Sunday, March 13, 2011

Portabella Mushroom Pizzas

These days there are tons of articles about healthy eating.  Low fat, low sugar, low cholesterol, low sodium, gluten free, nut free, lactose free, vegetarian, grapefruit diets, vegan diets just to name a few.  You never hear of people on the cookie diet (although sometimes I wish they would be!).  I myself try to be on a low carb diet – low sugar, lots of vegetables and whole grain/high fiber carbs (we’re not counting the past week…).  I really do feel better when I’m eating healthier (can we please not count the cinnamon bun cookies I ate over Shabbat). I am always trying to come up with recipes that are filling and healthy so that I don’t turn into the Cookie Monster. 

One of the foods my family really likes is mushrooms.  We love all kinds of mushrooms – white, crimini, portabella, shitake, oyster – you name it…if it’s a mushroom its welcome here!  We have been known to slice up pounds of mushrooms, saut√© them in a skillet sprayed with butter flavored non-stick spay and eat them right out of the pan as a snack!  We love going to the farmers market in the summer and getting fresh mushrooms from the Mushroom Guy. As I’m writing this blog, I’m eating our family’s famous egg and vegetable scramble – with mushrooms of course.  It’s all about the mushrooms!  (My husband Alan says the mushroom is a real “fun-guy”).  I was surprised to find out that mushrooms are actually pretty healthy.  According to  an entire cup of mushrooms has only 15 calories!  They are also “low in Saturated Fat and Sodium, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin C, Folate, Iron, Zinc and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin D, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Selenium.”   Go figure.  So, when trying to figure out what to make for dinner and the big, beautiful portabella mushrooms were staring at me in the refrigerator, I came up with the only logical solution.  Everyone in my family loves pizza, and everyone loves mushrooms.  What if, instead of using the mushrooms as pizza topping we used them as the actual pizza?  They were small enough to go into a toaster oven, and you could even make two side by side.  The only ingredients needed were the mushrooms, a nice thick pasta sauce (preferably with even more vegetables in the sauce) and lots of pizza cheese.  The result:  Portabella Mushroom Pizzas that everyone loves!  Hooray!!  The recipe is so easy that even my kids can make them (bonus!).  Another bonus is that this recipe is virtually carb free!  It’s great for those on the South Beach or even Atkins diet, or anyone that is trying to just plain eat healthier with fewer calories without skimping on quantity or taste.  Works for me!  Now if only there really was a cookie diet and cookies were carb free…a girl can dream can’t she….

1          large     Portabella Mushroom Cap, cleaned*
¼         cup       pasta sauce
½         cup       shredded part skim mozzarella, or pizza cheese
                        nonstick vegetable spray

Preheat (toaster) oven to 400° F. Spray a (toaster oven) pan with non-stick vegetable spray.  Place the mushroom on the pan.  Cover with sauce and then cheese.  Bake for approximately 10 minutes, until cheese has melted.  You can add additional cheese for an extra cheesy pizza, and if you like the pizza cheese slightly browned you can press the “toast” lever to brown the top of the pizza.  I will often brown the pizza and then add additional cheese.  Yum!

You can actually clean the mushrooms by peeling off a layer of the outside of the mushrooms.  See pictures below.

Mushrooms for four!
Peel away the outer skin...look how
clean it looks!
Get the pan and pizza ready...
into the oven it goes!
It's done...unless you like it CHEESY!!'s SO good!!!

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