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:
- Remove the stem by simply pulling it out with one hand while gently gripping the cap with the other hand.
- 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.
- 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
- A Portobello mushroom has about as much potassium as a banana.
- 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!
- They also don’t lose their minerals and nutrients when cooked – which include niacin, selenium and copper.
- They’re delicious.
Balsamic Roasted Portobello Mushrooms & Red Peppers with Feta and Avocado
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
- 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).
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- 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.
- 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.
- Once cheese is melted, serve. Place one piece of pepper on the bottom, followed by a Portobello and garnished with avocado slices.
Okay 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.
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
Mix all ingredients. That’s it!
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!
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.
- 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.
- While quinoa cooks, heat the olive oil for 1-2 minutes in large frying pan.
- Add peppers and onions to frying pan. Stir consistently, and cook until the vegetables reach your desired consistency and begin to brown.
- 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.)
- Combine vegetables, quinoa & beans and avocado pieces.
- Top with desired garnishes – I definitely recommend the cheese!
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
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
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
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- 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.
- While the potatoes are roasting, make the dressing by combining all dressing ingredients and whisking until smooth.
- When potatoes are done, combine all ingredients, cover with dressing, and mix until evenly distributed.
- Serve at room temperature and enjoy!