May shepherds in the season of the backyard barbecue, and for us that means one thing: burgers. Let me back up and say that just about anything I make on the grill in warmer months I also make regularly inside on the stovetop. And while I do love a flat-top smooshed burger, the backyard barbecue burger remains in a league of its own.
Our family's burger bonanzas are a little legendary in our social circle (okay, so maybe with just my kids, nieces and nephews). The herby-garlicky sauce I make, called "magic" sauce by those in the know, is particularly popular. So when three of my extended family members went vegetarian, my burger-grilling game suffered. I did what any well-intentioned-but-misguided carnivore would do: I bought some frozen veggie burgers from the grocery store and called it a day. Now, to be fair, some of those veggie burgers are downright tasty. But, homemade-with-love-magic-sauce-worthy? Not so much. So, I upped my veggie burger game. While I do love the black bean-, quinoa- or legume-based versions I've created over the years, the simplest veggie burger of all remains a family favorite: the giant portobello mushroom cap. Bonus: This dish is low-calorie, leaving wiggle room for cheese, sauce and a bun, and it's nearly foolproof.
I used cilantro in this version because it pairs well with the baked corn tortilla chips (just a few go a long way to add satisfying crunch), but feel free to experiment with other herbs, such as basil or mint. Even carnivores might be converted.
Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook "Supermarket Healthy."