Mushrooms are often cooked and served as a meat substitute in dishes, including as burger patties, but if you really like mushrooms or are seeking an alternative to bread buns, you may love the idea of roasting or grilling large portobello mushrooms into hamburger buns. The portobello (alternatively, "portabella") is a fully grown, mature cremini mushroom that comes in the size and shape of hamburger buns and is a much healthier option than your average white-bread bun.
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Roasting Portobello Mushrooms to Replace Hamburger Buns
Roasting portobello mushrooms will cause some shrinkage but can give the mushroom a crispy exterior – sort of like toasting a bun.
Preheat the oven to 450 F.
Wipe the portobello mushroom caps with paper towels. Remove the stems and save them for another recipe – making a vegetable stock, for instance.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange the mushroom caps gills-side up in one layer on top of the foil.
Roast them in the oven until they are lightly browned – 10 to 12 minutes, depending on the crispiness you prefer.
Remove your mushroom buns from the oven and sandwich your beef, turkey or veggie burger patty, serving with toppings and condiments of your choice.
If you're not interested in crisp mushrooms, try rubbing the mushroom caps with olive oil or vegetable oil on all sides before putting them in the oven. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Grilling Portobello Mushrooms as Hamburger Buns
For a knife-and-fork burger option, you can also grill your portobello "buns." Brush two caps with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and put them on your preheated grill. Turn the mushrooms over after a few minutes and grill the opposite side for another two minutes. Sandwich your beef, turkey or veggie burger patty between the grilled portobellos and serve with toppings of your choice.
Nutritional Value of Mushrooms
The Mushroom Council uses "portabella" to refer to the large, dark-brown mushroom. Though members of the fungi kingdom, mushrooms are often characterized as vegetables and are a good source of B vitamins, including niacin, pantothenic acid and riboflavin, as well as minerals such as selenium, ergothioneine, copper and potassium and immunity-stimulating beta-glucans, according to the Mushroom Council's nutritional overview.
"Mushrooms are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free, gluten-free, and very low in sodium, yet they provide important nutrients, including selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D and more," according to the organization. When comparing a medium portobello cap against a hamburger bun, the mushroom clocks in at about 22 calories, 4 grams of carbohydrates and no fat, while the typical bread bun has 120 calories, 21 grams of carbs, nearly 2 grams of fat and is made with refined flour.
Portobello mushrooms are commonly available in supermarkets, likely sourced from Pennsylvania. At 862 million pounds produced in 2010–2011, the mushroom capital of the U.S. accounts for approximately 60 percent of the total production in the nation. When choosing this variety of mushrooms, ensure that the gills are light-colored and tight – loose, dark gills indicate old age. They can be stored in the refrigerator, ideally in a brown paper bag, for a week to 10 days.