I have patiently waited ALL winter to share this recipe with you. We grill pretty much year-round at our house, except when the temperatures go below about 10 degrees. Of course, here in Minnesota it was exactly one of those kinds of winters: bone-chilling cold and long. We’ve just recently resurrected the grill so it’s finally time to share one of our favorite quick, easy, and — believe it or not — vegetarian dinners.

If you don’t like mushrooms, you should probably just stop reading now (although there’s a funny story coming) because that’s what this recipe is for – Portobello Mushroom Sandwiches. I’m starting to drool just thinking about them.

Let me start with the funny story and allow the mushroom haters to sign off before I torture them with the details. The first time I tried this dish my husband was skeptical, VERY skeptical. I handed him the mushrooms sitting in the marinade and asked him to please cook them five minutes on each side. He looked at the mushrooms, then up at me, and our conversation went something like this.

John:  “What’s the main course?”

Me: “Those mushrooms are the main course.”

John: “No, I mean, what kind of meat are we having to go with them?”

Me: “We’re not having meat. I’m making portobello mushroom sandwiches with them.”

John: “Hmmm . . . “

I think at this point he was planning his escape to the closest Subway for a “real” sandwich when all was said and done. But he was pleasantly surprised to find out I really knew what I was talking about. I like to think of Portobello mushrooms as “Poor Man’s Steak” though to be honest, I’m not exactly sure how much they cost. I’m a horrible grocery shopper. Anyway, back to the recipe.

Portobello Mushroom Sandwiches – Serves 2


  • 2 – 3 Portobello mushrooms (one or two for each person)
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 – 6 cloves garlic, minced (you can never have too much garlic, in my opinion)
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt (or to taste, which I always think is a funny thing to say because really, who’s going to taste it at this stage in the game?)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of pepper (or to taste)
  • Spinach leaves or mix of dark leafy lettuces
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • Fresh red peppers OR marinated roasted red peppers
  • Hamburger buns (for gluten-free, you can either get a GF Bun or just go without which, as you can see by the picture, is what I usually choose to do)
  • Mayonnaise, roasted red pepper hummus, garlic hummus, or guacamole


  • Wipe off top of Portobello mushrooms with damp paper towel.
  • Place mushrooms, smooth side down, into large plastic or glass container.
  • Mix together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper in small bowl or measuring cup. I just use a two-cup measuring cup to save myself from washing an extra bowl.
  • Pour mixture over top, cover and marinate for at least 1 – 3 hours. (If you’re one of those people who plans ahead and preps your dinner in the morning, feel free to marinate longer; it’s your life.)
  • Grill on low heat for five minutes per side.

That is the basic recipe for cooking the mushroom. Now for the “toppings”:

  • Sauté sliced onions in a fry pan using butter or olive oil. (You decide how healthy you want to make this – I won’t judge.)
  • Red pepper options:

           Option 1 – Deseed and slice a fresh red pepper. Cover with olive oil, salt, and pepper and, using aluminum foil, create a “packet” to cook your peppers in on the grill. You’ll need to start them five to ten minutes before you start the mushrooms because they take longer to cook. Flip once during the cooking process.

           Option 2 – Add fresh sliced red pepper to the onions in the fry pan and cook everything until it’s limp and onions are translucent.

           Option 3 – Use marinated roasted red pepper straight from the jar. At first glance, these look a little bit disgusting, but they make a fantastic addition to lots of different kinds of sandwiches. Dry them off with a paper towel and add to the sandwich toppings as you build it.

  • If you are making this as a sandwich, toast the bun and add mayonnaise, roasted red pepper hummus, garlic hummus, or guacamole. If you aren’t going to use a bun, I suspect that fresh avocado would be delightful addition; although I’ve never personally tried it because I just now thought of it.

  • Top with spinach or other leafy lettuce. (Unless you’re not using a bun, then put the lettuce on the bottom. It’s just prettier that way.)

Serve with a side of fresh fruit and you have the perfect summer (or spring) meal. Enjoy!