Episode 8. The Vegan Meat of Vegans!


Serves 2-4

4 x portobello mushrooms
2-4 rosemary sprigs (one sprig per mushroom)
1 cup cooked quinoa – see box for instructions
1 tbsp fresh oregano – chopped
1 tbsp fresh sage – chopped
1 small red onion – fine dice (about 1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic – minced and made into paste
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lemon – zest only
S&P to taste
red pepper vinaigrette (recipe below)

Cook the quinoa as per the instructions on the box. Drain, set aside.

You can make the quinoa ahead of time or while the quinoa is cooking, preheat a medium size saute pan or skillet on medium heat. Add olive oil and saute onions for 30 seconds. Add garlic and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes or until softened. Do not burn. If the onions begin to brown turn the heat down. Once softened, turn off heat and put a lid on to keep warm until needed.

TIP: As you saw in the video I added some salt to the garlic, which helps create grit on the cutting board making it easier to mash the garlic into a paste. I like mashing garlic so that it melts into the onions as opposed to having chunks of garlic.

Next prepare the mushrooms. Remove the stem by simply pulling it out then season inside each mushroom with S&P and a nice drizzle of olive oil. Place a few rosemary sprigs inside each mushroom. The rosemary will infuse into the mushroom while cooking to add an extra layer of flavour.
Preheat a large skillet or grill pan on medium heat for 1 minute.

NOTE: These mushrooms are quite meaty and absorbent so they will need some extra liquid (in this case olive oil) when cooking.

Once the grill pan is hot lay the mushrooms with the inside facing down. Cook for 10-15 minutes on that side then turn over and grill for another 5-10 minutes. Remove from pan to a plate until needed. Discard the rosemary sprig.

In a bowl add the quinoa, softened onions, chopped herbs, and lemon zest. Mix well. Taste and season with S&P.

To assemble: Place a tbsp of the vinaigrette in each mushroom. Spoon some quinoa filling on top to fill the mushroom cavity. Drizzle a few teaspoons of the sauce over. Voila!

Red pepper Vinaigrette:

1 roasted red pepper
1/2 shallot – rough chop
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
2 tbsp white Balsamic vinegar or champagne vinegar
1 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp Agave
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

Place everything except the oil in a food processor or blender and pulse. Then with the machine running drizzle the oil to emulsify the vinaigrette. Taste.
This vinaigrette makes a great condiment and substitution for mayo or ketchup as well as a delicious salad dressing. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

NOTE: You could make this entire recipe ahead of time and reheat or serve room temp. To reheat, simply warm the mushrooms in the oven for 1o minutes and gently saute the quinoa filling in a pan on medium heat until warm. If reheating always taste again before serving to adjust seasoning.

We paired this recipe with a lovely Spanish wine, a Bodegas Tarima Monastrell from the Jumilla region. Now I don’t know a ton about wines (as you could tell from my days in Napa) but I do know how to ask about wine, which comes in handy at my local Whole Foods. As of late what I ask about are organic wines under $15.00 as I figure I’ll start slowly and work my way up the price ladder as I learn more. This is the 2nd Jorge Ordonez wine that Luke, my wine guide at WF, has recommended for us (among others) based on what we’re making and he hasn’t steered us wrong yet. Sadly he’s leaving for New Zealand to become a Pinot Noir grower, which means I’ll be on my jack jones trying to figure out the pairings for myself until another wine guide crosses our path. But until then I will boast about this wine, which was described to me as an Earthy, gamey wine that pairs beautifully with sage and lamb dishes and it didn’t disappoint with this dish either! Basically I’ve learned if you want a great Spanish wine look for the Jorge Ordonez stamp for a bullet-proof buy and it’s $8.99 at Whole Foods to boot!

All recipes are made with the finest quality farmers’ market whole foods, natural and non-processed ingredients as much as possible.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Cla January 26, 2011 at 11:30 am

I just ate Quinoa for the first time last week and I’ve been looking for recipes. I’ll DEFINITELY try it this weekend! LOVE-IT!!!!

Gavan January 27, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Thanks lady. You made my day. I love hearing of people trying new foods and even better when they like it.
Thanks for letting me know.

Mary Ann January 27, 2011 at 6:48 pm


One word..delicious! I wanted to eat the remaining two but had to save them for my husband. I did dip some asparagus into the remaining red pepper vinagerette. We have Quinoa every week but it’s nice to use it in such a different way. Thank you and thanks to Robin too!

Mary Ann

Terry Sutor January 29, 2011 at 7:53 am

As someone who has recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I am looking for foods I can eat that will get this horrid issue in check without taking pills. I am not overweight or a sugar junkie – apparently just the unlucky recipient of this maternal gene. I am hopeful that some of the recipes and advice you post here will help.

Thank you.

Nancy February 14, 2011 at 7:43 am

Found you through Robin. Made this last night Gavan and it was a hit, so easy! It was our first time trying quinoa and it’s now going to be a staple in our house. Time for a change and it’s good to know we’re still going to eat amazing foods. I also have to say that the red pepper vinegrette is delicious and going to keep it in my fridge at all times. Thanks so much!

Bari February 14, 2011 at 7:11 pm

I made this today and it was unbelievably flavorful and delicious! I made a few changes…made the quinoa with vegetable stock and sauteed leeks…
My vinaigrette was made from Trader Joes frozen fire roasted peppers (yellow/red/green)…the mix has onions but I picked those out.
One comment is that you should try to look for Portobellos with thinner tops….mine were quite thick so they took longer….here is the pic. I tweeted to Robin but not sure she saw it… http://twitpic.com/3zuudx

Gavan February 16, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Hey Terry, sorry to hear about the diabetes but you have the right attitude in seeking a remedy with your diet. Good on you. I hope you enjoy the recipes and keep your spirits up.

Gavan February 16, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Hey Nancy, Thanks for checking in. I love quinoa and I’m glad you tried something new. Fantastic. Appreciate the feedback.

Gavan February 16, 2011 at 4:33 pm

B, I like the way you changed it up, nice one. That’s really what cooking is all about, having fun. Thanks so much for checking in.

Mark Gottlieb August 13, 2011 at 6:55 am

Gavan, What a great site you have here. Found you googlin for quinoa recipes and I must say you’ve provided some of the most interesting, but your series of cooking videos with Robin is really superb. You’ve restored some of faith that there may still be originality in LA, as my occasional sojourns there down from the mountains of Montana have left me wondering over the last few years. I look forward to riffin on this recipe.

Gavan August 29, 2011 at 6:10 am

Hey Mark, thanks so much. I try to keep my recipes simple yet interesting enough for people to want to try.
Thanks for the good words. Cheers.

Susan December 3, 2011 at 9:34 am

Sounds wonderful. Look forward to trying this recipe. Quinoa is such a wonderful ingredient! Thank you!

Gavan December 5, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Hi Susan, you’ll love this recipe. It all works really well together so enjoy. Cheers.

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