Friday, May 24, 2013

Sausage Portobello "Pizzas" (cheese optional!)

Sometimes I look at a portobello mushroom and think that nature gave us a little edible dish. But what to put on it? Two tastes that I think go extremely well together are portobello mushrooms and sausage. And with just a few more ingredients you can have your very own portobello "pizzas"!

I decided to splurge a little and put some cheese on mine, but these simple little "pizzas" don't need cheese to still be delicious. If you've been practicing your knife skills, you can whip this up in a few minutes and have it on the table in no time.

  • 6 portobello mushroom caps (peeled, stems removed)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Italian Sausage Seasoning* (see below for recipe)
  • 4 campari tomatoes (these are smaller than a beefsteak but larger than cherries)
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 12 large basil leaves, chiffonaded
  • 1 6-oz package organic shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)
  • salt, fresh pepper, and dried oregano to taste
  1. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. 
  2. With your hands, mix the Italian Sausage Seasoning into the ground pork until combined. Crumble the sausage mix into the frying pan and cook until lightly browned. Move the meat in the frying pan off to the side.
  3. Set oven to broil.
  4. Line a sided baking sheet with foil and drizzle with olive oil. Place the mushrooms face down and drizzle generously with more oil. Broil for 5 - 7 minutes, until slightly soft, then remove from oven and flip mushrooms over so that the gills are facing up.
  5. Mix the garlic, sliced basil, and cheese (if using cheese) into the sausage mixture in the frying pan with another tablespoon or so of oil. If the mixture is still hot the cheese may start to melt, which is fine.
  6. Fill each mushroom cap with a heap of sausage mixture and top with sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle each with salt, pepper, and oregano and put back under the broiler another 3 - 5 minutes, until tomatoes begin to wilt and soften.
  7. Remove from oven and serve hot!
*I've used this seasoning mix from Melissa Joulwan in a few recipes so far on this site. I always recommend you keep some in your spice cabinet, pre-made. I always use it to make my own sausage meat. I typically use 1 1/2 Tbsp per pound of ground pork. In case you need the recipe for the mix, here it is again. Note this will yield MUCH more than is necessary for this recipe so you can save the extra for next time.

Italian Sausage Seasoning Mix
  • 4 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 Tbsp dried Italian herbs
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 tsp fennel seed (optional) - you should use this if you have it, though, it really gives the meat that sausagey taste
In a medium bowl, crush the dried parsley and Italian herbs with your fingers or a fork to release their flavor. Add the black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, salt, red pepper flakes, and fennel seed. Mix with a fork.
Tips for Variations:
  • You can mix anything into the sausage filling. Why not try some chopped broccoli rape (saute first, until soft)?
  • Don't want to use campari tomatoes? Try using halved grape tomatoes instead. 
  • Sprinkle some crushed red pepper on top for a hint of spice.
  • Try switching out the mozzarella cheese with crumbled feta instead - yum!
Magic Trick - add a little seasoning and poof! You now have sausage!

I hate ground meat squishing between my fingers so I always wear gloves for this part.

Browned to perfection!

Getting the pan ready...
Peel the mushrooms starting from the inside lip..

And then you have the nice, clean, white meat underneath.

I typically leave the gills on my mushroom, but you can remove them if you like.

Just a few short minutes under the broiler and our portobello crusts are all ready for filling!

Love these campari tomatoes! If you don't have any, you can use grape or cherry.
What was that fancy word used earlier? Chiffonade? Well, here it is. Pretty simple, actually. Just stack all your basil leaves together and roll them up tightly. Then use your knife to slice the rolled basil into thin little ribbons. This is a quick and easy way to slice delicate leafy herbs.
And here is the product of your chiffonading! (This isn't all the basil, you should be left with much more than this.)

To use cheese or not is completely up to you. I do use a little dairy here or there. This meal would be delicious even without it.

And here we are, ready for the oven again!



  1. This sounds fantastic! Why do you peel the portobellos though?

    1. Hi Benedict,

      That's a great question! My stepmom is the one who introduced me to mushrooms when I was younger and we always peeled them. You really don't have to, but I prefer to do it for a few reasons.

      1. Easier to get the dirt off than washing
      2. I don't buy them organic, so if you're neurotic about pesticides hanging around in the skin, this will make you feel a little better
      3. Makes a nice flat underside for grilling and broiling because the little "lip" is gone
      4. I like doing extra work and staining my fingers black (just kidding) :)