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Meatless Monday No. 12 – Portobello Mushroom Burgers & Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

Well, I did it… as promised, I restarted my Meatless Monday experiment and cooked dinner for Peter and I tonight. So no need to give me that virtual accountability poke! For the first meal back after my little break I decided to make Portobello Mushroom Burgers and Crispy Sweet Potato Fries, along with a side of Sriracha Mayo Dip for the fries.

Sounds good, right?

It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great.

Meatless Monday

I mixed up the marinade (which smelled delicious), then washed the mushrooms and, as instructed, removed the gills. I’m pretty sure I did it wrong, as it was awfully hard to keep the mushrooms from falling apart in the process. Note to self: Google “removing mushroom gills” for future reference.

Meatless Monday

Anyway, I poked holes in the more-or-less intact mushrooms, doused and flipped them in the marinade, and left them in the fridge in a covered container for a few hours.

Meatless Monday

Then, on to the sweet potatoes.

Meatless Monday

I sliced them into fairly thin fry-shaped strips and left them soaking for a couple of hours, then drained and tossed them with the olive oil and spices before spreading them out on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Meatless Monday

Meatless Monday

While the sweet potatoes were baking I fried the mushrooms and whipped up the Sriracha dip. The mushrooms were a bit of a disappointment, as they shrunk down to almost nothing. Seriously, they nearly disappeared! They weren’t at all what I’d pictured when I started out, and I’m not sure if it was something I did or if my expectations for the end result were incorrect.

When I started frying the mushrooms I debated whether to add the extra marinade to the pan, and decided to go for it. In the end, I’m not sure I should have done that, as the marinade ended up caramelizing a bit too much and left the mushrooms with a slightly burnt taste.

Not too pleasant.

In the end, the meal all came together – and it was, as I said, not bad but not great. I served the burgers on cheesy buns which, when combined with the sweet potato fries and Sriracha dip, left us with a very, very orange meal! Clearly I didn’t think that one through too well.

Meatless Monday

The verdict?

I wasn’t thrilled with the portobello mushroom burgers, in part because of my missteps in preparation, but also because they just didn’t appeal to me. I do like mushrooms, but now realize that I’m much happier when they are presented as a side dish rather than taking the starring role at dinnertime.

The sweet potato fries were yummy and filling, and accented nicely by the creamy, spicy dip. My only complaint was that the fries were not as crispy as I would have liked – I think I needed to do a better job of patting them dry before tossing them in the oil and spice mixture. Also, impatience played a part – the burgers were ready and I rushed the fries instead of giving them time under the broiler at the end. I’m sure that would have helped.

Still, in spite of a less-than-stellar start, I did it – my Meatless Monday experiment is back!

Maybe next week the results will be great.

Are you participating in Meatless Monday?
What did you make for dinner tonight?
Please share!

NaBloPoMo February 2014

Laurel Storey, CZT – Certified Zentangle Teacher. Writer, reader, tangler, iPhoneographer, cat herder, learner of French and Italian, crocheter, needle felter, on-and-off politics junkie, 80s music trivia freak, ongoing work in progress.

{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Rajlakshmi February 24, 2014

    Yummylicious :). I might try it someday
    Rajlakshmi recently posted… 55 Fiction – AwaitMy Profile

  • Diane February 24, 2014

    So, remove the mushroom gills with a teaspoon, very gently. Then cook them under the broiler, turning, maybe 5 min. per side. Not sure how that would work out with the fries but since you’re having the ‘shrooms on buns, you don’t really need the starch. Maybe a green veg or a salad would work better. Still sounds yummy, though.

  • Psych Babbler
    February 24, 2014

    I am a big fan of sweet potato fries! So delicious! Not sure how I’d go with mushroom burgers because I like them as part of a meal and not the main thing necessarily. The food still looks yummy! 🙂
    Psych Babbler recently posted… 9 years laterMy Profile

  • Jennifer Steck
    February 24, 2014

    Thank you for sharing all of the steps and how you really felt about the end result. I’ve never tried portobello mushrooms before, but I’ve heard they are really good. I’m definitely going to give them a try.
    Jennifer Steck recently posted… What if Apolo Anton Ohno Skated for Russia?My Profile

  • Kathy February 24, 2014

    I have never tried portabella mushroom burgers but now I will have to try them. I really like sweet potato fries so I will have to try your recipes. Thanks for sharing . I liked the fact you let us know your verdict on the recipes
    Kathy recently posted… Pizza LasagnaMy Profile

  • Life Breath Present February 24, 2014

    That looks soooo good, Laurel!
    Life Breath Present recently posted… When Lives Are LinkedMy Profile

  • Gwen Fletcher February 24, 2014

    I’ve only ever grilled portabello mushrooms and they did shrink a bit but not as much as yours did by the sounds of it. I’ve always been disappointed with sweet potato fries as I can’t get them as crisp as when I have them in a restaurant and the only reason I can come up with is I don’t deep fry them (which is quite depressing as I don’t want to deep fry anything!) But I’ll try broiling them for a bit at the end to see if that works. Thanks for the idea. Your dinner still looked yummy and thanks for being so honest with the outcome.

    • Laurel Regan
      February 25, 2014

      Interesting – the recipe did say to grill them (though it also said frying them was ok). I’ll bet grilling would give a much better result… but I’m still not convinced I’m a portobello mushroom burger kind of person! You might want to check out the link for the Sriracha mayo – the blogger who wrote it also outlines her strategy for getting sweet potato fries crispy. I want to try that way next time!
      Laurel Regan recently posted… Today’s Gratitude List – Linkup No. 18My Profile

  • ElaineLK February 24, 2014

    Too bad you weren’t so happy with them after all that work–but at least the fries were good! My husband and I are not mushroom fans, so I would never have thought of this, but you were adventurous to try something different, and you learned something from it–that’s invaluable. We had the leftovers from last night’s veggie chili–delicious!

  • Roy A Ackerman PhD EA
    February 25, 2014

    I gave up on the Portabello ‘shroom burgers years ago. (Instead, I mix up shrooms, carrots, and zucchini with feta and pepper jack and make my own patty.)
    And, I found that putting the sweet potatoes in a large plastic bag (like the ones I take from the grocers to bag my apples or pears) with a dollop of olive oil and shaking for a minute. [Then, I add another dollop and a tablespoon of sea or kosher salt and shake again.] I bake them at 375 for 10 minutes (mine are thick) and flip them over for another 10 and they are SPLENDID!
    Roy A Ackerman PhD EA recently posted… Crocodile Tear Time?My Profile

    • Laurel Regan
      February 25, 2014

      Oh, that’s a good idea – I should go on the hunt for a really good veggie burger! I definitely don’t have a problem with including mushrooms along with other things… just not a fan of them on their own as a burger. And your method for sweet potato fries sounds great! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
      Laurel Regan recently posted… Today’s Gratitude List – Linkup No. 18My Profile

  • Diane
    February 25, 2014

    Actually, it still sounds yummy! I’m definitely going to try those fries. and that dip. We love our sweet potato fries . . .
    Diane recently posted… My Hiding PlaceMy Profile


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