Portabella Mushroom Burgers are a healthy and delicious alternative to the traditional beef burger. “Meaty” Portabella mushrooms are marinated in an awesome balsamic vinegar marinade and cooked to perfection. Served on a bun with your favorite toppings, these burgers are a perfect solution for a meatless meal.
Portabella or Portobello
Is it Portabella or Portobello? Actually, both spellings can be used. However, the Mushroom Council decided that there should be some consistency and adopted Portabella as the preferred spelling.
Portabella mushrooms are actually mature Cremini mushrooms. Cremini mushrooms are of the same species as white button mushrooms, but have a colored cap and are more flavorful. They are called Cremini or Baby Bella mushrooms when they are picked while the cap is still closed around the stem. As the Cremini mushrooms mature, the cap opens up exposing a thick layer of brown gills on the underside. Also, the stem becomes somewhat woody. In addition, the mushrooms lose some of their moisture resulting in a more concentrated flavor.
Because of their “meatiness” Portabella mushrooms make an excellent substitution for the traditional beef burger.
Ingredients for Portabella Mushroom Burgers
Since it’s just the two of us, I only made two Portobello Mushroom Burgers with the following ingredients: Portobello mushrooms, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Preparing the Marinade
To prepare the marinade, I combined olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, minced garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. After giving the marinade a stir, I set it aside to concentrate on the mushrooms.
Preparing the Portabella Mushrooms
If you’ve ever looked at the underside of a Portabella mushroom, you likely saw masses of dark gills surrounding a woody stem. From my perspective, the stem is fibrous and the gills produce both an unsightly appearance and a bitter taste to the cooked mushrooms. Therefore, I always remove stem along with the gills.
To remove the stem, I first tried gently rocking it back and forth to see if it would easily come out. Sometimes this is all that is required. Other times, the stem is firmly planted making it difficult to remove without damaging the mushroom. In this case, I took a small paring knife and made vertical cuts in the stem. This allowed the pieces of the stem to be more easily removed.
To remove the gills, I took a small spoon and gently scrapped them out. I’m always amazed at the quantity of the gills that I remove.
Once I removed the stems and gills, I gently wiped the mushrooms with a damp paper towel to remove any residual dirt on them. Then, I turned them cap-side up. I took a small paring knife and made shallow crosshatch cuts in the cap. The reason for doing this was allow the marinade to penetrate the mushrooms.
Next, I placed the mushrooms, cap-side up, in a shallow dish and spooned the marinade over them. I let the mushrooms marinate for about an hour, turning them half way through.
Cooking the Portabella Mushrooms
At first, I was going to cook the Portabella Mushrooms in a skillet. However, at the last minute, I decided to cook them in my panini press. I heated the panini press to 420° F. When the temperature had been reached, I placed the mushrooms on the grill plate, cap-side up and closed the press. I let the mushrooms cook for about 7 minutes. After 7 minutes, I opened the panini press and placed a piece of gouda cheese on each of the mushrooms.
I could have also cooked the mushrooms in a skillet or on the grill. For the skillet, I would have heated it over medium high heat. Then, I would have added the mushrooms cap-side down and cooked them for 6 to 8 minutes. After that, I would have flipped the mushrooms over and cooked them for another 6 to 8 minutes. On the grill, I would have cooked the mushrooms over hot coals using the same technique and timing as used with the skillet.
I served the Portabella Mushroom Burgers on toasted buns with lettuce, tomatoes and sautéed onions, along with crispy oven-baked zucchini fries (stay tuned!).
They were amazing! In fact, they were so good that we had them again for dinner the next night. The mushroom taste was savory but not overpowering. Yum!
Portabella Mushroom Burgers
- 2 Portabella Mushrooms, about 4-inches in diameter
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly gound black pepper
- 2 hamburger buns
- Carefully remove stem from mushrooms and scrape gills from underside. Brush mushrooms with damp paper towel to remove any residual dirt. (See Tip 1)
- Using a small paring knife, make shallow crosshatch cuts in the cap of mushrooms. Do not cut too deep. Place mushrooms, cap side up in a shallow dish. (See Tip 2)
- To make the marinade, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Wordestershire sauce, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
- Spoon marinade over mushrooms. Allow mushrooms to marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour, turning mushrooms half-way though.
- Cook mushrooms in a panini press heated to 420° F for 6 to 8 minutes. Alternatively, cook mushrooms cap-side down in a skillet heated over medium-high heat or on a hot grill for 6 to 8 minutes; turn mushrooms and cook for an additional 6 to 8 minutes.
- Serve on toasted hamburger buns with your favorite condiments.
- Yield: 2 Portabella Mushroom Burgers. (See Tip 2)
Chula's Expert Tips
- If the stem doesn't come out easily, make a series of vertical cuts in it with a small paring knife. Remove sections of stem until all of the stem has been removed. Use a small spoon to carefully remove the gills. The reason that you want to remove the gills is that they will become unsightly and taste bitter when the mushrooms are cooked.
- The crosshatch cuts in the mushrooms should not be any deeper than about 1/16 of an inch.
- This recipe can be easily doubled for 4 to 6 Portabella Mushroom Burgers.