Allow me to introduce you to Portabello mushrooms, which are basically a chestnut mushroom that has been allowed to grow to full maturity. What you’re left with is a dense, meaty texture and an intensely deep mushroom flavour. Delish! Plus, the Portabello’s large, saucer-like base allows it to be used in a variety of ways, such as stuffed, baked, grilled or even barbecued.
In my view, Portabellas are one of the best veggie substitutes for meat when you’re in a hurry and fancy something cheap and vegetarian. Low-carb and easily digested, they are a natural source of plant-based protein and contain many essential nutrients and disease-fighting antioxidants and phytonutrients to boost health and combat inflammation.
Some other vegetarian pairings that enhance Portabella’s meaty-textured earthiness are grilled goats cheese on a base of black olive tapenade; chopped pecans with celery and blue cheese and creamy, scrambled eggs topped with a sprinkling of fresh tarragon or chives. All are healthy, flavour-packed and quick-to-make but I think today’s recipe for golden, crunchy, Roasted Portabella Mushrooms With Leeks, Pine Nuts & Halloumi wins hands down as a stand-alone meal when served with a bag of organic salad leaves dressed with a drizzle of Balsamic.
Roasted Portabella Mushrooms With Leeks, Pine Nuts & Halloumi is a version of Sabrina Ghayour’s tapas recipe of similar name that features in her book ‘Feasts’. I’ve made more of a meal of them by adding leeks, toasting the pine nuts and using a tad more halloumi and butter than the original recipe states. N.B. They don’t take as long to bake as Sabrina suggests! Also, try to select Portabella mushrooms with upturned edges - not flat ones - so that the generous amount of filling I specify here doesn’t spill out during the cooking process.
Real, nutrient-dense food provided by nature and on the table in less than an hour…bring it on.
Roasted Portabella Mushrooms With Leeks, Pine Nuts & Halloumi (serves 4)
8 large organic Portobello mushrooms
400g organic leeks, finely chopped
80g organic pine nuts, lightly toasted
80g organic unsalted butter, softened
a small bunch of fresh, organic coriander, very finely chopped
150g halloumi cheese, coarsely grated
Freshly ground organic black pepper
Heat a large frying or sauté pan over a medium heat. When it is hot add 1 tablespoon of the butter and the chopped leeks to the pan, stir together well so that the leeks are evenly coated in butter.
Cover the pan and gently cook for about 8-10 minutes or until the leeks are meltingly soft but not coloured. Set aside to cool.
In a separate frying pan set over a low heat, gently toast the pine nuts until golden. Set aside to cool.
Pre-heat the oven to 220℃. Line a large baking tray with non-stick foil and/or baking paper (I use both).
Clean the mushrooms with dampened kitchen paper then cut their stalks level with the gills. Place the mushrooms, gills uppermost, onto the prepared baking tray.
In a medium bowl, combine the remaining butter, halloumi, coriander, cooked and cooled leeks and pine nuts together, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
Divide the mixture evenly between the mushrooms - using a spoon to pile one portion into the centre of each mushroom and to press it down well into the base.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until nicely browned, then serve immediately.
For a vegetarian feast, try serving delicious Roasted Portabella Mushrooms With Leeks, Pine Nuts & Halloumi with a quick and easy to make, fresh herb omelette. If you don’t know how to make perfect omelettes, I’ll share my secret in my next post!