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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Pesto Portobello Mushroom Burgers

Because good ideas (and good food!) are meant to be shared!

This month's recipe contest theme is "Healthy Sandwiches, Salads, and Snacks."  I already submitted the dill chickpea salad sammies, my cheddar jalapeno BBBs and that oh-so-elegant balsamic apples and arugula salad, but I had more ideas to throw out there!  Unfortunately, while the ideas are plentiful, the free time to do all of the recipe testing is lacking.  But, thanks to a spontaneous trip home, a few willing taste-testers, and the help of my lovely sister, I was finally able to present these babies to my sister and a couple of friends over the weekend and boy, were they a hit!  I can't say that the prep and cooking went exactly as planned, but I am in love with the way these 'shrooms turned out!

Probably these burgers would be amazing cooked on the grill but, well, I don't have a grill.  Or even know how to grill, for that matter.  So, whatever, the stove top worked just fine thankyouverymuch.  I think the flavors of the marinade could be changed up a bit, according to your tastes (more heat, less smoke, etc).  It is also entirely possible that I may have forgotten to write down some of the measurements because I was drinking vodka socializing while preparing the food.  So the following ingredients are a best guess.  But I'm pretty sure it's right.  Almost positive.  It's all about confidence, right???

Let's be honest, you don't have to top the burgers with pesto.  In fact, I'm sure they would be brilliant smothered in BBQ sauce and topped with veggie cheese.  But the truth is, you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't at least try the pesto.  Fresh basil is one of the most amazing foods in the world.  Seriously.  Take advantage of the summer flavors and enjoy!

2 cups vegetable broth
2 tsp liquid smoke
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
Salt and pepper

6 portobello mushrooms, stems removed and gills scraped out with a spoon

2 cups fresh basil
3 tsp chopped garlic
3 Tbsp pine nuts
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

12 slices of hearty bread (or 6 burger buns)
Additional toppings: mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion, as desired

In a medium sized bowl, combine broth, liquid smoke, balsamic vinegar, cumin, poultry seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder.  Stir to mix well.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Arrange the mushrooms in a baking dish (it's OK if they overlap) and pour the marinade over them.  Swish the liquid around to wet all of the mushrooms and let sit for 10 min, flipping the mushrooms over after 10 min. 
While the mushrooms are marinating, prepare the pesto.  In a food processor, combine the basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and red wine vinegar.  Pulse the ingredients until pine nuts are finely chopped.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
Spray a large frying pan with cooking spray and heat on medium.  Add two mushrooms, pouring 1 Tbsp marinade over each mushroom, and cook 3-5 min on each side, until heated through.  Repeat with remaining mushrooms.
Top each mushroom with pesto and any additional toppings, as desired.

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