If you’re trying to cut back on meat, or eliminate it from your diet entirely, this recipe for portobello mushroom burgers makes an excellent and novel substitute for ground beef patty burgers at your next barbeque. Each burger has only about 200 calories, 14 grams of fat, and 20 mg of cholesterol. Compare that to about 320 calories, 23 grams of fat, and 106 mg of cholesterol in your average beef burger patty, and you’ll see why this is a very smart alternative.
Mushrooms also happen to be a great source of minerals and anti-oxidants, and promote a healthy heart and circulatory system. Mushrooms are one of the best sources of selenium found naturally occurring in food; selenium consumption has been associated with decreasing the risk of prostate cancer by more than half. They are also rich in potassium, which has been shown to help lower blood pressure.
Portobello mushrooms have become one of the more widely-known varieties of mushroom. Recognized for their delicate yet earthy flavor, meaty, chewy texture, and large size, portobellos (or portabellas, as they’re sometimes marketed) are basically a mature version of the crimini mushroom, a brown variety of mushroom common in Europe. They are moderately priced and are available in most supermarkets. There are a few theories as to where they got their name. One is that portobellos were named for the Portobello Road in London, England, which is the home of a great many upscale shops and pricey eateries known for including unusual gourmet ingredients in their dishes. Another is that the name portobello is a loose, colloquial derivative of the Italian word “cappellone,” which means “large hat.”
Deluxe Portobello Mushroom Burgers
4 portobello mushroom caps, thoroughly washed
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
salt and pepper to taste
4 slices of provolone, swiss or mozarella cheese (optional)
Place the mushroom caps, gills down, in a 8 x 8 dish or baking pan. Whip the vinegar, oil, basil, oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl. Pour the oil mixture over the mushrooms, and let them marinate at room temperature for about 15 minutes, turning twice.
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat and brush the grate with oil to stop the mushrooms from sticking. Place the mushrooms on the grill carefully, reserving any leftover marinade for basting. Grill for five to eight minutes on each side. Brush them with the marinade frequently as they cook. Top with cheese slices during the last two minutes of grilling, if desired.