Balsamic Roasted Portobello Mushrooms & Red Peppers with Feta and Avocado

Balsamic Roasted Portobello Mushrooms

I like to think of Portobello mushrooms as the steak of the vegetarian world. These mushrooms are thick with a meaty texture and, unlike other mushrooms, they can stand on their own as a complete meal. Or, you can serve them as a hearty side dish or slice them up in a serious salad.

Portobellos can seem a bit intimidating because you clean them differently than other vegetables. This is how I prepare them:

  1. Remove the stem by simply pulling it out with one hand while gently gripping the cap with the other hand.
  2. Scrape out the gills on the underside of the mushroom with a spoon. The gills are safe to eat, but tend to have a slimier flavor and lead to ‘dirtier’ looking dishes.
  3. Use a damp paper towel to wipe down the entire mushroom.

There are some great YouTube videos showing the step-by-step process, too. It only takes a few minutes, I promise!

Why you should eat mushrooms: The benefits

  1. A Portobello mushroom has about as much potassium as a banana.
  2. They’re chock-full of antioxidants – and don’t lose their cancer-fighting power when cooked, so you can enjoy them however you like them!
  3. They also don’t lose their minerals and nutrients when cooked – which include niacin, selenium and copper.
  4. They’re delicious.

Balsamic Roasted Portobello Mushrooms & Red Peppers with Feta and Avocado

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Ingredients:

4 Portobello mushrooms, cleaned and gutted as described above

1 red pepper, cut length-ways into four large slices

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/8 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tsp chopped garlic

1/4 tsp rosemary

1/4 tsp thyme

Crumbled Feta cheese

1/2 avocado, sliced, to garnish

Directions:

  1. Marinate the mushrooms and peppers in the olive oil, balsamic, garlic, rosemary and thyme for  at least one hour (but no more than six or the mushrooms will break down).
  2. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  3. Place mushrooms and peppers on an oven-proof pan and cook for about 20 minutes. You will notice that the mushrooms bleed out much of their moisture – this is normal.
  4. Sprinkle feta cheese on each mushroom – I like to put the cheese on the underside of the mushroom to make use of the natural cup shape.
  5. Once cheese is melted, serve. Place one piece of pepper on the bottom, followed by a Portobello and garnished with avocado slices.
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Mango Bean Salad

Mango Bean SaladOkay folks, here’s a super easy and delicious lunch idea with lots of protein to keep you going all day. I give you: Mango Bean Salad! I put it on a bed of spinach and spring lettuce, but I could see this as a good topping for a veggie burger or as a quick side dish.

Ingredients:
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, rinsed and drained (in the summer you can use corn from the cob)
1 red bell pepper, cut up into small pieces
2 medium avocados, sliced into small pieces
1 large mango, cut into small chunks
1 tsp olive oil
dash of salt to taste

Directions:
Mix all ingredients. That’s it!

Mango Bean Salad<

Southwestern Quinoa – Vegetarian and Gluten-free

I love, love Mexican food. Beans? Good. Peppers? Yum. Avocados? Pile ’em on! Rice? …Eh… can kinda take it or leave it. Today I decided to leave it behind by substituting quinoa for the rice in the typical burrito bowl. Deliciosa! 

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Southwestern Quinoa
Makes 4 servings 

1 cup pre-rinsed quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
2 red peppers, washed and chopped into bite-size pieces
2 small onions, washed and chopped into bite-size pieces
2 ripe avocados, sliced into bite-size pieces
1 can of black beans, mostly drained (leave a small amount of liquid for flavor)
1 tbsp. olive oil  
Optional: salsa, shredded cheese, sour cream, cayenne, chili powder.

 

  1. Combine quinoa and vegetable broth in saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed.
  2. While quinoa cooks, heat the olive oil for 1-2 minutes in large frying pan. 
  3. Add peppers and onions to frying pan. Stir consistently, and cook until the vegetables reach your desired consistency and begin to brown.  
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  4. Add beans to quinoa and mix; cook for 1-2 minutes until heated through. (If you like a bit of heat to your food, add some cayenne or chili powder at this point.)
  5. Combine vegetables, quinoa & beans and avocado pieces.
  6. Top with desired garnishes – I definitely recommend the cheese! 

Cilantro Cumin Potato Salad

It’s not very often that I am inspired by a meal I have during a meeting at work, but today was an exception. An outside caterer brought us a salad in a cilantro cumin dressing, and it was such a great combination that I had to make my own version. Here is a southwestern spin on the classic potato salad, made with Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise to save some calories and add protein.

Cilantro Cumin Potato Salad

Cilantro Cumin Potato Salad

2 sweet potatoes, cubed
6 red potatoes, cubed
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 avocados, cubed
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved long ways (I also squeezed the juices out)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

Dressing Ingredients
1 5.3 ounce container of Greek yogurt
2 tbsp half and half cream
1/4 tsp cumin
5 tbsps fresh cilantro, minced
1 tsp minced garlic (you may want more, but start with this)
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp white vinegar
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste

Cilantro Cumin Lime Potato Salad

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Put the red potatoes and sweet potatoes in a roasting pan. Cover with the olive oil. Roast for 25-30 minutes, until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork and slightly brown on the edges.
  3. While the potatoes are roasting, make the dressing by combining all dressing ingredients and whisking until smooth.
  4. When potatoes are done, combine all ingredients, cover with dressing, and mix until evenly distributed.
  5. Serve at room temperature and enjoy!