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mushrooms and tofu en papillote + starting out a bit persnickety

I used to hate mushrooms and tofu. Together, separately, with sauce, without sauce, deep fried, grilled, whatever the method; it didn’t matter. I just didn’t think they were for me because every time I tried them, the texture was off. It felt like I was endlessly chewing tofu or desperately trying to swallow some mushroom as quickly as possible to avoid actually feeling it in my mouth. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why these were commonly available vegetarian main course options at restaurants. They just didn’t seem appealing. What gives!

So now that I’m all grown up, I’ve realized that a) my taste buds/senses for texture have matured just a tad and b) some of the cooking/handling methods used by restaurants with these foods was… not to my taste. I tend to like both of these ingredients in two very precise ways. One: with a crispy exterior and a juicy, yielding interior ie lightly fried with some kind of coating. Um, who doesn’t like that? Two: completely and utterly juicy, velvety smooth, mushy but with a shred of structure and bite. Almost unctuous. Meaty even. This dish falls into that dreamy second category.

This cooking method is one of my favourites. So elegant and fun. And easy too. Once you get some kind of folding and sealing technique down, you’re off to the races. You could try this method with all kinds of veggies and herbs, spices, acidic components, juices, stocks. Lots of possibility. I love the slightly reduced and sweet balsamic vinegar with the pungent and salty miso though. The end-product is super moist and tastes so undeniably true to all of the ingredients. None of the flavour evaporates; into the air and gone forever. You get to take in every little ounce of taste bundled up in that package. And that first bit of steam that rises when you dramatically snip them open? Oh man. Too good.

mushrooms and tofu en papillote with miso and rosemary
serves: 4-5
special equipment: 2-5 sheets of parchment paper
notes: Be careful when you snip the little packages open! Those pouches are super steamy. You could make this whole recipe easily in two parchment pockets, but feel free to make it in five smaller ones for presentation value.

12 ounces mushrooms, sliced (I used cremini and shiitake)
4 ounces organic firm tofu, diced into small cubes
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 sprig of rosemary, leaves finely chopped
1 tsp miso
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
2 sprigs of thyme (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the parchment paper: Take one sheet of parchment (about the size of a full sheet tray), fold it in half and cut out the shape of half a heart so that when you unfold the paper, the cut out is heart-shaped (ooooh romantic!). Repeat with the other piece(s).

Combine the sliced mushrooms, tofu, garlic, rosemary, miso, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl and toss until mushrooms and tofu are evenly coated in the vinegar and oil.

Place one side of the heart-shaped paper on a baking sheet. Place half of the mushroom and tofu mixture onto the paper, towards the crease and trying to keep it as compact as possible. Place a thyme sprig on top if using. Fold the edge of the paper toward you tightly, starting at the top curve of the heart. After the first fold, take the next inch or so and fold it towards you again, overlapping the previous fold a little bit. Continue this process until you’ve sealed up the whole pocket. Awesome visual instructions found here.

Repeat the sealing process with remaining pockets/mushroom and tofu mixture. Place pockets on a baking sheet and put into the oven for 20 minutes. The packets should be quite puffed up. Snip them open with scissors carefully and serve.

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Mushrooms Canada18/10/2011 - 10:45 am

This looks sooo easy & flavourful!
- Brittany

Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul18/10/2011 - 2:02 pm

This looks and sounds divine! I’ve never considered cooking tofu en papillote, but this week I’ll have to try it. Your photos are gorgeous!

[...] recipe is from The First Mess and her pictures are wonderful and instructions easy to follow.  I never made a dish that required [...]

Kelsey (Happyolks)18/10/2011 - 9:23 pm

Divine. period. I’m a sucker for the shitaki, wish they weren’t so darn expensive.

iscribbler18/10/2011 - 9:27 pm

Thank you for posting this recipe! It came right when I was wondering what to do with my spaghetti squash and I’m glad I tried it. It’s really delicious! :) The smell while it’s cooking alone is incredible!

Sprigs of Rosemary20/10/2011 - 7:54 am

Brilliant idea, cooking tofu en papilotte. Those pouches are so much fun to make and eat! I’ve always wanted to go mushroom hunting, too, but I’m not brave enough.

Laura20/10/2011 - 7:13 pm

I know! I’m scared of getting poisoned by something that looks identical to a morel or something. There’s a certain appeal to that kind of danger though.

victoria21/10/2011 - 10:56 pm

this is some goodness.

It’s almost gross how precious it is when you unfold the papillote and it’s a heart.

