Well, that was great for the kids, but it is really full of cheese (to which I am allergic), and it is definitely not a low-fat, low-carb, healthy option for Shane, who is sort of watching what he eats these days; so I decided to make something to go along with that would take the emphasis off the pasta for him, and actually provide me something I could eat for dinner. First, I decided to add salad to the menu. We happened to have a bag of salad greens and a container "Healthy 8" from Trader Joe's (it's basically a chopped salad), so that was simple enough. I wanted something a little more exciting than salad, however, and I didn't have a lot of stuff to make a really great, interesting salad, so I decided to add one more dish to the menu. I had picked up some small portobello mushrooms last time I was at the grocery store, with intentions of stuffing them. Tonight seemed like as good a time as any.
Now, I have made variations of stuffed mushrooms before, and most of them have contained eggs, cheese and/or sausage. They're really good, but I can't have cheese, and I wanted to avoid soy, since I just had a veggie burger yesterday, so I decided to try something a little different. I figured, if I was going to leave out the cheese, I might as well try to make them vegan. The recipe I use for sliders, which is a favourite around here, relies on walnuts for it's hearty, "meaty" texture, and I thought they might work here, too. I decided to give it a shot, and I am so glad I did. They are positively delicious, so I thought I would write down the recipe while I am thinking about it, so I don;t forget.
1 TBS olive oil
6 small portobello mushrooms
1/3 cup walnut pieces, finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
1-2 TBS parsley
1/2 tsp oregano
2 TBS white wine
salt & pepper to taste
1/4-1/3 cup panko, or other dry breadcrumbs
about 1/2 cup water
Clean mushrooms and remove stems. Place 5 caps top side down in a baking dish. Dice stems and 1 remaining cap. In a medium-sized skillet, heat olive oil over low-medium heat. Add mushrooms, garlic and finely chopped walnuts (use food processor if you don't want any larger chunks). Sauté for a few moments, until mushrooms begin to soften. Add parsley, oregano and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Continue to cook, tossing gently to evenly cook. Stir in white wine, reduce heat and cook until wine evaporates. Add about 1/4 cup water, and continue cooking until water evaporates. Remove from heat, and gently stir in breadcrumbs. The mixture should sort of hold together and be moist, but not soupy. (If it is too wet, cook longer, or add a few more breadcrumbs. If it is too dry, add a little more water.) Taste, and adjust seasonings. Carefully spoon mixture into mushroom caps, pressing the mixture firmly in to the caps. They should be slightly overfull. pour about 1/4 cup of water in to the bottom of the baking dish, cover the dish with foil and bake for 30-40 minutes in a 350ºF oven. If desired, remove foil and increase heat to 425ºF for the last 5-10 minutes of cooking, to lightly brown the tops of the mushrooms. Let stand 2 minutes before serving.
These were delicious. I will definitely make them again. I think they could easily be made using smaller mushrooms to serve as a nice appetizer or party fare. I thought they were simple and delicious, but you might play around with the seasonings a bit to see what suits your taste. I think they would be great with the addition of a little finely diced scallion or onion, and served with brown gravy. Thyme might be a nice touch, too, but I didn't happen to have any this evening.
Unfortunately, I was so excited about eating them that I forgot to take a picture of them when they came out of the oven, but I did take this picture, right before they went in:
I hope, if you give these a shot, you enjoy them as much as we did.