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Better (and cheaper) than a burger!

By Joyce Hendley, March 10, 2009 - 4:36am

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When I’m in the mood to cook vegetarian recipes, I reach for portobello mushrooms. Portobellos are about as close to a juicy steak as the plant kingdom comes. Just try a grilled portobello cap on a bun with burger fixings, for proof. These easy recipes show how delicious portobellos can win carnivores’ hearts. Pure satisfaction, no fat and no steak knives required.

Get the recipe: Cheese-&-Spinach-Stuffed Portobellos

Here are a few of my favorite vegetarian portobello mushroom recipes:

Cheese-&-Spinach-Stuffed Portobellos (shown above): Here we take the elements of a vegetarian lasagna filling—ricotta, spinach and Parmesan cheese—and nestle them into roasted portobello mushroom caps. The recipe works best with very large portobello caps; if you can only find smaller ones, buy one or two extra and divide the filling among all the caps. Serve with a tossed salad and a whole-wheat dinner roll or spaghetti tossed with marinara sauce.

Barbecue Portobello Quesadillas: This smoky mushroom-filled quesadilla is reminiscent of pulled pork. A touch of chipotle chile pepper adds extra heat. Serve with coleslaw and guacamole.

Chinese Braised Mushrooms & Tofu: Ma Po Tofu, a classic dish from the Sichuan province of China, inspired this recipe. The original is made with soft tofu and ground pork or beef with plenty of heat from dried chile peppers and Sichuan peppercorns. Portobello mushrooms stand in for the meat in our vegetarian version and convenient jarred chile-garlic sauce gives it plenty of kick. Serve with brown rice.

Alpine Mushroom Pasta: In northern Italy, the influences of neighboring Austria and Switzerland are apparent in dishes like this pasta featuring Savoy cabbage and mushrooms in a light wine sauce. Serve with Caesar salad and bread sticks.

Grilled Portobello “Steak” Sandwiches with Blue Cheese Sauce: Blue cheese sauce gives these gutsy grilled mushroom sandwiches a classic steakhouse flavor.

TAGS: Joyce Hendley, Food Blog

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