Most of my cooking is inspired by what’s fresh and available, either from my garden or at the store and this recipe is a perfect example of that.
Portobello mushrooms, as popular as they’ve become, are not always readily available where I live. Often, when I do find them, they’re not always as nice as they should be, so I was pleasantly surprised, on a recent trip to the store (thank you, Aldi), to find some plump, fresh beauties.
I already knew I had some Italian sausage in my freezer that I could use for stuffing them, along with some sweet peppers, garlic, scallions and shallots from my garden. Then, on the evening I was putting them together, I thought some cooked quinoa would ramp up the flavor and (bonus) add to their nutritional profile.
Anytime I stuff mushrooms, I also like to gently remove the mushroom stems, finely chop them and add them to my stuffing – they help keep the stuffing moist, in addition to amping up the mushroom flavor.
portobello mushrooms stuffed with sausage and quinoa
- Olive oil, for brushing mushrooms and sauteing sausage
- 6 large portobello mushroom caps, wiped clean, stems removed and set aside
- 1 lb. Italian sausage
- 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 cup sweet peppers (red, green, yellow, orange), finely chopped
- 2 scallions, finely sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 cup cooked quinoa (1/2 cup quinoa and 1 cup water, bring to boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes or until water is absorbed)
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for topping
Prepare the mushrooms by gently removing their stems (save them for the stuffing), rinsing and wiping them dry and brushing the outer cap with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350
Heat a skillet and add a tablespoon of olive oil. When oil is hot, add Italian sausage and, when pink begins to disappear, add pepper flakes, garlic, shallots and peppers.
Cook until peppers start to soften, then stir in parsley and sliced scallions. Cook for 5 minutes more and remove from heat.
Stir in quinoa, panko and 1/2 cup Parmesan, then gently pack stuffing into mushroom caps. Top stuffed mushrooms with a little extra grated Parmesan.
Bake at 350 for about 20-25 minutes, or until mushrooms are barely cooked through. Remove from oven, let cool for 5 minutes (otherwise they’re lava hot) and serve.
There is a ton of flavor and goodness packed into these and they reheat beautifully.
The stuffing does stay a little loose so, if you prefer it tightly-packed, I suggest adding a beaten egg to the stuffing, before cooking, to help bind everything together.
Also, there’s no reason you can’t make these a vegetarian dish by omitting the sausage and doubling the quinoa. You can also replace the quinoa with cooked rice or lentils or beans or…use your imagination and don’t be afraid to play with your food.