Portobello Mushroom Parmesan

There are lots of people out there who have moral and philosophical reasons for going vegetarian. I tried it once, but I forgot that I’m not too many generations removed from people who considered half a cow a “light supper” {surprise, I developed an iron deficiency}. Steak showed back up on my menu pretty quickly, but I learned in the process that if you need a meal that’s low in calories, high in fiber, and fills you up, you find a good veggie substitute. Preferably one with a hearty taste and a lot of nutritional value.

Take the humble portobello mushroom.

via

These babies have long been considered the steak of the vegetarian world, and it’s not just because they’re huge and you can substitute them pretty easily into things like burgers. They’re also really high in protein and fiber and contain essential amino acids, vitamins A, B, and C, and, hooray, iron! And no fat calories. That makes them perfect for folks like me who are used to the nutritional items meat provides but just want a break from it once in a while.

These came in handy when I found myself craving chicken parmesan recently. Now chicken parmesan is absolutely delicious, but it is definitely not calorie friendly. I started wondering what would happen if I substituted a portobello mushroom for a lean cut of chicken, whether it would be tasty and filling, or whether it would fall flat. I started doing my research, and it turned out a few other people had the same idea – they made  this and this.

Since I’ve been running like a maniac lately, I decided to stray farther than they did from the healthy wagon. I was going to bread my mushroom, and since Fort Lee Army Lodging doesn’t have ovens in their rooms, I was going to have to saute it. Oh, darn. :) Check out either of the links above, or my side commentary, to make these the healthier way, or you can try these tasty bites out as is.

Portobello Mushroom Parmesan

What you’ll need {per person}:

  • 2 portobello mushroom caps
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper {or garlic salt}
  • 1 egg {optional, if you don’t want the breading}
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs {also optional}
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella

How to make it:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet. While you’re waiting for it to warm, coat the mushroom caps in the egg and dredge in the bread crumbs if you want the breading. Trust me, it’s tasty, and doesn’t really add a whole lot.
  2. Saute the breaded mushroom caps for 3-5 minutes per side, depending on how heavy they are. You want them heated through and the breading to be nice and crispy.
  3. This is where you would bake them with the marinara in a 400F oven for about 15 minutes. I did not. I filled them with marinara, topped them with mozzarella, and microwaved them on high for about a minute. Done!

I garnished mine with an easy side of salad greens, halved roma tomatoes, blue cheese, and Italian vinaigrette. I can’t say I wouldn’t have known I was only eating veggies, because while these were filling, I was hungry an hour later – but they were definitely delicious!

As much as I’m looking forward to having a real kitchen again, I’m also seeing the value in making food quickly and efficiently, and not being such an anti-microwave snob. The things can be used for far more elegant tasks than nuking up that nasty pack of mac ‘n’ cheese, and they’re great time savers! There’s no reason that busy people can’t still have good, healthy food.

So what about you? What’s your favorite way to introduce more vegetables into your diet – or to cut the fat from your food? Or to cook a good, healthy meal in a small amount of time?

KCS

  • http://hungrygirleats.wordpress.com hungrygirleats

    That looks and sounds really tasty! To add more veggies I have been known to minimize meat (eat it only at dinner time, making it a side instead of the main dish) so that veggies fill in the gap. Or swap beans for meat on occasion. (Black bean tacos or a mix of black bean /ground chicken ). We also look for ways to sub veggies into side dishes…. Breaded zucchini “fries” , mashed cauliflower aka “fauxtatoes”, riced cauliflower in place of rice… Spaghetti squash instead of pasta… Etc. :) no wonder I like this post!

    • http://kcsaling.com kcsaling

      It’s wonderful when veggies can be the true star of the show and not just a trumped up side dish! All your suggestions sound delicious! I’m definitely trying the breaded zucchini fries!

      • http://hungrygirleats.wordpress.com hungrygirleats

        They’re so good :) let me know what you think !!!

  • http://www.betsytransatlantically.blogspot.com/ Betsy Transatlantically

    DUDE. My mom stuffs portabellas with Boursin and then grills them. TRY IT. and I’ll show her this :)

    • http://kcsaling.com kcsaling

      That sounds EPIC. I’m definitely trying it!

  • http://sassiitalytours.wordpress.com sassiitalytours

    Reblogged this on Sassi Italy Tours and commented:
    This sounds delicious…and not too hard to do. Trying it!

    • http://kcsaling.com kcsaling

      Thanks for sharing – and hope you enjoy the recipe!

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