I love mushrooms so, to me, portobellos are like mushrooms on steroids. They’re extremely tasty and fragrant when fried up and they have a number of health benefits. They are also perfectly suited to being stuffed once you de-gill and de-stem them. I do love a good stuffed red pepper but this is an extra-special treat for me. Really, you can stuff this mushroom with anything from quinoa to turkey to rice but this paleo version adapted from Sausage Stuffed Portobello from Tammy Caldecott’s Make Ahead Paleo is out of this world
Now for the healthy low-down on portobello mushrooms. In case you’re wondering, portobellos are just mature cremini mushrooms with a more intense flavor–which is exactly why I prefer them over the cremini. They’re great for the immune system and have anti-cancerous properties just like medicinal mushrooms but they are usually much cheaper. Vegetarians will be thrilled to hear that mushrooms are one of the only non-meat sources for CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), a constituent responsible for killing cancerous cells. Some studies have been showing that there is an inverse relationship, in fact, between mushroom consumption and breast cancer risk.1 It’s hard to argue with a vegetable that has cancer-fighting properties. What I also love about the mushroom is that it’s very high in Vitamin B, specifically B2 and B3, which are excellent for the nervous system–that includes our eyes, heart, brain. Bs also are helpful when we’re under stress.
Now I know this is not a vegetarian dish but I must add that mushrooms have a “meaty” feel which makes them perfect to add to a vegetarian or vegan diet–especially if you’re missing the texture of meat. For, paleo followers, you get the benefit of a vegetable that is quite filling and almost has a bread-like texture. Okay I might be stretching it a bit but I don’t feel like I’m missing bread when I have portobellos in a meal.
So that’s the base of our recipe–the mushroom. What’s inside is pretty darn good too. I started with a saute of shallots and garlic then added a red pepper and some parsley. Most definitely I added some complimentary spices like Oregano and Thyme. Then I did something a little odd–I added about 1/4 tsp of Chinese Five Spice because I’ve been going a little “stir” crazy for it lately. I loved the effect! You can try it out yourself or leave it out.
Flavorful meat is a requirement in my family so I asked Dad (Skippy to those who know him) what exactly he did to his hamburger or sausage to make it pack a punch. He said that he always adds pork to his beef to “up” the flavor. The ratio is about 80:20 (beef to pork) so that’s generally the rule I followed and man did it end up swinging the pendulum to outstanding.
Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
This is a visual feast and a nice alternative to stuffed peppers. You can really put anything inside the mushroom once it's de-gilled and stemmed. I chose a mix of beef with flavorful pork. Experiment with your spices but I loved a tad of Garam Masala.
- 4 medium-sized Portobello mushrooms, de-gilled and stemmed
- 1 T coconut oil
- 1/2 cup diced onion (whatever you prefer: scallions, shallots, red, yellow or white)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 tsp Chinese Five Spice
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 350 g beef
- 100 g pork
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- Parsley for garnish
- Step 1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Step 2 Heat coconut oil to medium in a skillet then add onions and saute for 4 minutes
- Step 3 Add garlic and saute for 2 more minutes
- Step 4 Add seasonings and blend well
- Step 5 Add beef and pork, stirring and breaking apart until they are in very small pieces and nicely browned (about 10 minutes)
- Step 6 Add tomato sauce and simmer on medium low for 10 minutes
- Step 7 Put as much meat mixture in each mushroom as feasibly possible
- Step 8 Put mushrooms in a casserole dish lined with parchment paper and cook for 25 minutes
- Step 9 Garnish with freshly cut parsley
- Feeney, Mary Jo, Amy Myrdal Miller, and Peter Roupas. “Mushrooms—Biologically Distinct and Nutritionally Unique.” Nutrition Today49, no. 6 (2014): 301-07. doi:10.1097/nt.0000000000000063.