Some cite the difficulty of getting one’s daily allowance of protein and niacin (vitamin B3) from vegetarian foods to justify continuing to eat meat.
Maybe they just don’t like the taste of meatless cuisine. Luckily, Rebecca Miller Ffrench’s Whole Protein Vegetarian delivers vitamin- and protein-rich recipes that are delicious and also happen to be plant-based. Thanks to her (and this is not a paid endorsement) the men in our family enjoy regular Meatless Mondays. So far, the favorite is Portobello Mushrooms with Freekeh and Artichokes. This dish’s wow-factor (it gets five stars from my meat-loving brother who does not even like mushrooms) along with the fact that meatless eating is saving the planet (see The Earthbound Report) makes for a great reason to party. Please try it and share your favorite vegetarian meal in the comments!
Excerpted from Whole Protein Vegetarian: Delicious Plant-Based Recipes with Essential Amino Acids for Health and Well-Being. By Rebecca Miller Ffrench; pictures, Joshua Holz. Countryman: 2016
Serves 4 – 20 grams protein
5 to 6 large portobello mushroom caps, w/ rims if possible
1 Tb extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
½ tsp kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
1 ½ cups freekeh (or other cooked grain)
1 ¼ cups or 1 13-15 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tb fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more for sprinkling
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp lemon zest
1 Tb fresh thyme leaves
3 ½ oz fontina cheese, grated
parchment paper and baking sheet
Preheat the oven to 350 o F and line a large, rimmed baking sheet w/ parchment paper.
Clean the mushrooms by brushing gently with a damp cloth or soft brush. Snap off the stems, set aside, and remove the gills by using the side of a spoon to gently scrape them off, lifting them away from the cap. Discard the gills.
Place the cleaned mushrooms on the prepared baking sheet. Brush them all over w/ olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake them, top side down, for almost 12 minutes [note – check after 5 minutes as it’s very easy to reduce them to useless liquid by overcooking], or until slightly softened.
Meanwhile, chop the reserved mushroom stems and place them in a bowl. Add the freekeh, artichoke hearts, and Parmesan.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, 1 Tb olive oil, ½ tsp of salt, and pepper. Stir in the garlic. Sprinkle this dressing over the freekeh mixture and toss. Sprinkle with lemon zest and thyme leaves and toss again.
After the first [5-] 12 minutes of baking, remove the mushrooms from the oven and divide the grain mixture among the mushrooms, spreading it evenly inside the caps. Return the mushrooms to the oven and continue to bake for ten more minutes, then sprinkle with the fontina and bake for another 5-8 minutes (about [20-]30 minutes total) or until the cheese is melted. Top with a sprinkle of ground pepper and sprigs of thyme if desired. Give thanks. It’s very good!