Grilled Portabella Sandwich with Avocado, Fresh Basil and a Chipotle BBQ Sauce

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First thing’s first. There has been somewhat of an exciting development here in the Vegan Eats camp: I’ve decided to offer my cooking services (for a reasonable fee) to those seeking meatless catering for small-scale events. For more information, click here to check out the page I set up for this new little venture of mine.

I really do love a good sandwich. I was having a conversation about it with my friend Billy, a fellow sandwich aficionado, and we were trying to narrow down the essential complimenting ingredients in each of our ‘perfect sandwiches’. For me, it came down to five components: 1. at least two good spreads/sauces, 2. something pickled, 3. avocado, and 4. alfalfa sprouts. Avocado is good enough to hold it’s own as the main ingredient of a sandwich, but I like the richness of it so much that I usually throw at least a little bit of it in every sammie I make. The star of this sandwich is the rich and meaty portabella mushroom, sautéd in olive oil with a bit of thyme and balsamic vinegar.

The BBQ sauce here turned out really deliciously. My best one yet, for sure. Depending on where you live, dried chipotle peppers might be a little hard to find. I got mine from Perola Supermarket in Kensington market, my favourite local Latin grocer. Any Latin grocer should carry them, but if you can’t find any dried chipotles in your area, just go with the canned ones. This recipe makes quite a lot of sauce and since it’ll keep for about a week or so, you might want to freeze some of it if you’re not going to use it all in that time.

1 or 2 dried chipotle peppers
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, with juices
3 tablespoons tamari (or other good quality soy sauce)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons molasses
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
Sea salt, to taste
2 tablespoons corn starch + 2 tablespoons cold water

1. Put the dried chipotle pepper in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and let them hydrate for a few minutes. Drain the water and diced the pepper. Set aside for later.
2. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté, stirring frequently, for about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the diced chipotle pepper and sauté for another few minutes.
3. Add the tomatoes, tamari, Dijon mustard, molasses, cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, sugar, and a big pinch of salt. Stir and mix together well so that the sugar dissolves. Turn heat up to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn heat down to medium-low and let simmer for about 50 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Remove from heat and let cool for about 15 minutes. If needed, season to taste with more salt. Using a ladle, transfer the sauce in small batches to an upright blender and purée until smooth. Be careful not to overfill the blender and don’t burn yourself! Alternatively, you could use an immersion blender, but you won’t get the same liquefied purée consistency.
5. Transfer the sauce back to the sauce pan and turn onto medium-high heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the corn starch and water well enough that there’s not lumps of starch. Stream the starch and water mixture into the sauce and whisk well so that it dissolves immediately. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. When it cools down it should be nice and thick like a commercial BBQ sauce. Store in the refrigerator.

Stuff you’ll need for one sandwich:
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 portabella mushroom cap, sliced
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 slices of good bread
Chipotle BBQ sauce from above, to taste (I like to use a lot)
Dijon mustard, to taste
Prepared horseradish, to taste
1/2 an avocado, diced small
Fresh basil, small handful
Tomato, a couple thin slices
Red onion, thinly sliced
Alfalfa sprouts, small handful

1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the mushroom, dried thyme, balsamic vinegar, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring frequently, for about 8 minutes. Turn off heat.
2. Start to assemble the sandwich by spreading the chipotle BBQ sauce on one piece of bread and the Dijon mustard with the prepared horseradish on the other slice (if that isn’t obvious enough). From top to bottom, I put the sandwich together as follows: Dijon, horseradish, diced avocado, fresh basil, tomato slices, red onion, cooked portobello slices, alfalfa sprouts, chipotle BBQ sauce. Play around with it and add or subtract ingredients as you see fit!
3. Butter it up with some Earth Balance vegan spread, or if you don’t have that on hand and/or can’t be bothered to go buy some, just brush both sides of the sammie with some olive oil and grill on a sandwich press. If you haven’t got a sandwich/panini press, you could either just toast the slices before putting together the sandwich or sauté the sandwich in a tiny bit of olive oil for a couple minutes on each side.


5 Responses to “Grilled Portabella Sandwich with Avocado, Fresh Basil and a Chipotle BBQ Sauce”

  1. 1 The Sweetest Vegan October 8, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Your sandwich looks amazing. How hot do the chipotle peppers make it? Great idea about the catering!

  2. 2 Ross Corder October 8, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Thanks! As for the chipotles, it depends how much you put it. I used one of the dried ones pictured above and it wasn’t spicy at all, I could hardly even taste the smokiness. If I were to do it again, I would have definitely put two in there.

  3. 3 mihl October 8, 2010 at 10:44 am

    That sounds like a really great sandwich! I love your pictures. One of them looks like the sandwich is a canvas painting hanging on the wall.

  4. 4 kum October 10, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    This is a beautiful blog!

    Thank you so much for sharing so many great vegan recipes.

    Global vegan fare

  5. 5 Erina December 6, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    Ooooh, avocado would be a great addition.

    Yours is certainly a more ambitious recipe than my latest version.

    Grilled Portabella Sandwiches with Roasted Red Pepper and Onion Medley

    I do like the idea of doing a chipotle dressing though so will try that out next time. Great blog!

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My name is Ross. I'm a food loving vegan and these are some of my recipes. I'm also the owner of Hot Beans vegan takeout in Kensington Market, Toronto. Check out my 'about' page for more info. Enjoy!

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All images and recipes (unless otherwise noted) Copyright © Ross Corder and Vegan Eats Blog, 2009-2013. All rights reserved. Please do not re-post or otherwise duplicate without permission. Thanks! Also, the "gluten-free" recipe tag is meant primarily for cataloging purposes and does not necessarily ensure that the recipe is completely gluten-free. Be careful to read the labels of any pre-packaged products to ensure that they are indeed gluten-free!

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