Healthy Eating: Cheesesteak that's delicious even minus the steak
Like Philadelphia itself, there is a lot to love about the city's signature sandwich — the cheesesteak.
But that delicious combination of beef, onions and cheese isn't the sort of thing you want to pack away every day, unless you're looking to pack on pounds. So I decided to see if I could make a healthier sandwich that is inspired by the cheesesteak, but is a bit more suited to the everyday.
I started by swapping out the beef in favor of that most steak-like of mushrooms, the portobello. Actually, it's just the roomy cap of the portobello, filled to the brim with roasted red peppers, grilled green onions, olives and mushroom trimmings, then topped with melted provolone cheese, and lubricated with a little bit of rosemary mayonnaise.
Finally, the whole thing is set on a slice of grilled rustic bread. It may be meatless, but it is not a punk. And heartiness aside, portobellos — like all of their mushroom brethren — are chock-full of nutrients.
But these big mushrooms have to be cleaned before they can be savored. Start by removing the dark gills on the underside, lightly scraping them out with a teaspoon. Then simply rinse the cap on both sides under cold running water to remove any dirt. I know that some folks advise against rinsing, preferring instead to wipe away the dirt with a damp cloth to prevent the mushrooms from getting waterlogged. In fact, a quick rinse doesn't harm them and it's infinitely quicker and more thorough than wiping them clean. Just pat the caps dry afterward so they'll be able to absorb the marinade.
And that's the amazing thing about portobellos. Though they have a high water content, if you plunk them into a flavorful marinade, they still absorb it quickly.
Topping-wise, I've gone the Mediterranean route, but you're welcome to substitute the toppings of your choice. Maybe you'll want to grill and chop up some complementary mushrooms — like shiitake or oyster — and put them on top of the portobello. Maybe you'll opt to top it off with grilled broccoli, asparagus or onions. Likewise, if you're not crazy about provolone, you can swap in thin slices of mozzarella, cheddar or Italian fontina. Finally, if don't like mayo on your sandwiches, don't use it. Dijon mustard works very nicely in its place.
But however you customize it, I urge you to try adding this super-satisfying vegetarian ringer to the menu the next time you're grilling hot dogs and burgers in the backyard, and see if you don't win some converts.
Chef Sara Moulton writes this column for the Associated Press.
Open-Faced Stuffed Portobello Sandwiches
To remove the gills from the underside of the portobello mushrooms, use a spoon to gently scrape them out.
Start to finish: 40 minutes (25 active)
1 larve clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 large portobello mushrooms, stems and gills discarded
1⁄2 cup light mayonnaise
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh rosemary
Olive oil cooking spray
1⁄2 cup medium chopped jarred roasted red peppers
1⁄2 cup pitted black olives, medium chopped
6 large green onions, bottoms trimmed
4 slices rustic whole-grain bread
4 thin slices provolone cheese (about 3 ounces total)
Heat the grill to medium.
In a small bowl, combine the garlic, mustard, vinegar, olive oil, and a hefty pinch each of salt and pepper. Brush the marinade on both sides of the mushrooms, then transfer them to a zip-close plastic bag, along with any remaining marinade. Let them marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the mayonnaise and rosemary, then season with salt and pepper. In a medium bowl combine the peppers and olives, then season with pepper. Set aside.
Coat the green onions with the cooking spray and grill them, turning often, until they are charred on the edges and crisp tender, for 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer them to a cutting board and let them cool slightly. Medium chop the green onions and add them to the bowl with the peppers and olives.
Mist the bread with cooking spray, then grill it until it is lightly toasted on both sides. Set aside.
Grill the mushrooms, gill sides down, for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn them over and grill on the on the second side until tender when pierced with a knife, for another 3 to 4 minutes. Spoon a quarter of the olive-pepper mixture evenly on top of each mushroom. Top with a slice of cheese, cover the grill and cook until the cheese is melted, for 1 to 2 minutes.
Spread the mayonnaise mixture on each piece of bread. Transfer each mushroom to one slice of bread. Cut in half and serve right away.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 380 calories (230 calories from fat), 26 grams fat (7 grams saturated), 35 milligrams cholesterol, 12 grams protein, 26 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams dietary fiber, 1,060 milligrams sodium
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Lopsided loss to Eagles shows Steelers have issues aplenty
- Harrison’s 5 RBIs help Pirates pound Brewers
- Steelers notebook: Keisel always hoped to return
- Mother Nature takes a swat at Western Pa. stink bugs
- Sandusky cover-up case unusually shrouded
- Hero Franklin Regional security guard out of work
- Records: Steelers RB Bell admitted smoking pot before traffic stop but denied being high
- Pirates notebook: Prospect Sanchez makes 1st start at first base with Indy
- Roundup: Keurig strikes deal with Kraft on coffee brands; more
- Time on the bench gets Snider back into Pirates lineup
- Woman shot dead, mother wounded in Hill District shooting