Just wanted to share this with you all. In our adventures of trying to live more simply, we’re always on the lookout for 1) things that substitute well for meat and 2) things that a moderately reasonable person would cook on the grill. As it turns out, portabella mushrooms are both. I’ve had some pretty awesome portabella mushrooms at restaurants, but never had made any serious attempt to grill them myself. So Rachel and I decided to try it out, and make a great pita wrap/sandwich situation out of the results.
The results, by the way, were delicious. Something about the dry, smoky heat from the grill in particular did amazing things to the texture of the mushrooms: firm and almost crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside. With some onions, peppers, and a yogurt sauce and wrapped in a pita, this was a seriously satisfying sandwich.
You don’t need a recipe for this, I’ll just give some direction on what worked well for us. Mushrooms absorb liquid and flavor really well, so I soaked them in a marinade before cooking. Something with a good balance of acid, oil, salt, and sweet (along with good strong herbs or spices) will lend a lot of personality to the portabellas.
I took the leftover marinade and mixed it with the onions and peppers in a foil pack that I threw on the grill as well. They steamed in the juices and got some of the flavor as well, which was awesome.
In terms of cooking the mushrooms, I prefer a charcoal grill with pretty high heat. Mushrooms get firmer the more that you cook them, and grilling adds some good surface texture and smokiness as well. We sliced them thin for our pitas, but they would work well whole as burgers with a nice strong cheese or something.
And finally, the bread. Take a look at the post we just did on lots of ways to make great flatbread and see what works for you. Homemade is the way to go here. If you feel confident enough, you can make your bread right on the grill with your mushrooms. The key is to shoot for wide and thin rather than dense or thick, so you have something that’s easy to wrap around your food.
Take a look at the pictures, and get inspired for your own grill projects! Any more vegetarian grilling ideas out there?