This Week’s Menu «24/10/2011 - 9:13 am

[...] We’re attending a pot-luck party, so I’ve left it open. Tuesday: Tofu and Mushrooms en papillote with Garlicky Crash Potatoes Wednesday: Shrimp with Couscous Thursday: Smoky Roasted Corn and Sweet [...]

[...] This recipe is from the website The First Mess. [...]

Agata16/12/2011 - 12:35 pm

Oh Im totally in love with this <3
Im a beginner with tofu-recipes but I will try this one :)

Jo27/12/2011 - 11:47 am

Looks delicious. Would love for you to share your pictures with us over at

This Week's Menu - Gamerwife03/07/2012 - 3:19 pm

[...] We’re attending a pot-luck party, so I’ve left it open. Tuesday: Tofu and Mushrooms en papillote with Garlicky Crash Potatoes Wednesday: Shrimp with Couscous Thursday: Smoky Roasted Corn and Sweet [...]

[...] discovered this recipe from Laura at “The first mess” 33 weeks ago and pinned it to try it [...]

[...] Dinner: Mushrooms and tofu en papillote [...]

[...] I came across this recipe The First Mess and while ago I immediately bookmarked it vowed to make it when the weather got [...]

[...] wanting to make for  a while.  I’d found this mushroom and tofu en papilotte dish from The First Mess blog and instantly wanted to make it.  (“En papilotte” means “in parchment.”) [...]

BlindGrrL28/01/2013 - 11:44 am

This tasted very nice… fresh yet earthy at the same time. I didn’t have any fresh mushrooms on hand, but I had a bag of dried shiitakes (much less expensive when you buy them in this form). So I soaked them until they were soft and prepared them per recipe. It came out great! If you love the taste of shiitakes (like me), but are on a budget (also like me), try using dried shiitakes- it’s considerably cheaper & worked beautifully for me… thanks for the recipe, dear :-)

Bethany Lumbert04/02/2013 - 1:33 pm

Would it be possible to use something else besides parchment paper?

Laura Wright04/02/2013 - 2:41 pm

Hi Bethany,
Aluminum foil would work just as well.

Bethany Lumbert10/02/2013 - 7:46 pm

Hi Laura!

This recipe was absolutely delicious. I love the balsamic vinegar addition paired with the meatiness of the shiitake mushrooms! yum! Thank you for sharing!!


[...] Mushrooms and Tofu en Papillote with Rosemary and Miso: [...]

[...] and mushrom papillote Image by Lablascovegmenu [EN] I took the recipe form Laura at her blog [...]

Cassie15/01/2014 - 2:29 pm

should the tofu be drained beforehand?

Laura Wright16/01/2014 - 9:34 am

Hi Cassie, yes the tofu should be drained and towelled off before you cut it up.

Catharine13/02/2014 - 3:23 pm

trying this mushroom/tofu in little packets and loving it.


Have you ever tried muhammara? Smoky red peppers, toasty walnuts, some garlic and lemon all blended up until creamy and delicious. It’s certainly one of my favourite dips for sure. I have a lovely little recipe for it over at One Green Planet today. Maybe you’ll take a peek?

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Jill @ A Cook's Nook16/10/2011 - 6:34 pm

Roasted peppers and walnuts- yes please!

The Hungry Birdie24/10/2011 - 4:37 pm

Mmmm, what a delicious-looking alternative to hummus! I must try this soon :D

Cookie and Kate24/10/2011 - 10:03 pm

Gorgeous recipe! I’ve seen muhammara spreads here and there and I think it’s high time to make some myself. I’m crazy for red peppers so I know I’ll love it!

grilled butternut and radicchio pizza + trials

This recipe kind of came to be out of spite. I originally intended to offer up a seasonal and sweet little pumpkin doughnut recipe with cranberry filling and fun-shine happy fall times. I was trying way too hard. To say that it didn’t work out as I imagined would be an understatement. Like the hugest understatement. Next course of action: I went out and bought myself a proper doughnut and ate it only slightly begrudgingly. I was feeling more like myself, things were good. Then I thought about making an off-the-cuff kind of pizza, abandoning any idea of making doughnuts altogether. Whoa, all of a sudden I was feeling a lot better.

I’m not sure you could even technically call this a pizza. I used roasted butternut squash and garlic mash as the “sauce” and this genius recipe as inspiration for the dough that doesn’t even require rising time. It takes literally 10 minutes to make. Then I grilled the whole thing and essentially put a lemony and fresh salad on top. Maybe you could call it a grilled flatbread with very balanced stuff on it? I like to get technical, but I’m still inclined to call this pizza. It’s such a feel-good word.

