Veggie burgers might be the first thought for a meatless entrée when you’re firing up the grill, but if you’re looking for something to rival a big juicy burger, your best bet is actually a portabello mushroom. Yes, a big mushroom on a bun. A bit unexpected, but true.
Mushrooms are polarizing to some, but let me just say – portabellos are not the same as those slimy black bits in cream of mushroom soup (which made me wary of mushrooms for decades). No, these are juicy, savory, and totally delicious. I was wary of mushrooms for years until I met the portabello. Now, I can’t think of a better treat to throw on the grill. (And don’t worry if you don’t have a grill – a roasted portabello tastes just as good!)
We used some of our freshly made basil pesto and fresh tomatoes from the garden to build these “burgers”. We were pleasantly surprised at how easy they were to whip up, and even more impressed at the delicious meld of flavors (I believe the word “perfection” may have been mumbled between bites).
Give them a try – and let us know if you become a believer in the mushroom “burger”!
Pesto Portabello Burgers
What You Need
Portabello mushroom caps (one per person)
Aged balsamic vinegar
Fresh ground pepper
Provolone cheese (if desired)
Basil pesto (prepared in advance)
A fresh tomato
Fresh arugula (or other toppings of choice)
What To Do
1 Preheat a grill to medium high (or preheat an oven to 425°F).
2 Prepare the mushrooms: Remove the stems from the portabellos. Place them in a shallow baking dish and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and a bit of olive oil. Use a brush (or your hands) to make sure the mushrooms are fully coated. Sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, and let sit for about 10 minutes while the grill heats.
3 Cook the mushrooms: Place the mushrooms on grill (or in a grill pan) and cook about 5 minutes per side, until juicy. In the last minute, place provolone cheese slices on top of each mushroom and grill until melted, then remove from the grill. (Optional – you also can grill the ciabatta rolls by brushing them with olive oil and placing them on the grill until toasted.)
Alternative method: You also can roast the mushrooms in a baking dish for about 15 minutes at 425°F, turning once. Add cheese in the last several minutes.
4 Prepare the toppings: Slice the tomato. Slice the ciabatta rolls.
5 Assemble the burgers: Place each grilled portabello on half of a roll. Top with a spoonful of pesto, a tomato slice, a handful of arugula, and the other half of the roll.