Posted by: smortimer | 2009/05/26

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

On Saturday I grilled up some portobello mushroom caps.  I marinated them for a couple of hours first.  Here is the marinade (roughly):

  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • worcestershire sauce
  • soy sauce
  • garlic powder
  • ground thyme
  • onion powder
  • ground cumin
  • chili powder

I had approx 7-8 mushrooms.  First I removed the stems, they are woody and usually not good to eat on the grill.  You could keep them and use in a soup though.  Next you want to remove the gills on the under sides of the mushroom caps.  A small teaspoon works very well, just gently scrape away the gills.  Once the gills are mostly all gone, use a damp towel and wipe the mushrooms, both sides, you want to get rid any debris that may be left on the mushrooms.  Place the caps in the marinade make sure to coat all the mushrooms.  If you are using a shallow dish you may find you need to “toss” the mushrooms a few times.  In bag just turn it a couple of times to make sure all the mushrooms get a nice bath.  I aim for 2-3 hours in the marinade, but you can go with 30 minutes if you are in a pinch.  When you are ready to grill, remove the mushrooms from the marinade and remove the excess, the mushrooms should still be shiny with the marinade though.  Place them on a hot grill.  Cook on each side for 3-5 minutes depending on how hot your grill is, you want grill marks on the mushrooms.  The edge of the mushrooms can get a little flimsy doing this, I suggest using tongs so you can grip the meatiest part of the mushroom to flip/move them around.

I was at my brother’s place and didn’t have access to my own kitchen supplies.  Which is also why I used garlic and onion powder rather than fresh.  I have seen recipes that suggest the mushrooms just get brushed with oil and salt and pepper.  You can go this simply if you like, the mushrooms can definately pull it off.  I like to add flavours though, these mushrooms are like sponges, so you have a great chance here to really add some depth.  Thyme, Worcestershire, garlic, rosemary, cumin these are all great earthy flavours that really go well with mushrooms.

Portobello’s are very meaty, you could easily serve one of these grilled caps on a bun in place of a burger, in fact I have read that vegetarians do just that.  These mushrooms are used as a steak/beef substitute, of course I am not suggesting you replace a good steak or burger with these all the time.  In fact I served these with some 1.5″ thick sirloins on Saturday.  But they are a nice change.


For a great starter take the above grilled mushroom caps, top with a half cup or so of sauteed spinach (recipe below) and drop little chunks of goat cheese or freshly grated parmesean on top.

Sauteed spinach:

Lots of spinach

crushed not minced cloves of garlic

fresh lemon juice



olive oil

It is very important to have everything ready for this ahead of time, once you start you DO NOT have time to be prepping your ingredients.

Heat the oil in the pan over med-high.  Add the crushed garlic cloves, these should be lightly crushed with the side of your knife.  You are just flavouring the oil here.  Before the garlic begins to brown add all your spinach, if you have not wilted greens before you will most likely need approx. twice as much as you first think you do.  As soon as the spinach is in the pan toss it in the oil quickly with a set of long tongs, squeeze in the fresh lemon, add salt and pepper and keep turning the spinach.  The greens are going to reduce in size dramatically and it will happen fast.  Once you add the spinach you are going to be done in approx 2-3 minutes at the most.  This should also be done right before you serve.  You really want to take this out of the pan and right to the table.

The spinach can be used in my variation above or as a side for almost any other entree.  It goes great with a steak or grilled salmon.

I never did get to experiment with making my own chili powder, so I am going to try and pencil that in for this weekend.  But I have a family thing and would like to get a round of golf in this weekend so it might be tight.  🙂


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