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Entrees/ Recipes/ Vegetarian Recipes

Cabernet Portabella Burgers

Cabernet Portabella Burger Recipe

Cabernet Portabella BurgersPhotos 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!

This post was originally published on May 7, 2014.

Cabernet Portabella Burger Recipe

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.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 burgers


  • 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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


If you don't have an indoor grill, a grill pan or an outdoor grill will work instead, but cooking times will vary.
Craving more veg-friendly recipes? Shop our collection of vegetarian and vegan cookbooks!

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  • Reply
    May 7, 2014 at 9:46 am

    This sounds (and looks!) good even to a non-vegetarian. I love the concept of a cab glaze, yum!

  • Reply
    Ciara Attwell (@MyFussyEater)
    May 7, 2014 at 11:30 am

    This looks gorgeous. I love mushrooms. I don’t think I’d even miss the meat!

  • Reply
    Laura @ Raise Your Garden
    May 7, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    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 =)

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      May 9, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      I love rosemary too. I need to start using more of it because we have a GIANT rosemary plant in our backyard!

  • Reply
    Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche
    May 7, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      May 9, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      I’m the same way! I love what it adds to recipes, but I’m just not crazy about it on its own.

  • Reply
    Michelle Lahey
    May 7, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    I’ll eat anything soaked in wine! 😉 I’m always looking for new grilling recipes, so this is something we’ll definitely have to try this summer.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      May 9, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      Me too. I hate drinking wine, but I looooove cooking with it!

  • Reply
    jaime @ the seasonal veg head
    May 7, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Oh my goodness this is calling my name so hard! I’m firing up the grill this weekend to make these! Pinned!

  • Reply
    Linda @ Veganosity
    May 7, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      May 9, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      Yes, there’s just enough wine leftover to have a glass or two yourself! 🙂

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    May 7, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    These look so tasty!

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    May 7, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    This is my dream burger, love the cabernet reduction!

  • Reply
    May 7, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    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. 🙂

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      May 9, 2014 at 1:47 pm

      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.

  • Reply
    May 7, 2014 at 11:34 pm

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

  • Reply
    Polly @ Tasty Food Project
    May 8, 2014 at 12:29 am

    I was looking at the list of ingredients and was immediately sold when I noticed the 2 cups of Cab! This burger looks delicious and so flavorful!

  • Reply
    May 8, 2014 at 9:46 am

    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.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      May 9, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      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.

  • Reply
    May 11, 2014 at 8:37 am

    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.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      May 13, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      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.

  • Reply
    MegAn @ Veggies & Me
    June 1, 2015 at 1:54 am

    great recipe. I will try this one out. I love a veggie burger and my fav, by far, are the portobello mushroom variety. Yum yum yum!

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