After returning from a recent vacation with our youngest daughter and granddaughter who are vegetarians, I was inspired to create more meatless meals. This week, I tried something at home that we have enjoyed in restaurants in the past, the Portobello Mushroom Burger.

To begin, wash the mushroom caps off and pat dry. I was so pleased to see that the organic portobello mushrooms I bought were not only grown in the USA, but just up the road from us in Sunnyside, Washington. The local, organic aspect of the produce ensured a fresh product and supports local area farmers, as well.

Next, make the marinade, using ingredients of choice. For this recipe, I wanted them to have an Asian flare, filled with warm umami undertones. To achieve that, I used two types of oil; olive and sesame, two types of vinegar; apple cider and rice wine, sesame seeds, soy sauce, ginger and honey. I didn’t keep exact measurements, but it was approximately two Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp sesame oil, two Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 Tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tsp sesame seeds, 1 Tbsp. soy sauce, 1/2 tsp ginger, and 1-2 Tbsp of honey. I would suggest preparing it as you would a vinegarette, and taste until you are happy with the results. I did not add any salt or pepper, as the soy sauce and sesame oil gave it plenty of seasoning.

Marinate the mushrooms in a shallow dish, flipping a couple of times, for 15 minutes or so. Mushrooms have a spongelike quality to them, so they will absorb the marinade well. Once the mushrooms are marinated, it’s time to cook them!

To cook the mushrooms, you can either fry them in a pan, broil them in the oven, or barbecue them on your outdoor grill. Any of these methods will work, but for this meal, I chose to prepare them on the cooktop, using a non-stick pan. On medium high heat, I cooked each side of the mushrooms for 8-10 minutes, making sure they didn’t burn. Because of the honey in the marinade, they took on the most golden, caramelized texture.

Once the mushrooms were done, I covered each with a piece of Havarti cheese and allowed it to melt. The mushrooms were placed on top of toasted buns and finished off as you would any hamburger, using the condiments of choice.

These Portobello Mushroom Burgers were really good and especially juicy, making them a two or three napkin affair to eat! We have no plans to become vegetarian but do enjoy incorporating meatless meals into our menus. Typically, this is in the form of black beans and rice taco salad, a cheese and veggie quiche, or a vegetarian sandwich like grilled cheese or egg salad. Now that the mystique of the Portobello Mushroom Burger is gone, we plan to have these more often, as well!

Good tidings,

Diane

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