I put some basil and swiss chard pesto into the mix too. I love squash and traditional pesto together so I thought it would be even better here. I never make pesto from a recipe really, just kind of throw some toasted nuts/seeds in the food processor with the leaves of my choosing, olive oil, a bit of salt and pepper and blitz it around and scrape down the sides until it seems like the right texture and it tastes good. It’s a total intuition thing and it always works out just right. Wait that’s like, 98 percent of cooking right?

grilled butternut squash pizza with lemony radicchio slaw
dough recipe adapted from The Faux Martha
serves: 4-6
notes:  You could use arugula, endive or whatever greens you like in place of the radicchio. If you don’t have a barbecue, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F and put everything on the pizza except the radicchio mixture and bake for 15-20 minutes. Also, advice on grilling pizza: have absolutely everything at the ready when you’re making it. Time is of the essence!

1 small butternut squash, cut in half and seeds removed
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 sprigs sage (optional)
salt and pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

pesto (there will be some leftover!):
3/4-1 cup basil and swiss chard leaves (or all basil, all chard etc)
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1 cup warm water (not too hot!)
1 tbsp agave nectar
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 packet (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1 3/4 cup white spelt flour
1 cup whole spelt flour
1 tsp fine sea salt

1 head radicchio, outer leaves removed, cored and sliced
4 sprigs flat leaf parsley, leaves finely sliced
juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

2 tbsp oil of your choosing
1 shallot, peeled, halved and finely sliced
small handful of pine nuts, toasted

Roast the squash: preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Season and place the squash halves face down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. In the little cavity where the seeds were, sneak the garlic cloves underneath. If using the sage, place the whole sprig under the flesh of the squash (see picture above). Roast until very tender, about 35-40 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, scrape out flesh into a bowl. Squeeze garlic cloves out of their peels into the bowl as well. Add oil, salt, pepper and a splash of water. Stir and mash with a spatula until smooth. Set aside.

Make the pesto: place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until everything is broken up a bit. Scrape down sides of the bowl with a spatula. Put the processor on high until a paste starts to form. Scrape down the sides again. Let it rip one more time until it’s super smooth. Season to taste. Scrape into a bowl and put a dab of oil on top to prevent discolouration. Set aside.

Make the dough: pour the water into a large bowl. Add the yeast, agave and oil. Whisk to combine. Let the yeast proof for about five minutes or until you see bubbles forming on the surface. Add the flours and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon until combine. Knead with your hands until you have a smooth lump of dough.

Make the slaw: combine all of the ingredients radicchio, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper as close to serving time as possible. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.

Make the pizza!: Get your barbecue going to a medium-medium high flame. Roll dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness on a floured cutting board, pizza peel or anything flat that you can bring out to the barbecue. Brush one side with oil completely. Either flip or gently guide the oiled side onto the grates (you can oil the grates as an extra non-stick insurance policy). Brush the top, now-exposed side of the dough with oil and put the lid down. Wait about 3-5 minutes.

The dough should be browning and getting grill marks on one side and bubbling through on the surface. Flip it over. Spread the butternut squash and garlic mixture evenly onto the browned side of crust. Dollop the pesto on top and sprinkle the shallots on. Put the lid down and wait another 5-6 minutes before removing the pizza.

Place pizza on serving plate/large cutting board and top with the radicchio slaw. Sprinkle with pine nuts, cut into slices and serve.

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Melissa // thefauxmartha12/10/2011 - 9:57 pm

This looks sooo yummy! Love that you grilled it. You are the

Cassie l Bake Your Day12/10/2011 - 10:10 pm

This is amazing pizza…love it grilled. I tried this pizza crust a couple weeks ago and it’s amazing, we loved it. Your blog is lovely!

amy12/10/2011 - 10:36 pm

i looove smooth squash as a sauce situation! so good. its kinda pizza blasphemy but i’m down with and totally support the use of PIZZA here. sometimes you need a pizza that isn’t a pizza but FEELS like a pizza.

(what do you shoot with? yr pics are purdy)

Shelley12/10/2011 - 11:41 pm

this looks amazing Laura! Seriously, I bought a butternut squash at the farmers market this weekend and now I think I know how I will use it! Great post. Lovely pics, as always!

Michelle13/10/2011 - 12:15 am

Omonomonom! Gorgeous and drool-inducing, as always.

Can you make pesto in a blender, say, if you’re kitchen-supply lacking and don’t have a food processor:) ?

[...] See the article here: | grilled butternut and radicchio pizza + trials [...]

