15 In Main Courses

Pesto Portabello Burgers

Pesto Portabello BurgersVeggie 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
Serves: 4
What You Need
  • 4 portabello mushroom caps
  • 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • 4 ciabatta rolls
  • ¼ cup basil pesto (made in advance)
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 cup fresh arugula leaves
What To Do
  1. Preheat a grill to medium high.
  2. Remove the stems from the portabellos. In a small bowl, mix ¼ cup balsamic vinegar and ¼ cup olive oil. Place the mushrooms on a baking sheet. Using a brush. the front and back of each mushroom with the marinade. Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper, and let sit for 15 minutes.
  3. 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. Brush the cibatta rolls with olive oil and place them on the grill until toasted.
  4. Slice the tomato, and de-strem the arugula.
  5. Place each grilled portabello cap 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.


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  • Reply
    August 23, 2011 at 12:52 am

    I love mushrooms in general (no not the ones in soups..lol) and portobellos in particular. They’re so versatile and delicious. Never tried a burger before but it looks fabulous!

  • Reply
    August 23, 2011 at 9:09 am

    Between the grilled portobello, the melty cheese, the pesto and the toasty bun, these look irresistible!

  • Reply
    August 23, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Yum! I love mushrooms, mozzarella, and pesto together. It’s one of my favorite pizza combos. Beautiful photos!

  • Reply
    August 23, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    What a luscious looking burger…. Yummm…. Just found your site, it’s lovely.

  • Reply
    August 23, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    I totally agree – I’ve always been iffy about mushrooms, but I recently tried portobellos and really liked them! They are definitely a good “meaty” vegetarian option for the BBQ. I haven’t tried them with pesto though – that sounds really good!

  • Reply
    Rita D K Simmons
    August 23, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Love Portabello mushrooms and that burger looks delicious. Thanks for the share!

  • Reply
    Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum
    August 24, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    Yeah right, you want me to stop making your classic bean burgers? I don’t think so. :) (Just kidding, these look great!!)

  • Reply
    August 25, 2011 at 4:19 am

    I find mushrooms to be a fantastic meat substitute. They are beefy and flavourful. When I travelled around Asia I noticed that mushrooms were used all the time in vegetarian dishes particularly in imitation meat dishes which proved to be very convincing.

    So I completely understand how portabello burgers a good substitute for the real thing!

  • Reply
    Fran {The Flavorful Fork}
    August 25, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    I love grilled portabellos with pesto! These look delicious!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Putting it on the menu plan! Looks fabulous.

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    I hated mushrooms for YEARS. I LOVE them now and prefer a portabello burger any day, especially with pesto, YUM!

  • Reply
    meatballs & milkshakes
    June 12, 2012 at 11:48 am

    These look amazing! I love mushrooms and pesto, so I will have to try this!

  • Reply
    Meg - 18 Preston
    June 12, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    We LOVE Portabello burgers and make ours a very similar way. (yay for a freezer of pesto ready to go!) I also find myself ordering them in restaurants often – they are a must try.
    This week we’re trying portabellos as a base for mini pizzas!

  • Reply
    Daria Rod
    August 6, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Whoa! They were so flavorful…

  • Reply
    July 31, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    Yum! Just made these…absolutely delicious and super easy!!! love the pesto and tomato combination. So good! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

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