I kind of feel like a hypocrite posting this grilled portabella panini recipe because I always make fun of the way portabella mushrooms are the default filling for vegetarian sandwiches. The reasoning is usually, "portabellas are so meaty--they're the steak of mushrooms!" Um, yeah. Despite this, I actually do like portabella mushrooms. Not because they're meaty, but because I love mushrooms in general and giant ones are much easier for sandwich-making than the button variety.
Ten years ago (I feel so old right now), my husband and I lived in an apartment across the street from a farmers market and every Saturday, we would buy two portabella mushroom caps and I would marinate them in balsamic vinegar and olive oil all afternoon and then we'd have them in sandwiches for dinner. Not surprisingly, after two summers of grilled portabella sandwiches every Saturday, we eventually got burnt out on them. But now enough time has passed that I thought we could revisit the marinated portabella sandwiches, with one major change: artichoke tapenade.
The tapenade totally makes these sandwiches. Back in the day, I topped the mushrooms with cheese, but the tapenade adds much more flavor. The only downside is that between the mushrooms and the tapenade, there's the potential for your panini to get a little bit mushy. Using sturdy bread is a must! A hearty whole wheat or sourdough bread works well, and whatever you choose, make sure the slices are very thick.
- 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 large portabella mushrooms washed with a damp cloth
- ½ c. marinated artichoke hearts
- 2 tbsp. sun-dried tomatoes chopped
- ¼ c. roasted red pepper
- ¼ c. kalamata olives
- 4 thick slices of bread
- ½ c. arugula washed and dried
- olive oil mister or cooking spray
- Whisk together vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a large, shallow dish. Place mushrooms in dish, cover, and refrigerate for three hours, flipping mushrooms over halfway through.
- Spray grill with olive oil and heat to 350 degrees. Place mushrooms on grill and grill until tender, about 8 minutes (depending on the type of grill you're using). Wipe grill clean.
- Combine artichoke hearts, tomatoes, red pepper, and olives in food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Spread artichoke mixture onto 2 slices of bread. Place grilled mushrooms onto bread (you may have to slice them in half to get them to fit) and top mushrooms with arugula. Top with remaining bread slices.
- Spray grill with olive oil. Place sandwiches onto grill or panini press and spray tops with additional olive oil. Grill until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. (If you don't have a grill that cooks from both sides, you'll have to flip the sandwiches after about 10 minutes.)