Marinated portobello torta with chipotle mayonaise [Vegetarian]

portobello mushroom torta photo
© Jaymi Heimbuch

Jaymi's Notes:
Two words: So delicious!

The original recipe called for eggplant, but we enjoy grilling up portobello mushrooms a lot more than eggplant for sandwiches and the mushrooms marinate as easily as eggplant. So we made the switch and they turned out really great. The thing that made this torta extra special was a dollop of The World's Best Guacamole on top of the mushrooms just before closing up the bun. That, combined with the wonderfully smokey chipotle mayo, the zesty refried beans, crispy lettuce and tomato, and the delicious grilled mushrooms made this a fantastic meal.

Also, if you were to leave out the chipotle mayo, this would be a vegan meal -- and an incredibly satisfying one at that!

More on The Cooking Project.

Kelly's Recipe:
I arrived home from my cottage last week to find a rather large number of eggplant ready for harvest in my little garden. I was quite happy with the harvest we had throughout August, and I thought we were more or less done with them. I was a bit surprised to find 5 or 6 ready to eat with another 4 or 5 at a smaller stage and a number of flowers. I imagine that the frost will hit before those flowers come to fruition, but maybe I'll be lucky and get some more eggplant in October. But for now, I'm thinking about all the ways I can enjoy what I have.
Some time ago I promised an eggplant recipe using refried beans and I'm finally getting around to giving it to you. This recipe is inspired by Viva Vegan! by Terry Hope Romero which is a cookbook of Latin foods. Markets are full of tomatoes, peppers and corn right now, which makes autumn seem like the perfect time of year to be exploring this cuisine.

I really enjoyed this sandwich, but it takes a bit of time. Nothing in it is difficult to do, but unless you already had refried beans ready in your refrigerator, it doesn't really lend itself to a quick dinner. There's a bit of time in marinating the eggplant [or mushrooms] and prepping the rest of the ingredients, but it all comes together pretty quickly in the end. There is a bonus about not having to make an additional salad, because all of the vegetables are in the sandwich already. Although I followed the recipe pretty closely, you could feel free to experiment with any vegetables you have on hand. The cookbook suggests that you could replace the eggplant with summer squash, which would also be delicious.

Marinated Eggplant

3-4 small portobello mushrooms
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin


2/3 cup vegan mayonnaise
2 chipotles in adobo sauce, seeds removed
1 cup refried beans
2 ripe red tomatoes, seeded and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 ripe avocado, peeled, seeded and sliced into 1/4 inch slices OR use The World's Best Guacamole recipe
1/2 lb shredded romaine or iceberg lettuce
4 pickled jalapeno peppers, sliced very thinly
1 red onion, sliced into thin rings
4 crusty French or rustic-style sandwich rolls, or sandwich buns

1. Prepare the mushrooms first. Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, tomato paste, garlic, oregano and cumin. Coat the mushrooms with marinade and let stand for 20 minutes. Warm a skillet over medium-high heat and add the mushrooms, cooking for 5-7 minutes on each side. You can also cook these over a BBQ. Once cooked through, remove from heat.

2. To make the chipotle mayonnaise, pulse the vegan mayonnaise and chipotle peppers in a food processor until smooth. Warm the refried beans either in the microwave or on a stovetop, adding a little water if necessary to create a spreadable consistency. Have ready the tomatoes, avocado or guacamole, lettuce and red onion rings.

3. Slice each sandwich roll in half horizontally, and, if desired, remove some of the bread inside to allow more room for the filling. Toast or grill each roll half until hot.

4. Assemble sandwich by spreading the inside of a roll with chipotle mayonnaise, then topping that with the refried beans. Stack on the bottom half a generous layer each of eggplant, tomato, avocado, shredded lettuce, jalapeno and some onions. Top with the upper half of the roll.

5. Slice each sandwich in half and serve immediately.

Marinated portobello torta with chipotle mayonaise [Vegetarian]
In this take on a traditional Spanish sandwich, marinated portobello mushrooms, fresh vegetables, refried beans, guacamole and an outstanding smokey chipotle mayonaise create an irresistable combination.

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