It’s hard to believe that there was a time when I hated mushrooms but it’s true. When I was a kid, I refused to eat them and it wasn’t until I was an adult and vegan, that I changed my feelings towards these fungi. I ate my first Portobello mushroom at a restaurant, as an adult, and ordered a veggie cheesesteak made with Portobello mushrooms. OMG! It was incredible and I’ve loved them ever since. Whether you’re a long-time fan of these beefy, meaty, and savory mushrooms or they’re new to you, here are my tips on how to cook with Portobello mushrooms.
There’s no doubt that Portobello mushrooms are probably the most recognizable mushrooms out there. It’s actually the most mature stage of the White Button mushroom and they are also known as Field mushrooms and Open-Cap mushrooms. Cremini mushrooms are young Portobellos and are also known as Brown mushrooms, Roman, Classic Brown, Golden Italian, and Baby Bellas.
A Portobello mushroom can measure up to six inches across the top. On the underside of the cap are black gills. The stems and gills are edible, though some people remove the gills to make the mushrooms more attractive, to make room for stuffing, or to avoid blackening a dish.
Portobello mushrooms have many health benefits that make them a good choice for dinner. They are low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in fiber. One cup of mushrooms has the potential to provide us with 16 different minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients. One Portobello mushroom has more potassium than a banana, which helps heart, muscle, and nerve function as well as maintain electrolytes and blood pressure.
Portobellos also are a rich source of copper, which helps our bodies produce red blood cells. They also provide us with riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid – three important B-complex vitamins. Riboflavin keeps our red blood cells healthy, niacin helps maintain our digestive and nervous systems, and pantothenic acid helps energy be released from the food we eat. Portobello mushrooms, like all fungi, are one of the only natural sources of vitamin D. That makes them a vegan source of vitamin D!
Selection and Storage
When buying Portobello mushrooms, select ones that are firm and solid. Avoid any that are dried up, shriveled, slimy, or limp. They smell should be fresh and earthy. Don’t avoid those with stems; they are edible.
When you get the mushrooms home, cover them with dry paper towels and put them in the refrigerator. Choose a spot where they can breathe and don’t pile other food on top of them. They should last about five days to a week. You shouldn’t freeze raw mushrooms, but you can freeze cooked ones.
When you’re ready to use your Portobello mushrooms, do not rinse them under water. That will make them soggy. Use a damp cloth to wipe the mushrooms clean. Remove the stems by gently twisting them off. You can chop up the stems and cook them and just discard any parts that feel too tough. You can also save the stems to make yummy mushroom stock. As mentioned before, you can eat the gills, but you might want to remove them if you are stuffing the caps or don’t want black pieces in your dish. Use a spoon to gently scrape out the gills.
Once the gills are cleaned out, you can cook your Portobello mushroom caps whole or slice them, depending on the recipe you are making. When it comes to recipes, you have tons to choose from. Portobello mushrooms are one of the best substitutes for meat. They are also really versatile; you can prepare them in many ways. Let’s take a look at just some of the ways you can cook these mega-mushrooms.
Portobello mushrooms are a great ingredient for making the meatiest of dishes – burgers. When you want that meaty taste, that umami, Portobello mushrooms are the way to go. Their flavor is rich, earthy, and meaty. Portobello mushrooms are even the perfect burger shape. You can grill the caps whole as in this Portobello Burger With Caramelized Onions and Tempeh Bacon. Yum! Or you can sauté a bunch of minced mushrooms to make this Mushroom Lentil Burger With Pickled Red Onions. You can even use the mushroom caps to sit as the bun instead of the center. Try these Portobello Mushroom Burgers and these Sprouted Lentil Rice Burgers With Portobello Buns.
Portobello burger recipes you must make include these Hefty, Hearty Mushroom Burgers, Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers, Whiskey Portobello Mushroom Burgers, Kimchi Mushroom Burgers, and these Smoky Marinated Portobello Burgers. For parties, you’ll love these BBQ Portobello Pretzel Sliders.
There’s no need to eat meat and no reason not to enjoy steak. Portobello mushrooms are large, meaty, and can hold up to all kinds of cooking. I love cooking whole Portobello caps until they are soft and tender. Get out your steak knives because you won’t be able to wait to slice into these Portobello Mushroom Steaks and these Portobello Mushroom Steaks With Cheesy Rosemary Polenta.
It makes sense that if you can use Portobellos to make steak, you can also use them to make steak sandwiches, fajitas, and tacos. One of my favorite sandwiches is the Philly cheesesteak. I make mine with Portobello mushrooms – get the recipe here. Also try this Philly Tofu Cheesesteak With Portobello Mushrooms. Other amazing mushroom sandwiches include this Southern-Style Pulled Mushroom Sandwich, Portobello and Peanut Banh Mi Sandwich, and this Asian Portobello Sandwich With Wasabi Mayo. Skip the steak on Taco Tuesdays and indulge in these Better Than Steak Tacos and these Portobello Fajitas instead. Yum!
