Friday, March 28, 2014

What A Way To Stuff Mushrooms

Longer ago that I would like I had a visit from my older sister. I miss seeing her, but she has a wedding to help plan and produce, so this dish she inspired will have to hold me.

She is a vegan and makes the most delicious meals. She created a great stuffed mushroom dish using a Trader Joes product that combines quinoa, rice, veggies and spices and is found in the frozen food section. We had friends over for dinner last week and I decided to make the stuffing from scratch...well, almost from scratch since I used a packet of precooked quinoa...but the rest was cooked and chopped by me.

First of all, I like to use Portobello mushrooms for this. They shrink a bit during grilling, so get large ones. Remove the stems and keep those for the filling. Scrape out the gills (the dark shards under the cap). Give them a quick rinse then put them into a zip closing plastic bag with the marinade. The balsamic vinegar in the marinade is one of the crucial elements of this dish, so be sure to use decent balsamic.

The stuffing can be made while the mushrooms are marinating. It can also sit for a while at room temperature without harm while you grill the mushrooms. Sweetie grilled the mushrooms about 15 minutes before our guests arrived, I stuffed them and put them in a lightly oiled baking pan, then put the whole thing into a low oven to keep warm.

That worked very well and allowed me to enjoy some conversation and nibbles with our guests before putting the finishing touches on a broccoli, kale, brussel sprout, cabbage and red cabbage salad which was enhanced with pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries and dressed with a raspberry poppy seed dressing. Steamed asparagus, drizzled with a bit of Meyer lemon infused olive oil was our other side dish and a basket of house made focaccia bread rounded out the meal. The salad was a mix that came from Costco, but I made the bread using this recipe.

You might want to try this meal, or at least these delicious mushrooms, next time you entertain. Everyone loved all the dishes served and I had fun figuring out how to create a stuffing better than the Trader Joe version. Don't be put off by the long list of ingredients. This is really some chopped veggies sauteed with some spices and herbs and a little wine, then mixed with quinoa and brown rice, and the whole thing stuffed into marinated grilled mushrooms. Worth the chopping and marinating. Most of the ingredients are probably things you already have in your pantry. So live a little! Have fun with this. You'll be glad you did.

I only got one photo of the mushrooms, but I do have a nice photo of a winter sunset taken the day before the party.

Quinoa and Rice Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
makes 6 large stuffed mushrooms

1 medium to large Portobello mushroom per person (I made 6)
1 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup aged balsamic vinegar
3-4 springs each fresh thyme and oregano
1 onion, peeled and chopped medium fine
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup diced yellow bell pepper
 mushroom stems, cut in small dice
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more, to taste)
 1/4 cup dry red wine
 2 tablespoons tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup water
1 package precooked quinoa (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1-2 tablespoons minced parsley
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

Prepare mushrooms by removing stems and scraping out gills. Wipe mushrooms with a damp cloth. In a gallon size zip closing plastic bag place the wine, olive oil, salt and pepper, balsamic vinegar and fresh herbs. Seal and shake to mix contents. Add mushrooms in a single layer. Seal and shake bag to coat. Let mushrooms marinate for at least two hours, up to 10 hours, turning bag over every hour so that mushrooms sit on the top of the cap one hour and on the gill side the next hour. Set aside.

In a heavy skillet, sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil, stirring often, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and bell peppers and mushroom stems. Continue to sauté 5 minutes.

In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice and zest, dried thyme, cayenne pepper, red wine, and tomato paste. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in the water and pour over onion mixture. Stir to combine. Add the quinoa mixture and the brown rice and stir to combine well.

Drain the marinated Portobello mushrooms. Grill them on a preheated gas grill or a charcoal grill where the coals are very hot. Grill with the cap side down for 3-4 minutes. Mushrooms should still retain their shape. Sit grilled mushrooms on their caps, gills side up, on a work surface. Stuff with the quinoa mixture, mounding the filling. Place each filled mushroom in an oiled 9" x 13" baking pan. Sprinkle with Italian parsley and pine nuts.

Bake in a 300 degree F oven for 10-15 minutes to heat through. Serve hot with additional parsley and with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.


  1. What a way indeed! That looks fabulous.

  2. Marian8:42 PM

    Great idea for the stuffing. I'm going to pass it along to my daughter who loves the stuffed mushrooms but reacts to some ingredient in the TJ's version.

    Miss you, too!