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A Dietitian's Favorite Dish: Portabella Mushroom Burger

Fitday Editor

I love to cook out in the summer, but since I am a vegetarian I can't enjoy a burger or a hot dog like most people. I also try to avoid processed food, so I usually don't eat the vegetarian versions of burgers or hot dogs. One of my favorite things to eat is a portabella mushroom burger. It is so easy to make; it tastes great; it is very healthy; and it is low calorie.

Portabella Mushroom Burger


  • Portabella mushroom caps (1 for each person)
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Garlic
  • Basil
  • Whole wheat hamburger buns (1 for each person)
  • Slice of cheese (I usually use fresh mozzarella)
  • Slice of tomato (optional)

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  • In a container that can hold all of the mushroom caps, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic and basil. For the olive oil and balsamic vinegar, you can choose how much you want to use, but it should cover the bottom of the container. You can also add as much garlic and basil as you want. I usually use 1-2 garlic cloves.
  • Place the mushroom caps in the container, cover the container and shake. Place in the refrigerator for a few hours. (You can do this right before you grill out, but it tastes much better if it has time to marinate for a few hours.)
  • Grill so the mushroom is cooked through.
  • Place on the bun and add toppings to your liking. I usually use cheese and tomato.
This is something that you can even enjoy when you aren't grilling out. I often will use my George Foreman grill to make it during the winter. Or you can even cook it in a frying pan. It's also a dish that you can enjoy even if you aren't a vegetarian.

In addition to this tasting great, the sandwich offers many nutritional benefits. Many people don't know how good mushrooms are for them. One medium portabella mushroom contains as much or more potassium than a medium sized banana. Potassium is crucial for heart function and may even help lower blood pressure. Mushrooms also contain high amounts of disease fighting phytochemicals, and have been linked to fighting breast and prostate cancer.

They also are high in Vitamin D and many B Vitamins. Olive oil is a healthy fat, monounsaturated, which has many benefits including protecting against heart disease, decreasing your LDL, bad cholesterol, and increasing your HDL, good cholesterol. Garlic also is great for your heart, lowers LDL cholesterol, increases HDL cholesterol, and can decrease blood pressure. It also contains Vitamin C, B6, Magnesium, Selenium and Potassium. Using whole wheat hamburger buns increases the fiber content of the meal. Higher fiber diets can lower your total and LDL cholesterol, promote healthy digestion, make you feel full faster so you don't eat as much and regulate your blood sugar levels. Finally, adding fresh mozzarella will add protein to the meal. So, as you can see, this is a low calorie, high fiber, low fat, heart healthy meal.

Kelly Forness is a Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR) and a member or the American Dietetic Association. She recently obtained her Certificate of Training in Childhood and Adolescent Weight Management. She has experience working in long term care facilities and is currently working at a daycare. Kelly has always been interested in nutrition and fitness her whole life. Kelly is a vegetarian, and tries to eat mostly whole foods. In her free time, she likes spending time with her friends and family, working out, and playing with her 2 cats Chloe and Daisy and dog Charlotte. Kelly can be reached via email at

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