Feeding someone with food allergies…Stuffed Portabellas?

Last night we had my grandfather, his sister and her husband over for dinner. I was really looking forward to having them visit, but there was one challenge: Alice is allergic to gluten. And dairy products. And she doesn’t usually eat meat, only fish. And soy makes her angry. Oats give her arthritis…and I know the list goes on. But I was up for the challenge! So after a lot of thinking and searching for recipe ideas, I came up with stuffed portabella mushrooms. Usually stuffed mushrooms involve loads of dairy and gluten, especially since most of the recipes I find use breadcrumbs. So this recipe was an experiment for me, and the results were great! I figured chicken sausage was a safe bet, since she’s not technically vegetarian, and it added a lot of flavor. Well, I think I did well because she cleaned her plate! And those mushrooms are huuuge. I haven’t received a phone call yet about any emergency room visits…so I think I’m in the clear.


2 T butter or olive oil (I like to use Smart Balance “butter” spread to make it lighter)

1 medium onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 red bell pepper, finely diced

1/3 cup chopped sundried tomatoes

1/3 cup chopped almonds

4-6 large portabella mushrooms (I made 5 for this recipe and had a little filling leftover)

about 2 cups cooked brown rice

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/2 cup marsala cooking wine (you can substitute chicken broth)

1 pound ground chicken Italian sausage

2 tsp dried basil, or 2 T fresh basil

about 1 to 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce/your favorite spaghetti sauce

balsamic vinegar, soy sauce (soy sauce is optional, omit if feeding someone with gluten allergy) and oil to marinate mushrooms

about 2 tomatoes (optional, to roast on top of mushrooms)

salt and pepper, to taste

Using a knife, remove stems from portabella mushrooms, and scoop out some of the insides to create a hole for the filling. Finely chop stems and set aside. The stems will go into the filling. Marinate the mushrooms in equal parts of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and light soy sauce (the amount doesn’t matter, just needs to be enough to evenly coat the mushrooms; use only vinegar and oil if feeding someone with gluten allergy). Let mushrooms sit in marinade for about 15 minutes (just a few minutes is enough to really absorb all of the flavor)

While mushrooms are marinating, chop vegetables and almonds (I like to use a rolling pin to crush almonds, but you can use pre-sliced almonds).

Over medium heat, add butter (or olive oil). Saute onion, bell pepper and chopped mushroom stems until they soften. Turn up heat to medium-high, and add chicken sausage. Saute until meat is cooked all the way through.

Add brown rice to meat mixture. Add marsala cooking wine, almonds, and sun dried tomatoes. The last few minutes of cooking, add basil, parsley, and about 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce. Fill mushrooms with rice mixture.

Bake mushrooms at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. If desired, top with tomato slices brushed with olive oil, and bake for another 10 minutes. Serve mushrooms with marinara sauce to top.

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