A few weeks ago, my dear friend Angie invited me and Hector over to make hallacas, a traditional Venezuelan dish that is popular during Christmas time. Hallacas are kind of like Mexican tamales, but different in many ways. One of my favorite aspects of food and recipes is that you can learn so much about a culture and family through their food and recipes. My goal on Thyme & Love is to share my families recipes, along with recipes that I pick up from my travels.
I was eager to learn how to learn traditional Venezuelan Hallacas; of course I had to make a vegetarian filling to stuff them. Besides the filling, the dough and how they are assembled are exactly how Angie does it with her traditional recipe. The filling base is referred to as a guiso, which is a thick stew-like sauce. It is both sweet and tangy, creating a filling with layers of flavor. I made the filling the next day before our hallaca cooking lesson and when I brought it over, Angie and her Mom couldn’t get over how close the flavor profile was to the original! Angie’s Mom said this would make a perfect filling for arepas and I just knew that I had to recreate it a Mushroom Arepa recipe for you!
I have shared my Avocado + Chickpea Arepas and Poblano and Cheese Arepas recipes on the blog and they are two of most popular recipes. Arepas are a traditional corn based bread that is served as the daily bread in Venezuela. It is made from cornmeal water, and salt. The dough is formed into patties than cooked. Arepas can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They are also naturally gluten-free, which makes a great alternative to bread if you can’t eat gluten.
The mushroom filling is easy to make and packed full of flavor. It starts off with sautéing some mushrooms. Mushrooms make a great vegetarian option when looking to replace meat in recipes. The have an earthy quality that holds up nicely against the sweet and tangy flavors of this guiso. Red wine adds depth of flavor and a tough of sweetness. Red wine vinegar adds the tangy element that we are looking for.
These Mushroom Arepas are best served right after the arepas are done cooking. The mushroom filling can be made ahead of time. Simply reheat it when you are ready to serve with the arepas. You only want to cut about 3/4 of the way through the arepa. You will create a pocket the holds the filling inside. Arepas are best ate with your hands and they can get a little messy! They are delicous served without any garnishes, but you could also serves these with ripe avocado slices, chopped cilantro, or maybe some green onions would be a nice touch.
These Mushroom Arepas would be a delicious savory brunch option or served for dinner.
They are sweet and tangy,
Naturally gluten-free &
Filling and comforting.
I hope you enjoy these Mushroom Arepas as much as my family did. If you make this recipe, we’d love to see your photos on Instagram using #thymeandlove.
For Mushroom Filling:
For the arepas: