by Francesca Patterson
I remember the day that I realized that cheese is an ingredient that has the ability to make you like almost any food. This delicious detail was the extra little touch I needed to guide me into eating more vegetables. A few years ago, I thought I had cracked a code when I realized you could really elevate your dish into something mouth-watering without taking away too much nutritional value by dusting it with your favorite kind. I think this is something that most moms already know, but to me it was revolutionary. The golden-brown finish, crave-worthy smells, and that savory salty taste are hard to recreate, and all make cheese a very special thing.
Even though I am someone who is not too keen on mushrooms in general, this is one of my favorite go-to appetizers. This is great to keep a large group of people fed for a little while until the full supper is getting ready. It also works perfectly as a healthy, enjoyable lunchtime snack. Another way to look at these mushroom sliders is as a kind of gluten-free pizza base. Portabellos are extremely hearty and will hold up to being loaded with many toppings, so feel free to get creative with it! The ones I picked taste really great with the flavorsome base the portabello provides. Picky eaters will surely eat their words when they get a taste of these. I recommend enjoying these straight out of the oven.
- 5-6 portabello mushroom caps (remove stems & then finely chop the stems for the filling)
- 1 green bell pepper (finely chopped)
- 1/2 yellow onion (finely diced)
- 1 cup spinach (chopped into small pieces)
- 1 tomato (diced)
- Mozzarella cheese (or whichever you prefer)
- salt & pepper (to taste)
- Bread crumbs (optional)
- Olive oil
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Coat the mushrooms lightly with olive oil and place them on a lined baking sheet, flat side down. Cook for 8-10 minutes to release moisture and then set the baking sheet aside. Keep oven at this temperature.
- In a pan, heat olive oil on medium-high. Add onions, peppers, and chopped mushroom stems. Cook for about 5 minutes, until onions are translucent.
- Add tomatoes and spinach and season all of this with salt and pepper to taste.
- Using about a tablespoon in each, fill the portabello caps with the sautéed spinach onion mixture. Top the filled mushrooms with a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese and bread crumbs if using. Place back in the oven to cook for about 10 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.