As I sit here writing this post, it is 7 a.m. on a grey and rainy Monday morning in Brooklyn. It was still dark out up until a few minutes ago so it’s safe to say that autumn vibes – the kind that make you want to listen to Radiohead – are in full swing. It’s the time of year for our meals to become warmer, heartier, and more soul-satisfyinger. This recipe for stuffed portobellos from Rebecca Ffrench’s Whole Protein Vegetarian (Countryman Press, 2016) is the perfect dinner idea for transitioning into fall.
Rebecca and I met earlier this year through our work at Natural Gourmet Institute. As you may recall from my post about Foxfire Mountain House, Rebecca is a cookbook author, recipe developer, event planner and all-around awesome person; she is also founder of The Upstate Table, a series of gatherings at Foxfire that celebrates food, community and local producers. Whole Protein Vegetarian is her latest cookbook and it’s quickly becoming an invaluable resource for plant-based eaters.
For the longest time, the myth that plant-based proteins (like grains, legumes, nuts and seeds) had to be combined during every meal to make up “complete” proteins (like those found in animal products) was believed to be true. But the most recent research reveals that as long as one is eating a variety of plant-based proteins throughout the day, the various amino acids from those foods will be stored in the body and eventually combined with each other to form complete proteins. This knowledge is a huge relief for vegetarians – or part-time vegetarians like me – as we no longer have to meticulously try to combine certain foods for every. single. meal.
Rebecca’s book is filled with hearty and comforting healthy vegetarian recipes for every meal of the day. When I first flipped through the book, these stuffed portobellos really caught my attention. Portobellos are one of the meatiest vegetables out there, which makes them the perfect veg substitute for when that meaty craving strikes. The mushrooms get stuffed with farro, an amazing super-grain that’s high in fiber and protein, as well as briny artichokes, finishing off with a sexy topping of luxurious fontina cheese. Combined with a light green salad, these mushrooms can be served for lunch or dinner. This is one of those kick-ass recipes that prove vegetarian cooking does not have to be boring or tasteless.
Now go buy Rebecca’s book! 😉
- 6 large portobello mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- Sea salt
- 1½ cups cooked farro, freekeh or wheat berries
- One 13-ounce can of artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3½ ounces fontina cheese (or other melting cheese), grated
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Clean mushrooms by brushing them gently with a wet paper towel. Snap off the stems and set aside. Using the side of a spoon, scrape off the gills of the mushrooms and discard.
- Rub mushroom caps with 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Place mushrooms top side down on prepared baking sheet. Bake until slightly softened, about 12 minutes.
- Meanwhile, chop the reserved mushroom stems and place in a bowl. Add farro, artichokes, lemon zest and juice, thyme, a few turns of black pepper, ½ teaspoon salt and the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil.
- Remove softened mushrooms from oven and fill with farro-artichoke filling. Return to oven for 10 more minutes.
- Remove mushrooms from oven and top with cheese. Return to oven and bake until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle mushrooms with black pepper. Serve immediately.
- Note: Cooked mushrooms will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.