Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Grilled Portobello Pizzas

While I was in the desert, Austin received a whole lot of rain, and since I’ve returned home, we’ve had a few more rainy days. All this rain means my basil plants couldn’t be happier. Happy basil means pesto. I found a slightly different approach to basil pesto in Martha Stewart's Healthy Quick Cook. That version uses roasted garlic and rough-cut basil leaves with very little olive oil. I went that route, sort of, for a lighter style of pesto. Rather than rough cutting, I tossed everything into a food processor, and I had some pine nuts on hand, so I added them as well. Also in that book, this light pesto is used on grilled portobellos topped with a cherry tomato salad with more roasted garlic and shavings of parmigiano reggiano. I’ve made a few versions of portobello pizzas before, and one of my favorites involved hummus and a thick slab of feta. The portobello pizzas shown here were much lighter but just as flavorful. It’s amazing how substantial a portobello seems although it’s all vegetable, and roasted garlic and parmigiano add great depth and interest.

Because this book is devoted to healthy dishes, very little oil is used in the recipes. Now, ordinarily, when I roast garlic, I cut off the tops of the bulbs, pour olive oil over them, and add salt and pepper. This time, I skipped the oil on the garlic and just added a small pinch of salt and some crushed red pepper flakes. I wrapped the garlic in parchment and foil and roasted it for about 40 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, I squeezed the soft garlic from the bulbs. It’s just as delicious without the oil. Some of that was used in the basil pesto, and the rest was used in the cherry tomato salad. Thyme leaves and chopped cherry tomatoes were added to the mashed, roasted garlic and a scant tablespoon of olive oil, and it was tossed to combine. I used some locally grown portobellos that were lightly brushed with oil and seasoned before being grilled for four minutes per side. They were then topped with the cherry tomato and roasted garlic salad, they got a drizzle of basil pesto, and shaved parmigiano reggiano was set on top of each.

Admittedly, I don’t always cook with light and healthy in mind, but a dish like this is a great reminder than you don’t always need as much oil in a recipe as you might think. This certainly didn’t taste like diet food. It was also a reminder that with ingredients like homegrown basil, fresh, local tomatoes and portobellos, and great cheese, you don’t need to embellish them much. And, with this way of cooking, my bottle of olive oil will last a little longer.



37 comments:

  1. this looks delicious! some of my very favorite ingredients combined : )

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  2. That is awesome! I love the idea. A pity Portobellos are not easily found here...

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  3. You portobello look so pretty Lisa, simply irresistible !

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  4. Beautiful portobellos. Look so good!!!

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  5. I love using portobello mushrooms this way. Great recipe! I'd love to try roasting my garlic this way.

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  6. That looks AMAZING Lisa! And great to meet you at the Urban dinner last week :)

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  7. Oh... these are lovely and so light!

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  8. Mmm... These look completely delicious. And great pictures!

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  9. I'm always looking for low oil, low gluten, seasonal recipes that satisfy my foodie needs but emphasize veggies and conform to my goals of eating mostly alkaline foods-phew! So, needless to say I'm thrilled to find inspiration from this portobello 'pizza' idea of yours. I have wonderful tomatoes and summer garlic so this is a perfect right now. All I need to buy are the mushrooms.

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  10. Portobello caps as the "crust". LOVE IT!!!

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  11. Definitely going to try roasted garlic in my next batch of pesto. I bet it adds a rounder, even sweeter touch.

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  12. That is so funny I've had a post on hold for Portabello pizzas for weeks now but this is quite different from mine and looks delicious. Love the idea of a lighter pesto as I can eat it by the bucketfull:)

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  13. Love anything with mushrooms and surely this portobello pizza makes me drool at 6 a.m.

    Lisa, I would like to add my two cents regarding olive oil and healthy eating. I think the book misinterpretes "Healthy Eating". The Cretan diet, which is from where Mediterranean diet originates, is based on a lot of olive oil consumption. The author of the book has misunderstood the concept of healthy eating as to calorie intake - obesity - etc. Olive oil may be high in calories but that's the only flaw to this product. Just for your readers to know that eating olive oil is healthy and not to be afraid to use it generously. I myself promote healty eating and use it sparingly, only regarding weight.

    http://kopiaste.org/healthy-recipes/

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  14. I love the fact that these use mushrooms instead of a pizza crust. The taste must be out of this world.

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  15. I just made pesto with 2 huge bunches of basil from the market. I just winged it and did it to taste rather than a recipe. I find most pestos way too oily for my taste and I'm glad to see that Martha endorses a healthier version! Is this a new cookbook? It doesn't sound familiar to me. I love the portobellos here - so hearty!

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  16. That is such a cool idea, I may try this!
    *kisses* HH

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  17. What a clever idea, Lisa! And don't you love roasted garlic? Nice to know it works just as well without oil...will make it that way from now on!

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  18. Ivy: I agree that olive oil is a very healthy oil. I believe the intent of the book was to reduce the overall calorie count in the recipes by using less oil.

    d: It's actually not a new book, I've had it since it came out in 1997.

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  19. This rocks. Thanks for sharing. Awesome.

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  20. We do Portobellos on the grill all the time and have occasionally added cheese on top, but I LOVE these made like little pizzas! Fresh basil & garlic are two of my favorite things! I'll be making these very soon...maybe this weekend.

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  21. Oh drat. Got home late from a night festival a little bit peckish & a bit too wide awake to go off to sleep, so thought I'd trawl the blogesphere for awhile, now I'm starving...., I'd do anything for a few of these rich yummy portobello pizzas, I can practically taste them.

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  22. I don't always cook w/ health in mind either, but how great is it when something absolutely delicious is healthy to boot!? I love the beautiful simplicity of your portabella pizzas...and I love grilled portabellas in general- so meaty grill-y (!?) LOL..YUM =)

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  23. I love roasted garlic. I haven't tried it without olive oil. Good to know that it's just as fabulous. Great idea!

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  24. This is just perfect Lisa! And I DO have light and healthy on my mind at the moment so this looks like a dish I could definitely try!

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  25. Looks like the perfect dish to serve at a veggie dinner party - yum!

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  26. I actually really love chunky, less oily pesto! I think it has more texture that way. These portobello pizzas seem fantastic. I am going to try both these and the hummus feta version!

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  27. I just found your blog tonight...and as a new arrival to Austin, I'm glad that I did! Your photographs are beautiful...and this recipe needs to be made this weekend! I'm looking forward to reading more!

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  28. These portobellos look absolutely delicious!! And beautifully photographed too..
    ronelle

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  29. I would have the mushroom as the pizza base anytime :)

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  30. what a super idea! very healthy and may I add, the best looking pizza I've seen in a long time :)

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  31. Wow, absolutely amazing. Love mushrooms and pesto and just wow. I wish I had some in front of me now,

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  32. I have a spray bottle I use for oil, and one word for this dish- Divine!

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  33. Give them all Lisa. I would have these anytime over regular crusted pizza.

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  34. Lisa, we just made these for lunch -- and oh my! It was delicious. I, too, used a misto spray can for the olive oil on my mushrooms (and gave the garlic a little spritz, too, I must admit). And since I was a little low on my grape tomatoes, I threw in a handful of lightly blanched corn, too, and a good dose of black pepper -- the yellow really popped and the corn made a great addition to the portabella flavor. Thanks for the idea, I subscribe to your blog and look forward to your posts!

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