Mozzarella Portobello Burgers with Spinach & Basil
My only resolution for July was to eat healthier than how I ate in June.
That sounds pretty reasonable, right? I like to be reasonable.
That didn’t happen.
I was too in love with things covered in chocolate and cheesy oregano flat breads to stick to the game plan. I’m really not making this up… Here’s the proof.
The person I sent this to will remain anonymous, for her sake. But I must say, she’s pretty stinkin’ cute with arm muscles the size of Texas, so that peanut butter must be doing her some good.
Never mind the fact that I’m sitting alone in in my cubicle this morning, eating donut holes out of a box due to pure boredom. Never mind that. That’s neither here nor there. But it is actually happening and my keyboard is getting quite sticky. Suffice it to say that this summer internship has me waking up at the crack of dawn only to stare at a computer screen all. day. long. doing research until my fingers can no longer type and my brain is about to explode. It’s definitely challenging and a good experience, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it awesome… Rather, donut binge inducing.
Would you look at that.
Can we daydream about something while I sit here at work? In my daydream are breakfast (which are totally homemade waffles), lunch (which I wish could always be pita chips), and dinner (cheesy oregano flat breads). Stop by and daydream with me. I’ll totally share my box of donuts.
Sometimes I can’t tell whether or not I’m doing a good job. Really, sometimes I just can’t tell. Normally after a new recipe, my family will break down the parts of the meal, letting me know what they liked, what they didn’t like, what could be improved, and so on and so forth. I like to think I’m getting close to a heart-stopping recipe when the dinner table quiets down and the only sound you hear are forks and knives scraping against the dinner plates. I use that as a guide to know that I’m not killing anyone just yet. I get an even better picture when my family turns to me and asks for seconds. That’s when I know I’m doing something right.
So what happens when you take a meat-eating family and replace the hamburgers with vegetables? If I may, you’d probably find yourself sitting at a dinner table with folks screaming at you and stabbing their forks and knives into the table. But what if you stuff those vegetables with spinach, herbs, fresh basil, loads of cheese, and olive oil? I’ll tell you what happens. You get an incredible dinner and a happy family who will call their friends and brag about how lucky they are to have such a fine woman in the family. Okay, so maybe those aren’t the exact words they’d use but I’ve learned to read between the lines.
So about these burgers… Why wouldn’t you like something coated with olive oil and stuffed with spinach, cheese, and herbs? Oh that’s right… You would. You would like them a lot. Correction. You would love them.
But burgers without meat? Oye. Not sure how I felt about this baloney.
But I was wrong. I’m lusting after these bellas. I love them. Because really, all things taste delicious when roasted with a little garlic and olive oil. Plus, it makes my house smell like a five-star restaurant.
I had four giant portobello mushrooms sitting in my fridge, a package of fresh spinach ready to go, and I wondered what the heck would come of combining the two with some Trader Joe’s shredded mozzarella and herbs. So I stuffed them silly with savory goodness for a healthy dinner. Oh and coated them with olive oil. Clearly, I am quite capable of eating healthy when I really want to.
I quickly grilled them then drizzled even more olive oil on top with a little sea salt. Yes. I know. OMG.
If you are the creative type then you will especially love this recipe because it mixes up your casual grilling routine quite a bit. It’s really a starting point. Just think about all the possibilities. For all you meat monsters you can even throw in some bits of bacon, fried potatoes, different types of cheese, ya dig?
Mozzarella Portobello Burgers with Spinach & Basil
(makes 4 burgers)
4 large portobello mushrooms, centers scraped out
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
pinch of salt
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
4-5 basil leaves, finely minced
4 whole wheat hamburger buns or english muffins (omit for GF option)
sea salt, for topping (optional)
Light a grill over medium heat or heat a large skillet and coat with a little oil or cooking spray. Meanwhile, mix together 2 tablespoons of olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
Turn the portobellos upside down and scrape out the insides using a spoon. Rinse the mushrooms under cold water and pat with a paper towel to dry.
Using a brush, coat the tops of mushrooms with olive oil mixture (I like to save some for a second coating) and place the portobellos top-down on the grill or in the skillet. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, until slightly juicy. Flip the burgers and cook the other side for about 2-3 minutes.
As the mushrooms cook, chop the spinach into tiny pieces and mince the basil. Add the mozzarella to the spinach and combine with your fingers. Remove the portobellos from the heat and distribute the spinach/cheese mixture to cover the insides of each one. Add the basil, then top with remaining olive oil mixture if using. Place back on the grill or skillet face up and cook for another 5 minutes, or until mushrooms are evenly cooked and juicy and the cheese is melted.
Meanwhile, toast the english muffins or hamburger buns and remove when lightly golden. Once done, remove the portobellos from the heat and place on top of one half of the english muffin or bun. Top with a sprinkle of sea salt and top half of the bun. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Nutritional information (per portobello burger): 175 calories, 12g fat (3.75 sat, 6 mono, 1 poly), 8g carbs, 11g fat, 3g fiber