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Portabella and Halloumi “Burgers” from Food for My Family

May 2, 2011

Shaina Olmanson is the food writer, home cook and photographer behind Food for My Family and Olmanson Photography. This is her first recipe for the Mushroom Channel and we’re willing to cosign it as the one that could turn the meat-lovers in your house meatless…at least for one night a week.

I spent several years as a vegetarian, and it’s a lifestyle that still sings to me, calls me even. Contrast that to my husband’s classic Midwestern meat-and-potatoes upbringing, sandwich them together and you’ll find us today where navigating the landscape of real food, and seeking to fuel our four children’s bodies with the best nutrition available, settled quite happily into omnivore status.

With an effort to change the way we think of food and the way we eat our food comes giving and taking, and sometimes it also means exploring those meatless meals for my husband, who loves vegetables but prefers to pair them with a side of meat (to help fill him up). His dislike for meat-like products is strong, and he declares good vegetarian burgers to be something of a myth that is talked about but does not exist. That is, he did until I changed the concept.

Rather than imitating meat, this meatless burger is a play on the whole sandwich with giant portabella mushroom caps as buns and a slice of grilled halloumi takes the place of the burger. These were not only accepted, but devoured and raved about after dinner. I may just turn the carnivore yet.

Portabella and Halloumi “Burgers”

4 portabella mushroom caps with stems removed
3 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 thin slices halloumi
2 thick slices tomato
Sea salt and pepper
1 handful basil leaves

Heat grill to medium-high heat (about 450 degrees). Wash mushroom caps and cry. In a shallow bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Place mushrooms gill side down in the mixture.
When the grill is hot, grill the mushrooms on the gill side first for about 5 minutes or until they start to sweat. Flip and grill 2-3 minutes more. Add halloumi to the grill and grill 2 minutes on each side over relatively high heat until grill marks form on the cheese and it becomes soft and pliable. Sprinkle salt and pepper onto the tomato to taste.
Assemble the “burger” with the mushroom as the bun, the halloumi cheese as the burger, the lightly salted tomato and fresh basil leaves. Wrap and serve hot.
Makes 2 servings.

Of note:
:: For a true vegetarian meal, find a vegetarian halloumi made with non-animal rennet.
:: Be sure to wrap these sandwiches before serving or plan to eat them with a knife and fork, as they are a bit slippery.

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