6 Dishes That Sub Mushrooms For Meat

Vegan and vegetarian lifestyles have hit the mainstream. As of 2018, roughly 8% of all Americans adopt a meatless diet along with 12% of the Millennial generation. This push away from meat means that chefs are looking for ways to give their favorite dishes a vegetarian spin, and we think that mushrooms are one of the best tools you can have in your arsenal. Mushrooms are the one of the best natural sources of the umami flavor, meaning that they can bring a rich savoriness to all sorts of dishes! Cater to the growing vegetarian crowd without forgoing your favorites with these mushroom forward dishes.

Portobello “Steaks”

Portobello mushrooms have a particularly large size and meaty texture that makes them more akin to meat than other types of produce. Oftentimes you’ll come across portobellos that push 6 inches in diameter, making full mushrooms a solid choice for a main course. We like soaking our portobellos in a savory marinade and then grilling them whole to create portobello “steaks.” With the right plating, this technique can look really dignified, so consider including a thick sauce, bed of rice, or a side of sautéed vegetables when sending it into the dining room! 

Portobello Veggie Burgers

Most mushrooms easily fit into a veggie patty, but we’re partial to portobellos for two reasons. First off, their inherently large size means that you can get a lot of use out of a single portobello; you can add portions to the patty itself and even sauté smaller bits to use as toppings. Secondly, you can season an entire mushroom and have it become a full substitute for the patty if you’re so inclined. If you plan on going full vegan with theses burgers, make sure to add vegan cheese too!

Portobello “Hot Dogs”

An American classic that’s classically non-vegan; hot dogs can be a hard thing for newly minted vegans and vegetarians to give up. Luckily for hot dog fans, portobello mushrooms can be used to make portobello “hot dogs” that are much tastier than your standard veggie dog. Best of all, portobellos hold up really well in the cooking process, meaning that you can get those ever-important grill marks without having to worry about them falling apart. 

Mushroom Tacos

More akin to steak tacos than veggie tacos, this dish is a comforting mix of familiar flavors and solid nutrition. While there are a lot of ways you can season your mushrooms, we’d recommend going with a cerveza marinade to bring a bit of a bite into the mushrooms themselves. Deck out the rest of the taco with rice and beans, house made pico de gallo, and fresh cilantro for a relaxed treat.

Mushroom Banh Mi

Banh Mis are one of our favorite food trends of recent memory, so it should come as no surprise that we’re big fans of vegetarian forward banh mis. Essentially a product of French colonialism in Vietnam, this sandwich combines a fresh baguette with a mixture of pickled vegetables, sauces, and a filling protein. While most banh mis tend to lean on the meat, we’ve found that grilled portobello strips can easily fill that void. It’s important to season the mushrooms properly to get that banh mi flavor profile though; so be sure to generously season with ginger, chili flakes, and soy sauce. 

Veggie Nachos

Nachos are the ultimate party food and we want to make sure vegans and vegetarians have a spot on the guest list. Naturally, the simplest solution would be to swap out regular cheese for vegan cheese, but we here at Colorful Plates like to up the ante. Bake any thick, meaty mushrooms alongside the nachos and top with salsa, guacamole, and grilled nopales for a vegan spin on loaded nachos!