This Savory Roasted Mushroom Tart Is Accidentally Vegetarian

Something magical happens when you roast mushrooms with olive oil for 40 minutes. This phyllo dough tart with parsnip puree is the perfect vehicle for the special ingredient.
This mushroom and parsnip tart is easy and delicious.
This mushroom and parsnip tart is easy and delicious. / The Institute of Culinary Education

Mushrooms are a vegetarian’s best friend. Not technically a plant and definitely not an animal, the fungi offer a meaty, savory flavor profile that’s hard to find elsewhere in the produce aisle. That’s especially the case when you roast them in a hot oven for 40 minutes or more. Whether you're veggie curious or fully committed to a meat-free lifestyle, these roasted, mixed mushroom tarts are the perfect vehicle for the ingredient.

This recipe from the Institute of Culinary Education elevates a handful of simple ingredients into an elegant hors d’oeuvre or light meal. Instead of having you make the pastry from scratch, it calls for store-bought phyllo dough that’s ready to bake. The trickiest part of the recipe may be selecting the mushrooms. They’re the star of the dish, so look for a good variety of the highest quality fungi you can find. 

“I would look for ones that look full for their size, not shriveled up, and I would also look for ones that don’t look wet,” Shawn Matijevich, the lead chef of online culinary arts and food operations at the Institute of Culinary Education, tells Mental Floss. “If there are some mushrooms people have been looking at in the grocery store and they don’t quite know what to do with them, this is a good opportunity to mix things up.”

Start the recipe by preparing the parsnip puree that holds the mushrooms. After peeling and cubing your parsnips, boil them in a pot with thyme, tarragon, heavy cream, and salt. Prepare your phyllo dough as the vegetable simmers. Once it’s fully thawed, lay out a sheet and brush it with melted butter, repeating with the next sheet until you have four layers. Cut the layered sheets into eight squares.

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Next, press the dough into rectangular molds with the buttery side facing down, and brush the top side with the remaining melted butter. Bake until golden brown according to the directions on the package. To prepare the mushrooms, toss them on a sheet pan with salt, pepper, and olive oil and roast them in a 350°F oven for roughly 40 minutes. While those are cooking, make your parsnip puree by adding the vegetables and some of the cooled cream to a blender and blending until smooth. Add more cream for a smoother consistency. Assemble your tarts by piping the parsnip puree onto each phyllo shell and arranging a mix of mushrooms on top of it. Garnish with chives and a drizzle of olive oil.

If you’re interested in taking your culinary education outside your home kitchen, ICE has campuses in New York and Los Angeles. Their curricula includes courses in the culinary arts, pastry and baking arts, and hospitality and hotel management. You can view their course catalogue online here.

Roasted Mushroom Tart

Makes 6 mini tarts

4 parsnips
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs tarragon
2 cups heavy cream
Salt to taste
6 phyllo dough sheets, thawed
4 ounces butter, melted
2 pounds assorted mushrooms (maitake, beech, enoki, chanterelle, or any variety you like)
Freshly cracked black pepper
6 chives
2 ounces olive oil

  1. Peel parsnips and trim ends, then cut into chunks.
  2. Add parsnips, thyme, tarragon, heavy cream, and salt to a medium pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer until parsnips are tender.
  3. While the parsnips simmer, lay out a sheet of phyllo dough and brush with melted butter. Add another layer of phyllo and brush with butter; repeat until you have four layers.
  4. Cut the phyllo dough into squares that are slightly larger than the molds you have (1 sheet should yield 8 squares).
  5. Press the phyllo dough into the molds with the butter-brushed side facing down. Brush the top side with melted butter.
  6. Bake the phyllo tarts until golden brown.
  7. Place the mushrooms on a sheet tray. Season with olive oil, salt, and pepper then roast in a 350°F oven until golden (about 40 minutes, though time will vary based on mushrooms used).
  8. Remove the thyme and tarragon stems from parsnip mixture, and add parsnips with a little of the cream to a blender. Blend until puree consistency, adding additional cream if necessary.
  9. To assemble, pipe parsnip puree into the base of a phyllo tart shell. Arrange roasted mushrooms on top of puree. Sprinkle with olive oil and garnish with chives.