Delicious/Nutritious: Making room for mushrooms
Portobello mushrooms are the satisfying vegetable that can make even the meatiest of meat lovers happy. They’re big, juicy and filling. Plus, they add great texture to anything and can absorb flavors well, making them as versatile as they are delicious.
As someone on a plant-based diet, I have mushrooms high on my list of favorites. They add great satisfying flavor to almost any dish from salad to soup to lasagna. I also have a tendency to just slice them up and dip them in hummus, because they’re perfect for that.
Just one cup of sliced portobellos has 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber, both of which are what gives them their satiating properties. They are also high in riboflavin (34 percent) and niacin (36 percent) and low in calories at just 42 for that whole cup.
Now, I realize a lot of people don’t prefer the taste of raw mushrooms (like, ahem, my husband), so the recipe I’ve shared cooks them just ever-so-slightly. The idea is that they’re cooked enough not to feel raw but not so cooked that they are mushy with juice (like, say, a portobello burger often is).
The guac filling makes these seem a little festive and not all “mushroom-y,” meaning you can bring these babies to a party and not get scrunched-up noses from the guests.
Also of note: You can use full-sized portobellos for this if you prefer, but that’ll be a LOT of guac for a single serving. Not that that’s a bad thing.
Baby Bellas with Busy Mom Guac
1 pound baby portobello mushrooms (sometimes called crimini)
1/4 cup salsa (I used Green Mountain Gringo Mild)
Preheat oven to 350 F. De-stem and wash the mushrooms and pat them dry. Place them gills up on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle in olive oil. Bake them for 8-10 minutes.
As they cook, prepare the guacamole. Cut the pitted and seeded avocado into large chunks and put them in a small bowl. Mash them with a fork to your desired consistency. Next, stir in salsa.
When the mushrooms are done, wait until they are cool enough to handle and fill each cap with guac. Eat immediately.
The portobello mushroom is a really interesting fungus. It’s a versatile mushroom, mild in flavor, big on surface area and texture.
It’s often used as a meat substitute, and can be marinated and grilled for sandwiches, or roasted with other vegetables. It holds up to heat and moisture well, which makes for limitless possibilities.
I am so excited for warm weather and summer, and have been focusing most of my cooking lately on salads and trying to avoid the stove and oven as much as possible. The portobello makes this really easy, because I can add something of substance to a salad without having to grill or saute.
This spinach caprese salad is so simple and takes seconds to put together, but is long on flavor and freshness. The large mushroom cap means we don’t leave the table feeling like we ate like rabbits.
Portobello Caprese Salad
4 cups baby spinach leaves
2 large portobello mushroom caps
1/4 cup fresh mozzarella, cubed
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup basil, chopped
For the dressing
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
Pinch of salt
Cracked black pepper (generous)
1 clove garlic, minced
Minced fresh basil
Shake up the dressing in a jar and set aside.
Slice the mushroom into long pieces and arrange on top of the spinach leaves. Cut the mozzarella into cubes and sprinkle over the top, as well as the halved grape tomatoes. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with fresh basil right before serving.
So simple! This is one of my favorite salads and is regular in the rotation. Even my children will eat it because it’s laden with that fresh mozzarella, which is amazing when it soaks up some of the balsamic.
— Megan Stuke (Delicious) is a working mom, a practical cook and an impractical hostess. Sarah Henning (Nutritious) is a writer, blogger, vegetarian and mom.