Grilled Portobello mushrooms with vegan gravy and sweet potato puree

Meaty mushrooms and great sauce a satisfying meal!

My meat-loving husband declared that this meatless dish exceeded the flavour and texture of many of the steaks he has eaten. I’m sure the vegan mushroom gravy played a key role; it’s a super delicious and versatile sauce (adapted from an excellent New York Times recipe). I freeze the leftover gravy in small containers and we enjoy it on baked potatoes, over French fries and even on steamed vegetables. Feel free to prepare the sweet potato puree with non-dairy add-ins for a fully vegan meal. If you make the gravy and sweet potato puree ahead of time, it will take very little effort to get this meal on the table.

For the sweet potato puree:

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) butter, cut in pieces
  • 1/3 cup (90 mL) buttermilk *
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

*to make buttermilk, warm regular milk for a few seconds in the microwave, then add 1 teaspoon (5 mL) vinegar. Stir and let sit for 2 – 3 minutes.

For the gravy:

  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) finely chopped cremini or Portobello mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) all-purpose flour (or gluten-free all-purpose flour blend)
  • 2 cups (500 mL) good-quality vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) soy sauce, or more to taste (or tamari or coconut aminos)
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) each kosher salt and ground pepper, or more to taste

For the Portobellos:

  • 2 large Portobellos
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Minced chives, to garnish


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Wash the sweet potato and prick it in a few places with the tip of a sharp knife. Place it on a baking tray and roast it in the oven for 45 – 60 minutes, until tender when checked with the tip of a knife. Remove from oven and let sit until just cool enough to handle (but still warm).
  • While potato is roasting, make gravy by heating oil in a medium-sized pan placed over medium-high heat. Add onion and mushrooms; cook, stirring often, until softened and well-browned, about 6 – 8 minutes. This step is important to give the gravy a rich flavour.
  • Sprinkle the flour over the onions and mushrooms and cook, stirring almost constantly, until flour has browned, about 3 – 4 minutes. Slowly whisk in vegetable stock, about 1/4 cup (60 mL) at a time, until a smooth sauce forms. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 3 minutes until thickened.
  • Puree until smooth in a blender (or use an immersion blender). If any lumps remain and you want an even consistency, pass the sauce through a sieve.
  • Reheat after blending/sieving and add soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Sauce can be made up to 48 hours in advance and refrigerated, then reheated just before serving.
  • Cut open the cooked potato and scoop the flesh into a large bowl. Add the butter pieces and stir, then add buttermilk. With an electric mixer, whip the potato until no lumps remain and it has transformed into a smooth puree. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Potato puree can be prepared up to 48 hours ahead; cover, refrigerate and reheat gently before serving.
  • With the tip of a sharp knife, cut out the stems of the Portobellos. Drizzle the domed side of each cap with about 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of olive oil, spreading with a brush or your fingers to coat evenly. Flip the Portobellos over and evenly drizzle the interior with another teaspoon each of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Let sit for 15 minutes before grilling.
  • Preheat grill to medium heat (approximately 350F). Grill Portobellos, upside down, for about 10 minutes, until softened. Alternatively, they can be placed on a baking sheet and roasted in the oven.
  • Spread hot sweet potato puree on a serving platter. Slice grilled or roasted Portobellos and fan out over the sweet potato. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of the gravy and garnish with minced chives then serve hot.

Serves 2; recipe can easily be multiplied.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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