Diced! – Naomi – Quinoa-stuffed Portabello Mushrooms

Today we have an entrant for the second course of the Diced! competition. This round includes ingredients that are vegan friendly. Contestants were encouraged to add any additional ingredients they wished (even non-vegan ones). Contestants were instructed to create or find a recipe for a main course containing the following ingredients: Large Portobello mushrooms, Quinoa, Zucchini and Balsamic vinegar. They were instructed to make their dish and create a blog post about it, including pictures. You can help determine who advances to the next round. After the last post, I will post a poll where you can vote for contestants to move on. Vote for the post you like the best. You can vote because of the inventiveness, the yummyness, the use of ingredients, the quality of the writing and pictures or for any other reason. The poll will be active for one week only. Check back and vote. In the event of a tie, the Ranting Chef will choose who advances. More information about Diced! can be found here.

Due to the generosity of the following companies, we have some really awesome products as a prize to the winner of this Diced! competition. The winner will receive:

  • Zak – The winner receives their choice of a four piece setting or set of three serving bowls from their new Moso line. This is made from biodegradable bamboo and comes in a choice of four stylish colors. Look for a review of this product in the near future. Check them out here.
  • Chobani – The leading brand in Greek Yogurt, the winner will receive a case of their choice of flavor of Greek yogurt. I’ve been using quite a bit of Chobani in my cooking lately and love it. Look for those recipes soon. Check out the selection at: http://chobani.com/products
  • Microplane – Microplane will provide the winner with four items: Microplane Elite Series Fine Grater, Home Series Coarse Grater, Bartender’s Garnishing Tool, Cut-Resistant Glove. I recently reviewed these products here. Check out their products at their facebook page: www.facebook.com/microplane
  • Youcopia – Maker of organization products, they would like to offer the winner a choice of a product from their web site. I recently reviewed the Bake Stack.

Today’s contestant, Naomi has been a guest blogger here before. In one of her first posts I had envy over her immersion blender which makes an appearance once again. Check out Naomi’s other posts on the Guest Blogger tab above and her entry below….


Quinoa-stuffed Portobello Mushrooms 

My first thought upon receiving the ingredient list for Round Two of Diced! was stuffed. I love making stuffed foods. Over the years my favorites have been artichoke heart caps, red and green peppers, tomatoes, and mushrooms. I’ve used quinoa, rice, cheese and veggies for the stuffing. When I saw the ingredient list of large portabello mushrooms, zucchini, quinoa and balsamic vinegar, I figured I could combine aspects of my recipes.

In fact, I figured I could make an entire meal of stuffed foods. Let me tell you the story of how I know this.

In my senior year of college, I went home with boyfriend, now husband, for Thanksgiving to meet his family. In addition to the fact that his maternal grandparents were celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary (which meant I met a lot of relatives!), I also was introduced to one of the most creative and playful Thanksgiving traditions.

My parents-in-law used to host the meal and my husband’s aunt, uncle and cousin cooked. And it was always vegetarian. This, too, has a story. As a family that observed the kosher (Jewish dietary) laws, my husband’s family kept two sets of dishes, one for dairy food and one for meat. Over time, my husband, his brother and his mother all became vegetarian and they only rarely ate meat and used the meat dishes. So the story goes, when my father-in-law was away on business, my mother-in-law gave away the meat dishes to recent immigrants. I’ve heard speculation that this isn’t exactly what happened (and I’m sure my father-in-law will let me know after he reads this post), but we like the story and have passed it on to our children. Nonetheless, Thanksgiving became a dairy and vegetarian event.

So on my first Thanksgiving with them, the foods included Manicotti Shells and at some point someone guessed that each item was Italian. Each year brought a new theme and a competition for who could guess it first. Over the years we’ve had themes based on various nationalities, colors, and ingredients. They’ve included Indian food, pasta, pumpkin, eggplant (imagine dessert!), and presentation as a pie.

In 2005 the foods included a variety of stuffed olives and celery, guacamole stuffed tomatoes, dolmas (stuffed grape leaves), Ravioli, twice-baked stuffed potatoes and acorn squash and, to top it all of … my sister-in-law’s famous Turkey Cake with Stuffing! It did not take us long to guess the theme. Perhaps this meal is what inspired so many stuffed dishes for me and what I wanted to do with this round of Diced!

I was excited about these ingredients:

Portobello mushrooms:  popularized in the 1980s, these mushrooms are fully ripened white mushrooms. Due to their size and that they have fully opened, their moisture significantly evaporates, leaving a hearty texture and intense flavor and making them popular meat substitute. (See http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/grilled-portobello-mushrooms-with-tomatoes-and-fresh-mozzarella-recipe/index.html.) Unlike stuffing other vegetables, stuffing Portobellos can seem somewhat like layering.

