Aug 06

A Salsa Starter, and a Deliciously Sensational Stuffed Portabella Mushroom Recipe

Homemade Baked Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms with Spinach and Cheese

Homemade Baked Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms with Spinach and Cheese

Salsa: a lively dance noted for paso doble rhythms and sexually charged movement featuring partners entwined with each other throughout the dance.

There is much similarity between the culinary version and the dance. As with the music, salsa is relatively simple, made more interesting by the interaction of the participants. While the foodstuffs are not sexually charged, some people believe hot food, chilies in particular, are an aphrodisiac. It might be true. Then again, it might not.

Salsas can be cooked or fresh. One of the most popular fresh salsas is very simple, just tomatoes, chilies, onions and some cilantro.

A word on cilantro. In its mature form, cilantro is known as coriander. The seeds impart a nutty flavor to foods. The leaves of the cilantro plant lend it a freshness, a taste of spring nothing else can give. Be careful using the stems though. They can have a soapy taste. A few pieces of stem are fine. But not a lot. Always use more leaves.

Cooked salsa is what people traditionally put up in jars as a way to utilize an over abundance of tomatoes. Fresh cilantro in cooked salsa is a waste, as the flavor dissipates with time.

So, what can you do with cilantro if not using it in salsa? What about stuffed portabella mushrooms?

Deliciously Sensational Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

What You Need:

  • Four extra large Portabella mushrooms. Remove the stems and reserve
  • a cup of feta cheese
  • a cup of fresh spinach, cleaned
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • sprinkle of ground cardamom

How to Make It:

Place the mushroom caps cup side up on a baking sheet lined with foil.

Chop the stems finely. Place in a bowl with the cheese, spinach, and cilantro. Mix well. Add the cardamom and pack into the mushrooms, mounding as necessary. Press the pine nuts into the top.

Bake at 350° F for about 20 minutes, until a tester passes into the mushroom cap easily.

These can be served as part of the main course, as a meat substitute, or they can be cut into wedges and served as a first course. Either way, they are delicious. You can also use smaller portabella, or “baby Bellas” to make bite sized appetizers.

Cilantro has a place in the cooking of many nations. It is in couscous, paired with fresh mint and raisins. Small bits are sometimes mixed with greens for a fresh salad. No matter where you use it, use it. A little, or a lot, it is all good.


Christine Szalay-Kudra is an author, food expert and mom of four boys. She is the owner of the Recipe Publishing Network, a group of sites dedicated to fine food and information for cooks. When not busy with her business you can find her sharing on one of these social networks at her own URL:

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