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Mushroom Parmigiana Meatless or Not…Your Choice

Mushroom Parmigiana Meatless or Not…Your Choice
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Is this the Vegetarian version? Or is it our key visual? Answer below


This Sheet Pan Recipe Lets You Choose between Vegetarian or Sausage Versions

Mushrooms are a favorite way for Vegetarians to swap out meat.  And the meaty Portobella is our favorite way to do it.  We were delighted to go back to Hetty Mckinnon’s 1994 recipe for Sheet Pan Mushroom Parmigiana. It takes the basics of Parmigiana—marinara sauce and cheese—puts them into Portobello Caps and cooks them in the oven for all of 20 minutes.  Basil and basil-flavored breadcrumbs completed this Meatless Monday entrée which we served with a crusty baguette and butter.

Confessions of two Omnivores: You can also make this dish Meaty Mushroom Parmigiana

Sheet Pan straight from the oven

Not to say we were disappointed with our Vegetarian version, but I have to confess that the next time I made these, I couldn’t resist the lure of Italian sausage added to Rao’s Marinara. Adding just minutes to the making of the dish, we used one sausage for every two Portobellos. We took the meat out of its casing, broke it down with a fork, and added it to 3 cups of Marinara sauce.  We cooked this just long enough for the meat to brown before stuffing it into each cap. Then we followed the Vegetarian Recipe the rest of the way. Either way, this has all the hallmarks of a great weeknight dinner in 30 minutes for Vegetarian Version 1 and 40 for Meaty Version 2.

Portabella mushrooms are one of the most popular cultivated mushrooms

Portobella Mushrooms from https://specialtyproduce

But it wasn’t always that way.  The Portabella, native to Italy, was dismissed because of its brown color and large size. They weren’t even called Portabellas or Portobellos. Both names are accepted because the Portabella, native to Italy, wasn’t even called Portabellas or Portobellos. The name was created when a marketing campaign ‘invented’ it in the 1980s.  And that same campaign positioned the mushroom as the healthy alternative to meat. It was a great success. Now Portobellas in all their variations—Baby Bellas, Portobellinis—account for approximately 90 percent of all mushroom production in the United States.  Here are today’s recipes followed by some other irresistible mushroom recipes.  By the way, the Key visual is the Meaty Version.


Mushroom Parmigiana Meatless or Meaty

October 17, 2022
: 4 Easily halved for 2
: 10 min
: This dish is a snap to make.

The comforting flavors of a great Parmigiana in a version that's not only quick and easy to make, it lets you choose between Vegetarian or Meaty Versions.


  • For both Vegetarian and Meaty Versions:
  • 10ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (1 pint)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 8 portobella mushrooms, stems removed
  • 3 cups store-bought marinara sauce, preferably Rao’s
  • 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded low-moisture mozzarella
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup (½ ounce) basil leaves, finely chopped, plus more leaves for topping
  • For the Meaty Version only:
  • 4 sweet Italian sausages, removed from casing OR 12 oz. Italian Sausage meat.
  • Step 1 Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Put the halved tomatoes in a bowl along with the garlic. Drizzle with 1 to 2 tbsp. olive oil. Season with ½ tsp. salt and ½ tsp. black pepper. Toss to coat the tomatoes and garlic. Place parchment paper cut to size on a sheet pan. Put the halved cherry tomatoes and garlic atop the parchment,
  • Step 2 To make the Vegetarian version
  • Step 3 To the sheet pan, add the mushroom caps in between the tomatoes, gill side up, and be generous with the olive oil which will add lots of flavor to the dish. Scatter the mushrooms with the remaining garlic, and season each mushroom with salt and black pepper. Fill each mushroom with marinara sauce, and top with cheese. Place in the oven and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted, bubbly and golden.
  • Step 4 To make the Meaty Version
  • Step 5 In a non-stick skillet cook the sausage meat until it is no longer pink (about 5 minutes). Add the marinara sauce and cook the mixture until warm. Divide the meat and marinara between the portabella caps and proceed as above.
  • Step 6 Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet over medium-high. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the bread crumbs, basil, and ½ teaspoon salt. Stir constantly for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden. Remove from heat immediately and transfer to a bowl or jar.
  • Step 7 To serve, transfer mushrooms to serving plates, along with a few of the roasted cherry tomatoes. Top each mushroom with the basil bread crumbs and scatter with a few basil leaves.

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