For something delicious, impressive, healthful (except when loaded with cheese) and easy to make, we love meaty stuffed portabella mushrooms. We have our favorite fall transition recipes, as the lighter foods of summer transition to the heartier autumn and winter recipes.
Stuffed portables are so versatile.
They can be vegan, vegetarian or stuffed with ground meat or poultry.
They can be filled with scrambled eggs and kale for breakfast, used instead of English muffins for a twist on Eggs Benedict.
Substitute ‘shroom for bread: the bun of a burger, the slices for grilled cheese.
Plan a celebration: National Stuffed Mushroom Day is February 4th.
MUSHROOM COOKING TIPS
To avoid sogginess:
1. WIPE the mushrooms clean. Don’t wet them or or they’ll absorb water. You can use a slightly damp paper towel or a dry mushroom brush, which is softer than other vegetable brushes so it doesn’t bruise the delicate flesh.
2. PRE-BROIL or pre-bake for 3 minutes or so, to release some of the mushroom’s natural water. Then stuff and return to the heat.
3. COOK until the topping is just browned. Overcooking will release any remaining natural mushroom moisture into the your filling, as it dries out the mushroom.
DIFFERENT STUFFINGS FOR PORTABELLAS
Appetizers Or First Courses
Herbed goat cheese (garnish with croutons)
Mock onion soup: caramelized onions, croutons (or one large crouton) and gruyère (photo #4)
Pork or chicken sausage, spinach and smoked mozzarella; or lamb sausage with spinach and feta
Artichoke hearts (not marinated) and pimiento (roasted red pepper) with optional pepper jack cheese
Caprese: chopped tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, drizzled with EVOO
“Cheese course” (photo #4)
Corn and black bean salad
Israeli salad: chopped cucumbers, tomatoes
Mesclun/baby greens with garnishes of choice (photo #1)
Salad base (“edible salad bowl”): arugula, spinach (with bacon and chopped onions)
Caramelized onions and bacon (or variation: pork belly, proscuitto)
Cornbread stuffing, sausage and optional jalapeno
Grains: barley, pilaf, quinoa, risotto, wild rice, etc.
Mashed: cauliflower (photo #2), potatoes (photo #3), acorn/butternut squash
Pasta: orzo, soup pasta
Polenta, topped with shaved radicchio
Three bean salad
Dressing: bread cubes, onion, celery and anything else you add with the turkey dressing
Chicken cubes, broccoli florets and sundried tomatoes
Chicken salad with apples, celery, red onion and parsley or other favorite recipe (we like this curried chicken salad with grapes)
Grilled cheese: the mushroom becomes the toast
Leftovers: stretch short ribs, stew, whatever (photo #7)
Portabella “pizza,” with marinara sauce, mozzarella, and your favorite pizza toppings stuffed into the cap (photo #9—anchovies, anyone?)
Shredded pork or other protein, with barbecue sauce or other condiment
Seafood gratin (photo #8)
“Tacos,” with seasoned chopped beef or turkey, chopped tomatoes or drained pico de gallo, shredded lettuce, sour cream or grated/crumbled cheese and a tortilla strips garnish
Brush the caps with a flavored oil—basil, truffle, etc.—instead of olive oil spray.
Pay attention to seasonings. We’re big on fresh herbs.
Raw mushrooms can be used in salad preparations; but you can cook them if you prefer.
Garnish for fun and flavor, from breadcrumbs to pickled jalapeños.
Consider international focus, such as spinach, feta and oregano (with optional ground lamb), and curry, almonds and raisins.
RECIPE: SPINACH-STUFFED PORTABELLA MUSHROOMS
Frozen spinach is a time saver in this easy recipe (photo #6, the bottom photo at right).
Ingredients For 4 Servings
4 portabella mushroom caps
Olive oil cooking spray
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
¼ cup grated Parmesan
1. PLACE the oven rack in the middle and preheat the broiler on the high setting. Line a baking sheet with foil.
2. WIPE the mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel or a mushroom brush. Remove the stems and reserve for another purpose (eggs, salad, etc.). Spray the caps on both sides with the olive oil and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.
3. BROIL for 5 minutes on each side, or until just tender. While the mushrooms cook…
4. DEFROST the spinach in the microwave according to package directions; place in a colander to drain. When cool enough to handle, press on the cooked spinach with your hands and extract as much water as possible out of it. Repeat this until you can extract more water (we wring it with our hands).
Starters & Sides
 Enjoy a small salad in a portabella cap. You don’t have to cook the cap, but you certainly can. Here’s the recipe from Pom Wonderful.  Cauliflower purée in a portabella cap, from The Purple Carrot.  Mushrooms gratin: Fill with shredded gruyère or other melting cheese. Here’s the original recipe from Urban Accents). We turned ours into mock onion soup, filling the cap with caramelized onions, gruyere croutons.  Who could turn down mashed potatoes and bacon? Here’s the recipe from Eat Wisconsin Cheese.  This starter or side from A Food Centric Life is filled with goat cheese, roasted tomatoes and lots of chopped herbs. We substituted garlic cloves for the goat cheese, and sprinkled on crumbled cheese when the ‘shrooms came out of the oven.  Easy spinach-stuffed portables from Healthy Recipes Blog.