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Posted on Aug 15, 2011

he’s a fun guyyyyyyy

Back in college, I took a mycology class as an elective. Remember electives? Those classes that you actually chose to take, whether because they held special interest to you, presented the opportunity for an easy A (gasp…well, I never…), or started late enough that you could actually sleep in (double gasp….I would never do that…)

To be honest, I only signed up for the class because of the professor. I had taken a botany class with him, and to this day, he remains my favorite undergraduate professor -he even came to Andrew’s and my wedding and gave a touching toast at our rehearsal dinner.

While my professor was a fun guy (…get it? Fun…guy…fungi – it’s never good when you have to explain a joke) and the class was quite interesting, I did not walk away from that class with any new desire to eat said fungi. Let me just be candid here: you could not have paid me to knowingly eat a portabella mushroom. I had deemed them as tasteless and usually slimy and just generally unappealing.

Oh, how wrong I was.

During the past year or so, I actively chose to reintroduce myself to many foods that I had previously ruled out as gross or gag-inducing. And I very rapidly fell in love with mushrooms.

Just from a culinary standpoint – they are so darn flexible, how could you not love to cook with them?

From a taste standpoint, a simple touch of herbs and oil brings out many delicious and varied flavors.

One of my favorites is the portabella. You may be thinking, isn’t it portobello? Maybe. Didn’t you spell it as portobello in that other mushroom post? Geez, what are you the spelling police?? There are multiple spellings and for now, I’m sticking with portabella, and I know a lot of other folks do as well. So there.

Portabellas lend themselves to heavy, rich flavors. I love to prepare them as wellingtons, especially for a special occasion, as they look and taste quite impressive.

But the portabella also makes a mighty fine burger. A mighty fine burger, indeed. Paired with an easy side of grilled corn, this meal is to put together and is perfect for any night of the week (or day, if you’re looking for lunch ideas :))


Bella Burgers & Grilled Corn

serves 2



  • 2 portabella caps
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • handful of basil, roughly chopped
  • 1 small zucchini (for topping)

 Grilled Corn

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried cilantro (or fresh if you have better foresight than me)

** some cooking twine, soaked in water



1. Prep mushroom caps: remove stems then mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil and garlic. Brush over caps then place in refrigerator to ‘marinate’ ~20-30 minutes.

2.Prep corn: first, gently pull down the husk (don’t rip it off). Then pull off all the lovely corn ‘hair’ (or silks if you want to be technical).

Mix up the corn seasoning (oil, chili powder, cilantro) and brush over kernels.

Pull the husk back up over the kernels and tie wet cooking twine around the husks to hold them in place.

Place on the top grate of a grill heated to medium heat (this is a completely arbitrary measure – you know your grill better than I do, so just use your common sense here).

3. While mushrooms are marinating, prep zucchini by slicing into very thin slices and brushing with olive oil.

4. After mushrooms have marinated for a bit, place them on the bottom grate of the grill along with zucchini. Cook mushrooms for ~3-4 minutes, rotate 90 degrees then cook 3-4 more minutes. Flip and repeat. Cook zucchini for 6-8 minutes on each side.

5. Total cooking times: corn – ~30 minutes, mushrooms – 12-15 minutes; zucchini – 12-15 minutes.

6. Plate up: serve portabella caps on your favorite bun with fresh sliced tomato, kale and folded zucchini.

Results & Conclusions

This is a substantial burger. The marinade keeps the portalla juicy, with the balsamic vinegar lending a hearty taste.

That’s one good lookin’ burger, if I do say so myself (and I do)

Served with a side of grilled corn, this burger is an easy meal to put together anytime.

With all the fresh corn in season right now, it’s the perfect time to grill up some ears.

And don’t be afraid to get creative with your seasonings – the sky’s the limit 🙂


  • 1 Comment

    1. I’m a huge fan of mushrooms and have made a portabella sandwich once before. This is great inspiration to do it again!

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