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Vegan Planet: Portobello Brasciole

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Portobello Brasciole

As happens occasionally, yesterday I found myself craving the flavors of my mom’s brasciole.  Even as a child I’ve had a love-hate relationship with brasciole because I never liked the taste (or idea) of the beef it was made with but I loved the flavor of the garlicky seasoned bread crumbs on the inside and the marinara sauce on the outside. 

I’ve made vegan brasciole before, but usually with seitan and sometimes with eggplant.  This time I wanted to see if I could make it with Portobello mushrooms. And it worked!

The first and obvious challenge was to get the mushrooms to be flat and soft enough to stuff and roll up.  After scraping the gills out, I placed each mushroom between two sheets of plastic wrap and pounded it flat.  I then put the mushrooms in the microwave for just a few seconds to soften them.  I then sprinkled them with minced garlic, parsley, raisins, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper, and rolled them up.  To keep them from unrolling I tied the rolls in two places with kitchen twine and then pan-seared them until nicely browned and cooked through.  Topped with marinara sauce, the flavor and texture was all the things I loved about mom’s original and none of the things I didn’t.

To serve alongside the brasciole, I had some nice baby arugula on hand so I made a double batch of Pan-Fried Arugula Pesto from Party Vegan to toss with some pasta.  As I say in the book, raw garlic and arugula can both be assertive and pan-frying them for a couple minutes keeps their great flavors, but just mellows them out a little.  I also added the walnuts to the skillet to toast them a little before using in the pesto. After cooking for about 2 minutes, I let the mixture cool for a minute and then process it in the food processor with salt and pepper, and a splash of water to smooth it out a little.

I had some arugula left after making the pesto, so I sauteed it with garlic and hot red pepper flakes to serve on the side.  The verdict:  This meal is going to be in regular rotation at our house — it was sooo good!  In fact, we liked it even better than the seitan or eggplant version.I think my mom would have enjoyed the new version of her brasciole recipe. It occurs to me that my mom didn’t live long enough to taste a Portobello mushroom — she died before they became an everyday ingredient.  I think she would have liked them — especially in her brasciole recipe!  

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Wow, Robin, that turned out beautifully!
Thanks, Tami. It turned out even better than I could have imagined. After it was gone, we were looking around for more!
Wow! This is so eye catching! I've never actually heard of brasciole before but I'm intrigued by this dish. =)
The one time I don't have mushrooms in the fridge and don't know what to do with them!

This looks soo tasty!!
This looks amazing! Ill have to try it! Especially because its apparently "portabello" season in the NW. Hard to go wrong with portabellos!
Thanks, Lauren. Unless you're Italian, I'm not surprised that you never heard of brasciole! Typically, it's made with flattened round steak, topped with garlic, breadcrumbs, spices, and raisins and rolled up and tied with kitchen twine, then simmered in marinara sauce.
What a great idea. I had never heard of brasciole before either. Looks delicious!
Where's the actual recipe? it looks and sounds really good but I'm a stickler to recipes and measurements. I can't eyeball a thing!
This brasciole is a new one for me, too. It is a great recipe, and fits into my soy-free, gluten-free, plant-based diet! But what were those scrumptious looking white beans on the side? They had my mouth watering!
I haven't had a chance to write up an actual recipe for this -- just made it for the first time last night! I'll try to post one soon...
Eselpee, that side dish is pasta (cellentani aka cavatappi, or "corkscrew" pasta) tossed with Pan-Fried Arugula Pesto (recipe for the pesto is in Party Vegan). Funny thing is, I was actually planning to add some cannelini beans to the pasta and pesto, but I forgot! (Definitely will do so next time.)
Looks delectable!!
This sounds fantastic! Growing up, my sister-in-law Carolanne used to make the most amazing brasciole. Now, of course, I like the idea of a meat-free version, but have shied away from the recipe in your book because I'm kinda iffy on seitan - I love it in some things (like the hash in Vegan on the Cheap) but really dislike it in others. So it makes me really happy to see another alternative (an alternative alternative? :)). Next time portobellos go on sale I'm totally gonna have to give this a try. I'm making a big ol' pot of sauce this week too with intentions of freezing some, so I'll already have part of dinner on hand!
WOW! That looks so tasty. I can't wait to try it, thanks!!
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