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Crispy Cheese-Stuffed Bellas

Serves 4 as an appetizer.



These beautiful baby ‘bellas are a lighter version of traditional stuffed mushrooms. You can also try using large portobellos and serve them as a meal with a salad.


  • 16 baby portobello (crimini) mushrooms
  • 1 pound ground chicken or turkey breast
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (1/3 palmful)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup shredded Asiago cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (a couple of handfuls)
  • 1 box frozen chopped spinach (10 ounces), defrosted and wrung of excess liquid
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or chopped almonds


Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth. Remove the stems and finely chop.

Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat, fennel seed, onion, garlic, lemon zest, half of the cheese, the chopped mushroom stems, breadcrumbs and spinach and season with salt and pepper. Season the mushroom caps as well with salt and pepper, then brush them lightly with EVOO and stuff the mixture into them.

Arrange the stuffed mushrooms on a baking sheet or in a baking dish. Leave some room around each mushroom to prevent the caps from getting steamy. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and nuts on the caps and transfer to the oven.

Bake until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is cooked through, about 25 minutes.

Serve warm.