Growing up I HATED mushrooms. That’s not even an exaggeration. If they were even anywhere near my food, I wouldn’t eat it. I didn’t do the whole “just pick them out” thing, I flat out refused because they’ve already touched the other food. And don’t even bother trying to hide them, I would know. “I can still taste them!!”. There were many many untouched plates of food and fights with my parents about what they were going to cook for company…”You can’t put mushrooms in it, I won’t eat it, you guys are so disgusting!” What a selfish, foolish brat I was.
This doesn’t really have a perfect ending…I didn’t wake up one morning as a child and run up to my mom and beg her to cook mushrooms. After 26 years I finally gave mushrooms another chance this past summer, and for some reason I warmed right up to them! Now it’s not all wonderful – I’m still pretty picky about them. I still REFUSE to eat them on a pizza. I did try it though! I thought with my new found love for mushrooms I might dig it – but no. Still just so gross and so soggy. I know everyone normally argues about pineapple on pizza, but the real argument should be mushrooms on pizza. Hard pass, buddy.
Basically I’ll only eat them if they’re roasted, sauteed or in pasta. Although that’s huge progress for me! And I’m at the point now where sometimes I even CRAVE sauteed or roasted mushrooms. The other week I even roasted some whole mushrooms to dip in my tzatziki. And since I’m not a big meat eater, I find that mushrooms are a good substitute to add some heartiness to dishes. Like this dish!
Wow, okay I’ve blabbed on a lot, but I promise I’m sort of almost done. These mushrooms are SO delicious. Portobellos are so hearty, and they’re a great blank canvas for whatever you want to put on them. Since they’re so big they’re a perfect size for a meal and to fill with lots of delicious stuffing! I’m a huge fan of caprese salad, so this was a no brainer. You put tomatoes, cheese, basil, and balsamic on anything and I’ll eat it. Now I know that caprese traditionally doesn’t have bell pepper in it, but I really liked the pop of yellow and the crunch that it gave!
I’m not sure how many people know this..but even before my sudden mushroom love affair, I was taught how to properly clean them! No, please don’t rinse them under water. You’re ruining them. I won’t blame you if you do though because running them under water is easy, but mushrooms are like little expensive delicious sponges….if you rinse them under water they’re going to soak all that water up and you’re going to have tough, watery, soggy mushrooms. GROSS. That’s another hard pass for me. The BEST way to clean them is to simply wipe them down with a damp towel one at a time. Yes, I know it’s a lot of effort, but you’ll be rewarded when your little parcels of flavour are tender and golden and crispy (if you’re sauteeing).
Alright, back to this dish itself. Hearty, warm and juicy – so delicious! Trust me, you won’t miss meat in this dish at all. I like to scoop the gills out of the mushroom to make room for more stuffing – warm tomatoes, fresh basil, ooey gooey cheese and a drizzle of balsamic – HEAVEN. If you’re vegan – leave out the cheese – so easy! The hardest part of this dish is waiting for it bake when you’re hungry. It’s also a perfect sheet pan dinner. I put the mushrooms at one end of my baking dish (tin foil makes for easy clean up!) and at the other end, I put asparagus with oil, salt and pepper and let it all just cook together. Couldn’t be any easier!
If you haven’t given stuffed mushrooms a chance, now’s the time! I promise that they’re really fun-gi’s!! (ba dum ch)…*crickets* yea okay I’m done now.
Caprese Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Makes 2 portobello caps
- 2 portobello mushrooms
- 1/2 cup sliced cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1/2 bell pepper
- 1 clove of garlic (to taste)
- Olive Oil
- Mozzarella cheese (fresh or shredded – I used mini balls of fresh mozzarella) (to make vegan, leave out)
- 2 tbsp fresh basil, plus more for garnish
- salt & pepper (to taste)
- Balsamic glaze (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375 fht.
Start by wiping down the mushrooms with a damp cloth. Remove the stem and gills from the mushroom to make them stuffable.
Brush the mushrooms (inside and out) with olive oil. Place on a foil or parchment lined baking tray (easy clean up!)
In a bowl combine tomatoes, pepper, garlic, basil, salt and pepper.
Spoon the filling into the mushroom caps (make sure they’re well filled!) and bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes or until mushrooms and filling are hot and softened.
Top the mushrooms with mozzarella cheese and broil for 2-5 minutes (keep an eye on them – each oven is different!) until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
To serve, garnish with more basil and balsamic glaze (optional). I served mine with roasted asparagus and arugula, but this works as a main OR a side dish!