Quinoa*, fresh spinach and roasted grape tomatoes are combined with a bit of pesto, fresh mozzarella and toasted pine nuts. The whole works is stuffed into meaty portobello mushroom caps for a delightful meal on its own or a side that pairs perfectly with meat, fish or poultry. A shower of fresh basil adds a whisper of summer to a dish that’s already bursting with flavor.
Try it, I think you’ll love it ……………. don’t be surprised if your whole body starts smiling from all the wonderful epicurean delights you’re treating it to!
Quinoa & Spinach Stuffed Portobellos Capri
for the tomatoes:
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
for the mushrooms:
6 large portobello mushrooms
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
for the pine nuts:
¼ cup pine nuts
½ teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
pinch sea salt or kosher salt
for the quinoa:
1 cup quinoa* (I used Trader Joe’s organic tri-color variety)
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons pesto (purchased or homemade)
4 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into small pieces
¼ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
1. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line two sheet pans with foil and spray with cooking spray.
2. Toss tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, ground coriander, salt and pepper. Place on one of the prepared sheet pans and roast in oven for 18-20 minutes or until slightly shriveled and until most of the liquid has evaporated. Set aside to cool.
3. Break off mushroom stems and wipe the caps with a damp paper towel. Dry the caps and drizzle very lightly on both sides with olive oil, then rub to coat with your fingers. Sprinkle on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the mushrooms with open cavity facing up on the other sheet pan. Roast for 5-8 minutes or until beginning to soften.
4. Remove from pan and place mushrooms open cavity side down, on several thicknesses of paper towels to drain off excess liquid.
5. Combine chicken broth and quinoa in a medium size pan. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook 10-12 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
6. Remove cover and quickly add chopped spinach. Cover again; set aside for 5 minutes. Spinach will wilt from the heat of the quinoa. After 5 minutes add pesto and stir well. Add roasted tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cubes and stir gently to combine. Add extra sea salt and pepper to taste.
7. Scoop up quinoa mixture with a 1/2 cup measuring cup. Place one scoop into the cavity of each mushroom cap. Mound with your hands so mixture is a bit higher in the center. Bake at 400˚F for approximately 8-10 minutes or until warmed through and cheese is melted. Remove from oven divide among 6 plates. Sprinkle with fresh basil and toasted pine nuts. Serve immediately.
* ~ If you haven’t discovered quinoa yet, it’s a wonderfully nutritious whole grain. It’s been around for thousands of years, but has become increasingly popular in recent years for its health benefits. Quinoa is high in protein and low in fat. It adds lots of fiber, which helps lower cholesterol. It has a mild nutty flavor and, to me, it’s like a blank canvas, since it can take on a variety of different flavors depending on the other ingredients it’s combined with. It’s super easy to prepare, similar to rice. You can purchase it at most larger grocers, health stores and markets like Whole Foods or Trader Joes. I love the Trader Joe variety, combining three different colored organic quinoa varieties.