Rough Draft Recipe: Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

Stuffed Portabella

I like to try new things when I cook, so I tend to use recipes more as a guide than a rulebook. I figured I’d start documenting dishes that are more original, or that I really like.

These stuffed portabella (or portobello, depending on their gender) mushrooms were inspired by a recipe for zucchini-feta casserole from one of the Moosewood cookbooks. The stuffing primarily consists of bulgur, a hearty middle eastern preparation of whole wheat.

Since this isn’t a perfected recipe, I figured it would work better as a set of notes rather than the conventional ingredients-then-steps format.

  • Soak the bulgur in boiling water, about  2-1 water to grain. Let sit at least 30 minutes, longer is better. It will get a little softer when it’s added to the stuffing, but you don’t want it crunchy at this point.
  • Saute some onion and garlic.
  • If your portabellas have stems, cut ‘em off and chop them up. Dice some zucchini. Add these veggies to the pan, and throw in some fresh ground pepper and dried herbs. I used parsley, basil, and oregano. Don’t be shy, the herbs will be responsible for a lot of the flavor of the dish.
  • When the zucchini starts to get soft, add a little tomato sauce. At least enough to coat everything, but it shouldn’t be soupy. I also threw in a few cut up grape tomatoes I had lying around
  • Drain off any water remaining in the bulgur, and mix it into the veggies. Did I mention you should probably be doing this in a pot or deep skillet? Add more tomato sauce if you think it’s needed.
  • As the stuffing is cooking, grill the mushroom tops in a lightly oiled pan. Put them in right side up at first, then add the filling after you flip them.
  • Sprinkle the filled mushrooms with grated feta and cover the pan for a few minutes to let the cheese melt. You can top them with more black pepper right before serving.
Portabellas in pan, right after adding stuffing and feta

I think they came out quite well for a first attempt, but here are some changes I’d make next time or things I’d like to try:

  • The only salt in the dish comes from the tomato sauce and feta cheese. I was surprised that it didn’t come out bland, but more salt could be added to the stuffing. I would probably also salt the mushrooms themselves as they’re grilling.
  • Other veggies to try: spinach, eggplant, red peppers.
  • If you are put off by the brown whole grain vegetarian healthy look, use more veggies or even omit the bulgur altogether. Then you’re basically making a ratatouille as the filling.
  • Mix the feta with ricotta or cottage cheese for a creamier cheese component, and put it in the mushroom before the vegetable mixture, for a gooey cheese filling.