Caprese-stuffed mushroom cheeseburger bites are a fun, flavorful, and lighter appetizer perfect for football season! This recipe is easy to make with just six main ingredients and is sure to be a hit with family and friends!
Disclosure: I'm excited to partner with Monterey Mushrooms, the largest fresh mushroom grower in North America, for this post. All opinions are my own, and I only partner with brands and products I use in my own kitchen.
Football season is here! That means it's also time to start breaking out the fun appetizers and "football-watching food," which is always fun. :) I'm really excited for today's recipe for two reasons. 1: It's completely delicious and I know you'll love it. And 2: I get to help spread the news about a fun grill sweepstakes sponsored by Monterey Mushrooms that's open to Texas residents to celebrate the new HEB opening in College Station, Texas. (Sweepstakes entry details are at the end of the post!)
I've been cooking a lot with mushrooms on the blog lately, and today's recipe is another one featuring a product we've been using like crazy at our house, which is Monterey Let's Blend Diced Mushrooms. My whole family, including my twin toddlers, have been loving every recipe we've made with these mushrooms. If you haven't heard about them yet, they are pre-seasoned, finely diced mushrooms that you mix with any ground meat you're already using for a recipe.
They're really easy to cook with because they come already seasoned (there are three flavors: Mexican, Italian, and Classic), so you just choose the one that goes with what you're making. Then the beauty is that you don't even have to worry about seasoning the meat.
The mushrooms also help stretch your servings, so you can use less meat to feed more people (yay!) and also add a ton of moisture to the meat, so you can use leaner meat without having it dry out.
I love the concept of this recipe, which is a "cheeseburger bite." Basically your burger meat and cheese get mixed together and stuffed inside of mushroom. Then they bake into a flavorful, delicious, pop-able package.
And if you're looking for a super-amazing classic cheeseburger mushroom bite, my good friend, fellow dietitian , and fellow-food blogger Shannon Garcia of Kiss in the Kitchen has got you covered!
We're teaming up to bring on all the cheeseburger bites for your today, so make sure to check out her version here or click the pic below. Her blog is amazing, her recipes are delicious, and she has a new beautiful, sweet baby girl making appearances there too, so go see her blog! :)
Now on to my Caprese version of these cheeseburger stuffed mushroom bites! I absolutely love Italian flavors, and when our twins were really little, we used to make an Italian burger recipe from a meal kit delivery service that was definitely a favorite quick-and-healthy dinner for us.
That Italian burger concept, plus my love of the classic caprese salad combination of tomatoes, basil, and balsamic vinegar reduction (which is way easier to make than it sounds) was the inspiration for these tasty bites.
This recipe is simple to make, and if you've got kiddos that like to cook, it's the perfect recipe to get them involved with. The first step is to take whole mushrooms (I used white mushrooms), wash them and pull out the stems. These will be the vessels that hold all of the cheeseburger-y goodness.
Next, mix the beef, Let's Blend diced mushrooms, cheese, and fresh basil together. Then comes the fun part: stuffing the mushrooms. This part will vary based on the size of the mushrooms you buy. I used two 16-ounce packages of smaller mushrooms, and there were 26 of them in one pack and 28 in the other. Yes, I counted them for you. ;) Depending on how hungry your guests are, this should make 12-18 servings. If you happen to have any leftovers, they re-heat beautifully!
When stuffing the mushrooms, you may have a few more or less of them to work with, and that's totally fine! They goal is to fill each mushroom with enough meat to stuff it completely and come out a little bit over the top of the mushroom.
They bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes, then get topped with a little more cheese to make them even more delicious, then cook for 2 more minutes just to melt the cheese.
The balsamic reduction, grape tomatoes, and a little more basil complete the caprese part of the recipe. All you have to do to make the balsamic reduction is simmer the balsamic vinegar with a touch of brown sugar for about 25 minutes, stirring every once in a while. It will reduce, and after it cools for a few minutes, will thicken slightly. Then your guests can drizzle a little bit over their cheeseburger bites.
Use toothpicks to skewer a grape tomato (or half of a cherry tomato) and a small piece of fresh basil over each bite and you've got a beautiful, flavorful appetizer everyone will enjoy!
And last but definitely not least, here is the info for Monterey's Grill give-away sweepstakes and how to enter! The Sweepstakes open to Texas residents now through Sept 17, 2018: There are two ways to enter, one by filling out a quick entry form, and the other through Instagram. Click here or the pic below to check it out!
NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Open to legal residents of TX, age 18+. Void outside TX and where prohibited. Starts at 12:00:00 AM CT on 9/5/18; ends at 11:59:59 PM CT on 9/17/18. Total ARV of all prizes: $2,340. Odds of winning will depend upon the total number of eligible entries received. For full Official Rules, visit https://www.montereymushrooms.com/grill-away-giveaway-rules. Sponsor: Monterey Mushrooms, Inc., 260 Westgate Drive, Watsonville, California 95075.
And if you live in College Station, be sure to go visit the beautiful brand new HEB (2818 FM 2154, College Station, TX)! If you head out this Weds-Friday (9/12-9/14) from 3-7pm there will be samples of cheeseburger mushroom bites PLUS a $3 coupon for Let's Blend mushrooms, which is practically like getting them free! Good luck, and happy cooking!
Caprese Mushroom Cheeseburger Bites
Makes about 50 mushroom bites (12-16 servings)
- 1 8-ounce package Monterey Let's Blend Diced Mushrooms, Classic flavor
- 1 pound (96/4) extra lean ground beef (can also use 90/10)
- 12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes (about 1 1/2 cups once chopped)
- 1 bunch of fresh basil, divided (1/4 cup chopped for the filling and the rest of the leaves for assembling the cheeseburger bites)
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 16-ounce packages Monterey White Mushrooms
For the Balsamic Glaze:
- 2 cups balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash the whole mushrooms (or wipe with a damp paper towel) and remove the stems. Set aside.
- To make the cheeseburger filling, add the Let's Blend diced mushrooms, beef, 3/4 of the cheese, the 1/4 cup chopped basil, and garlic in a large bowl and mix well to combine everything.
- Next, stuff some of the meat mixture into each of the mushroom caps, with enough meat that some comes over the top of the mushrooms. Fill all the mushrooms and line them up on a baking sheet.
- Bake for 18 minutes, add the remaining cheese pieces on top, and cook for two more minutes to melt the cheese.
- While the mushrooms are in the oven, make the balsamic glaze by placing the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a saucepan, bring it to a simmer, and let it cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 20-25 minutes. It will thicken just slightly as it cools.
- To assemble the cheeseburger bites, place a small piece (or small leaf) of basil on each of the bites, place a grape tomato on top and use a toothpick to secure them to each cheeseburger bite. Drizzle the balsamic glaze over the top or serve it to dip in on the side.