I am going to start off by admitting that mushrooms are a little weird. It's like...what the heck are they, really? A fungus?! A fungus that reproduces with spores, like some alien invader? They have a thick, meaty texture, but they aren't animals? They have gills, but they aren't sea creatures? They are high in vitamins and grow out of the ground, but they aren't vegetables?
Over all, mushrooms just have sort of a weird reputation compared to other foods.
You hungry yet? :)
Hey, I think mushrooms are delicious. Think about it this way: you get the satisfying, savory texture of meat, with the low-calorie vitamins of a vegetable. Jazzed up with a tangy balsamic marinade, sweet tomatoes, and salty feta, you have yourself a delicious and healthy meal!
And so, with the hope of standing up for mushrooms everywhere (hey, I do live in Boulder now...), I give you my Roasted Balsamic Portobellos with Tomato and Feta.
- 2 large portobello mushroom caps. Deliciously meaty, portobellos make for a great main dish. They tend to shrink down quite a bit as they cook, so two caps a meal do make.
- Handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half. Kinda depends on how big the mushrooms are...you just want enough that when sliced in half, they will cover the mushrooms.
- Handful of crumbled feta cheese. Don't use the reduced fat kind. For some reason, it has the same amount of calories as the full-fat feta, and it tastes like crap and doesn't melt.
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp. honey. The sweetness helps balance the acidity of the balsamic.
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 tsp. dried thyme. When in doubt, always add thyme to mushrooms. It is like the peanut butter to mushroom's jelly. That sounds weird, but you know what I mean.
- 1 tsp. dried rosemary
- 1/2 tsp. salt
I prepare this in the oven, but it would be great on the grill as well. If you want, you could even make yummy portobello burgers with these by just throwing them on a bun. It is such a low-calorie dish that you are entitled to some carbs if you want to, dammit!
Prepare your marinade in a small bowl by whisking together the balsamic vinegar, honey, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and salt.
Cooking for One TIP: Pour out your tablespoon of olive oil BEFORE you pour out the tablespoon of honey...the residual oil on the spoon will help the honey slide right off. Neat, huh?
Wipe any visible dirt off the mushroom caps (don't wash them, since they will absorb all the water and become tough). Yank out the stems, which I promise you will find oddly satisfying.
Put the mushroom caps and your sliced cherry tomatoes into a large Ziploc bag (this blog post brought to you by the fine folks at Ziploc!**) and pour in your marinade. Slosh the bag around to make sure everything gets evenly coated, and store in the fridge for at least fifteen minutes, and up to a few hours. Mushrooms are like sponges and will soak up all the delicious flavors even faster than meat does.
Heat your oven (or toaster oven) to 450 degrees. Put your mushrooms cap side up on a foil lined baking sheet, leaving the tomatoes in the bag with the marinade. Roast for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, remove the mushrooms from the oven, flip them over so they are cap side down, and top evenly with the sliced tomatoes. Drizzle any remaining marinade over the mushrooms and tomatoes, and return to the oven for another 15 minutes.
Remove the mushrooms from the oven, sprinkle with the crumbled feta cheese, and enjoy your healthy, flavorful meal! You still may not understand what the heck a mushroom is, but I promise you will love this dish.