Grilled Harissa Portobello Burger

I dragged my husband out of the house first thing on Saturday morning, without his coffee. This is not an easy feat and was only accomplished after promising to stop at our local coffee house for a professionally made latte. The only thing better than a store bought latte is a free one. He was generous enough to treat me that morning.

From there I headed to the gym for my step class. I looove my step class. The weather was gorgeous upon leaving the gym, a bright, mild autumn day that just screamed barbequing. Given it’s November, these kinds of days are limited, so I headed to the grocery store. Didn’t quite know what I wanted, but knew it would be grilled and it would end up in a sandwich.

The portobello mushrooms looked absolutely gorgeous, so burgers it would be. I whipped together a quick marinade and decided to zing it up with Harissa. If you haven’t tried it and you like things on the spicy side, it’s worth a try. There are lots of varieties out there, so plenty from which to choose. The combination of Harissa and balsamic vinegar is sensational! – the coming together of the sweet, sour, and spicy just blew me away! Overall, the Harissa provided just a little bit of a kick and it was beautifully offset by the sweet roasted red pepper and creamy, salty havarti.

Dizzying hits of flavour explosion? Not at all! More like a symphony in my mouth. I could have easily and seriously eaten another! I took my first bite and the juices from the mushroom just flowed. I don’t remember the last time I experienced this; very few vegetables produce this kind of effect. This sandwich has changed my mind about portobelli.

Mushrooms and grains are a complete vegetable protein, plus the cheese, make this a substantial sandwich. This is a quick and easy weeknight meal.

Serves 2


Mushrooms, Portobello 2
Harissa paste 1 tbsp
Olive oil 1 tbsp
Balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp
Black pepper
Mayonnaise 2 tsp
Harissa paste 1 tsp
Buns, multigrain 2
Spinach, leaves, large 4
Red pepper, roasted 1
Havarti cheese, slices 2
Black pepper
Onion, red, thinly sliced


  1. To make the marinade, combine the harissa, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Brush marinade on both sides of the mushrooms. Pour any remaining marinade over the mushrooms and marinade for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Season mushrooms with salt and black pepper.
  3. Grill mushrooms for 10 minutes, 5 minutes on each side.
  4. In the last two minutes, add one slice of Havarti to each mushroom and allow the cheese to melt.
  5. Combine mayonnaise and harissa.
  6. To assemble, spread harissa mayonnaise on the bottom half of the bun. Follow with 2 leaves of spinach, half of the roasted red pepper, Portobello mushroom with melted Havarti, freshly ground black pepper, and thinly sliced red onions.
  7. Serve with a side of steamed green beans tossed in a little bit of olive oil, salt, black pepper and a touch of rice wine vinegar.

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