Ok, so I didn't make these for the fourth, but rather for a late lunch today. But I wanted to offer a meatless grilling option for the holiday ahead, one that is as easy as hot dogs, burgers and brats: specifically, grilled portobello "burgers."
I know it's not revolutionary (pardon the pun), but the earthy flavor, punctuated by the bright clean taste of spinach and creamy melted mozzarella, is yankee doodle dandy.
Equally appealing: it's almost brainless to prepare. Other than brushing with a garlicky olive oil and sprinkling with salt and pepper, the mushrooms are no more difficult to throw on the grill than frozen veggie patties (the latter look so sad and shriveled on the grill; they're best kept inside). The accompaniments are equally easy: chopped sundried tomatoes, pre-washed baby spinach leaves, sliced mozzarella, and jarred pesto (I actually used some I had made and frozen; you could certainly use your own recipe, too)
The inspiration for the recipe was this: a package of portobellos marked down from $3.29 to $1.79 (Combined with my 22 carton purchase of $1.00 raspberries the the day, I'm cementing my status as the cheap-o gourmet.)
The mushrooms looked perfect, but I knew they wouldn't last, so I had to act fast. I grilled them in my grill pan on the stovetop, but having grilled portobellos before, I know their flavor is even more stellar when grilled over charcoal (or a gas grill with wood chips). The "burgers" came together from there, with the aid of a few pantry items.
Regardless of your menu plans for the 4th, it's a long weekend, which means plenty of opportunities to give this easy burger a go. And I guarantee this: if you make this for the vegetarian guests at your gathering, instead of frozen veggie burgers and tofu pups, they will become true-blue friends.
Portobello, Pesto and Mozzarella Burgers
Just like hamburgers, you can vary portobello burgers to your heart's content. Vary the cheese (blue, feta, jack, cheddar, haloumi, smoked gouda), the greens (arugula, mesclun, watercress, romaine), and the toppings (hummus, mustard, guacamole).
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed (chop and freeze stems for future recipe)
4 thick slices mozzarella cheese (preferably water-packed)
4 ciabatta rolls, halved
1/3 cup prepared basil pesto
2 cups pre-washed baby spinach or arugula
1/3 cup jarred sun dried tomatoes, drained, chopped
Preheat gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat. Combine garlic and oil in a bowl.
Brush garlic oil over both sides mushrooms. Season both sides of mushrooms with salt & pepper. Grill, stalk side down, 6 minutes or until almost tender.
Turn and top with cheese. Cover with grill hood (or upturned roasting pan if using a grill pan). Cook for 3 minutes or until cheese melts. Grill cut sides of rolls for 2 minutes or until toasted.
Spread pesto over bun bottoms. Top with spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Sandwich with bun tops. Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition per Serving:
Calories 251; Fat 6.4g (sat 1.3g, mono 3.3g, poly 1.6g); Protein 7.3g; Cholesterol 1mg; Sodium 539mg; Carbohydrate 37.9g.