grilled portobello summer salad

With summer creeping in (along with a little bit more spring rain than the barbeque can handle), I’m aching to grill everything I can.

As a vegetarian, though – except for fish – there’s not a whole lot of protein-rich food to throw over the flames except for veggie burgers and dogs (which, to be honest, taste better in a pan with a little oil).

I am a huge fan of grilled veggies, though, and mildly obsessed with Portobello mushrooms. In a fit of excitement over some warm barbeque-inducing weather and the fact that there is more lettuce than I could ever eat covering the backyard garden, I thought a warm-and-cold salad would be more than appropriate.

The combination of delicate freshly picked romaine lettuce, a creamy avocado, grilled mushrooms and a sprinkling of crunchy veggies makes for the perfect summer meal. Adding sunflower seeds, pine nuts and some chopped egg could make it into a complete meal, but I opted to eat mine alongside a little fried rice with egg and some vegan “smoked meat.”

Without worrying too much about amounts (a handful of this and that), here’s what you’ll need to make a fresh, yet earthy, salad that looks and tastes beautiful.

  • 1 portobello mushroom (per salad)
  • 2 Tbsp cheap olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • A handful of your favourite lettuce
  • Several slices of cucumber
  • ¼ avocado, sliced
  • ¼ pepper, diced
  • A few basil leaves, chopped
  • A drizzle of nice olive oil
  1.  Mix the cheap olive oil, thyme, oregano and salt and pepper in a small bowl and brush on the tops of each mushroom cap.
  2. Grill over a medium flame, cap side down, for 5-10 minutes, until fully cooked, and remove from barbeque.
  3. The art is all in the presentation. Slice the portobellos lengthwise and arrange your veggies however you like (use the picture as a guide if you like).
  4. Sprinkle with basil and drizzle with a nice olive oil. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top.

This recipe is just a guide. If you are lucky (and ambitious) enough to have a vegetable garden, they will only enhance the fresh flavours of the salad, so add ’em in! The idea is to use fresh summer flavours with the grilled rich mushroom taste for a great hot weather meal.

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