Cabernet Portabella Burgers

Cabernet Portabella Burgers Photos by Lindsey Johnson

After three and a half years, it’s about time Oh My Veggies published a grilled portabella mushroom burger, right? It’s kind of up there with tofu when it comes to vegetarian icon status. If for any reason tofu cannot fulfill its reign as vegetarian icon, first runner-up grilled portabella mushroom burger will take over. Portabella burgers are the Alyssa Edwards to tofu’s Coco Montrese, you see.

If you want a no-muss, no-fuss portabella burger, all you really have to do is clean a mushroom with a damp paper towel, brush it with oil, season with salt and pepper, and throw it on the grill. Once it’s tender, put it on a toasted bun and pile on your favorite burger toppings. It’s pretty much fool-proof, which is probably the reason we vegetarians eat them all the time.

Cabernet Portabella Burgers
Plain portabella burgers are good, but there’s so much more you can do with them to take them up a notch. When I saw this Napa Valley Cabernet Burgers recipe from Bon Appétit, I knew I could translate that idea to a grilled portabella burger. It was simple to do—the original called for more cabernet sauce because it was mixed into the ground beef; I made less because I was only using my sauce as a marinade. The original recipe also called for 9 tablespoons of butter, which I reduced to 1, replacing the rest with a light brushing of olive or grapeseed oil.

Mushrooms and wine are one of my favorite food pairings. There’s just something about wine that really brings out the flavor in mushrooms. I don’t even drink wine (well, maybe once or twice a year), but cooking with it is a different story. You don’t need to buy an expensive bottle of wine either. Avoid cooking wines, which are usually found in the aisle with vinegars and oils, and opt for the cheapest bottle of regular wine you can find. Yeah, that’s right, I’m telling you to buy cheap wine!

Cabernet Portabella Burgers
The cabernet boils down into a thick sauce that you brush on the mushrooms as they cook. The sauce continues to thicken and caramelize on the grill, which makes it even more delicious. Grilled rosemary focaccia serves as a bun for these portabella burgers; we topped them with slices of sharp cheddar, heirloom tomato slices, and arugula, but a variety of cheeses and toppings will work with these burgers. With grilling season upon us, this is a recipe you’ll want to have on hand for the coming months!

Cabernet Portabella Burgers

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 4 burgers

Cabernet Portabella Burgers

A red wine reduction helps bring out the savory flavor of grilled portabella mushrooms. Adapted from Bon Appétit's Napa Valley Cabernet Burgers.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Light olive oil or grapeseed oil
  • 4 large portabella mushrooms, stems removed
  • 4 slices sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 (4 1/2-inch) squares focaccia, cut horizontally in half or hamburger buns
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 8 large heirloom tomato slices
  • 2 cups arugula

Instructions

  1. Combine the wine and shallots in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the mixture has reduced to about 1/2 cup. Whisk in the butter and sugar; remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Heat an indoor grill to high heat. Brush the grates with oil, then place the mushrooms on the grill gill-side down. Brush the tops of the mushrooms with the cabernet sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes, then flip the mushrooms over. Brush the gill-side with additional sauce and cook for 5 minutes more. Flip the mushrooms one more time and brush the tops with the rest of the sauce. Once the mushrooms are easily pierced with a fork (the time depends on the thickness of the mushrooms, but most will be done after 15 minutes on the grill), top them each with a slice of cheese and transfer the mushrooms to a plate.
  3. Brush the cut sides of the bread with oil and sprinkle with rosemary. Place the bread, cut-side down, onto the grill and cook until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Top the bottom halves of the bread with the mushrooms, tomatoes, and arugula. Cover with the top halves of the bread.

Notes

If you don't have an indoor grill, a grill pan or an outdoor grill will work instead, but cooking times will vary.

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Kiersten Frase

About Kiersten

Kiersten is the founder and editor of Oh My Veggies. She loves cooking, trashy reality shows, and Hello Kitty. Kiersten also blogs about blogging at kierstenfrase.com.   Read more from Kiersten →

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Comments

  1. says

    Making a portabella burger has been on my to-do list for as long as I started making to-do lists!

    And I love how you combined rosemary, my all-time-favorite-herb-of-all with it.

    I may have to shoot you an email to let you know how my version turns out =)

  2. says

    Yessss, love this! What could be better than a red wine reduction?! I’m not a big fan of drinking the stuff on its own, but for some reason I love it in food – especially with mushrooms! Could definitely go for one of these tonight.

  3. says

    I’m so happy I found this recipe. I’m actually making Portobello burgers tonight. The cabernet reduction sauce sounds amazing. I will actually have to enjoy a glass while I’m cooking. Yay! I can’t wait for dinner.

  4. says

    I am beyond obsessed with mushrooms, but have never tried it as a burger. I also agree with cheapo wine, I don’t drink it – love a little red wine in my pasta sauce and mushrooms too! I definitely have a mushroom obsession ALSO love your sliced tomato heart.. not sure if you noticed it. :)

    • Kiersten Frase says

      No, I didn’t notice! :) And oh my gosh, you need to grill yourself up some portabella burgers this summer! For a long time, we used to eat them every Saturday all summer long because the farmers market near our apartment had a booth that sold mushrooms.

  5. Kim says

    Um, YUM. This looks so delicious, and SIMPLE = best combination ever! Going on my menu for next week!

  6. says

    KIERSTEN! These burgs look amazing! I love wine and mushrooms together. I have fond memories of one of my brothers sauteeing up a batch of baby bellas in butter and wine many moons ago. I need to get me a stash of cheap cooking wine and sip while I whip up a carbernet portabella.

    • Kiersten Frase says

      I sauté mushrooms in wine all the time too. It is SO GOOD. We put them on veggie burgers, use them as a side, or toss them with pasta. Wine + mushrooms = magic.

  7. says

    The wine I buy is always cheap! Ha. The.Boy and I just don’t have developed palates enough to warrant a more expensive bottle. It would just be wasted on us.

    I love how you’ve updated the ‘bella burger! It feels so classy with that wine glaze.

    • Kiersten Frase says

      Exactly! Unless it tastes like vinegar, I really can’t tell the difference between an expensive wine and a cheap one. Especially when I’m cooking with it.

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