This was the perfect summertime recipe for me to prepare for one reason and one reason only. I have tons of basil growing outside in our garden. I have no problem with any other ingredients because I can purchase them in the grocery store year round. It’s the basil I concern myself with. Probably because the fresh stuff costs around $24 per pound.
The portobello mushroom is a wonder of nature. It tastes great, has good texture and fills you up. As part of a burger, it’s the perfect central ingredient to work around. It’s a starting point for everything else to follow.
It might not look it, but this recipe has a fair amount of flavor areas. From the sun-dried tomato spread that’s mixed with goat cheese to the basil – throw in some Asiago cheese and a whopper of a slice of red onion and you’re all set. I just finished my share of the burgers and I’m sitting here pretty full. It’s remarkable what vegetables can do for the appetite.
I’d like to thank Paulette Mitchell and her cookbook called Vegetarian Sandwiches for the inspiration for this recipe. Her version is titled Grilled Portobello Mushroom Sandwiches with Sun-Dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Spread. While Paulette’s was next to perfect, I decided to change a few things around, which I’ll describe below.
3 Tablespoons Sun-Dried Tomato Spread (store bought)
3 Tablespoons Goat Cheese, Room Temperature
2 Large Portobello Mushroom Caps
2 Red Onion Slices, 1/2 Inch Thick
Regular Olive Oil
Sea or Kosher Salt
Ground Black Pepper
2 Onion Rolls, Sliced
2 Tablespoons Asiago Cheese, Shredded
8 Fresh Basil Leaves
In Paulette’s recipe, she calls for homemade sun-dried tomato spread. Since I found some pre-made spread, I’ve been using that for the recipes that call for it’s equivalent. It saves a lot of time and is offered by a small seller, so it sits well with me. In the case of this recipe, I mixed it with the goat cheese which ended up perfectly. I found the spread in the produce section hidden under the potatoes, so if you decided to give this recipe a shot, you may have to look around for the spread.
I’m also suggesting that you slice the red onion about 1/2 inch thick as opposed to the 1/4 inch Paulette calls for. Once the onion cooks, it softens and shrinks a bit. And since it’s fairly flavorful, I say the more the better.
Lastly, Paulette calls for Parmesan cheese and arugula leaves in her recipe. I changed those ingredients up to Asiago cheese and basil leaves. I already mentioned that I have a good amount of basil, but the Asiago is for another reason. I’ve been using Parmesan in my recipes for about a year now and have decided to explore a bit. Today it’s Asiago and tomorrow it’s – who knows.
Prepare the Spread
Making the spread is easy. All you need to do is place the sun-dried tomato spread in a bowl with the goat cheese and mix it all up until it’s soft. I have a photo of mine in this picture below, along with some of the other ingredients I used. I’ll tell you, there’s nothing like the feeling of heading outside to trim your own basil. It’s pretty awesome.
Toast the Rolls
You can toast the rolls any way you’d like. I used the oven to do mine, since we don’t have a toaster oven. I simply placed them on the top rack and turned the broiler on low for about 5 minutes.
Put Spread on Rolls
Now that the spread is prepared and the rolls are toasted, it’s time to put the spread on the rolls. Be sure to use it all because there’s a lot of flavor in there. Cover the insides of both sides of the roll.
Add the Basil Leaves
At this point, you can place 4 basil leaves on each of the roll bottoms. Depending on their size, you can use more or fewer leaves.
Cook & Add the Onions
To cook the onions, place 1 tablespoon of regular olive oil in a large skillet and warm everything over medium heat. When the skillet is to temperature, add the onion slices, trying to keep them together as one piece each. Let cook for about 3-5 minutes on one side and then flip over and do the same for the other side.
When the onion slices have softened a bit, carefully remove them from the skillet and place them on top of the basil on the bottom rolls. Keep the stove top at the same temperature. Don’t turn it off.
Season the burger at this point with a pinch of salt and a pinch of black pepper.
Add the Cheese
Next, you can shred some Asiago cheese and add some to the burger on top of the onion.
Cook & Add the Mushroom
With the stove top still on medium, add another tablespoon of regular olive oil to the skillet. Then, place both portobello mushroom caps in the skillet and cover. Let cook for 3-5 minutes and then flip. Cook again for 3-5 minutes. Keep covered the entire time.
The trick with cooking this type of mushroom is to not overdo it. You don’t want the entire cap to deflate and become too soft. You merely want to cook it while it keeps its shape and meaty texture.
When the caps are finished, turn off the heat and add each cap to each burger on top of the cheese.
Top the Burger
Finally, place the tops of the rolls on top of the mushroom caps. Cut in half and serve.
The Final Burger
This may have been the fanciest burger I’ve ever eaten. Portobellos are usually out of my reach, but for something as tasty as this, I can make the exception. Delicious.
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