- 1 large portobello mushroom cap
- 1/3 cup of fresh, seeded, chopped tomatoes
- 1/4 cup of fresh chopped spinach leaves
- 1/4 tsp dried chopped basil leaves
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/8 tsp salt
- A few grinds of fresh black pepper
- 1/8 cup Italian bread crumbs
- 1/8 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- Preheat the broiler. (I used our toaster oven.)
- Line a broiler pan with tin foil, then spray the foil with nonstick spray.
- Use a spoon to remove the mushroom stem and gills. Then wipe both sides of the mushroom with a damp towel to remove any bits of dirt.
- Put the cleared out/cleaned up mushroom cap “face down” on the prepared broiler pan. Place the pan about 6 inches from the heat source, and cook the mushroom cap until lightly browned and tenderized, about 8-10 minutes.
- While the mushroom cap is cooking, combine the tomatoes, spinach, basil, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small mixing bowl. Toss with your fingers to combine well, then set aside.
- In another small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, cheese, and olive oil. Again, toss with your fingers to combine well, then set aside.
- When the mushroom cap is ready, gently/carefully turn it face up. Add the tomato filling into the cavity of the cap; then carefully put the bread crumb mixture on top.
- Return the mushroom (still on the pan) back to the broiler, and cook until the cheese has melted and the bread crumbs are browned, about 3-5 minutes. Serve and eat immediately.
Makes 1 main-dish serving, or 2 appetizer servings.
Nutritional information per main-dish serving (approximates): 175 calories, 5 g fat, 20.5 g carbohydrate, 4.5 g fiber, 3.5 g sugar, 9 g protein.
Mental Cost (ingredient availability): Low
Financial Cost (ingredient cost): Pretty Low
Emotional Cost (cooking skill level): Mostly Low
Time Cost (recipe preparation): Happily Low
Life Cost (clean up time/effort): Incredibly Low
Worth It? (rate from 1-5): 4.884
The Bottom Line: Will I make this recipe again?
I really like to eat appetizers, but I loathe cooking them. Nearly all of the ones that are ‘good’ are super-putzy and fussy to create, so they typically take a long time to make, and have 24 different steps, and require that I use nearly all of my mixing bowls and baking pans (so clean up is miserable afterwards)… so I just don’t do it. (Unless I’m throwing a party, or making a very special dinner – and even then, I only cook appetizers somewhat grudgingly.)
Now, I recognize that some appetizers are simple to make (think pinwheels, crudites and dips, a relish tray); but I enjoy the ones that are more complex – like stuffed tomatoes, stuffed mushrooms, stuffed olives, stuffed anything…
But then I got to thinking: What if I made one HUGE item, and then cut it into smaller pieces, thereby making fun appetizers, but also streamlining the whole process? Unfortunately olives don’t ‘share’ so well – but what about a big ol’ mushroom?
So, voila – this recipe was born.
Actually, this recipe is kind of a cross between a mushroom ‘pizza’ and a stuffed mushroom; and while it doesn’t share so well (I could barely manage to cut it in half without it falling apart all over the place), it is very tasty.
The final baked mushroom isn’t overly beautiful visually (it’s fine, but nothing extraordinary), but it smells wonderful, and it tastes really bright and clean. A whole one of these makes a very nice, light dinner (really nice for a spring or summer day), and a half serving is a terrific side dish.
If I were to make this recipe again, I would omit the salt altogether (there’s plenty of salt taste between the breadcrumbs and the cheese), but otherwise I think this dish is quite a lovely one. Easy to make, healthy for the body, and good flavor which makes for a good dining experience. Nice.
P.S. For those who are curious: I chose to eat this dish as 2 appetizer servings, so that I could eat the first half of the mushroom immediately after making it (just as the recipe commanded), but so I could also see how the dish held up after being stored overnight and re-heated the next day. I then ate the second half of the mushroom 24 hours later (after microwaving it for 1 minute to get it hot again) – and it was nearly as good as when I had the night before. The breadcrumbs were slightly soggy, and the spinach lost a hint of its’ beautiful green color; but the flavors were still as vibrant as when I ate it fresh out of the oven, and it was still a pleasing dining experience. So…if you do happen to have leftovers of this dish, they can tolerate a day of storage and re-heating. Just so you know. :)