Basil and Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

December 16, 2011 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes, Side Dishes

The other night I was faced with a couple portobello mushrooms that needed to be cooked. I grabbed some shredded parmesan, panko, sun-dried tomatoes and basil and voila! A new Veggin’ creation good enough for a quick weekday meal and uniquely flavorful enough for a dinner party for eight.

So quick and easy, I didn’t even bother with pictures from the intermediate steps.

Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
by Megabeth

2 large portobello mushrooms
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
4 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
3 to 4 sundried tomatoes packed in oil, finely chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for coating baking dish
panko crumbs
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375.

Remove stems from mushrooms and chop finely and place into bowl. Add cheese, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Drizzle a little olive oil in bottom of glass baking dish to lightly coat. Remove mushroom “gills” gently with a spoon.

Place mushrooms in baking dish. Put the filling in each prepared mushroom.

Sprinkle panko crumbs on top of filling.

Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned.











Vegetarian Giro d’Italia | Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Vinaigrette

May 18, 2011 By: Megabeth Category: Side Dishes, Vegetarian Giro d'Italia

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Vinaigrette (8) Let’s talk Brussels sprouts! Ok, before you go running to (or rather cycling to) the hills, I understand, some folks out there can’t imagine putting one of these in their mouths.  In fact, I was one of the many that turned my nose up at them. But, then, something happened…I started liking these little guys. (I’ll credit my In-House Taste Tester for having me try them again a few years ago and I was happy I did. ) It really depends on how you prepare them and I think roasting them brings out their nuttiness and eliminates some of the bitterness.

You may be scratching your head, why Brussels sprouts? We’re talking Italy, here. Ok, I’ll admit, these sprouts did get their name as they were widely cultivated around Brussels, Belgium during the 16th century. But, it turns out that these little guys actually began to be cultivated from cabbage plants in ancient Rome. It’s the Romans that brought the sprouts to Brussels. The sprouts were mostly a local crop but then were then introduced to the world after World War I.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Vinaigrette (1)Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Vinaigrette (2)Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Vinaigrette (2)

Even if you hate ’em, you don’t have to feel sorry for the Brussels sprouts because they actually have a pretty large family. As part of the Brassica family of vegetables, they are also related to cabbage, broccoli, kale and collard greens.

Half of these Brussels Sprouts didn’t even make it on to the plate. I ate them one after another popping them straight from the baking sheet right into my mouth. The vinaigrette gives the sprout a nice, bright flavor.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Vinaigrette
Tasty Kitchen

  • 2  pounds Brussels Sprouts, Cleaned And Trimmed
  • ¼ cups Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Mustard Seeds


  • 1 whole Lemon, Zest And Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Grainy Mustard
  • 1 whole Clove Garlic, Minced
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cups Olive Oil

Preparation Instructions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Prepare a pot of salted boiling water. Prepare an ice bath.

Slice all of the Brussels sprouts in half. Working in two batches, add the Brussels sprouts to the boiling water and let them simmer for about 2 minutes. Pull the Brussels sprouts out with a strainer and plunge them into the ice water. Repeat with the remaining Brussels sprouts.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Vinaigrette (4)Drain the cooled sprouts in a colander and let sit.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Vinaigrette (5)Prepare a sheet pan with two sheets of tin foil. Spread the Brussels sprouts out over the tin foil. Blot dry with a cloth or paper towel.

Make the vinaigrette by adding all of the ingredients to a mason jar or tupperware. Shake to combine.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Vinaigrette (3)Drizzle the vinaigrette over the Brussels sprouts, and then toss them to coat. Sprinkle them with salt. Spread some good parmesan over the top of the Brussels Sprouts and add mustard seeds for flavor.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Vinaigrette (6)Roast the Brussels sprouts for about 8-10 minutes on the top rack of the oven, or until they are just cooked through and starting to brown. Take out and grate a little additional cheese over the top and adjust the flavor with salt if needed.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Vinaigrette (9)

Veggin’ Cookbook Chronicles: Chard Baked with Parmesean Cheese

June 23, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Cookbook Chronicle Challenge, Side Dishes

The Greens Book has become my “go to” cookbook when I’ve been overwhelmed with kale or chard from my CSA delivery. My edition of The Greens Book is from 1995 and is written by Susan Belsinger and Carolyn Dille.

