The first time I had a portobello mushroom burger was in a cooking class that I took in Walnut Creek, CA. It was a series of courses over 12-weeks that taught everything from braising to chopping to deboning fish. One of these courses included a delightful portobello mushroom burger with a homemade mayonnaise. OK, so I’m teasing you here a bit, because we’re not making that recipe, which required a smoker, but it was quite fabulous and changed my mind about portobello mushroom burgers forever. Here, we’re making a weeknight portobello mushroom burger, and it’s quite fabulous. I love how quickly these come together, and yet are still company worthy.
This recipe has a lot of shortcuts, like using prepared pesto, and jarred roasted red peppers. If you’d like to make your own pesto, use Ina Garten’s amazing pesto recipe, which you’ll conveniently find at the bottom of this post.
Let’s talk about these weeknight portobello burgers. If you have all your ingredients ready to go, these come together in about 10 minutes. Serve with store-bought sweet potato fries (Trader Joe’s makes a good one!), you have a restaurant-quality dinner in less time than take-out!
Portobello Burgers with Pesto, Pepper Jack, and Roasted Peppers
Adapted from Bon Appétit
½ cup purchased pesto
¼ cup mayonnaise
4 sourdough or ciabatta rolls, split horizontally (we used onion ciabatta)
4 portobello mushrooms, stemmed, dark gills scraped out
Roasted red peppers from jar, drained
2 cups arugula or baby lettuce (we used baby lettuce)
4-8 slices pepper jack or provolone cheese (1-2 per burger)
Stir pesto and mayonnaise in small bowl to blend. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat) or grill pan (medium heat). Grill rolls, cut side down, until lightly toasted. Transfer to plates. Spread grilled side of rolls with pesto mayonnaise. Place one slice of cheese on each roll bottom.
Brush mushrooms on both sides with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill, rounded side up, 4 minutes. Turn mushrooms over. Cover and grill until mushrooms are tender, about 4 minutes.
Place one mushroom on each roll bottom. Top each with enough red pepper pieces to cover, then with arugula or lettuce, and finish with another slice of cheese, if you dare. Press roll tops on and serve. Makes 4 burgers.
And for that pesto I promised you . . .
Ina Garten’s Amazing Pesto
¼ cup walnuts
¼ cup pignoli (pine nuts)
3 tablespoons chopped garlic (9 cloves)
5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ cups good olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Place the walnuts, pignoli, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.