Unwrapped: Rosemary Roasted Mushrooms – CYOB [The Mouthful Morsel]

Create Your Own Bite, The Mouthful Morsel
While everyone's carving their Christmas ham, make sure your meal is just as hearty with a serving of thick-cut mushrooms.

While everyone’s carving their Christmas ham, make sure your meal is just as hearty with a serving of thick-cut mushrooms.

Happy Holidays, all!

After a little hiatus from the Internet, that I used to catch up on some quality time with the family and start a new yoga program, I’m back with a weekend of delicious, healthy holiday recipes and ideas. Because even though the Hanukkah and Christmas feasts have ended, many of us are still enjoying the long winter break.

If you’ve had one too many spiced eggnogs, or are still working through the box of chocolates your neighbor dropped off, this dish is the perfect way to start filling your fridge with healthy alternatives.

For Christmas dinner, I pulled together a triple mushroom dish for the table.  While this meal is typically prepared with traditional Asian flavors, such as oyster sauce or tamari, and frequently uses oyster and shiitake mushrooms, I took a different approach.

Aromatic rosemary and rich, sweet olive oil were the perfect balance to the earthy mushrooms I served at my aunt’s house. Plus, entirely vegan, grain, and gluten-free, this will satisfy even the most restrictive of diets.

Create Your Own Bite #17

Rosemary Roasted Mushrooms

48 Ounces of Cremini Mushrooms

24 Ounces of White Mushrooms

6 Portobello Mushroom Caps (Approximately 18 Ounces)

10 Ounces of White Pearl Onions

1/4 Cup Fresh Rosemary Leaves

5 Sprigs of Rosemary

1/4 Cup Olive Oil

1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar

10 Cloves of Garlic, Minced

Salt and Pepper, to Taste

This recipe makes 12 servings, approximately 1 cup per serving.

Estimated Calories: 100

Mushrooms, especially thick, meaty mushrooms such as the portobello variety, are an excellent substitute for meat.  They are more satisfying than most vegetables, and because they are extremely low in calories, you can enjoy a generous portion.

To prepare this dish, begin by cleaning the mushrooms with a mushroom brush. This process may be tedious, given the large quantity, but it’s the best way to get rid of the dirt that can cling to gills and caps.

You may be inclined to rinse the mushrooms, to expedite the process, but be careful: Mushrooms rapidly absorb water, and this can dilute the delicate flavor.

Once all of the mushrooms have been cleaned, slice them lengthwise. For small mushrooms, I simply halved them.  For larger specimens, I sliced them into thirds.  Mushrooms shrink significantly during the cooking process, so I always air on the side of cutting them too thick.  If mushrooms are cut too thin, they will wither away.

For the portobello mushrooms, I quartered the caps.  This leaves about half a portobello mushroom cap per person.

Personally, I like leaving the stems on the mushrooms.  I simply cut off the very bottom of the stem for a clean edge.

Personally, I like leaving the stems on the mushrooms. I simply cut off the very bottom of the stem for a clean edge.

Once all of the mushrooms have been cut, toss them together in a large bowl with the olive oil, red wine vinegar, and minced garlic.  Finely chop the rosemary leaves, and then mix these in too.  Crack some black pepper over the mix, and add a pinch or two of fresh sea salt.  Toss the mixture a few times until the mushrooms are evenly coated.

Separate the mushrooms into two baking pans, approximately 10 x 12 each, and top each with a sprig of rosemary. If you have an olive oil spritzer, top the mushrooms with a couple quick sprays.  If not, drizzle a tiny bit over the top.

Bake your mushrooms at 375 for 35-40 minutes.  When the mushrooms are soft and dark brown, remove from the oven and drain the liquid.  Put this aside – it makes a fantastic soup stock or vegetarian mushroom gravy base.

To serve, pile the mushrooms in a casserole dish or bowl, and top with the remaining sprigs of rosemary.

At the dinner table this year, my mushroom dish was just one of many vegetarian options.  My Aunt Hedy’s Citrus Sweet Potatoes, with grand marnier, diced pineapple, and orange was one of my favorites.  Quartered Fennel Bulbs with Parmesan and Mustard was my father’s contribution – a unique and delicious balance of sweet anise and the sharp, savory accents.

Mushrooms were a popular ingredient for the evening.  While the traditional ham, turkey, cranberry sauce, and green beans were present, Feta and Walnut Stuffed Mushrooms were a surprising appetizer.  The stuffing, my cousin’s creation, was a vegetarian version, with artichoke leaves and mushrooms.

Keep the holiday spirit going by taking the extra time in the evening to cook with your friends and family.  Fight the impulse to order Chinese and develop rich flavors in the oven with delicious vegetable dishes such as this one.

Until tomorrow, when I continue to unwrap the holidays with a kitchen wishlist full of my favorite gadgets and finds. Whether you’re looking to spend a little holiday money, or have a belated Christmas gift in mind, these are the things I don’t know how I survived 2012 without.

The holiday season isn’t over yet!



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