Portobello Pleasure

Photo by Martha Busse

Why heat up the kitchen when you can enjoy the weather outside? Summer grilling fits August’s hot weather to a T. So many items grill well—beef, pork, chicken, seafood—but are there filling, substantial meals without meat? With this grilled portobello mushroom burger, the answer is a resounding yes.

The flavor combinations are complementary and appealing. The earthiness of the portobello mushroom combined with the zesty red-pepper sauce, the sharp heat of the red onion, and the freshness of the baby spinach give this sandwich interest. And it’s hearty enough to be a meal.

An added advantage is that it contains only 123 calories and 3 grams of fat. Who knew something so delicious could be healthy?

So while summer sizzles this August, give yourself a break from the stove and grill something a little different from your usual hamburger or brat.

Recipe: Portobello Burgers with Red-Pepper Mayonnaise


1/2 cup chopped, drained, roasted red peppers
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
4 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed
4 red onion slices, 1/4 inch thick
4 crusty country bread slices, each about 5x3 inches and 1/2 inch thick

2 tablespoons rice vinegar
4 cups baby spinach leaves


Blend first 4 ingredients in food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. (Note: I use my hand blender for this.)

Spray grill with oil spray; prepare barbecue (medium heat). Spray mushrooms and onion slices with oil spray; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill mushrooms, onion, and bread until vegetables are tender and bread is golden, turning often, about 12 minutes for the vegetables and 5 minutes for the bread.

Transfer 2 tablespoons of the red-pepper mayonnaise to large bowl. Whisk in vinegar, add spinach and toss. Divide among 4 plates. Place 1 bread slice atop spinach on each of the 4 plates. Top each with 1 mushroom, then 1 onion slice. Spoon 2 tablespoons red-pepper mayonnaise atop each.

*Serves 4.

Recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit.

Nancy Lynch is a self-taught cook from a family of foodies. E-mail your questions, comments or recipe requests to diningin@madisonmagazine.com.

Madison Magazine - August 2007
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