Since I’m a vegetarian but my husband often eats meat, there are many meals where we have to be creative to make it work for both of us. For a long time, every time we grilled hamburgers, we’d just throw a store-bought veggie burger on the grill for me. Lately, however, we have been trying to branch out to other vegetarian alternatives to hamburgers that don’t involve a pre-made, pre-packaged, frozen patty. I had grown tired of most of the veggie burger options out there, I don’t like to eat too many highly processed foods, and I’ve been cutting back on the amount of soy I eat, too.
So this week we picked up some portobello caps from the store, picked a red bell pepper from our garden, and got creative. These portobello mushroom
sandwiches were delicious. The roasted red pepper, provolone cheese, and pesto are a perfect flavor combination, and if you are careful to add enough red wine and olive oil to the mushroom cap, it will still be quite juicy and flavorful after grilling. These sandwiches are a perfect alternative to veggie burgers.
This recipe is vegetarian, and it can easily be made vegan by leaving out the cheese and using a vegan pesto.
Grilled Portobello Mushroom Sandwich with Roasted Red Pepper
makes one sandwich
- portobello mushroom cap
- 1/4 large red bell pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- red wine
- freshly ground black pepper
- provolone cheese
- baby spinach leaves
- fresh tomato slice (preferably heirloom)
- hamburger bun or Kaiser roll
1. First of course, start the fire in your grill. We usually use wood for the wonderful wood smoke flavor. Let the fire burn down some.
2. In the meantime, wash all of your veggies. Remove the stem from the portobello mushroom cap, and cut your bell pepper, removing the stem and seeds. Wash the spinach and set it aside, and slice the cheese.
3. Place the portobello mushroom cap upside down on a plate and sprinkle it liberally with extra virgin olive oil, red wine, and a little salt and pepper. Make sure it’s nice and wet, so that it can soak up all of that juice as it cooks.
4. When the fire has burned down some and the coals are really hot, carefully transfer the portobello mushroom cap to the grill without spilling its contents. If you are also cooking any hamburgers, you will probably want to put them on first to cook a little longer, because the mushroom cap does not take long.
5. Watch the mushroom cap carefully. When it starts to blacken and wrinkle around the outside, check the middle with a fork. If the cap is very soft and pliant, and the fork sinks in without any resistance, it is done. Take it off of the grill.
6. At the same time as the mushroom cap is cooking, put the quarter of the red pepper on the grill, skin side down. When it starts to blacken, lay the pepper jack cheese all over it to melt. When the cheese is melted, remove the pepper from the grill.
7. Meanwhile, right before the pepper and mushroom get done, toast the bun or Kaiser roll on the grill.
8. When everything is done, spread some pesto on both sides of the bun. Assemble the sandwich with the mushroom, pepper and cheese, and the baby spinach leaves. Add a little salt and pepper if needed. Enjoy!