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.
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
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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 Portabella Mushroom Burgers
Time needed: 1 hour and 25 minutes.
- 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.
- Cleaning 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.
- Creating Crosshatch on Mushrooms
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.
- Marinating the Portabella 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!
Other Meatless Recipes
If you’re trying to cut down on the consumption of meat, or have already omitted meat from your diet, you should check out these amazing meatless recipes.
- Eggplant Parmesan: Eggplant Parmesan is the ultimate in Italian comfort foods. It’s layered like lasagna. However, unlike lasagna, Eggplant Parmesan is meatless with crispy breaded eggplant slices taking the place of pasta. Those crispy eggplant slices are smothered in a simple marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese. Eggplant Parmesan can be made ahead of time and makes the perfect leftovers.
- Three Cheese Zucchini Tart: Three Cheese Zucchini Tart is easy to make, beautiful to behold, and delicious to taste! It’s made by spreading an awesome cream cheese and Parmesan cheese mixture on a simple no-yeast crust, sprinkling on some Mozzarella cheese, and layering thinly sliced zucchini. Three Cheese Zucchini Tart is perfect for a light dinner, or as an appetizer. It can be eaten hot, warm, or cold, and reheats beautifully.
- Onion and Mushroom Tart in Puff Pastry: Similar to a Quiche, this Onion and Mushroom Tart in Puff Pastry delivers incredible onion flavor that is accented with savory sautéed mushrooms finished with a splash of Madeira. It’s perfect for a brunch or light dinner. Leftovers, if any, are just as good the next day reheated.
- Mushroom Stroganoff: Mushroom Stroganoff is a quick and easy meal for meatless Mondays. It’s not quite vegetarian since I used chicken broth. However, I could have used vegetable broth instead for a delicious and savory vegetarian meal! I use leftovers for an amazing mushroom sauce.
- Vegetarian Chili: Vegetarian Chili is a healthy and immensely satisfying alternative to meat-based varieties. Red lentils provide a protein and fiber rich chili that is thick and savory, and a snap to make. As an added bonus, it’s even better as leftovers and freezes beautifully.
- Cheese and Onion Pie: The English are famous for their savory pies, and Cheese and Onion Pie is no exception. Its simple ingredients of tender cooked onions and sharp cheddar cheese encased in a flaky crust create an amazing pie. One taste and you’ll be hooked!
- Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola: Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola is the perfect blend of all ingredients. It produces a true restaurant quality meal.
- Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna: Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna is full of flavor and richness. It can be made with either a tomato based sauce such as my Homemade Marinara Sauce, or a cream based sauce. As we continue our quest to focus more on vegetarian meals, this Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna is a winner.
- Vegetable Lo Mein: Quick and easy to prepare, full of healthy vegetables, this Lo Mein takes less than 15 minutes to cook. Oh, and it makes incredible leftovers. Even better is its versatility – dress it up with chicken, shrimp, beef, etc., or keep it vegetarian with broccoli florets, celery, or bean sprouts in place of, or in addition to the vegetable ingredients.
Frequently Asked Questions
Portabella mushrooms contain hydrazine. This toxin is heat-sensitive and abolished when exposed to heat. Therefore cooked portabella mushrooms are perfectly safe to eat.
The portabella mushroom gills are totally edible. Therefore, you don’t have to remove the gills. However, the gills are quite dark and can cause your dish to have an unappealing presentation. Because of this, I always go the extra step and remove the gills.
In addition to being an excellent substitute for meat, portabella mushrooms are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. They are exceptionally high in exceptionally high in B vitamins, including niacin and riboflavin. In addition, they provide copper and selenium, are low in calories and rich in fiber.
I first posted this delicious recipe on June 7, 2019. Since then, I’ve made these Portabella Mushroom Burgers a number of times with consistently amazing results.
This update contains the same recipe with updated text and pictures.
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Portabella Mushroom Burgers
- 2 Portabella Mushrooms, about 4-inches in diameter
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground 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, Worcestershire 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.