You don’t need cow or turkey to make a hearty and meaty burger. Skip the fat and cholesterol, and bite into a slightly smoky and a little bit spicy, vegan red wine Portobello burger with "mozzarella" instead. Friends, this is backyard grilling at its finest.
My husband and I were walking our two little furry peanuts last weekend and realized that both of us were sniffing the air. The aroma of something being grilled was wafting toward us, and my husband turned to me and said, “Damn, I hate that grilled meat still smells good to me.” I understood, because it did smell good. But here’s the thing, it wasn’t the meat that smelled good, it was the sauce and the sugars from the food turning into carbon that smelled so amazing.
Think about it, vegetables smell mouth watering good when they’re on the grill too, it’s not the meat, it's the marinade. Does that make sense? My husband said he got it, but I think he was humoring me, so I set out to prove a point.
We had some gorgeous Portobello mushrooms in our refrigerator just waiting to be marinated and grilled. When we got home from our walk I asked my personal chef (the husband) to create one of his awesome marinades for the mushrooms. He’s always game, so he threw a little red wine, garlic, red onion, cilantro, liquid smoke, olive oil, maple syrup, and salt and pepper into a bowl, whisked it all together, and poured it on the shrooms. They looked so good marinating that I could have eaten them as is. NOT. They did look good, but I don’t like raw mushrooms, I could wait.
We waited for a couple of hours. The marinade soaked into the porous mushroom bottoms until they were ready for the grill, and then….
Point proven! Ding, ding, ding, arm raised in the air, and the winner is, me! The smell of the mushrooms on the grill was just as enticing as whatever it was that we smelled while we were walking the dogs. OO-RAH!!
While the mushrooms were grilling I whipped up a creamy, dreamy, stretchy, and mild flavored cashew mozzarella—courtesy of the genius Somer at Vedged Out. When the burgers where ready we put them on a whole grain bun, topped them with the cheese, lettuce, and tomato, and drizzled some balsamic vinegar on top.
Oh mama! One bite of this sassy sandwich will make meat eaters forget that they ever wanted mammal in their mouths. This was so juicy and meaty. The flavors were savory, and smoky, and had a little kick from the chipotle chili powder. The melted cashew mozzarella cheese was mild and creamy, and the balsamic brightened it up with a bit of acid. Yum, yum, yum.
If you’re going to a cook out this summer—who isn’t?—you can take the mushrooms raw and throw them on a grill at the party, or you can grill them ahead of time if you don’t want your mushroom to mingle with the animal burgers and such. If you don’t have a grill, you can cook them in a pan and then put them under the broiler for a minute to sear the tops.
Serve this with a salad and some grilled corn on the cob for the perfect summer picnic.
Tell me – what’s your favorite summer grilling food?
Do you like raw mushrooms?
Some of the products I used to make this:
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Red Wine Portobello Burger with Cashew Mozzarella
- Note: You'll need to soak the cashews at least four hours before making the mozzarella so plan accordingly.
- 4 large Portobello mushroom caps – stem removed and cleaned
For the Marinade
- 1/2 cup of vegan dry red wine
- 3 cloves of garlic – minced
- 2 tablespoons of finely minced red onion
- 1/4 teaspoon of cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon of chipotle chili powder
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil this prevents the mushrooms from sticking to the grill
- 1 tablespoon of liquid smoke
- 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
- Juice of a 1/2 of a lime
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Clickhere for the Cashew Mozzarella recipe.
- 4 whole grain vegan buns
- 2 cups of chopped mixed greens
- 1 medium tomato – sliced
- Balsamic vinegar
For the Marinade
- Whisk the vinegar, garlic, onion, cumin, chipotle powder, olive oil, liquid smoke, maple syrup, lime juice, and salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Place the mushroom caps top side up on a large platter and pour half of the marinade over each one and rub in. Flip the mushrooms over and pour the remaining marinade over the bottom of the caps. Cover and let sit for at least an hour in the refrigerator.
- Make the mozzarella fifteen minutes before you're ready to grill the mushrooms.
- Grill the mushrooms on medium heat until they brown and soften, flip and grill until the other side begins to brown and soften. Approximately 5 to 7 minutes per side.
- If you don't have a grill, heat a large skillet or grill pan on medium high heat and cook for approximately 7 to 10 minutes per side.
- Place the mushroom on a bun, top with the cheese, lettuce, and tomato, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.