Meaty tasting and low in calories, portobello mushrooms are a great alternative to a beef burger.
What makes them ideal as burgers is their size and texture. They work well grilled or broiled, served on sandwiches, or sliced into salads.
Portobellos have a meaty texture because their gills are exposed, which gives them a low moisture content.
In this portobello burger recipe, the gills are removed so they won't darken the cheese, but it's not totally necessary. Use a spoon to scrape them out if desired.
Here's the basic preparation for grilling portobellos.
Prepare: Remove and discard the stems and scrape out the gills. Wipe caps clean with a damp paper towel.
Season: Brush both sides of the mushroom caps with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse sea or kosher salt and black pepper.
Grill: Preheat the grill to medium-high. Place mushrooms, top side down, and grill 4 minutes. Turn over and grill an additional 2-4 minutes or until the caps are tender.
In this recipe, the portobellos are topped with tangy blue cheese and caramelized red onions. Serve them on a lightly toasted bun. Match the buns to the size of the mushrooms before grilling, keeping in mind that the portobello will shrink a little. If you add a thick slice of tomato and peppery arugula, your guests won't ask "Where's the beef?"
Portobello blue cheese burgers
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Gorgonzola is a good substitute for blue cheese. You can also use a milder cheese such as fontina or asiago. Recipe adapted from Eating Well magazine (May/June 2012 issue).
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic, peeled, pressed
4 large (about 4-5 inches in diameter) portobello mushrooms, wiped clean, stems removed
1 large red onion, peeled, thinly sliced (2 1/2 to 3 cups)
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup ruby port or favorite sweet red wine
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (2 ounces)
4 whole-wheat hamburger buns or favorite roll
1 cup arugula
4 thick slices tomato
In a small bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons oil, vinegar and garlic. Brush the mixture all over the mushrooms and let stand for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add red onion and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add water and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is browned and very soft, about 15 minutes. Add port and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost evaporated, about 3 minutes more. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Remove from heat and cover.
Preheat grill to medium.
Sprinkle the mushrooms with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Grill, gill side down, for 5 to 7 minutes. Turn over and top each with 2 tablespoons cheese. Grill until the mushrooms are tender, 4 to 5 minutes more.
Toast buns. Divide the onions among the mushrooms. Serve (cheese side up) on buns with arugula and tomato slices.
Per serving: 339 calories (45 percent from fat), 17 g fat (5 g sat. fat), 37 g carb., 11 g protein, 702 mg sodium, 11 mg chol., 5 g fiber.