Laura13/10/2011 - 6:53 am

It’s life-changing (life-affirming even?) crust eh? Love it. And thank you :)

Laura13/10/2011 - 6:56 am

Amy! It feels wrong, but in the rightest of ways. I use a Canon Rebel T1i and my main lens is a 50 mm/1.4 USM. The lens is the real deal for sure. Small, light, surprisingly cheap and awesome for food pictures.

Laura13/10/2011 - 6:59 am

Michelle yes! Just maybe make sure the oil is right at the base of the blender so that it has some liquid to get going faster. You might have to stop it a couple times to push the foliage down. I would try to chop up the leaves and nuts a bit first to make the whole thing easier.

Twin Tastes13/10/2011 - 8:16 am

This looks delicious! What a creative way to use squash and radicchio. . and on a pizza?!? Even better

amy13/10/2011 - 9:15 am

amazing! that is one covetable lense… i use a pentax and for a lense with such a nice wide aperture we’re talkin’ $900ish. i envy youu!

amy13/10/2011 - 9:18 am

er, right after i wrote that i decided to look somewhere other than the pentax site and they’re a leeeetle less used all over. ha. your pictures are beauts.

Fresh and Foodie13/10/2011 - 1:21 pm

This looks absolutely fantastic. Beautiful photos, too. I look forward to trying this.

Peggy13/10/2011 - 1:40 pm

Well, whatever you call it, this. looks. amazing. For real! I can’t wait to cut open my butternut for this =)

Jill @ A Cook's Nook13/10/2011 - 3:00 pm

The colors are so vibrant- your photography is fantastic! I love unique pizza recipes and this one looks very flavorful. I can’t wait to try it

Richa@HobbyandMore13/10/2011 - 4:20 pm

so pretty colors!! i love everything about this pizza! the spices, nuts and grains! and the fantastic pictures!!

Isobelle13/10/2011 - 6:42 pm

This is such a beautiful pizza. I would love to try making this some time.

Anna14/10/2011 - 3:01 am

I am not an expert in the vegan-world. I am just actually starting to love the world of vegan-inspired dishes. I am not familiar with radicchio. Is it the one in the picture that looks like cabbage? Or is it a cabbage variety? It looks so crunchy, so I am sure they taste great. Thanks for answering my queries.

Laura14/10/2011 - 7:30 am

Yes it’s the one that looks like a cabbage in the picture! But the taste is closer to the endive family, a little bitter. It’s more crisp with a higher water content as well.

gina17/10/2011 - 2:35 pm

WOW! this looks amazingly delish! I want to make this. But, do you think it’s ok to use pre-cut butternut squash from Trader Joe’s instead?
I bought a package of that this weekend and was looking for a new creative recipe…this is it for sure!

Laura17/10/2011 - 3:11 pm

I think it should be fine. Just toss the cubes in oil and maybe chop the sage to combine with it. Maybe don’t roast it until it’s browned and crispy, but just soft. It might be a bit drier so just add a bigger splash of water when you’re pureeing it. Hope it works out :)

gina18/10/2011 - 10:56 am

it worked out perfectly! best butternut squash recipe hands down!

Michelle @ DailyWaffle28/10/2011 - 1:13 pm

We used this as inspiration for dinner last night, subbing in kale pesto. We love-love-loved the radicchio slaw – I’m now a convert to the “salad pizza.” Thanks!

[...] first the red — the radicchio. I re-discovered how wonderful radicchio is thanks to this grilled butternut and radicchio pizza over at the First Mess. This pizza is, in two words, ridiculously delicious. Seriously. And the [...]

[...] 1 lb whole grain pizza dough (I purchased a really great locally made one, but I have a recipe here too) 1/4 cup of harissa (I used this recipe from Food 52) 1 small eggplant 1 shallot 1/4 cup extra [...]

[...] || Two || Three || Four || [...]

Marlene @ Jade and Fern31/05/2013 - 11:48 am

I can’t wait to make this! Just shared it in a roundup on my blog:

[…] || Two || Three || Four || […]

[…] BUTTERNUT & RADICCHIO PIZZA. I love a pizza that brings its own salad.  This version from the First Mess tops the pie with a radicchio and Italian parsley slaw whose bitterness complements the sweetness […]

[…] help it, serve your chosen soup alongside this brilliant recipe from The First Mess for Grilled Butternut Squash Pizza with Lemony Radicchio Slaw. Now you’ve got a Meatless Monday meal you just might bust out again next week… for many […]

[…] || Two || Three || Four || […]