Vegan mussels? I love being creative with food! This one was really fun to make and so tasty! Mushrooms are a great fill in for mussels, and toasted nori gives it a seafood flavor. The presentation and taste are very important factors; and this dish was a winner for both factors. I made it with a toasted baguette; but you can also serve over your favorite pasta.
Thinly slice the garlic and place in a pan with olive oil on medium heat. Sautée for a few minutes and then add the tomatoes, salt and crushed red pepper flakes if using. Lower the heat and stir to let everything simmer together for a few more minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Add the butter to another pan on medium heat. Add a single layer of the mushrooms and let them brown on each side. You’ll need to do these in batches to have enough room in the pan. While the mushrooms are cooking, heat the oven to 350F, and place the baguette slices on a cookie sheet. Toast them in the oven for a few minutes.
Next, add the mushrooms and nori to the sauce and pour into a serving bowl or individual bowls. Top with the fresh basil, and lemon slices if using. Place the toasted baguette slices at the edge of the bowl and enjoy as is, or serve over pasta.