Chef Alex’s Cajun Portobello Mushrooms

by Chef Alex Guarnaschelli

I love the fact that a Portobello is fearless and can absorb and meld with the heat from a Cajun rub. It makes them resemble meat even more than they already do. Traditionally, Cajun fish is dipped in butter and then spices so that they adhere to the fish. In this case, we will just use a thin layer of olive oil to do the same. 

Serves 6-8

Spice mix:

  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dry ginger
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoons Cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoons oregano
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 large Portobello mushrooms, stemmed, wiped of any dirt
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons Canola oil


  • 1 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon smooth (Dijon) mustard
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  1. Preheat over to 350F.
  2. Make the spice mix:  In a medium bowl, combine and blend the paprika, ginger, garlic powder, Cayenne, black pepper and oregano. Spread the spices on a small making sheet. 
  3. Cook the mushrooms: In a medium bowl, toss the mushrooms with the olive oil. Season with salt.  Lightly dip both sides of each mushroom in the spice mix. Heat a large skillet (or cast iron pan) and add the Canola oil. When the oil begins to smoke lightly, remove from the heat and add the mushrooms, stem side up, in a single layer in the hot oil. Cook for 3-4 minutes over medium heat, you should see liquid starting to emerge from the stem area. Turn on their second side and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Transfer them to a tray and place in the center of the oven. Cook for an additional 12-15 minutes until they are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. 
  4. Make a quickie vinaigrette:  In a medium bowl, whisk together the Sherry vinegar, mustard and the olive oil. 
  5. To finish: Arrange the mushrooms on a serving platter and drizzle with the vinaigrette.

1984 Portobello Sandwich

I remember distinctly that making a sandwich using Portobello mushrooms as a stand in for the bread was all the rage. There were batter-dipped and deep fried sandwiches. Gilled and tied together with a few long chives holding them together. Wow. What an era. And I can say I survived it and seem to have come full circle with this recipe that does just that and tastes good to boot! Earthy Portobellos, tangy cheese, juicy tomatoes. It all comes together.

Makes 2 sandwiches

  • 4 large Portobello mushrooms, stemmed
  • 4 tablespoons Canola oil
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 6 ounces goat cheese
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • The juice from ½ lemon
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Cook the mushrooms: Arrange the Portobellos in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle with half of the Canola oil and season with salt and the red pepper flakes. Place the tray in the oven and bake the mushrooms until they release liquid from their centers and shrink slightly and become tender, 22-25 minutes.
  3. Assemble the sandwiches:  Spread half of the goat cheese on two of the Portobellos. Dot the cheese with the tomato halves and season with salt and a small squeeze of lemon juice. Using the cheese as glue, stick the Portobello top on each sandwich and cut them sandwiches in half. Serve immediately.