It’s quite common for young kids to be picky eaters, so it is important for us parents to find ways to get them to learn to appreciate vegetables. Many kids will eat anything if it is presented to them in a fun shape (unfortunately, this doesn’t work with picky husbands!), so I decided to use a bear cookie cutter to make portobello bears with bell pepper clothes and hummus “glue.”
I used to make the “grown-up” version of this all the time while I lived by myself in Nashville. For this version, simply marinate a portobello mushroom in balsamic vinegar and fresh garlic for 30 seconds, roast it in the oven along with a slice or two of red bell pepper, and layer the pepper on top of the mushroom with hummus between them. So easy and delicious!
If you think cutting out bears and decorating them seems too tedious or too involved for you, remember that you can let the kids do the decorating! The prep and cooking only takes about 20 minutes total. Also, I used black lentils, garbanzo beans, and fresh oregano for the small details, but the options are limitless! Just use whatever you have on hand — sliced olives, carrots, black-eyed peas, green peas — get creative! I used roasted red pepper hummus because it’s my favorite, but you can use any kind you (or the kids) prefer.
- 3 large portobello caps, cleaned, stumps and gills removed
- 1 red bell pepper and 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into steaks as flat as possible
- Olive oil spray (or drizzle)
- 1 clove garlic, sliced
- 3 T. balsamic vinegar, give or take
- 1/4 cup hummus, store bought is fine (I prefer roasted red pepper)
- Optional for decorating: black lentils, garbanzo beans, fresh herbs (I used oregano)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray lightly with olive oil. Place mushrooms gill side up, distribute garlic slices evenly on top, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Place pepper slices skin side up on sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes.
- Allow mushrooms and peppers to cool enough to handle. Brush off the garlic slices and use a 3-inch bear cookie cutter to cut each mushroom, saving the scraps for the adults to eat or for another recipe.
- Use the same cookie cutter to cut headless bear bodies out of the pepper slices. Cut in half along the midsection to divide into shirts and pants, if desired. I also cut a V for the shirt collar.
- Attach the clothes and other details to the bear with the hummus. I split a garbanzo bean in half for the bear snout and attached black lentils for the nose, eyes, and shirt buttons.
- Serve with any other vegetables you like. I chose mashed potatoes, green beans, and broccoli.
- Play with your food.
Have fun decorating and eating these portobello bears! Playing with your food is encouraged (as long as you eventually eat it, of course)! 🙂