Portabellas: No More Gut Bombs For Me

Another Javabird.com recipe.


I Want A Hamburger


When I was a young boy and my family would go out to dinner there was only one thing I’d order.  It didn’t matter what kind of restaurant it was.  I wanted a hamburger.  Even when we went to a place that didn’t offer hamburgers it wouldn’t stop me from asking, or worse, resort to pouting if I didn’t get my way.  My poor parents!


I’m Hungry


By now, you’re probably getting the picture that I was (a) a picky little eater, but (b) loved hamburgers.  And that love continued unabated for many years. As a teen I’d often end up at one of the local drive-ins with my best buddy after school.  We’d each order a couple burgers, fries and a shake—and this was just an afternoon snack.


Ah, Youth


Back then, I had a really high metabolism so I could afford all those extra calories and it didn’t affect my waistline.  These days, my metabolism is much, much slower, I need to watch calories, the type of fat I consume, and my cholesterol.  If you’re already suspecting hamburgers are no longer a part of my diet you’d be almost entirely correct.  I do still treat myself on occasion, though it’s a rare occasion to be sure.


I Need An Option Here


Dress it up with your favorite toppings.

Hey, this grilled portabella even looks like beef.

So what’s a real hamburger lover to do when real hamburgers are no longer part of the game plan?  I’ve tried a lot of garden burgers, but most seem unsatisfactory to me.  Often they just fail to have the necessary mouth appeal or fall apart after the first bite.  Then I tried a burger made from portabella mushrooms.  Wow, now, here’s “a hamburger patty” I can really sink my teeth into!


Grill ‘Em


I prefer grilling my portabellas.  It’s so quick and easy to do on my gas grill it’s almost criminal.  First, I fire up my grill and let it warm to a medium high heat.


Preparing the mushrooms for grilling.

Brush the top and bottom of the cap with a light coat of olive oil.

While it’s warming, I carefully remove the stem of the mushroom, and then brush a little olive oil over the top and bottom of the cap. Portabellas soak this oil up pretty fast so I don’t need to keep slathering it on—a quick coat will do.  I usually sprinkle on a little salt and pepper while I’m at it.


These mushrooms only take a couple minutes of grilling per side.

Start them top down as shown, then flip them over half way through.

When the grill is hot, I throw the whole mushroom onto the rack and close the lid to retain the heat.  I cook the top half of the mushroom cap first.  Portabellas have a pretty high water content and I like to get them cooking in their own juices before draining the excess liquid off.  They drain naturally as I cook the bottom half of the mushroom.


You could also add cheese if fat isn't a consideration.

If you really want to cut out fat, skip the mayo and use catsup and mustard, instead.

I cook each side of the mushroom about 2 to 3 minutes.  The mushrooms gradually shrink and change color as they cook.  Don’t be alarmed—this is all good.  After pulling the mushroom from the heat, I slide it onto a paper towel to sop up any excess liquid (bottom half face down).  Then I slide the mushroom onto a hamburger bun and add all my favorite toppings.  Time to eat!


A Bit Pricey


One of the downsides to portabellas is their cost.  They can be pricey during certain months of the year.  I watch for them at Costco and at local vegetable stands to get the best deal.  I’ll also find them on special from time to time at the grocery store.


Mouth Appeal


I love grilling in the summer.

I'm skipping the fries this time around. Some fresh cantelope makes for a tasty substitution.

I love portabellas.  They have a really nice flavor, plus a dense and meaty texture.  These days, I think I actually prefer them to hamburgers made with beef.  Besides tasting great, I can avoid suffering through that “gut bomb” feeling I get every time I eat a regular burger.

With or without the bun, I love portabellas with fresh avocado or guacamole, onions, tomatoes, lettuce and spinach.  I’ll also add a touch of mayo, catsup or mustard to mix it up.  Hey, and if dairy isn’t a concern, you can also dress them up with fresh mozzarella, provolone or other melted cheese.

Whether you’re like me and need to watch your diet or just want to try a terrific alternative to regular hamburgers, it’s worth grilling up a couple portabellas.




If you enjoyed this post, you may want to read:
How To Grill Fresh Salmon
In Search Of Perfect Guacamole
Or to see a list of all our recipes click here.



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