I do love a good veggie burger now and then, but I have few major issues with them — they lack “meatiness” or texture, they fall apart on the grill, and they squish out of the bun. I had a genius idea to solve both of those issues. Behold the Porto-Umami Burger!
No more sad marinated portobellos on the bun that every vegetarian has had to endure. I used the cap as vessel to hold an umami-rich stuffing of onions, mushrooms, black beans, lentils, and green chilies. This solves two of my issues – “meatiness” in both umami flavor and the texture/chew of the burger, plus the portobello cap keeps the burger from falling out of the back of the bun.
By using cedar planks to grill on, the burgers have a platform on which to grill eliminating the need to flip them. As the wood plank smolders over the fire, it imparts a woody, smoky flavor to the burger. The smoked Gouda bumps it up that extra notch, but the burger works for your vegan friends without it.
Tips for grilling fish on wood planks: Prepare the plank by soaking it in water for at least one hour to prevent it from burning on the grill. If a plank is being used for the first time, season it by placing it on a preheated grill for 2 minutes, turning once. Lightly toasting the plank on both sides will intensify its smoky flavor and prevent warping. Lightly brush the side of the plank that the fish will sit on with a little oil to help prevent sticking. Place marinated the marinated fish directly on the plank and keep the grill’s lid closed as much as possible to maintain temperatures and maximize smoking. Keep a spray bottle filled with water handy so flames can be extinguished if the plank starts to burn.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup finely chopped red onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup cooked lentils
- 1 can less-sodium black bean, drained and rinsed
- 3 Tablespoon canned diced green chilies
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ⅓ cup cornmeal
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 4 burger-sized portabello mushrooms, stems and gills removed
- Vegetable oil for grilling
- 4 Slices smoked Gouda
- Burger buns
- Lettuce, sliced tomato, red onion
- 1 or 2 wood grilling planks soaked in water for at least 1 hour; over ½-inch thick, soak 2 hours
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until onion has softened – about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds more. Add lentils, black beans, green chilies, chili powder, curry powder and cumin; saute for 5 minutes until well combined and heated though. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and let cool enough that you can put your hands in it. Add the remaining ingredients and smoosh though your fingers and hands until well combined. Press the mixture into the four mushroom caps and make level.
- Toast the wood planks for about 1 minute on each side, this will help ease any warping.
- Place the porto-burgers on the planks and close the grill cover. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes. Stay near and check from time-to-time to be sure the plank has not ignited. Keep a squirt bottle of water on-hand just in case. Add a slice of Gouda and cover grill during last 2 minutes.
Cheers and Happy Grilling!