Portobello Patty Melts

Other, Vegetarian


Adapted from cooking.nytimes.com

Here I continue to try to make up for my absence with the second portobello recipe (find the other one here as well as the pumpkin one here). In The New York Times magazine an article came out a few Sundays ago about the history of the patty melt. Of course, mostly everyone associates the patty melt with a thick, juicy beef burger. Nonetheless, the magazine also offered a vegetarian version that used portobello mushrooms as the “patty.” A lovely surprise on their part and a truly delicious dinner.

Yields 4 servings


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 8 slices rye bread
  • 8 ounces Gruyère cheese (8 slices)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons red wine or balsamic vinegar
  • 4-8 clean portobello caps


  1. Preheat oven to 400F (204C).
  2. To caramelize the onions, melt the butter in a large skillet over high heat.When it foams, add the onions. Do not stir immediately. Wait for one minute and then stir frequently over high heat for about 5 minutes until the onions start to release liquid and begin to look translucent.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the onions are fully melted and dark golden brown. Set the onions aside.
  4. In a baking dish, mix together the olive oil, soy sauce and vinegar. Add the portobello caps and cover the dish with aluminium foil. Roast in the preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes, turning once.
  5. Grease an electric griddle and set it at medium heat. Place 4 slices of rye bread on the griddle. Top each piece with a slice of cheese, 1-2 portobello caps, some caramelized onions  and finally another slice of cheese and a slice of bread. Press down on the packages with a spatula. After a couple of minutes, carefully turn over each sandwich to brown the other side. Cook until the cheese is fully melted and the bread is golden brown and crisp on both sides.


Comments: A truly satisfying and filling vegetarian meal with three fabulous ingredients: portobello mushrooms, Gruyère cheese and rye bread. The original recipe only says to use seeded rye bread. I went a step further and chose the original German rye bread that has a good bold flavor that suits the portobellos and the Gruyère. If using the German rye bread, cut each slice in half. You can caramelize the onions up to a day before and reheat slowly when you’re ready to cook. This is not a complex recipe though it does intimidate a little due to the extensive cooking time. I recommend preparing and roasting the mushrooms while you caramelize the onions. Though it does take some time to prepare, there isn’t a whole lot of hands-on time. The trickiest part to this recipe is flipping the sandwiches over and keeping them in shape. As the cheese melts, the bread tends to start to slide off; have patience and keep the sandwiches in shape with your spatula if this happens. These sandwiches are surprisingly satisfying, even for meat-eaters. The soy sauce in the portobello marinade gives them a delicious umami taste. Dig in!


2 thoughts on “Portobello Patty Melts

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