Vegans taste good and so does their food

Posted by Carole on June 2, 2011

Vegans and those who prefer a more vegetable based diet often are labeled as eating food that:

  • Tastes like cardboard
  • Is flavorless
  • Is too difficult to make
  • Contains hard to find ingredients

Hogwash, I say! Vegan food tastes good and so do vegans for that matter. So for those of you who are still considering less meat but aren’t sure how to get started, here’s something you’ll enjoy.

The portabella mushroom is a glorious food that is filling, high in potassium, low in fat, and a good source of iron and zinc. They are “meaty” too. Marinated and grilled, the portabella is vegan “steak.” When a friend of mine first set out to lose over 100 lbs, he started with portabella mushrooms cooked for 15 minutes in a toaster oven. One 22 calorie mushroom cut into slices was the perfect addition to his lunchtime salad or mid-day snack.

As I try to stay away from gluten, I’ve served this mushroom steak on raw onion bread. It is just as tasty alone, on salad, on a traditional hamburger bun or bread. The marinate takes all of 5 minutes to make. Because mushrooms are so porous, the flavor is infused in as little as an hour. I’ve marinated for up to 12 hours before cooking.

Marinated mushrooms ready for the grill

Prep time: 5 min (active) 1-8 hours (inactive)
Make time: 5 min
Equipment: Bowl, measuring cups/spoons, knife, skillet/grill
Yield: 2 servings

2 large portabella mushrooms (4″ round)
4-5 T extra virgin olive oil
3-5 T balsamic vinegar*
4-5 key limes (juiced)
2 T fresh basil
2 garlic cloves
1-2 spring onions
½ t sea salt

Prepare the marinade first. Rough chop basil and onions and mince the garlic cloves. In a bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, herbs and salt. Taste test for seasoning and flavor. Depending on the sweetness of the balsamic vinegar you may want more or less lime juice. Add lime juice, one lime at a time until the desired acidity is reached. Clean mushroom, pat dry and remove stems. Place mushrooms in the marinade for desired time. I typically put them into a plastic bag. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Skillet method of cooking: In a medium – high heat skillet, add a scant amount of olive oil. Take mushrooms from the marinade and place in skillet. Cook covered for about 1 minute. Then flip and cook uncovered for 2-5 minutes more until tender.

Grill: On a medium-high heat grill. Remove mushrooms from the marinade and grill for 2-5 minutes on each side until tender.
Serve on buns, raw onion bread or sliced onto salad. As a burger, pair it with slices of avocado, sprouts, lettuce, and tomato. Just as you would a meat burger. Black radish salad is also a nice topper.

*Note about balsamic vinegar: The better the quality of balsamic the less you will need and the more flavorful your recipe will be. Truly high quality balsamic vinegars are extremely expensive. I have found the six-year balsamic from Ritrivo Selections is moderately priced and I use only a little at a time because of the intense flavor. Pick what tastes good to you.

2 Responses to Vegans taste good and so does their food

  1. Angela

    Yum, I LOVE portabello “steaks”. Will try this recipe, thanks!

  2. Tina

    I have wanted to try portabellas but never have. I have a lonely weekend coming up and me thinks that I need to try this. What can be better than something with garlic and balsamic vinegar?

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