Portobello Mushrooms Are An Unexpectedly Delicious Burger Bun Swap

You might already know portobello mushrooms as a tasty substitute for a classic hamburger, but there's also another reason why you should make room for them on your grill come summertime. In addition to serving as substitutes for your burger's patty, they can work just as well in place of your burger's bun.

Whatever reason you're skipping out on bread isn't important, but if you need an easy substitute, then you should consider the portobello. Not only are they the perfect size, but they bring their own savory charred flavor to your burger as well. It's also easy to add your own desired flavor to them with additional fats, herbs, or spice mixes. Plus, they're durable enough that they won't fall apart in your hands once you bite into them.

Better still, turning these mushrooms into buns shouldn't add much preparation time as they cook fairly quickly, and will probably spend as much time on the grill as your buns would have while they were toasting.

How to prepare portobello mushrooms to function as buns

The easiest way to get your portobello mushrooms ready is to give them some time to cook on the grill. Start by wiping down the outside of the mushroom caps to remove any lingering dirt, and then get rid of the stems. They're edible and full of flavor (and make a great stock or soup), but are often too woodsy and fibrous to chew. Also, in the case of using portobellos as a bun, they'll get in the way when assembling the sandwich.

After brushing them with olive oil, grill your portobellos at the same time as the rest of the food. You can also add fresh or dried herbs to your mushroom buns for some extra flavoring. Give them an occasional flip, and they should be ready to come off the grill in a little under 10 minutes.

If you need to conserve space on your grill you can also roast them easily in the oven. Just line a baking sheet with foil, and place the prepared mushrooms with their undersides facing up. Season them as you like, and let them cook in an oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes, or until they've begun to brown.

Move over stuffed crust, the stuffed bun is here

While there are seemingly endless numbers of great edible mushrooms with different uses, the portobello mushroom still stands apart from its edible brethren. Their texture and deeply savory flavor make them a great meat alternative. If you're trying to cut back on red meat, portobello mushrooms can easily be sliced up and used as a substitute in beef bourguignon or Philadelphia cheesesteak recipes.

But the reason that portobellos work so well as buns — while other mushrooms won't — is that they have one of the biggest and thickest caps of commonly found mushroom species. This, along with the inherently meaty texture that comes with that size, also makes it perfect for roasting and making Italian stuffed portobello mushrooms. That size allows you to build a recipe around the mushroom itself, while other mushrooms are just sideline players in larger dishes. But why stop there? Bring it full circle and turn cheddar-stuffed portobellos into cheesy burger buns, or try a surf-and-turf portobello bun stuffed with shrimp-packed seafood stuffing. It's an easy way to add some serious flavor to your basic burger routine.