a vegan graze board with lots of vegetable crudités, a few dips, some crackers and crisps and olives and nuts? Everyone likes to nibble while they're chatting! Here are some ideas for what to include on it:
- Roast Cauliflower and Chimichurri Sauce
- Super-Speedy Muhummara Dip (only 6 minutes to make!)
- Zingy Green Olive Tapenade
📖 Recipe 📖
Divine Mushroom Bacon and Black Garlic Cashew Cream Tartlets (Vegan & Gluten-Free)
- 3 portobello mushrooms sliced thinly
- ½ tablespoon liquid smoke
- 2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon maple syrup
Black Garlic Cashew Cream
- 60 g cashews
- 60 g fresh filtered water (in addition to the boiled soaking water)
- 1 teaspoon black garlic paste
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 50 g coconut oil softened or vegan butter
- 150 g almond flour
- 80 g coconut flour
- 60 g tapioca flour
- 50 g tahini
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 90 ml water
- Set the oven to pre-heat to 200°C.
- First, thinly slice the mushrooms and combine the rest of the mushroom bacon ingredients in a bowl. Carefully mix the sliced mushrooms with the marinade in the bowl using your hands or a silicon spoon. Then set aside, mixing occasionally.
- Measure out the cashews into a jug or bowl and cover with plenty of boiling water. Set aside to soak for at least 15 minutes or until you’re ready to make the cashew cream.
- Meanwhile, put all the pastry ingredients except the water into a food processor and pulse a few times until it looks like fine breadcrumbs then, with the food processor running, pour in the cold water slowly through the spout until the mixture comes together. (You may not need all the water or you may need a little more – it depends on your flours and the temperature and humidity of your kitchen. Just add enough to make the fine breadcrumb texture change to larger clumps that you can easily pull together into a pliable dough). Once it pulls together into a clump, empty the dough onto a piece of clingfilm, wrap it up, push it together into a disc shape and pop it in the freezer to cool and harden up for a few minutes.
- While the pastry is in the freezer, line a baking tray with baking paper and, using a slotted spoon, take the mushrooms out of the marinade and lay in a single layer on the baking tray. Try not to include too much of the marinade as the more liquid you have, the longer they will take to dry out in the oven. Pop them in the oven to cook for about 20-30 minutes at 200°C, turning half way through, until they are dehydrated and a little crispy.
- When the pastry has firmed up so that it is cold but still a little soft, take it out and unwrap. Take small balls of pastry and press down into the holes of the mini-muffin tin, pushing each bit down to line the bottom and sides of each hole. If you haven’t enough to cover the hole completely, just push another little piece of pastry in to patch it up. Then cut around the top of each hole.
- Pop the tin into the oven for 5-10 minutes at 200°C until pale golden brown and the bottom has lost any hint of greyish colour. I find this pastry is better over-cooked than under-cooked, so don’t be afraid to pop it back in the oven for longer than the 10 minutes if it still looks a little grey on the bottom. It’s quite forgiving pastry so can take quite a long time in the oven if need be (I once got distracted and left it in the oven for 20 minutes and it was fine!).
- Once they are ready, take them out of the oven. Leave to cool in the tin for a couple of minutes then use a teaspoon to carefully ease the cases out of the holes. Set out on a cooling rack to cool.
- When the mushroom bacon is dehydrated and to your desired crispiness, take it out of the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes. (It will get a little crispier on cooling.)
- Meanwhile make the cashew cream. Drain the cashews from the soaking water (throw away the soaking water). Put the soaked cashews into a blender and add the filtered water, black garlic paste and salt. Blend on full power for about a minute until it is very smooth and creamy. (you may need to scrape down the sides a few times with a spatula in between spurts of blending).
- Once the pastry cases are cool, fill with the cashew cream and top with the mushroom bacon.
- Sprinkle with a little sweet smoked paprika or chopped chives to garnish.
- You might want to make a double batch of the mushroom bacon to keep some in the freezer for topping salads, risottos, pasta, soups, etc.
- These can be made in advance. Just keep each different component separate in a sealed container in the fridge and then assemble up to an hour before you need them.
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More Vegan & Gluten-Free Canapé Recipes
If you like this recipe for vegan mushroom bacon and black garlic cashew cream tartlets, you may like these other delicious vegan and gluten-free canapé recipes too: