Meatless Monday – Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms with Romesco Sauce

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Meatless Monday can still taste and feel meaty. This recipe for Quinoa Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Caps with Romesco Sauce offers plenty of chewy texture and umami flavor from the mushrooms, nuttiness from the protein-packed grain, and satisfying bursts of verdant juice from zucchini and kale. The perfectly portioned cap is then topped off with a vibrant Spanish romesco sauce that blends toasted almonds with roasted red peppers, smoked paprika and other spices, and sherry vinegar. This hearty and healthy dish will have you hoping that meatless Friday also becomes a trend in the near future.

Ingredients
4 large portobello mushroom caps
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon black pepper, divided
1 shallot, minced
1 cup finely diced zucchini
2 cups roughly chopped kale, loosely packed
2 teaspoons minced garlic, divided
1 cup quinoa
1½ cups water
½ cup sliced almonds
¼ cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons minced parsley
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon dried thyme
Pinch ground cloves
1 (12 ounce) jar roasted red peppers, plus 3 tablespoons reserved liquid, drained and roughly chopped
1 to 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
Microgreens for garnish (optional)

Directions
Preheat an oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place the mushroom caps, cavities facing upwards, on a sheet pan. Drizzle them with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season them with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Roast them in the hot oven for 10 minutes, or until softened but not mushy.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Sweat the minced shallot and diced zucchini until softened (about 6 minutes), then add the roughly chopped kale and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Season the vegetables with 1 teaspoon garlic and ½ teaspoon salt then add in the quinoa and water; stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil then cover the pot, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Fluff the steamed quinoa with a fork.

In a dry saute pan, toast the almonds for 2 to 3 minutes over medium heat. Add in the breadcrumbs, remaining 1 teaspoon minced garlic, minced parsley, smoked paprika, dried thyme, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, chopped roasted red peppers and reserved liquid, and 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar. Pulse this mixture until combined then add remaining ¼ cup olive oil; puree until smooth. Taste the romesco sauce and add more sherry vinegar if desired.

Mound 1 cup of the quinoa mixture inside each mushroom cap then spoon 2 tablespoons of the romesco sauce over the top. Bake the assembled mushrooms for 12 minutes and serve with more romesco sauce and microgreens for freshness, if desired.

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