Friday, August 24, 2012


I’m back in Victoria visiting Little Mama, and Big Daddy (Mom is 5’ 2” and Dad is a big ol’ 6’ 2”, a whole foot taller than my mom, hence the titles).  So, I don't really call my mom Little Mama, I thought it was cute for the sake of the story, but I do call my dad Big Dadddy. Billy had to return home to earn the bacon, so Little Mama and I are shopping for dinner.  We like to eat vegetarian, she suggests portabella mushrooms.   I’m gonna be straight up with you, the Portabella rarely appeals to me as a vegetarian meal.  So often restaurants offer Portabellas as one of the few options for Veg-Heads, and they come out limp and over cooked, and quite frankly, bor-ing.  I’m about to brush her off when Little Mama declares, “Let’s stuff the mushroom”.   Now Little Mama hates to cook, but when she does cook, she’s pretty good, and she comes up with some pretty good ideas.   I’m loving this one… but ya know who’s doing the cooking. 
Now my wheels, they be a turnin’.  I’m thinking grilled veggies to place on top, making a pretty veggie tower.   We walk past the refrigerated section and I spy “Yves” vegetarian meat products (it’s pronounced Eves, those silly Canucks).  I’m marveling at all the choices when “Ground Chicken” jumps out at me.  That will be perfect for stuffing the portabellas…and I know there is a jar of pesto and some goat cheese at home.  I was going to add goat cheese to the veggie stacks, but then decided to make a pesto and goat cheese crostini intsead.
Big Daddy is a meat and potatoes kind of man, so we have devised a plan to get him to eat this healthy vegetarian dish.  We’re not gonna tell him that it’s vegetarian until he has gobbled up his entire meal.
*Make this dish omniverous by adding real ground chicken, gournd turkey, or mild Italian sausage...I'm not here to judge.

This is the Yves Veggie Ground Chicken.  It is by far my favorite brand of veggie “meat” products.

Sweat the onions, green bell pepper, celery and garlic in a medium skillet with a touch of olive oil.*If you are using real ground chicken, ground turkey, or mild Italian sausage, add that to the skillet as well.

Meanwhile to prep the portabella remove the stem.  Using a spoon gently remove the gills.

Add the Veggie Ground Chicken, bread crumbs, Italian season, sage, salt and pepper.  Stir on the heat for a couple of minutes just to heat the ingredients a little (Veggie Ground Chicken is already cooked).

Oops forgot the ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese, add that and mix well.

Brush olive oil on the outside of the mushroom.

Stuff the mushrooms with the filling.

Brush oil on the zucchinis and bell peppers, season with salt and pepper.

Place the stuffed portabellas and the veggies on the grill over medium to medium-low heat.  Remember to keep that lid closed.

When the portabellas and veggies are done remove them to a sheet pan, use one that you don’t mind putting on the grill. 

Place two slices of zucchini over the stuffed mushrooms.  Spoon a little pesto and sprinkle Parmesan over the zucchini.

Cut the peppers in half length wise, so that you have eight 1 1/2 inch strips.
Lay two strips of bell pepper over the zucchini and sprinkle with more parmesan.
**You could add some goat cheese between the layers of veggies.  I didn’t because I made a Pesto and Goat Cheese Crostini.

Leave the veggie stacks on the sheet pan, and put the pan on the grill for about 5 minutes, just to warm up.

Remove the veggie stacks to individual plates, or a platter.

Drizzle with balsamic glaze.

I decided to serve “Chicken Stuffed Portabella and Grilled Veggies with Pesto and Goat Cheese Crostini.  Look how easy...

Just slice a loaf of Ciabatta bread, or a baguette, spoon on a little pesto,

top with crumbled goat cheese,


and bake in a 375 degree oven for about 5 minutes, or toss them on the grill for a few minutes.

So Big Daddy ate every bite, then we told him our little secret.  He didn’t miss the meat at all.
Be it vegetarian or omniivorous (I’m pretty sure I just used ominivorous incorrectly), this portabella is so not boring!

Serves 4

½         cup       Onion, minced
1/3       cup       Green pepper, small dice
¼         cup       Celery, small dice
1                      Garlic clove, minced
12        oz.        Veggie Ground Chicken (about half of the package), *or ground chicken, ground turkey, or mild Italian sausage
1/2          tsp        Italian seasoning
¼         tsp        Sage
¼         cup       Fresh bread crumbs (1 slice of sandwich bread)
½         cup       Grated Parmesan cheese, divided into two
4                      Portabella mushrooms, stems and gills removed
1                      Large bell pepper, red, yellow or orange, cut each bell pepper into 4 strips.  If the bell peppers are small, use 1 1/2 peppers.
1 1/2                Zucchinis, cut the zucchini length wise ¼ inch thick slices, then cut the slices cross wise to get 8 slices.  Cut the peel off of the outside slices.
1/3       cup       Olive oil
                        Salt and pepper to taste
3          Tbsp    Pesto, store bought is fine
                        Balsamic glaze for garnish

  1. In a medium skillet over medium heat, sweat the onion, green pepper, celery and garlic, in a couple of teaspoons of olive oil for about 3 minutes.*If you are using real ground chicken, ground turkey, or mild Italian sausage, add that to the skillet as well.
  2. When the veggies are soft and the onions translucent, add the Veggie Ground Chicken (Veggie Ground Chicken is already cooked, so you just need to heat it), Italian seasoning, sage, salt and pepper to the skillet, stir in the bread crumbs and ¼ cup of the Parmesan cheese. 
  3. Brush olive oil on the portabella mushrooms, bell pepper and zucchini, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Fill the mushrooms equally with the stuffing.
  5. Grill the stuffed mushrooms, bell pepper and zucchini over medium to medium low heat.  The stuffed mushrooms will grill about 10 minutes just on the one side.  The bell peppers and zucchini should be turn after about 3-5 minutes and cooked about 3-5 minutes more.  The veggies should still have grill marks and still be firm.  Remove the mushroom and veggies to a sheet pan.  Cut the peppers in half lengthwise to get eight 1 1/2 inch strips.
  6. To stack the veggies on the stuffed mushrooms, first place 2 slices of zucchini on top of each the stuffed mushroom.
    **    You can add some crumbled goat cheese between the layers of veggies it you like.
    7.  Top the zucchini slices with the pesto and ½ of the remaining Parmesan cheese.
    8.   Place 2 strips of bell pepper on top of the zucchini sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese.
    9.   Leave the veggie stacked mushrooms on the sheet pan and put that back on the grill for about 5 minutes, just to heat through.
   10.   Remove the mushrooms carefully to individual plates, or to a platter, and drizzle with just a little Balsamic glaze.

Serve with Pesto and Goat Cheese Crostini.


1    loaf       Ciabatta bread, or a baguette, slice about ½-3/4 inch thick
                  Store bought pesto
                  Goat cheese, crumbled

  1. Spoon just a little pesto over each slice of bread ( don’t over do it, pesto is quite strong in flavor)
  2. Sprinkle the crumbles of goat cheese over the pesto. 
  3. Either bake in a 375 degree oven for 5-7 minutes, or put on the grill for 3-5 minutes.

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely love this dish! This recipe makes a full meal out of the stuffed portabella. Thanks for sharing...