If you’d asked my husband a few years ago what his least-favourite vegetable was, he would probably have said zucchini. Thanks to a lot of experimentation, he’s changed his tune, a fact he expressed when tasting this delightful dish for lunch. Previously, he complained that zucchini didn’t taste like anything, whereas I’ve always preferred to think of them as the perfect blank canvas for other flavours (this delectable, easy zucchini ‘noodle’ dish is a great example). You can make this dish in under 30 minutes and while it’s a great meatless meal on its own, it’d also be a fantastic side for grilled fish or meat. Use whatever pesto you like; I’m partial to basil but grilled garlic scape pesto would be terrific too. If you wanted to serve this as an appetizer, substitute smaller cremini or white mushrooms for the portobellos.
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) quinoa (I prefer red quinoa for its nice colour)
- 1 cup (250 mL) water
- Pinch salt
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) balsamic
- 4 Portobello mushroom caps
- 1 small zucchini
- 1/2 orange or red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) pesto
- Lemon wedges (to serve)
- Preheat barbeque to medium-hot.
- While barbeque heats, put quinoa and water in a small saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to minimum and let cook for 15 – 20 minutes until all water is absorbed.
- While quinoa cooks, put olive oil and balsamic in a small jar with a tight lid and shake until well blended.
- With a small knife (a grapefruit knife is ideal) cut the stems and some of the gills out of the Portobellos to form a bit of a hollow in the middle, being careful not to cut all the way through.
- Slice zucchini lengthwise into four thin strips and cut pepper into two pieces.
- Brush both sides of the vegetables with the olive oil and balsamic mixture, being sure to thoroughly coat the Portobellos.
- Place the vegetables on the hot barbeque grill and cook, turning once, for about 4 minutes per side. Remove from heat.
- Transfer the cooked quinoa to a medium sized bowl. Chop the grilled peppers and zucchini and add to the quinoa, along with all but a tablespoon of the pesto. Stir gently to combine well.
- Place the Portobellos on individual serving places, with the stem sides facing up. Heap about 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the quinoa mixture (or more, if you can fit it on) onto each mushroom.
- Top each with a dollop of pesto and serve immediately with lemon wedges to squeeze over top for a bright pop of flavour.
Makes 4 stuffed Portobellos.