I've had a few non-vegetarian friends and relatives who were afraid to have dinner at my house. Can you relate? It's generally someone who isn't familiar with vegan or vegetarian food and fears I'll serve up some cardboard-y tasting soy burgers.
I'm happy to say that everyone who I've ever convinced to face their fears and try my vegan cooking has been pleasantly surprised! Or that's what they told me at least. I believe them.
I usually have to convince the individual in question that there's nothing to fear by throwing them some dish ideas that I think they'll like. One thing I've learned by doing this: portabella mushrooms are usually a hit.
Portabella mushrooms are especially great during the summer months because they're great on the grill, and it seems like a vegetarian cookout can be an extra scary situation for the uninitiated (grilled cardboard soy burgers, anyone?).
The other great thing about portabella mushrooms is that they can be served as a main dish that totally holds it's own. I really like to cook up some portabella mushrooms as a main dish and call them portabella steaks, because like a steak dinner, they're super hearty and savory, and calling them that seems to make them even more appealing to dinner guests.
You can season up portabella steaks in all kinds of ways, but for this particular recipe I went with mojo sauce. Made with orange juice, lime, cumin and garlic, it makes an amazing marinade for portabella mushrooms and it has something of a summery feel, so it's perfect for grilling. And just in case you're not up for breaking out the grill, or if you just want to cook these outside of grilling season, I've included some instructions for cooking them up on the stove as well.
- In a shallow dish stir together the orange juice, lime juice, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Add the portabella caps and spoon some of the orange juice mixture over top. Allow to marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, and up to 3 hours, gently stirring and spooning some sauce over the mushrooms every so often.
- To cook your portabella steaks on the grill, lightly oil the grate and set your grill to medium-high heat. Place the mushrooms directly on the grill and brush with a bit of the marinade. Cook for about 4 minutes, flip and cook for about 4 minutes more, until lightly charred and tender.
- To cook your portabella steaks on the stove, coat the bottom of a large skillet with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and place it over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the marinated portabella caps and spoon a bit of the marinade over each. Cook for about 5 minutes, gently flip, and cook for about 5 minutes more, until tender.
- Divide the portabella steaks onto plates and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with excess marinade on the side for dressing.