About a week ago, I was in the middle of some mundane task that I’m failing to remember at the moment, when I suddenly had a vision: portobello pizza. I don’t mean pizza topped with portobellos; that, while very tasty, is hardly worthy of being called a stroke of inspiration. No, I mean pizzas made out of portobellos. “Think about it,” I told Bobby (my fiancé.) “They’re round, would hold toppings well, go with pizza-like flavors, and are way more flavorful than most pizza crusts, both gluten-free and gluten-laden.” Bobby was skeptical. “Would it really feel like pizza if there was no bread component?” I was adamant that it would.
A week later, I tested my theory. And I’m happy to say I was absolutely right. (As I am about most things we disagree on — just kidding, just kidding.) In any case, when I presented him with the finished product, Bobby was sold. “This should be a thing,” he said. “They should do this in restaurants.”
Indeed, they should. And possibly it’s already a thing – I haven’t Googled it yet. But I’m pretty sure someone must have come up with the same idea at some point because it’s such a perfect pizza option: it’s grain-free, super easy, doesn’t require you to make any type of crust, and also happens to hit that comfort-food note that you expect from a good pizza. And — for my dairy-free people — portobellos are insanely juicy and flavorful, so even if you make your pizzas without cheese, you’ll still get the satisfaction of that gooey, drippy, messy pizza heaven that everyone deserves to experience once in a while.
On that note, authenticity was definitely not my goal when I created these, but they are authentic in one major way: it’s easiest to eat these with a knife and fork. And that’s how they eat their pizza in Italy, baby! If you are lucky enough to have leftovers and they cool down to room temperature, then you can pick ’em up. It may be a tad messy, but in the gooey, drippy, pizza-heaven way I mentioned earlier.
I’m calling these mini pizzas because portobellos shrink quite a lot once they are cooked. This is awesome for two reasons: 1) it allows you to be creative and have a blast with different sauce and topping combos (Pictured above are five different kinds of pizza and it probably took less than ten minutes to top them all, plus it was super fun trying out different combinations) and 2) you can eat 2-3 whole pizzas and still feel great – physically and emotionally. This would definitely not be the case with your standard-sized pizza.
A couple notes about the recipe:
-If the stems of your mushroom caps are not woody and hard, you can use them! Simply cut them up into small pieces and sauté. They are amazing with butter and thyme or folded into a marinara sauce.
-Two mini pizzas per person with a nice salad or some garlic bread makes a perfect entrée. If you don’t feel like salad or garlic bread, aim for three mini pizzas per person.
Mini Portobello Pizzas (Grain-Free!)
- Portobello caps (2-3 per person)
- Olive oil
- Dried oregano
- Desired sauces and toppings
Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a sheet tray with parchment paper.
Prep the mushrooms: twist off the stems, scoop out the gills with a spoon, and wipe both sides with a damp paper towel to clean. Brush each side generously with olive oil – the mushroom will absorb it fairly immediately, that’s okay – then season both sides with salt and oregano. Place the prepped mushrooms face down on the lined sheet tray. Bake for 10 minutes; flip and bake for 10 minutes more.
Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes so you don’t make a mess with your toppings. Once the mushrooms have cooled, pour off any excess liquid – some of the liquid you see when you first pull them out of the oven will be absorbed during the cooling process. Add your sauce and toppings and return to the oven until the mushrooms are heated through and the cheese (if you choose to use it) is melted. This will take about 8-10 minutes, assuming your mushrooms have cooled completely by the time you are done adding toppings.