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Vegan Food, Family & Travel

Sesame & Soy Marinated Mushroom “Steaks”


Personally I always get a little annoyed when a restaurant calls a Portobella mushroom cap a “steak.” I can’t explain it. I just do.

I think it has something to do with the fact that I am constantly trying to think of ways to invite more people to try vegan foods and am frustrated when they encounter stereotypical vegan fare that will later become a punchline in an anecdote they tell their meat eating friends*. Recently I was working on some recipes for a magazine article and when the topic of Portobella mushrooms came up it was agreed that they’re the epitome’s of  ‘what people assume vegans eat – in a bad way.’

I can’t say this bad reputation  is undeserved. I mean how many of us will ever look at a roasted vegetable plate the same way after being served 15 soggy ones at 15 weddings in one summer**. The overkill has been killing grilled vegetables reputation for being delicious for years. And then there’s the lazy substitutions.  Portobella’s have been replacing burger patties for years and often aren’t marinated or seasoned worth a dame. I can’t tell you how many almost raw bland mushroom “burgers” I’ve had over the years and I love mushrooms. I love marinating them. I love sautéing them. Tossing them in a sauce or soup. Honestly the French Dip Sandwich we made with Portobellas is still one of my favorite weekday dinners.

So when I saw that the grocery delivery service*** we use had a special on “grilling Portobellas” – well I orded 4. As we move into BBQ season I thought it was time we added an old fashion marinated Portobella mushroom cap “steak” to the blog****. We’re taking back this stereotype and sharing with you all how we make this senior citizen of old school vegan dishes. Just like how you need to actually season and marinate real meat and mock meat… Portobellas are best when they get a little attention.

This savory recipe has a little bit of an Asian flare. It’s also easy and can be used on vegetables and/or mock meat that are going on the grill or in the pan or on a grill pan – which is what we did.

Sesame & Soy Marinated Mushroom Steaks

2 Portabella Mushroom Caps, cleaned and stems removed
1/3 Cup Soy Sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids
2 Tablespoons White Wine
2 teaspoons Ginger Paste
3 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
3 Tablespoons Raw Sesame Seeds
2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley
2 Green Onions, diced
1 clove Garlic, minced
Olive Oil Cooking Spray or just straight up Olive Oil if grilling
4 Lime Wedges

In your loyal little food processor, blend all the ingredients except the Mushrooms, Cooking Spray and Lime Wedges until smooth. Place your mushrooms stem up in a shallow dish and pour your Soy & Sesame Marinade over the top. Move them around a little to make sure they are completely covered in the marinade but keep them stem up and full of marinade.

Let your Mushrooms and Marinade hang out for 1 hour. I know the Mushrooms in this picture still have their stems but I didn’t catch that till after I took the photos.

Stove Top Instructions:

Coat your favorite cast iron skillet with a heavy coating of Olive Oil Cooking Spray. We used a cast iron grill pan. Heat your skillet over a medium heat. Once your oil is hot, place your Mushrooms – stem up – in carefully and let brown for 5 minutes. Then VERY CAREFULLY flip them and let them brown for another 3 minutes. Then flip them again and let them brown for another 2-3 minutes. If you’re using a grill pan, you’ll want to rotate your mushrooms 90 degrees before you place the top of your Mushroom back on the grill so you get nice criss cross marks. Use a fork to gently poke the center of the mushroom to see if it’s tender. Once it is – you’re good to go. Remove from heat and place on a dish. Don’t leave them in the pan – they’ll burn or get oily.

Grill Instructions:

Fire up your grill using the instructions that came with it. Brush your clean grill with Olive Oil. Don’t use Olive Oil Cooking Spray on your grill. I know I don’t have to say that… but I do.

Place your marinaded Mushrooms on your grill stem up and cover. Let cook for 5 minutes. Check on them often to make sure they aren’t burning but if you want those clean grill lines be careful not to rotate them. Carefully flip and let cook for another 3-5 minutes. Use a brush to coat the top of your Mushroom with the extra Marinade.

Remove from heat.

Serve hot with Lime Wedges on the side to add a little bit of bright flavor.

* Yes I’m having flashbacks of the time we went to a vegan wedding and they served as the entree a roasted onion with some gravy on top. It was seriously ridiculous and I’m a fucking vegan. People ate it and were polite but in the parking lot we over heard numerous conversations mocking both vegan food and announcing they were going out for a cheeseburger now. Sad.

** True Story.

*** Unless you live in a big city where the majority of people don’t own cars (NYC) this might seems weird or luxurious to you. But seriously services like this make it so Dan and I can still buy heavy or awkward items like cat litter, environmentally friendly toilet paper, soy milk and potatoes and not have to carry them for an hour on the subway. Our service even carries local produce, beer, wine and artisan products.

**** Yes – we do have a Smokey Portobella Mushroom Burger in our book (page 188). It’s more of an Italian take on the mushroom burger and what I wish you got wen you ordered the mushroom burger in restaurants.

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