Eat your hat -Stuffed Portobello mushrooms

Portobello mushrooms stuffed with parsnip puree, topped with golden, garlic and thyme crumbs.

Stuffed mushroom with parsnip puree and garlic bread crumbs

Cup Mushroom stuffed with sweet parsnip puree and topped with crisp garlic and thyme crumbs.


In Northern Italy the Portobello mushroom it is known as  ‘Cappellone’ or ‘big hat’. The large meaty cup shaped mushroom lends itself to being filled with all manner of delicious stuffing’s. They make meals in themselves  and delicious accompaniments to main course meals.  Here I have filled them with a smooth parsnip puree scented with bay ,and topped them with crisp garlic and thyme flavoured breadcrumbs. 

This is a great entertaining recipe as they can be prepared in advance up to the cooking stage, covered and stored in fridge for 24 hours before you need them. This dish is a fabulous vegetarian option and you could make it  vegan by omitting the milk and cooking the parsnips in a light vegetable stock. 

Portobello mushrooms stuffed with parsnip puree, topped with golden, garlic and thyme crumbs


Makes 4 large and 6 medium sized flat mushrooms

 4 large or 6 medium flat mushrooms with enough of a ‘cup’ to hold the filling

50g fresh white breadcrumbs

2 cloves garlic, crushed, or very finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, lightly chopped (leaves from about 15 stalks)

A good pinch of flaked sea salt

2 tablespoons light favoured olive oil

 Parsnip puree:

500g (about 3) parsnips, peeled and cut into even sized small chunks

250ml milk (0r light vegetable stock)

2 bay leaves

6 black peppercorns

2 cloves garlic, peeled

50ml light flavoured olive oil

Juice ½ lemon

¼ teaspoon flaked sea salt


First make the parsnip puree:

Parsnip Puree

Parsnip cooked in milk with bay leaves, peppercorns and garlic.

Put the parsnip chunks, milk, bay leaves, garlic and whole peppercorns into a pan with a well-fitting lid. Bring to a simmer over a moderate heat and cook very gently for about fifteen minutes or until the parsnips are soft. Stir occasionally to make sure the milk isn’t catching on the bottom of the pan.

Remove the bay leaves and peppercorns and put the cooked parsnip and the cooking milk or stock into the jug of a blender. Blitz to a puree, and with the motor running pour in the lemon juice and olive oil. Blend to a smooth but thick puree, adding additional liquid if required. Season to taste with salt.

While the puree is cooking, prepare the breadcrumb topping:

Put the breadcrumbs into a mixing bowl along with the crushed garlic, prepared thyme leaves, salt and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Gently mix together by hand to coat the breadcrumbs in the oil.

Set the mushrooms on a large baking tray and drizzle over the second tablespoon of olive oil.

mushrooms filled with parship puree nd garlic, thyme breadcrumbs

Fill the cups with parsnip puree and top with the garlic and thyme breadcrumbs.

Fill the mushroom cup with 1-2 spoonsful of the puree. Sprinkle the tops of each filled mushroom with the prepared breadcrumbs. You can leave the mushrooms at this stage covered and refrigerated until ready to cook for a several hours or overnight.


To cook, heat the oven to gas 5/170c. Put the baking tray into the lower section of the oven and bake for 20 -25 minutes,  or until the juices are sizzling  the breadcrumbs are golden.

Serve straight from the oven.

Stuffed Mushrooms served with rocket salad

Serve the parsnip stuffed mushrooms with a simple rocket salad dressed with lemon, garlic and oil

Serving Suggestions:

These make a fabulous light vegetarian (or vegan, see above) meal served with a simple rocket salad dressed with  lemon and garlic  ‘vinaigrette’, with the optional addition of shaved parmesan. They would  make a very good accompaniment to any of these salads:

Chicory, orange and watercress salad with a toasted walnut pesto

A Tuscan Superfood Salad

Cracked Wheat Gazpacho Salad

Summer Red Cabbage Slaw with a Raspberry Vinaigrette

They partner extremely well with any winter Casserole, where you can serve them instead of potato or rice for a light and interesting option.  Try these:

Italian style Beef Casserole served with Cheese Polenta ( serve the stuffed mushrooms instead of the cheesy polenta).

Pork Shanks braised in a tomato basil sauce with chorizo and canelli beans.



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