Portobello Mushroom Burgers

By Rip Esselstyn

Portobello mushroom burgers are healthy, hearty, juicy, and meaty flavored--well-suited for roasting or grilling. The black gills on the mushroom’s underside hold in the flavor of a marinade or barbecue sauce superbly.

Makes 4 burgers

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.


4 portobello mushrooms, rinsed
Low-sodium tamari
Vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
Cracked pepper, to taste
Splash of beer (optional, and not advised at the firehouse!)
1 large red onion, sliced into thin rounds
4 whole-grain buns


1. Snap stems off mushrooms. 
2. Place mushrooms face-up on baking sheet. Splash a few drops of tamari and Worcestershire (beer splash optional) into each cap. 
3. Season with pepper.
4. Place stems into caps.
5. Cook in casserole dish for 10 to 15 minutes until mushrooms are soft and filled with liquid. Enjoy the stems as starters!
6. Cook onion rounds on high heat in sprayed skillet for 5 minutes, stirring often, until wilted and brown.
7. Spread the buns with Dijon mustard or hummus.
8. Place mushroom on toasted bun with cooked onion, tomato, lettuce or spinach, and your favorite fixings. Serve with healthy fries.


Shake some barbecue sauce into the mushrooms instead of the tamari.


Rip Esselstyn is a mission-driven man. As a swimmer at the University of Texas at Austin, he was a three time All-American. As a professional athlete, he was one of the premier triathletes in the world for more than a decade. As a firefighter for the Austin (TX) Fire Department, he helped people and saved lives. As a friend to other firefighters, he transformed the way Austin’s Engine 2 ate to save firefighters’ health. Now, as the author of The Engine 2 Diet, he is teaching people the irrefutable connection between what they put in their mouths and their ability to reach their ideal weight and their ideal health. Recently, he has teamed up with Whole Foods Market as a Healthy Eating Partner to raise awareness for Whole Foods Market team members, customers, and all of America about the benefits of eating a PlantStrongÔ diet composed of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

Rip comes from a family steeped in medicine. His great-grandfather, George Crile, co-founded the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic, where his father, Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., was chief of the breast cancer task force and completed one of the most extensive studies ever conducted on the relationship between the heart and diet--proving that a plant-based diet can stop, prevent, and even reverse heart disease.  

Rip serves on the Board of Directors for The Wellness Foundation, EarthSave’s Meals For Health Program, and the AllergyKids Foundation.

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