Mushrooms are a vegan flavour-seeker’s best friend; their savoury earthiness is a godsend for those craving the comforting richness of stewed meats and broths, but not the meat itself. Even before I became a vegetarian, I was all about the mushrooms; a burger just wasn’t complete without a huge pile of sauteed mushrooms on top.
Now that we avoid animal products, our burgers might look a little different, but as far as I’m concerned, they’ve only gotten better. Why would you settle for some dry, flavourless beef patty (that not even sauteed mushrooms can fully redeem), when you can feast on a juicy, umami-rich portobello burger basted with pesto and oozing its own delicious au jus?
I saw a variation of this burger in an Edible Vancouver magazine several years ago, and they quickly became our favourite summer burger. They’re insanely delicious, totally satisfying, and a breeze to make. When we cut out dairy, I was worried that we’d have to go without, since the original recipe called for a slice of asiago, and I hadn’t yet figured out how to make my favourite pesto without the cheese.
This year, we decided to try making them with our newly veganized pesto, using vegan parmesan in place of the asiago, but honestly, we’ve found you don’t even need it. The resulting burgers are rich and meaty, with such an incredibly tasty, savoury juice that you’ll be too busy wiping your chin to miss the cheese.
Portobello Pesto Burger
A meaty portobello mushroom burger infused with the richness of pesto. Juicy and insanely delicious.
- 1 large portobello mushroom (stem removed)
- 1 tbsp non-dairy pesto
- 1 tbsp vegan mayo (I like Vegenaise Reduced Fat)
- 1 burger bun
Heat your grill or barbecue to medium high heat.
For each mushroom, stir together 1 tablespoon of pesto with 1 tablespoon of mayo (may need slightly less depending on the size of the mushroom).
When grill is hot, toast a whole grain burger bun until golden. Set aside.
Brush pesto mixture over the entire mushroom, top and bottom. Place on grill top side down, so the gills are visible.
Grill mushroom, with lid closed, for approximately 4 - 5 minutes, or until you see juices bubbling in the bowl of the mushroom cap. Do not flip.
If desired, top with a sprinkle or slice of non-dairy parmesan or another sharp vegan cheese. Turn off heat, close the lid, and allow cheese to melt (a minute or so).
Add a smear of mayo to the top half of your burger bun, as well as a few lettuce leaves and slices of tomato. Don't use ketchup or mustard on these, as it will overwhelm the other flavours.
Place your mushroom cap on the bottom half of the bun, keeping top side down to preserve the juices. Cover with the top half of the bun, and grab some napkins!
Multiply recipe accordingly based on the number of servings required, allowing one mushroom per person.