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Portobello Burger or Salad with Spicy Mustard Dressing

written by Marsha Seidelman, M.D.

On this 4th of July, when burgers are king, try portobellos instead - or in addition!  This recipe come to us courtesy of my sister-in-law Amy, adapted from "Veganomicon - The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.  It was meant to be prepared in the oven, but I tried it on the grill so it could fit in with all the other main courses for this weekend.

You can prepare the portobellos to be used as plant-based burgers, or as the 'meat' in your salad.  Mushrooms are a good low-calorie source of potassium, B vitamins, and sometimes vitamin D, depending on how much sun they saw in their growing phase.  Don't let all the ingredients in the dressing and the salad scare you away, just grill these 'steaks' as you would your chicken or burgers.  Since this was my first attempt at grilling them, I did what all wise chefs do - I googled 'How to grill portobellos.'  Grill them for 5-7 minutes per side on medium heat.  Evidently it's difficult to damage them, but they're probably not too good if scorched through and through.  

I also tried the mushrooms with or without scooping out the 'ribbing' on the underside, and really you can do it either way.  I think the ribbing makes them taste more meaty.  Just be sure to clean the top side and rinse out the underside until the water runs clear.

So you can serve as a 'burger', or cut up on a salad.  With the salad, this dish has, "...  everything a vegan needs to feel healthy and happy: chickpeas, greens, avocado and mushrooms. The mustard makes the dressing nice and creamy with just a little kick. The roasted portobello recipe is for two mushrooms, but ..., you can make four for a more elegant presentation …"

As you can see in the photos, I just marinated the mushrooms (one recipe was actually enough for 4 large mushrooms) and grilled them.  I topped them with my favorites - lettuce, tomato, pickled ginger (it's not just for sushi!) and fresh basil from our garden.  It would be good with anything you would put on your 'real' burger.  No more trouble to prepare, but much more healthy!  Remember you can forget about all of the following ingredients except what's under 'Portobellos' to simplify it.  Enjoy!!


1/4 cup prepared spicy, smooth mustard
3 Tbsp grapeseed or canola oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup

8 cups mixed greens - romaine, radicchio, arugula (my favorite)
1 avocado, peeled, halved, pitted and sliced thinly
1 small red onion, sliced into very thin half-moons
15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 recipe of roasted portobellos

Roasted Portobellos
2 large or 4 small Portobello caps
1/2 cup cooking wine
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lite soy sauce
2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees or set the grill on medium.
2) Whisk all dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside
3) Combine all ingredients for the marinade in a glass pie plate or small casserole.
4) Place the mushrooms upside down in the marinade and spoon the liquid into each cap to form a small pool. Marinate for 20 minutes.
5) Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, use tongs to flip the caps over and cook, uncovered, for another 10 minutes.  See the headnote for grilling instructions.
6) IF you're using your Portobello as a burger, just put that puppy between a bun with some lettuce, tomato, Veganaise, and avocado and call it a day. If using for a salad, let it cool a bit and then slice the mushrooms very thinly on the diagonal to make nice meaty slices.
7) IF you're using the Portobello in a salad, mix salad as noted above, toss with just enough dressing to coat lightly, and toss in the Portobellos. Makes for a filling and delicious dinner.

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