Portobello mushroom stuffed with spinach -needs improvement

publickmanSeptember 26, 2011

Yesterday I made stuffed portobello mushrooms, based on a recipe I got from Marianne Esposito - I saw her make them on TV, and it was from her "five ingredient" series. I think she may be leaving out useful ingredients just to say that a recipe only has five ingredients. Anyway, I will describe my version of her recipe.

My ingredients:

3 large cloves garlic (she used none)

1/2 pound fresh spinach (she used frozen)

2 tbsp fresh thyme (Marianne's recipe on line has this ingredient, but she did not use it on the show)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (she omitted these altogether)

2 eggs (she used 3 for a recipe that I halved)

6-7 oz Fontina cheese (her half recipe would have been 1/2 cup)

2 large portobello mushrooms

olive oil

First I removed the stems from the portobello mushrooms and cut the stems into very small pieces for sauteing. (Marianne threw her stews away.) I started the filling by sauteing the garlic and mushroom stem pieces in olive oil, and then I added the spinach and cooked it down to a wilted stage and added the S&P and thyme. Then I put the spinach in a mixing bowl to cool.

Next I put the mushroom caps in the saute pan, cap side down with olive oil to saute for a couple of minutes to get the caps softer. Then I covered the pan on low heat for about three minutes more and then removed the caps.

At this point, I added the two eggs to the spinach/garlic mixture, along with about 3/4 of the cheese, which I had grated. I stuffed the caps with this mixture, put them in a 7x11 pan, added the rest of the cheese on top, covered the pan with aluminum foil and baked it for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Then I took the foil off and baked it ten more minutes.

It was supposed to be brown on top when I took them out, but they weren't, and the filling (which was supposed to resemble a quiche) was a bit runny and had drizzled out of the caps a bit. The drizzling was okay because it was easy to pick that up and put back inside the caps.

The problem is that the filling was watery, and I felt that I should have added bread crumbs, kasha, couscous, or something to soak up the excess water. I guess I should have squeezed the water out of the spinach, but I didn't want to lose all of that flavor. BTW, they tasted great, but I would like to make them with some kind of binder in the future. Does anyone have a suggestion for what I should use and how much? Should I use fresh or dried breadcrumbs, or would something else work better?

I'm sure plenty of you have good stuffed mushroom recipes that you can refer to that might be similar. I had never made stuffed portobellos and I had never stuffed mushrooms with spinach before.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I suspect just pressing or spinning the water out of the wilted spinach will prevent the watery end result. You won't lose much taste. And adding a bit of flour when you saut� the garlic and stem? Sounds like a good application for lardons, too.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 7:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I always add some dried bread crumbs (like from a stuffing package, if I have some left over)- but fresh would be okay - and prefer a cheese like feta with a little fresh parmesan or romano for a little more flavor. Oh, and I also use some onion in the saute, green onion is fine, or some finely chopped bigger onion. I never saute the caps themselves; some of the moisture from the spinach will soften them as they cook and they will absorb it - I like them meaty, not too soft.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 8:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The recipe sounds delicious as you made it. I'd just change the technique somewhat.

1. Cook the mushroom caps (with stems removed to use in the filling as you did) stem side up on high in the microwave until somewhat soft. Lots of juice would collect in the caps and I'd pour it off to use in something else later in the week** and then let the caps drain stem side down on paper towels until ready to stuff them.
2. Parcook the spinach in the microwave, cool slightly, and then squeeze the water out into the same container as the mushroom liquid. I'd only cook it long enough to release the liquid; then add the drained spinach back into the garlic/mushroom mixture.
3. If you want a quichelike texture, try baking them uncovered so the eggs don't become steamed. You could probably up the temp to 375 since all components except the eggs are already cooked and shorter baking time would limit additional liquid release.

**Added to some chicken broth, the mushroom and spinach juices would be good ladled over cooked tortellini with sliced scallions and grated cheese on top.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 8:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The recipe sounds good.
Maybe you could use the Stems, as you did the Aparagus Sauce you made before.
Then add it to the Spinach.

I would drain the Spinach first.
Add some filler as you said, to dry it a little.

Take the foil of a little sooner, when baking.

Whenever I cook Spinach, I add some Powdered Garlic also.
Plus I add some chopped up lunchmeat,Cooked Salami or pieces of Pepperoni.


