I’ll admit I was dreading the educational conferences I had to attend the past couple days. I was NOT feeling the start of the school year. The conference was centered around a PLC – professional learning community – and why they are so important in schools. I was very skeptical about how a conference focused on such a narrow and simple concept could be either useful or engaging. I was in a resentful, close-minded mood heading into the auditorium on the first day. Oh my goodness, I was so, so wrong!
I didn’t fully understand how amazing and intelligent Rick DuFour and team are. These guys ran the most professional, engaging, seamless event I have ever attended. The way they viewed education, the research they consolidated to form these conclusions and solutions, the way they presented information to us… it was astounding. They spoke with such expertise, understanding and passion that it was contagious. I highly encourage you to read his book, In Praise of the American Educator, to better understand how amazing teachers are today and the problems we face. I left feeling so inspired and energized for the coming school year, very different from how I walked in. Ready to plan more effectively and fully utilize the resources right next to me – my amazing colleagues.
I know this is a food blog dedicated to fabulously healthy recipes, but I also like to think it’s an advocate for a overall healthy lifestyle. For me, loving my job (obviously not all the time, I’m human) and being passionate about what I do is hugely important to my mental health and happiness. In fact, I love teaching so much that I took on this website, hoping to reach someone, anyone out there in cyberspace; to teach them about how healthy eating is fun and delicious and honestly not that hard. That positive thinking, exercise and loving yourself are equally as important, and that we need to purposefully make times for these on the regular. That happiness is a choice that you have to actively make each and every day. It’s been a long road for me, certainly not and easy one, and I would love to be even a little help to you in your journey towards a “healthy” you.
So, if you’re reading this, hi! I am so happy you’re here, and excited to teach you about one of my favorite healthy go-to meals. I don’t know if you’ve ever made a portabella mushroom pizza, but they are fabulous. It’s a quick weeknight meal, easy to modify to your tastes, and gives you 2 servings of vegetables per pizza. And you’ll want to eat at least 2 pizzas. According my my math, that’s almost your daily intake of veggies. Boo ya. Feel good about eating seconds!
These “pizzas” are very simple to make. The component that takes the most time (basically all of the time) is the sauce. I used zucchini, tomatoes and onion, but really you can load in whichever vegetables your heart desires. Italian sausage would also be amazing, or a spiced up lean turkey sausage for a healthier choice.
I used two types of cheese – mozzarella and parmesan – in different places. I put some shredded mozzarella on top of the mushroom before I baked it, then combined the parmesan with the bread crumbs on top of the “sauce”. You might be thinking, GASP! Cheese is BAD! It’s not healthy and will make me fat! I have heard this from so many people. Not true! Everything in moderation, right? Cheese is actually a great source of calcium, especially when paired with Vitamin D to help your body absorb that calcium (hey-o, mushrooms!). Go for that whole milk, full-fat stuff as well, none of that low-fat garbage. I really, really hate it, and anyway people that consume whole fat dairy are slimmer than those who don’t! Also, I probably put only 50 calories worth of cheese on each pizza (about 1/8 cup), and this it was the perfect amount for me. Otherwise your pizza will be overwhelmed with cheese, which sometimes happens to my pizzas on purpose after a really stressful day. Sometimes you need to eat a butt-load of cheese, and that’s ok.
A note about this meal: my meat-loving finance, who is often dismayed by the lack of meat in a given dish, did not even think twice about this one. He even recognized it himself, saying the fact there was no meat and that he didn’t even care was a huge deal. Vegetarian win!
Portabella Mushroom PizzasPrint Recipe
- 4 - 6 large portabella mushrooms, cleaned
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatores, halved
- 1 small zucchini, sliced and quartered
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 closed garlic, diced
- 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning, plus a little more for sprinkling
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup tomato puree
- 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh Parsley
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add a little olive oil, and then the chopped onions. Saute for 5-7 minutes until translucent. Add in the zucchini and tomatoes, salt, and continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the balsamic vinegar and red wine, bring to a simmer, and reduce for 7-10 minutes. Add the tomato puree and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
About 10 minutes before the sauce is set to be finished (around when you add the tomato puree), prepare the mushrooms. Preheat oven to 425F. Combine bread crumbs and Parmesan in a small bowl. Line a baking sheet with foil, and on it place your cleaned mushrooms. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake in oven for 5 minutes.
Remove the mushrooms from the oven, and top evenly with the finished sauce. Top that with he bread crumb mixture. Sprinkle a little salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning on top of this. Place back in over for 5-10 minutes or until topping is golden brown.
Top with fresh parsley to serve.