Using portabellas as side dish rafts is how I get to serve mushrooms to those in my family who like them while still having a mushroom-free alternative (the grain without a raft) for those who insist on disliking them. Note: The instructions given below work for the brands of quinoa available in my grocery store. Consult the cooking instructions on your box to find out if the proportion of liquid to quinoa (2:1 here) and the cooking time will work for your brand. —Cook the Story
For the Mushroom Rafts
olive oil (divided)
portabella mushrooms, stems and fins removed
pinches garlic powder
grinds black pepper
pinches sea salt
mushroom juices from the above mushroom rafts (if using)
black pepper (optional)
large Spanish pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped (substitute 1/4 cup chopped jarred roasted peppers if your family has olive-haters in the mix).
Rub a baking pan with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil (make sure you use a pan with an edge so the mushroom juices don’t spill out into your oven).
Place the mushrooms top side down on the pan. Drizzle each mushroom with 1/4 teaspoon olive oil. Sprinkle each mushroom with a pinch of garlic powder and a grind of pepper.
Place pan of mushrooms into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until mushrooms are cooked through. Sprinkle each mushroom with a pinch of salt. Transfer mushrooms to a plate. If there is any liquid in the pan, pour it into a bowl and save it to add to the filling below or to a sauce or soup.
Combine the quinoa, broth, paprika, cumin, oregano and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed and a tiny spiral appears around each grain.
Add the olive oil and mushroom juices (if using). Fluff gently with a fork. Taste and add a bit of salt and black pepper if desired.
Pile onto the warm mushroom rafts (for those who like mushrooms) or onto small plastic children’s plates (for those who don’t like mushrooms - if it’s for an adult, you have my reluctant permission to use a regular plate). Top each serving with the olives.