Meatless Monday: Brie and walnut topped portobello mushrooms

Quick to make and packed with good nutrients, these portobello mushrooms make a delicious appetizer or the centerpiece for a meatless dish when served alongside a salad and quinoa.

Beyond The Peel
Top portobello mushrooms with a strong flavored cheese of your choice and chopped walnuts. Pair it with a salad and a grain and in minutes you'll have tasty meatless meal.

When the hubby is away the wife will play!

In my house that means making all kinds of yummy food that wouldn’t really go over well, like popcorn for dinner. It’s not quite substantial enough for him. Go figure. Brie, sourdough, and olives with a green salad ... not really his favorite. He thinks that’s more of a snack and he’ll pass on olives all together! That being said, he has come a long way. I have converted him to liking almost every food, but most things still have to be in moderation.

Enter portobello mushrooms. I love them! But if I were serve to serve them to my husband as the centerpiece of a meal, I would be met with a very sad face.

So, while I have the kitchen to myself, I plan to get my fill of portobellos, eggplants, olives (I bought 3 containers!) and stinky blue cheese.

This dish – portobello mushrooms topped with brie and crunchy walnuts – is the first of those glorious meals. From start to finish it takes less than 20 minutes and it's packed with tons of nutrients and big flavor. It’s also loaded with healthy fats and 15 grams of protein. I had mine with lemony spinach. They can be served alone as a sophisticated appetizers, or with greens and quinoa for something more substantial.

And don’t skip the tomato balsamic emulsion. It’s delicious.

As for the mushrooms, I’ve tried it with 2 types of cheese and I encourage you to use whatever cheese you like best, but stick to one with big flavor. I recommend Gorgonzola, but a stinky brie was an excellent choice, too. Goat cheese is pretty common and I believe it would work well here, but try and use a cheese that gets melty, gooey and has lots of flavor.

I received my inspiration from one of my favorite vegetarian cookbooks, "Paradiso Seasons" by Denis Cotter. He uses all weights for his recipes, so as a result, I really only use his recipes as a jumping off point since I don’t own a kitchen scale. If you can find his book at a library I recommend you pick it up. Especially if you love gourmet, foodie inspired vegetarian meals. It’s a delightful book, filled with so much great information.

Brie and Walnut Portobello Mushrooms

2  portobello mushrooms

Olive oil

2 ounces of aged brie

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

4 large sage leaves

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Clean the mushrooms, break the stems off and reserve for another purpose. Place the mushroom caps upside down on a baking sheet. Brush the caps with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put 1 ounce of cheese (or more if you wish) on each. In a small bowl add the chopped walnuts. Finely chop the sage and add it to the walnuts. Stir to combine. Sprinkle each mushroom cap with 2 tablespoons of the walnut mixture. 

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. If the walnuts have not browned yet, broil for 1 to 2 minutes (set a timer). Serve with tomato balsamic emulsion.

Tomato Balsamic Emulsion

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup of tomato purée

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 teaspoons crushed fresh pepper

1/4 cup of Spanish smoked paprika

Using an emulsion blender, place all the ingredients in a pitcher. Blend everything into a thick emulsion. A mini food processor would work, too. Season with salt and more pepper. Serve by spreading 1-2 tablespoons of the sauce on the plate and place mushroom on top.

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