Mushroom Series: Mini Mushroom Pizzas

For the next part of our Kitchen Pride mushrooms series, I made an appetizer because I wanted to make more than just main courses. When I made this recipe, I had been craving pizza, plus I got a good deal on the turkey sausage and marinara sauce so it all seemed to fall together well. It can be challenging to make pizza when you are on a grain-free diet, but if you are creative you can come up with some great options. These mini mushrooms pizzas are so good even folks who eat grain will like them because they're basically the topping of the pizza...mushrooms, meat, peppers, sauce, cheese, olives. Basically, they're a bite of the best part in my opinion! These were good hot and at room temperature, so they're perfect for a party. You could even double or triple the recipe in a 9x13 pan. These would also be great as an after school snack, even if they are leftover.

You could easily convert this recipe to a main course by using portabella mushrooms. Prepare 2 large or 4 small portabella mushrooms the same way as below, but for my personal taste I like to use a spoon to scrape the gills out of the inside of the mushrooms. I find keeping the gills makes the pizzas a bit soggy. For this recipe I used Kitchen Pride's baby portabellas (aka: cremini; see the package below), because in my opinion baby bellas have a bit more flavor than white button mushrooms, but both could be used. Just make sure that the mushrooms are on the larger side (about 10-12 per 8 oz or about 1 1/4" across) so you have room to fill with the stuffing. Also, I chose to peel the outer skin from the cap. This is a trick my mother taught me; I like how it exposes the white flesh of the mushrooms and it makes cleaning the caps really easy. I save this skin, along with the stems, for my stock pot. I have a big container in the freezer to collect scraps like this, and the addition of mushrooms to broth add a nice savory note.

Mini Mushroom Pizzas
Printable Recipe

8 oz baby bella (aka: cremini) mushroom caps (about 12)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup diced onion
1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
1/3 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 lb sausage, casings removed (I used turkey sausage)
1/2 cup marinara sauce, either low sugar store bought or homemade
3 slices (about 3 oz) provolone cheese (I like Applegate Farms brand)
black olives, to garnish (optional)
olive oil, for the pan

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Lightly grease a glass baking dish (approximately 9x9) with olive oil. To prepare the mushrooms, remove the stems. Brush the outsides of the caps clean with paper towel, or as an optional step gently peel the outside by pulling at the thin skin at bottom edge that was close to the stem and moving towards the top of the cap. Arrange the mushrooms stem side up and set aside.
3. In a medium skillet, add the oil and heat over medium heat. Add the onion and peppers and cook until translucent, the crumble in the sausage and cook until browned. Blend in the marinara sauce.
4. Using a small spoon, stuff the caps with the meat mixture, piling it up.
5. Place the mushrooms in the oven and bake for 15 min, or until the sides of each mushrooms yields slightly when pinched.
6. Remove the mushrooms from the oven and top each with a piece of provolone cheese and an olive slice. Place back in the oven and bake until the cheese melts, about 4 or 5 minutes. Serve warm from the oven or room temperature.

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