Where’s the Beef?
Who cares? Who needs beef when you have meaty Portobello mushrooms? Besides burgers and steaks, you can use these savory fungi to make all kinds of beefy dishes. Give traditional dishes a twist by using mushrooms like this Creamy Mushroom Fricassee, Mushroom Bourguignon and this Tempeh and Mushroom Bourguignon. If you love meatballs and meatloaf, you’ll adore these Pesto, Mushroom and White Bean Meatballs, these Lentil Mushroom Balls, and this Maple-Glazed Mushroom and Lentil Loaf. Your pasta will be incredible when it’s topped with this Spicy Mushroom and Walnut Bolognese.
Besides beef, mushrooms can substitute for pork. When Portobello mushrooms are sliced thin and marinated in tamari, liquid smoke, and spices, they become a delicious form of veggie bacon. Try it in this Polenta Bake With Caramelized Onions and Portobello Bacon. Once you have Portobello bacon, you know you have to put it in a sandwich. I suggest this Portobello Mushroom BLT Sandwich, Smoky Portobello Bacon and Avocado Sandwich, and this Ranch BLT With Portobello Bacon. Breakfast just got better with these Tofu Scramble and Pulled Portobello Breakfast Tacos.
One of the best things about Portobello mushrooms is their generous size. Stuffed mushrooms make fun appetizers but when you stuff a Portobello, you get a delicious entrée. In these Stuffed Italian Portobello Mushrooms, the caps are piled high with herbed and sautéed vegetables. Italian herbs and spices, combined with black olives and tomatoes, and a drizzle of black truffle oil makes this recipe extra special. This Stuffed Portobello Mushroom With Tofu and Garlic Pepper Quinoa is a fresh and easy dish that will satisfy everyone. These Italian-inspired Farro-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms With Maple Miso Balsamic Sauce look like they waltzed right off of a fancy restaurant menu, but they’re actually super easy to make! Creamy kale-radicchio pesto with an umami maple miso balsamic sauce drizzled on top elevates this dish into a real work of art. Finally, these Cashew Ricotta and Sage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms are a real showstopper! Plus, it’s so easy to make and requires few ingredients — perfect for when you’re hosting a party and are juggling 15 other things as well.
Grilled and Roasted
Two of the best ways to cook Portobello mushrooms is to grill and roast them. This type of cooking really brings out the meaty texture because they lose their moisture and get dry plus the flavor gets concentrated. Portobellos are also large enough that they can sit on a grill and not fall through the rack. To grill Portobello mushrooms, simply brush both sides with oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill the mushroom on one side for a few minutes, and then turn it over for an additional couple of minutes. To roast Portobello mushrooms, simply line a pan with foil or parchment paper and then place the mushrooms on top. Bake at 425°F until they are about half their original size or they’re crispy enough for your tastes.
These Rosemary Oven-Roasted Mushrooms are an excellent go-to side dish for parties, barbecues, or just a weeknight dinner when made with small Creminis, but use large Portobellos and you have an entrée. The mushrooms are tossed in a garlicky olive oil, white wine sauce, and then sprinkled with rosemary and baked in the oven until they are tender and savory. These Thyme Grilled Mushrooms use large Portobello caps. This recipe comes with three different components: meaty grilled mushrooms, a simple salsa, and a fennel slaw. Serve them together on a bun like a burger, or combine them with greens and other vegetables for an awesome summer salad.
There are so many ways to cook with Portobello mushrooms, but here are a few more ideas. Slice Portobellos and add them to wraps, like in these Portobello Cauliflower Pitas and these Portobello Gyros with Hemp Tzatziki. Skip the potato fries and make these baked Portobello Fries instead. Use Portobellos to make this Mushrooms and Mozzarella Pizza and this Savory Mushroom Tart.
Add sliced or chopped Portobellos to a stew, like this yummy One-Pot Chickpeas Florentine With Portobello Mushrooms or make them the star of your Chinese food, like this Easy Mushroom Stir-Fry. Beef up your Italian food like this Zucchini Lasagna With Pesto and Portobello Mushrooms and this Portobello Chana Masala. Finally, don’t cook the mushrooms at all. Enjoy these Raw Portobello Hemp Cheese Burgers and these Raw Mushroom Burgers.
Portobello mushrooms are meaty, savory, healthy, and satisfying. Their endless versatility means you can make exciting and delicious meals with them and never get bored. Portobellos are larger than life for good reasons.
Lead image source: Thyme Grilled Mushrooms