Eating for Life

July 9, 2013

Eating for life | Grilled quinoa-stuffed portobello mushrooms

Stuff your mushrooms with protein-rich quinoa.
Calorie Count

gives Olive Garden’s stuffed mushrooms a big, fat “F.”

Each serving contains 19 grams of fat and 720 milligrams of sodium. But to be fair, it’s not the mushroom’s fault. Blame the filling, which contains three cheeses, clams and bread crumbs.

The Star’s

Grilled Quinoa-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

are loaded with high-protein, naturally nutty-flavored quinoa stuffing garnished with spinach, tomatoes, basil and topped with reduced-fat cheese. The stuffing complements the meatiness of the grilled portobellos. Our testers — both meat eater and vegetarian — were thrilled with the results.

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is one of those trency ingredients that chain restaurants are keeping an eye on. Of course, the high-protein South American grain is not really new. In fact, it was a staple of the Incan diet. Look for quinoa in natural food sections of many well-stocked supermarkets.

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Shopping tip:

Choose portobello mushroom caps about 4 to 4 1/2 inches in diameter that are rounded and slightly bowl-shaped so when you cut off the stem, you can fill the mushroom. Depending on the store where you purchase them, baby bella caps might be more suitable.

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Preparation tip: Quinoa seeds have a natural coating of saponins that can leave a bitter taste. Before cooking, place quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve or tea strainer and rinse with cold water. When cooked, quinoa swells to about 4 times its volume, so 1/4 cup uncooked quinoa will make about 1 cup cooked. Cook the quinoa for this recipe or substitute 1 cup leftover cooked quinoa.

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