Oh man, what a busy week it has been. Parents in town visiting me and my sister in NYC and unexpected dramas have kept me from cooking (and blogging). Not that I’m complaining. One of the best parts about mom and dad in town is the food; my mom’s cooking, trying new restaurants, and visiting old favorites too. But now it’s calming down and I can get back in the kitchen. Which brings me to last night’s dinner, a total winner if I do say so myself. These vegetarian-friendly patty melts have most of the elements of a traditional American diner patty melt; griddled rye bread encasing sweet caramelized onions, two kinds of melty cheese, and homemade “secret sauce”. The only difference is that I subbed roasted mushroom caps for the traditional hamburger patty. Such a simple swap and voila, I’m able to enjoy a classic American sandwich while sticking to my meat-free diet. Phenomenal.
I also managed to make these guys pretty healthy too. How you may ask? Firstly, my “special sauce” is a sweet and tangy blend of ketchup, dill pickle, grated onion, Greek yogurt and just a touch of mayo. And only about a tablespoon is needed for each sandwich (this sauce is insanely good, by the way and can be used in countless ways). Then the portobello is inherently much lighter than the beef patty as portobellos are virtually fat-free and super low in calories. Finally, I used organic olive oil spray when griddling the assembled sandwiches instead of slathering them with butter. All the key flavors and indulgence is there, just without the guilt. But the true test is if Meat-And-Potatoes-Matt liked them. The answer is yes, he loved them. So there you go, a healthy and vegetarian friendly patty melt that’s comforting, light, and delicious.
Portobello Patty Melts Serves: 4 Start to Finish: 45 min Ingredients For Caramelized Onions & Roasted Portobellos 1/2 TBS Butter 1/2 TBS Olive Oil 2 Yellow Onions (mine totaled 1.8 lbs) Salt 4 Portobello Mushroom Caps Garlic Powder Black Pepper For Special Sauce 1/4 cup Organic Ketchup 2 TBS low fat Plain Greek Yogurt 1 TBS Mayo 2 TBS finely chopped Dill Pickle 2 TBS grated Onion For Sandwich Assembly 8 slices organic Rye Bread (I used Rudi's) 4 slices Swiss Cheese 4 slices quality American Cheese (or cheddar) 100% Olive Oil or Canola Oil Spray (non-aerosol can)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees for mushrooms.
Cut both onions in half, length wise. Peel off top layer. Slice each half onion into 1/4-1/2 inch half moon slices. Save a little bit of onion to grate for sauce. Melt butter over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add 1/2 TBS olive oil to butter. Add onions, separating the rings. Toss to coat. Cook for 10 minutes, tossing occasionally. Add 1/2 tsp salt and reduce heat to low/medium-low. Cook for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a couple tablespoons of water as the onions are getting to dry to prevent burning.
While onions cook, prep mushroom caps for roasting. Using 1 tsp oil total for all 4 caps, oil the smooth side of the caps. Place oil side down on a sheet pan. Sprinkle each cap with a pinch of salt, a pinch of garlic powder, and pepper to taste. Place in preheated oven, roast for 25-30 minutes.
While onions and mushroom cook, make the special sauce. Mix ketchup, yogurt, mayo, pickles, and grated onion.
When onions and mushrooms are done, assemble the sandwiches. For each sandwich divide ingredients and assemble each of the four sandwiches; bread slice, cheese slice, mushroom cap, onions, cheese slice, bread slice. I cut the mushroom in half and broke apart the cheese a bit, just so they more evenly cover the surface of the bread.
Spray a large skillet with oil spray. Heat over low/medium-low, adding the four sandwiches to the pan when pan is hot. Cover pan with lid. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until crispy and golden. Flip and cover. Cook another 3-4 minutes. Serve hot and melty.
*use butter or olive oil directly on bread slices when griddling the sandwiches if desired. Cooking method is the same.