Who needs meat when you have mushrooms?

Portabellini Mushroom Risotto Cake

WITH these tempting recipes from the South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association, you won’t even miss having meat on your plate. But just in case you do, we’ve included one with mince at the end, although it can easily be adapted to a vegetarian dish.


Serves 8


  • 2 Tbsp butter, plus extra for greasing the tin
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • Handful fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2-3 rosemary stalks
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 350g / 1 ½ cups arborio rice 
  • 1 litre mushroom or vegetable stock
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 500g mixed cultivated mushrooms, sliced 
  • 2 XL eggs
  • 80g parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra for serving 
  • 150g smooth ricotta cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 


  • Heat olive oil and butter in a medium Dutch oven or deep frying pan. 
  • Cook the onion with the thyme and rosemary until tender. Do not brown. 
  • Add the garlic and cook for one minute until fragrant. 
  • Stir in the rice and coat it well in the olive oil and butter. Toast the rice for a minute until the edges are translucent. 
  • Add the stock, one ladleful at a time, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. Keep stirring the risotto and adding stock until the rice is creamy and tender. 
  • Season to taste. 
  • Spread the risotto out onto a baking tray to cool. Discard the herb stems. 
  • Preheat oven to 180˚C. 
  • Lightly butter a 22cm springform tin. 
  • Working in batches, pan fry two thirds of the sliced mushrooms in olive oil until golden brown. Season lightly. 
  • Remove from the pan and cool on a baking tray. 
  • In a large mixing bowl lightly beat the eggs and add the parmesan and ricotta. Mix well. 
  • Add the cooled risotto and mix. 
  • Fold in the mushrooms. 
  • Spoon the risotto mixture into the greased tin and level the top. 
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown on top. 
  • Cool for 10 minutes. 
  • Pan fry the remaining mushrooms in a little olive oil until golden brown. 
  • Season lightly. 
  • Remove from the tin and plate the risotto cake onto a serving platter.
  • Top with the freshly cooked golden brown mushrooms, a shower of parmesan and some freshly ground black pepper. 
  • Slice into wedges and serve with a green salad.


Serves 4


Peanut dressing:

  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce 
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated

Pad Thai:

  • 500g portabellini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha, sambal oelek or any similar hot sauce
  • ¼ purple cabbage, shredded finely  
  • 4 carrots, peeled and julienned or spiralised
  • 2 large courgettes, julienned or spiralised
  • 1 red chilli, seeds removed and thinly sliced
  • 4 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup coriander leaves
  • ½ cup bean sprouts 
  • ½ cup roasted salted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • Fresh lime wedges, for serving 


For the dressing: 

  • Place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk. 
  • Add a splash of warm water if you’d like to thin it out slightly.. 
  • Taste to adjust any seasoning and set aside.

For the pad Thai:

  • Heat olive oil in a large frying pan and sauté the mushrooms on high heat until lightly golden. 
  • Remove from the heat and drizzle with a little of the peanut dressing and the spicy chilli sauce. Toss to coat. 
  • In a large mixing bowl add the cabbage, carrots, courgettes, chilli, spring onions and coriander. Add a little drizzle of dressing and toss. 
  • Add the mushrooms and mix everything well. 
  • Plate the salad and sprinkle with bean sprouts and peanuts. Serve with chunky lime wedges. 


Serves 4 


Herb “avonnaise”: 

  • 1 cup mixed herbs (basil, parsley, coriander & chives work very well) 
  • 2 spring onions, sliced 
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ avocado 
  • Juice of 2 limes 
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil 
  • Pinch of sea salt 

Main dish:

  • 4 large Portabella mushrooms
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 200g Brussel sprouts, sliced in half
  • ¼ baby red cabbage, thinly sliced 
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped 
  • Zest of 1 lemon 
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


For the avonnaise:

  • Place all the ingredients in a blender. Drizzle in a little cold water and blend until smooth.
  • Keep in the fridge until serving. 

Main dish:

  • Bring stock to a boil in a medium sized pot. 
  • Add the barley. Reduce heat to a low, steady simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until chewy and tender, ±35 minutes. Drain and set aside. 
  • Preheat the oven to 220˚C. 
  • Place a baking tray on the bottom level of the oven to preheat. 
  • Place a wire rack onto another baking tray. 
  • Brush the portabellos with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. 
  • Transfer to the wire rack.
  • Bake for 5-7 minutes until tender. 
  • Place the brussel sprouts in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. 
  • Toss to coat well. 
  • Carefully remove the preheated baking tray from the oven. 
  • Arrange brussel sprouts cut side down on the baking tray. 
  • Roast them on the bottom of the oven until softened and lightly charred, ± 20 minutes.
  • Toss the cooked barley with the cabbage, parsley and lemon zest. Season to taste. 
  • Fill the roasted portabellos with the barley mixture. 
  • Top with the charred brussel sprouts. 
  • Drizzle some avonnaise over each stuffed mushroom and serve. 


Serves 4-6


  • 500g white button mushrooms
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely grated
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 250g lean beef mince
  • 1 x 400g tin diced / crushed tomatoes
  • 4 medium eggplants
  • 150g mozzarella cheese, grated
  • Fresh basil leaves, for serving
  • Chilli flakes, for serving
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil, for cooking


  • Blitz mushrooms in a food processor or finely chop.
  • Heat a large dry saucepan / Dutch oven over medium heat and cook the mushrooms until they release all their liquid and are dry and turning golden on the edges.
  • Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  • Remove from the pan.
  • Add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan and add the onion, carrot and celery.
  • Cook until the vegetables are very tender.
  • Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
  • Add the beef mince and cook until browned.
  • Return the mushrooms to the pan along with the tinned tomatoes and a good pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Rinse the tin of tomatoes out with a little water and add to the pan.
  • Bring to a simmer.
  • Gently simmer until the sauce has thickened and the flavour has developed.
  • Taste to adjust seasoning.
  • While the sauce is cooking, preheat oven to 200˚C.
  • Cut the eggplants in half and slice a criss cross pattern into each half.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Place cut side down on a lined baking tray.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, depending on their size until nice and tender.
  • Switch oven on to grill mode.
  • When the sauce has thickened, spoon a generous mound onto each eggplant half.
  • Scatter over the grated mozzarella.
  • Place under the grill and cook until the cheese melts and begins to get golden brown spots all over.
  • Scatter the eggplant boats with chilli flakes and fresh basil leaves and serve.
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