As in any good niche ingredient cookbook, most of the writing is about the ingredient at hand. In this case it’s greens. Many of the recipes are versatile enough to be used on any kind of green. The first section gives an in-depth review of the various types of greens, where to find them, the varieties, the history and how to cook them. There are also brilliant large photos of the green varieties.

It’s a little disappointing that the rest of the cookbook only has a photos to introduce each section. (Also, unfortunately, there isn’t a description of what the dish is so you have to leaf through a bit and figure out what it is.)

The recipe pages have a nice introduction often with substitution suggestions but no nutritional information.

The index is also easy to use as it’s split into two sections – topic and ingredient. What I like is the cross listing if a recipe works for more than one type of green. For example, “ancho corn pudding with wilted greens” is listed under “chard”, “epazote”, “lambs-quarters”, “mustard leaves”, and “spinach”. You can’t go wrong finding something based on the ingredient you have.

This is not a vegetarian only cookbook but the majority are sans meat. But, that’s ok, it’s easy for me to either turn the page or leave the meat out of the recipe.

I chose this recipe because I was looking for a quick side dish for a giant load of swiss chard I received. Admittedly, the amount of butter and cheese used in this dish might arch an eyebrow with caloric concern, but this tastes oh-so-good.

Chard Baked with Parmesean
The Greens Book

3 pounds chard
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesean cheese

Wash the chard well and cut off the stems. Trim the stems and cut them into 2-inch lengths. Cut the leaves crosswise into 2-inch strips. (Note: I used scissors to cut the chard.)

Blanch the stems in lightly salted boiling water for about 3 minutes.

Add the leaves and blanch for about 1 1/2 minutes longer. Drain the chard well and transfer it to an oven-proof dish. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Preheat the over to 450 degrees. Brown the butter in a saute pan.

Pour the browned butter over the chard and toss well. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the chard.

Bake 10 minutes or so, or until the parmesan is bubbling and pale golden brown. Serve hot.

Vegetarian Giro d’Italia: Pasta alla Carbonara

May 16, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes, Vegetarian Giro d'Italia

The Giro brings us into the Lazio region, which is dominated by Roman influence. Roman cooking features cheap, simply prepared, no frills food as, historically, eating was out of necessity.  The cuisine features influences from various cultures, customs and traditions brought together through Rome’s history. But, one thing is for sure,  this region loves its pasta…from fresh egg pasta to hard pastas from the south.

One famous dish, pasta alla carbonara, has its roots in the Lazio region. The development of this recipe is a bit murky and has been linked to charcoal miners (i.e., “coal worker style”), the black pepper that is used in the dish, a restaurant in Rome named “Carbonara” and even the the rumor that black squid ink was a common ingredient. Another theory is that the dish was invented during World War II during ingredient shortages. The American GIs stationed there took the recipe home with them. Quite possibly, it was the Roman version of creating a classic American breakfast for the soldiers, bacon and eggs with pasta, of course!

Regardless of its origins, this recipe has taken on a life of its own and the ingredients vary by region and by country. However,  the basic step remains – adding the egg at the end and letting the hot pasta cook it.

This is my vegetarian version of pasta alla carbonara which uses the classic recipe as a guide. (Obviously, the original recipe did not involve using a toaster oven to cook fake bacon.) I like making this when I’m looking for a quick and hearty meal. Saute onions if you so desire as it adds a little more depth to the dish, but I usually don’t miss the taste and the effort required to chop onions and clean a saute pan.

Megabeth’s Pasta alla Carbonara

– 1 box (8 oz) of whole wheat pasta (spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine, etc.)
– 5 – 6 strips of vegetarian bacon
– two eggs (egg substitute equivalent to two eggs)
– two tablespoons capers
– grated parmesean cheese

Prepare pasta per package instructions until al dente. Meanwhile, pre-heat toaster oven (or oven) to 450 degrees. (Note: you can also use a saute pan to cook the bacon until crisp, if preferred.) Spray toaster tray or cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Then spray lightly the top of the “bacon”. Cook each side for about 3 minutes until desired crispiness is achieved. When cooked, cut “bacon” into small bite size pieces.

Crack two eggs in small bowl. Then whisk or beat with fork until blended.

When pasta is done cooking, drain and put in large bowl. Add beaten eggs to bowl and distribute through pasta. Add bacon pieces and capers. (Make sure pasta is still hot when adding the eggs. This is key to ensure the eggs are cooked thoroughly.) Sprinkle parmesean cheese into the pasta until it is coated with it.

Serve with lots of freshly ground pepper and enjoy.

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