The other day I was at the grocery store, doing our weekly shop. I was looking around the produce section, keeping my proper distance from the rest of humanity, when my gaze landed on these beauties. Sometimes (all too often) I grab veggies randomly off the shelves without having a clear plan as to what I want to make with them. But this time, I knew. In my mind, I had a clear idea of making these gorgeous stuffed portobello mushrooms.
What’s so good about portobello mushrooms?
Portobello mushrooms are mature cremini mushrooms that have an intense flavor and a meaty texture. Eating portobello mushrooms is a great dietary choice as they provide a number of essential nutrients (B vitamins, potassium, phosphorus, copper and selenium) but they don’t contain many calories (a whole cup of grilled portobello mushrooms has only 35 calories). How good is that?
In case you didn’t know, potassium helps with nerve and muscle function, phosphorus is necessary for forming strong bones, DNA and red blood cells, copper is important for keeping your immune system, nerves and blood vessels healthy and selenium is an antioxidant that helps form DNA.
Adding mushrooms to your diet can also help increase your fiber intake and they can be used in substitute of meat, which is higher in fat, cholesterol and calories.
Stuffing these mushrooms looks like too much work
It does, right? But you couldn’t be more wrong. I have used exactly three ingredients to make them (or four, if you count the two different types of cheese as separate ingredients). Fortunately, one of them is my easy roasted tomato pasta sauce which is made with beautiful flavours like homegrown sweet cherry tomatoes, green olives and sweet caramelised onion. I have jars of this sauce in my fridge, waiting to be used, and stuffing it into the mushroom caps just seemed like a wonderful idea at the time.
My thought process went like this: why would I make pizza sauce or lasagna sauce when I have this perfectly good, bountiful and flavour rich sauce just there, ready to be used? Of course, if you haven’t yet made my recipe, feel free to make your favourite pasta sauce or use some from a jar – it will all taste good. But just look – they look so beautiful, nearly ready to go!
And what is the last ingredient to make these mushrooms?
Cheese, of course. I have used grated mozzarella and tasty cheese here but if you have any other hard cheese, feel free to use it. A sprinkle of a parmesan, cheddar and mozzarella would be delightful.
There is really no secret to getting the cheese beautifully golden. I have baked these beauties on the roasting rack placed over a large roasting tin, with the mushrooms being just above the mid-point of the oven. This got them close enough to the top heating element to bake until soft and the cheese to melt and brown, but not burn.
And the best thing? They only need 25 minutes in the oven and then they are ready to be stuffed again… in your face!
Stuffed portobello mushrooms
- 6 portobello mushrooms
- easy roasted tomato pasta sauce or your favourite pasta sauce (you'll need about 3 tbsp per mushroom, depending on their size)
- a few handfuls of grated cheese (I have used about equal amounts of tasty cheese and mozzarella)
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Place a roasting rack over a large roasting tin. Spray the roasting rack with some coconut oil to prevent sticking.
- Rinse off the mushrooms and pat dry with a paper towel. With a spoon, scoop out the stem and the gills.
- Place the mushrooms caps on the roasting rack. Fill with pasta sauce until nearly level with the top of the cap (do not overfill as you still need to top with cheese and you don't want the filling dripping over the sides).
- Sprinkle the cheese(s) over the top of the pasta sauce. Again, don't overdo it – just enough to cover the diameter of the mushroom is fine.
- Place the roasting tin with the roasting rack in the oven – choose an oven rack in the bottom half of the oven, so that the mushrooms are just above the mid-point of the oven. Bake for 25 minutes. Keep your eyes on the mushrooms towards the end of the baking time to make sure they don't burn.