Truckee Healthy Now: Kill the crust – make Portobelo pizza bites |

Truckee Healthy Now: Kill the crust – make Portobelo pizza bites

Portobello pizza bites will be a healthy, so delicious, addition to your Super Bowl spread.
Courtesy Simone Grandmain / TDRPD |

So far in our “Healthy Now” column, we have addressed several smart food substitutions to incorporate into your diet. To recap: sautéing with Better Than Boullion chicken broth as opposed to oil; less sugar and more bananas and applesauce when baking; and the miracle of Halo Ice Cream.

But there are still caloric, carb-filled mine fields out there to navigate. We know. We hear it all day long as members are literally running — well into their fourth mile — around our Fitness Center’s indoor track. They miss pizza. They miss cookies. They miss nachos. We feel you.

In the cookie category there is not much out there you can really enjoy with a clear conscience. Kasha makes a new, high-fiber oatmeal that is not bad at 120 calories and two grams of fat, but it’s no Nutter Butter.

You can often trick yourself into thinking you’ve enjoyed a cookie with a chocolate graham cracker. Two full “sheets” will set you back only 130 calories and they are pretty tasty when dipped in cashew milk or topped with a very light smear of peanut butter and banana slices. Again, no Nutter Butter.

The pizza craving is actually very profound this time of year with the combination of football and cold weather, so it seems the most urgent to address. From the Aquatic Center, member Sophia Vergara, (Not her real name. But she is a dead ringer for the actress.) recommends eschewing the pizza crust and swapping in smaller-sized Portobello mushrooms.

Great idea! And since part of the fun of the pizza is picking it up with your hands, the smaller or “baby” Portobellos make this possible. Of course Sophia swims three times a week at 6:30 am, before work, and sometimes on her lunch break, so why give up pizza? She hasn’t. She’s improved on it.

Portobello Pizza Bites


6 baby Portobello mushrooms

1 tbls. olive oil

1/2 cup jarred basil tomato sauce

18 slices Hormel reduced fat or turkey pepperoni rounds, chopped

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 375˚. Clean stems and all fibers from inside the caps of the mushrooms and then rub caps down with olive oil. Bake on cookie sheet, cavity side up, for six minutes, remove from oven.

Top each mushroom with about a tablespoon of tomato sauce, followed by a sprinkling of cheese, then the pepperoni bits. You can also add green (not black) olive slices.

Top with a last tiny bit of cheese. Bake another six minutes, remove and let cool for about ten minutes before enjoying.

This column comes courtesy of Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District staff and members, celebrating health and fitness in the Sierra. For more information on how you can stay in shape during the winter months, visit

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