    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 11:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, everyone! I like Ruthanna's idea of microwaving the mushrooms and then pouring off some of the liquid from that. I think the extra liquid came from the mushrooms because the spinach was pretty dry when I took it from the saute pan. I also think the baking temp could be increased and I should have started it uncovered.

Marianne specifically said that a melting cheese should be used and suggested mozzarella as an alternative, but the Fontina was great! The mushroom caps had so much flavor that they did not need a sharp cheese, and so I think I'll stick with the Fontina, as it does not compete with the mushrooom flavor.

I loved this recipe and felt that it was worth experimenting with. Basically, it was extremely easy to make, even though I used more than five ingredients. I'm also going to have to remember to use the drained spinach and mushroom juices - I hate to pour them out when they have such a great flavor. I frequently make omelets with spinach, cheese (usually Provolone), mushrooms, onion, and turkey bacon (DB won't eat pork :(), and I generally have spinach/mushroom juice leftover from when I saute them. In the past, I've just drunk the juice (I can't bring myself to pour it out), but I think I'll start saving it for pasta dishes now!

Lou, I do not have any powdered garlic, but I do have a huge garland of garlic that I ordered from Gilroy, and so I need to use that for my garlic. I usually add mushrooms when I am cooking spinach, and I would also add prosciutto if DB would eat it. I bought some really good dry Italian salami at Bristol Farms that would be good also, but I've been using that only on my personal lunch sandwiches.

BTW, Marianne also has some good eggplant recipes. I was trying to tell someone at work about those today and could only remember the word Melanzane instead of eggplant. It's an easier word for me to remember.


Here is a link that might be useful: Marianne's recipe from Ciao Italia!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 11:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think you need to omit covering the mushrooms when baking them....evaporate the moisture
Here's a recipe I have used lots and lots for stuffed mushrooms....no spinach but blue cheese instead....perhaps the method will give you ideas.

Stuffed Mushrooms

1 pound fresh mushrooms ( medium size)
1/4 c. butter
3 green onions
1/2 c finely grated fresh bread crumbs
3 T crumbled Maytag Blue Cheese
1 T minced fresh parsley
1T lemon juice
1/2 t salt
Wipe mushrooms and remove stems. Chop stems and green onions ( tops too!) and saute in the butter until just getting soft. Add crumbs, cheese, parsley, lemon juice and salt. Place in mushroom caps in a shallow baking dish, sprinkle with paprika, Bake 10 to 12 minutes at 450, and watch them disappear.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 12:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Linda, I will try your recipe as it is for stuffed medium mushrooms. It's similar to the stuffed mushrooms I had made before, but I don't have that recipe any more. I have Italian parsley in my yard right now, and so this is a good time. Plus lemons are getting ripe again.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 2:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just a thought . . . I have a similar recipe and I add chopped sundried tomatoes to it. That might absorb some of the liquid. I rehydrate them a bit first though, since the ones I buy are usually super dry.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 8:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Exactly as ruthanna said.

I also do something similar to lpinkmountain, except I use tomato powder.

Another thing I do, I use garlic powder.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 9:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When I have extra liquid that is very flavorful, my first inclination is to reduce it and use it in the dish. Personally I'd saute your garlic and then add the juices from the spinach and mushrooms and cook the garlic in the juices until it reduces to almost gone. It means changing the order of a few of your steps but I think the end result would be great.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 1:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you want the filling to souflee, you're going to have to lighten it a bit, think quiche or fritatta technique. Lightly beat eggs, add cream / Half & Half, stir in well drained spinach mixture and use to fill mushroom caps. Also bake uncovered at 400. Flavor profile sounds yummy though.


    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 1:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The flavor profile was great, and the portobello mushrooms had a fantastic flavor - very intense and almost meaty with a very good texture. I'm hoping that when I make the changes that the mushrooms will come out the same way.

I won't be adding cream or half & half, as that would upset my stomach - the soft cheese is difficult enough for me to handle! When I raise the tempurature of the oven, I'll have to keep a close eye on them, especially if I bake them at 400. I might try that, if you think it will make the filling rise faster. I might make it again this week-end, but I'm seriously considering buying frozen spinach - just to have on hand.