Quinoa – is sometimes called a wonder food, especially for vegetarians. High in protein, iron and dietary fiber, this seed is a great grain substitute. I have usually cooked with Traditional (yellow) quinoa, but decided to mix it up this time and combine it with ‘Inca Red.’ I enjoyed the color combination.  (See http://vegetarian.about.com/od/glossary/g/whatisquinoa.htm)

Zucchini – a summer squash is a common vegetable in the United States. Though I have cooked with it frequently, a fun idea I have for next time is stuffed zucchini ‘canoes’

Balsamic Vinegar – made from sweet white Trebbiano grape dates back at least 900 years to the Modena region of Italy. While the other three ingredients on the list are common in my repertoire, balsamic vinegar is not. The flavor is quite strong and I knew this ingredient would be my growing edge in this round.  I was excited, though, to see that the balsamic vinegar I bought was actually from Modena! (See http://homecooking.about.com/od/howtocookwithcondiments/a/whatisbalsamic.htm.)

An initial question was whether or not the quinoa would go into the stuffing or if the mushroom would sit on a bed of quinoa. Members of my family and I decided that we preferred to integrate all four ingredients into one unified food. Initially, I stuffed the mushrooms with a quinoa, veggie and parmesan cheese stuffing, and then I drizzled them with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and baked them. The vinegar overwhelmed the taste. I found a recipe on the Food Network for Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/grilled-portobello-mushrooms-with-tomatoes-and-fresh-mozzarella-recipe/index.html). It appealed to me for its lightness and salad-like feel. I decided to revise my recipe, grill the mushrooms, use the balsamic vinegar only in grilling the mushrooms, more Italian flavoring (basil, oregano and mozzarella cheese), and add some raw and uncooked ingredients (tomatoes, avocado, and fresh mozzarella.

My oldest daughter, who was at sleep-away camp during Round One of Diced, assisted me with the final steps of presentation, photographing and the taste test. The result? We loved it!

Ingredient List

Diced Round 2 - The ingreds

4 Large Portobello Mushroom Caps

1 Cup Dried Quinoa

½ Zucchini, Diced

½ Cup Chopped Mushrooms (I like using a mixture for variety of tastes and textures)

1 Beefsteak Tomato Diced (or you can use halved cherry tomatoes)

1 Avocado

3 Cloves Garlic, Minced

½ Cup Fresh Basil, Chopped

1 Tablespoon Fresh Oregano

½ Cup Shredded Mozzarella

½ Cup Fresh Mozzarella

½ Lemon

Olive Oil

Balsamic Vinegar




Cook the quinoa. I cooked mine in my rice cooker
Diced Round 2 - Quinoa

Drizzle some olive oil and balsamic vinegar on both sides of the Portobello mushrooms, add salt and pepper to taste and grill. I used my George Forman grill which convenient drains the liquid.
Diced Round 2 - Grilling

Sauté the garlic in olive oil for a couple minutes. Add the chopped mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes. Add the diced zucchini and chopped basil and oregano.
Diced Round 2 - Sauteing Veggies

Add the cooked quinoa and shredded mozzarella (which helps hold the stuffing together)
“Stuff” or layer the stuffing in the Portobello mushroom.
Add fresh, diced tomato, avocado, and fresh mozzarella
Drizzle fresh lemon juice on top
Diced Round 2 - The final product

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: appetizer, Cheese2, Diced!, Grilled, Guest, kosher, Low Carb, Lunch3, Main Dish 2, Sidedish2, vegetable3, Vegetarian

Author:The Ranting Chef

Check out the best recipes at rantingchef.com

5 Comments on “Diced! – Naomi – Quinoa-stuffed Portabello Mushrooms”

  1. klopez415
    September 11, 2013 at 11:15 am #

    This looks so amazing! Can’t wait to cook it myself!


  2. September 11, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    Oh wow. How come I haven’t thought of stuffing things with quinoa and veggies??? This is awesome. Thanks for the recipe 😉


  3. September 11, 2013 at 10:04 pm #

    Yum! A new dish to share with my vegetarian friends. 🙂


  4. September 12, 2013 at 7:46 am #

    Nice!! My family looks to eat vegetarian meals a few times during the week, and I love this concept. Definitely trying this one out.


  5. October 1, 2013 at 9:04 am #

    well this shit looks fantastic


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