Portabellas Italiano

If you are carnivorous, you’ll find that portabella mushrooms are a worthy substitute for meat. They are rich with umami, which is one of the five basic tastes. Much like a piece of roasted meat, they’ll impart that savory flavor that many people crave.

Whether a meat lover or a vegetarian, portabella mushrooms are the perfect star of any meal. In this recipe, I stuff the beautiful, plump caps with a mixture of vegetables and spices that will tickle your tastebuds. Cook them in your oven or on the grill!

In this recipe, I also use lycopene-rich tomatoes; processing the tomatoes into a sauce and combining them with olive oil helps to optimize absorption of lycopene. Men who eat at least two servings of tomato sauce per week were 28% less likely to develop prostate cancer, according to recent studies. It’s also heart-healthy and low in calories!

Make sure to buy large portabellas that are unbroken and well formed for ideal stuffing. Clean them thoroughly by scrubbing them with hot water and a mushroom brush. I usually allow 1 to 2 mushrooms per person, and serve them with a mixed salad.

Because of their savory taste, you can pair this entree with a hearty, tannin-rich red wine like a cabernet (also heart healthy). Enjoy!

Large Portabella Mushrooms (either whole or just the caps)

2 Zucchini squashes, cut into quarters

1 yellow squash, cut into quarters

3 carrots, chopped into small chunks

Swiss chard, several leafs, chopped

4 to 6 baby green onions, washed and chopped

1 small can of San Marzano whole tomatoes (substitute your favorite)

2 cloves garlic, minced

Fresh basil

Fresh thyme (or dried)

Extra virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt

Grated Parmaggiano Reggiano cheese, to taste (or your favorite Italian cheese)

1. Wash mushrooms and de-stem, if necessary. Rub a bit of olive oil on the outside of each cap.

2. Prepare stuffing. Heat a saute pan on stove, then add in a small pour of olive oil, over medium heat.

3. Saute baby green onions and minced garlic in oil for about 4 minutes.

4. Add in chopped carrots, zucchini, and yellow squash; saute until slightly browned but still crisp.

5. Pour in the can of tomatoes, chopping them into pieces. Mix with sauteed veggies and heat for about 5 minutes. Turn off heat.

6. Mix in chopped Swiss chard and chopped basil and thyme into mixture, blending well. Add a bit of sea salt, to taste.

7. Stuff each mushroom cap with veggie mixture until brimming – don’t be afraid to “smoosh” the stuffing into the cap. Sprinkle some of the grated Parmaggiano onto the veggie mixture.

8. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees or on a grill using the indirect heating method. Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until stuffing is slightly golden and mushrooms are juicy and fragrant.

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