    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 3:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That is a lot of cheese, especially if you have problems. What if you sub'ed a similar volume of soft tofu for texture and moisture, and just enough grated aged/hard cheese for flavor, like Parmesan? I understand aged cheeses have a lot less lactose than the younger softer cheeses. And I would definately use frozen spinach just to better control the moisture.


    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 5:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I use this recipe from the Hungry Girl. I love it.
Stuffed 'n Squashed Mushroom Foil Pack

2011 Hungry Girl. All Rights Reserved.

2 servings



2 wedges light spreadable Swiss cheese (recommended: The Laughing Cow Light), room temperature
1 zucchini, ends removed, finely diced
2 large portabella mushrooms, stems chopped and reserved
1 teaspoon finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/8 teaspoon salt
Dash ground thyme
Black pepper
1/2 tablespoon reduced-fat Parmesan-style grated topping


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a bowl, combine cheese wedges, zucchini, chopped mushroom stems, onion, garlic, salt, and thyme. Add pepper, to taste. Mix until smooth. Set aside.

Lay a large piece of heavy-duty foil on a baking sheet. Lightly spray both sides of the mushroom caps with olive oil nonstick spray, and place next to each other on the foil with the rounded sides down. Spoon veggie-cheese mixture into the mushroom caps-there will be a lot, so pack it in!

Sprinkle with grated topping.

Place another large piece of foil over the caps. Fold together and seal all four edges of the two foil pieces, forming a well-sealed packet.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 23 to 25 minutes, until mushrooms are tender.

Allow the packet to cool for a few minutes, and then cut it to release steam before opening it entirely. (Careful-steam will be hot.)

If you like, season with additional salt and thyme, to taste. Enjoy!

PER SERVING (1/2 of recipe, 1 large stuffed mushroom): 90 calories, 2.5g fat, 400mg sodium, 10g carbs, 3g fiber, 4g sugars, 6.5g protein

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 5:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I too agree you won't lose flavor if you squeeze the liquid out of the spinach. Many, many recipes--spinach gratin, creamed spinach etc.--require that you do this.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 6:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm stuck on the microwaving thing. Wouldn't microwaving the mushrooms make them rubbery and yucky?

I agree with those that suggested not covering the dish when you bake it. If it starts to over brown, you could tent some foil over it then.

I like the sound of this recipe. I eat portabellas on a somewhat frequent basis, maybe once every month or two, so I like alternatives to the olive oil/balsamic vinegar throw it on the grill thing we do so much.

We had a cookbook put out by Webber Grills that had a stuffed portabella mushroom recipe in it that I tried. Of course, it was grilled, but it had lots of ingredients, and was only okay, not great. It sounded really good, but I doubt I'll make it again. Unfortunately, we've returned the cookbook to the library. What I remember the recipe had in it was spinach, sun dried tomatoes, bread crumbs, but I don't remember what else. I'm sure it had some kind of cheese - maybe blue cheese, and garlic. Sorry I don't have the recipe with me any more.


    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 9:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I made this recipe again last night and decided to make only one change at a time, to make it more scientific. So the change I chose was to use frozen spinach, defrost it, and squeeze all the excess liquid out. I forgot to raise the temperature on the oven and to cook less time uncovered (which I will do next time), but it came out pretty much the way I wanted just with squeezing out the water from the spinach. I had bought several small packages of frozen spinach, and I'll have to remember not to buy fresh spinach unless I have a very specific use for it, such as a salad or perhaps an omelet.

Thanks for convincing me to squeeze the spinach - there was really no need for a binder after that was done.


    Bookmark   October 26, 2011 at 3:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think the water is coming from the mushrooms. I make a stuffed portobello recipe similar to this and I put the mushroom caps upside down in my toaster oven for a good 20 minutes. There is a good amount of liquid in those portobello caps. The liquid pools in the toaster oven pan. I take them out (yes, they do shrink a bit) then blot the water off and do the stuffing then put them back in the oven to finish. I make them all the time for a quick healthy lunch or a snack.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2011 at 7:39PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Silicone VS Metal
Good afternoon...I have been asked to make the cake...
Cool feature I've just noticed (OT)
Has anyone else noticed that you can click on a picture...
So what is "a bunch"?
It drives me crazy when recipes call for a bunch of...
I scrub my potatoes clean. Do you?
My SIL was her visiting over the holidays, sharing...
Sharing Jacques Pepin
Hi all - rather than tacking this onto the 'Peeves'...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™