If you eat plant-based even just sometimes, you may have ordered a portobello burger or “steak” at some well-meaning restaurant, only to be served a slightly dried up looking mushroom cap that lacks flavour and is mostly just really chewy. I’ve been served mushrooms like this a bunch of times, usually when it was the only plant-based option outside of the go-to green salad and side of fries combo order. Options are getting so much better, it’s true! But still. Bad portobello experiences of the past have made me a lot more deliberate with my own handling of them at home.
These babies are J.U.I.C.Y. They’re great on their own with a little salad or some other side, but in a burger setup? They’re super messy and satisfying. We marinate portobello mushroom caps with a balsamic and garlic concoction, grill them, and then fill the natural cavity with red sauce, a tangy cashew “ricotta,” fresh basil, and any other pizza toppings that are sounding good.
The cashew “ricotta” here is just a little whir in the food processor away. No need to ferment it with probiotics or anything. When you’re mixing nut-based cheeses like this up with a bunch of other flavours, I don’t find the fermentation step to be quite necessary (even though I’ve done it before with recipes like this). Fermentation is awesome and special for simply serving a homemade nut cheese on a cheeseboard with accompaniments, but for a portobello pizza burger extravaganza, simply using some miso, lemon, and spices seems to do the trick. No waiting time either :)
Hope some of you try this one. If you have a food processor, the recipe is super simple and honestly kinda fun to make. I also want to add that this recipe is excellent for any skeptical omnivores you may be inviting over. Anything pizza-blasted is pretty much guaranteed to be a hit. I’m heading out for another camping adventure with Mark and our little buddies today. Just really excited to cook over a fire. Hope everyone is having a great summer!
GRILLED PIZZA PORTOBELLOS WITH LEMON-Y CASHEW “RICOTTA”
Print the recipe here!
NOTES: I have two of these portobellos stacked in the photo of the sandwich setup–mostly for the photo but also because I am also a big eater. One portobello per sandwich is certainly enough :)
-For a nut-free option, try soaked sunflower seeds in the ricotta. The texture will be more grainy though.
-I kept my pizza portobellos classic with red sauce, the ricotta & basil, but any pizza topping is fair game.
-You could roast these if you don’t have a grill. Just preheat the oven to 400 F, line a baking sheet with foil or parchment, and roast the portobellos for about 25 minutes, flipping them and filling them with the toppings at the halfway mark. They should be slightly darker in colour and soft.
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup avocado oil, or other heat-tolerant oil
1 clove of garlic, finely minced or grated
1 teaspoon tamari or coconut aminos
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
6 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed and gills scraped out with a spoon
LEMON-Y CASHEW “RICOTTA”
heaped ½ cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon mellow miso (I used a chickpea one)
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2-3 drops of maple syrup
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
5-6 tablespoons of water
tomato sauce, fresh basil & other pizza toppings of choice
fresh ciabatta buns, if making sandwiches
In a large, shallow bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, oil, garlic, tamari, salt, and pepper. Place the portobellos in the balsamic marinade and flip them over to coat. Flip them so that the bottoms are facing up and spoon marinade into the caps. Set aside for 20 minutes, or up to 2 hours.
Make the ricotta. Drain and rinse the cashews. In a food processor combine the cashews, nutritional yeast, miso, lemon zest, lemon juice, maple syrup, garlic powder, onion powder, 5 tablespoons of water and salt to taste. Pulse the mixture until the cashews are finely chopped. Then, run the motor on high until you have a smooth, lightly textured ricotta-like mixture. Add more water by the teaspoon if necessary and scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl. Check ricotta for seasoning and set aside.
Preheat a grill to high. On a tray or large platter bring out your portobellos, the ricotta, any pizza toppings you’re using, and a flipping spatula. Place the portobellos on the grill top side facing down. Close the lid and grill for 3-4 minutes, or until slightly collapsed and charred on the edges. Flip the portobellos over.
Spoon tomato sauce, ricotta, and add any other toppings to the portobellos. Close the lid and cook for 3-4 minutes. Once filling is bubbling and portobellos are totally soft, juicy-looking, and evenly charred, carefully remove them from the grill. Serve pizza portobellos on their own or on fresh toasted ciabatta.