Veggie Torta with Grilled Portobello Mushrooms
If you’re looking for a little grill-spiration for your Meatless Mondays, look no further! My Veggie Torta is loaded with grilled portobello mushrooms, roasted poblano peppers, creamy guacamole, melty cheese, and garden-fresh tomatoes for a hearty, satisfying meal.
About This Recipe
One day not so long ago, my sweet daughter told me she had become a vegetarian. While I was at first aghast — my baby used to put down steaks like a champ! — I realized that her new lifestyle was an opportunity for the whole family to learn to eat more veggies. In an effort to be more inclusive by making plant-based meals, I came up with this gorgeous veggie torta.
When I first started my plotting I was pretty sure this was going to become a portobello mushroom burger, but I can never resist freshly baked bolillos at the bakery. Now, I’m glad for the torta-burger switch!
This tasty sandwich boasts not one, but two portobello caps, mashed avocado, roasted poblano, tomato, plus some melty mozzarella for a meal that is bursting with garden-fresh flavor. Even if you’re not a vegetarian, you’re sure to be satisfied by this hefty grilled vegetable sandwich.
Aside from being totally scrumptious, this tasty torta recipe is also easily customizable. Feel free to swap in different veggies, add your own flair, or turn it into a vegan torta, all with some simple changes. Best of all, all of the cooking can be done on the grill, meaning you can keep the heat where it belongs: outside.
Ingredients & Substitutions
These grilled vegetarian tortas don’t require much to make. Here’s your shopping list:
- Portobello Mushrooms – These large mushrooms are a vegetarian’s best friend during grilling season. They are perfectly sized for applications like burgers and tortas, plus they have an uncannily meaty flavor and hearty texture that makes them perfect for BBQs.
- Mozzarella Cheese – I wanted to keep things fresh for this torta, even with my cheese. Feel free to swap in your own favorite melty cheese like queso Oaxaca, goat cheese, queso quesadilla, or smoked gouda. You can also easily go plant-based or omit it if dairy is a no-no.
- Avocado – Using a whole avocado on this sandwich makes it taste absolutely luxurious despite being super healthy. Feel free to stretch your avocado mash as needed, especially with these crazy grocery prices!
- Lemon or Lime – For my “guacamole,” I just mashed an avocado with a bit of fresh citrus juice, salt, and pepper. To get the most juice out of your fruit, give it a firm roll on the countertop for 10-15 seconds before cutting it in half.
- Bolillo Roll – Feel free to swap in a burger bun, focaccia bread, or any other type of carb-y goodness to hold everything together.
- Tomato – Garden tomatoes are one of the best things about the season. If you are making this veggie torta when tomatoes aren’t in season, feel free to swap in cherry tomatoes or omit them altogether.
- Poblano Pepper – Roasted poblano peppers add sweet, earthy heat that my family loves. Feel free to swap in canned whole green chiles or any other type of roasted pepper you prefer.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Kosher Salt, & Black Pepper – These pantry staples pull it all together. NOTE: If you are grilling outside, I recommend switching to a higher smoke-point oil like grapeseed, avocado, or vegetable oil.
How To Make Grilled Portobello Mushroom Tortas
These simple mushroom sandwiches are a snap to make. Here’s how it’s done:
Step 1: Preheat. Prepare a grill pan with a drizzle of olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. If grilling outside, preheat the BBQ to roughly 450F.
Step 2: Prep Mushrooms. Remove stems from portobello caps and drizzle both sides with olive oil.* Season with kosher salt and ground black pepper. *If grilling outside, swap in a higher smoke-point oil like grapeseed oil.
Step 3: Grill. Place on the grill pan and cook on each side for 10 minutes or until the mushrooms soften and grill marks appear. Add cheese to the mushroom caps and cook until cheese melts.
Step 4: Make Avocado Mash. Spoon the avocado into a bowl with lemon or lime juice. Mash with a fork and season with a pinch of kosher salt.
Step 5: Assemble. Slather the avocado mixture on the bottom bolillo, then layer with the cheesy mushroom caps, tomato slices, and roasted poblano. Top with bread and serve.
This vegetarian torta recipe is a top-10 plant-based meal for me just the way it is. That said, there are SO MANY WAYS to customize this gorgeous sandwich! Here are a few of my favorite variations:
- Make it spicy. Add more (and/or hotter) peppers to the mix, swipe on a spicy chipotle mayo, or add some spicy slaw to the mix.
- Use different veggies. Other great vegetables to roast include zucchini and summer squash, bell peppers, green onions, nopales, eggplant, and corn. Mix and match to your heart’s content! Try it Caprese-style with mozzerella, basil, and balsamic vinegar, or make it an MLT (mushroom, lettuce, tomato).
- Make it vegan. Either swap in your favorite plant-based cheese slices, or omit it altogether!
- If you don’t have a stockpile of roasted peppers in your fridge or freezer like I do, feel free to multitask and roast your peppers on the grill as you go!
- Marinate your veggies for extra flavor. Since mushrooms are pretty spongy, they’ll pick up on the same kind of flavors that you’d use for carne asada or chicken tinga, or really any marinade you desire.
- Remember the maxim: What grows together goes together. The beauty of the summer harvest is that it’s pretty hard to make a bad pairing. You can mix and match all kinds of flavors in the vegetable world! Use this veggie torta recipe as a template for you to explore.
Frequently Asked Questions
For this recipe, grilled mushrooms and poblanos, mozzarella cheese, a simple avocado mash, and tomatoes are all layered on a crusty bolillo roll. That said, you can make any number of tasty veggie torta combinations! Feel free to mix and match with the abundant harvest summer always brings.
I’m partial to the gorgeously golden, crispy crusted bolillos I buy practically every time I go the bakery, but you can easily swap in a telera, french roll, hoagie or sub roll, or any other hearty bun that you prefer.
Tortas are simply a Mexican sandwich, so asking what is traditional is going to depend on who you are and where you grew up. Some of my favorites include Torta de Jamón, Spicy Shrimp Tortas, BLTTA Tortas, and Tortas with Potatoes and Chorizo, to name a few. This veggie torta is also a total delight!
More Vegetarian Recipes
If you tried this recipe for my Grilled Veggie Tortas, please be sure to rate and review it below!
Grilled Portobello Mushroom Torta with Roasted Poblano
- Prepare a grill pan with a drizzle of olive oil and bring to medium high heat.
- Remove stems from portobello caps and drizzle both sides with olive oil. Season with kosher salt and ground black pepper.
- Place on the grill pan and cook on each side for 10 minutes or until the mushrooms soften and grill marks appear. Add cheese to the mushroom caps and cook until cheese melts.
- Spoon the avocado into a bowl with lemon or lime juice. Mash with a fork and season with a pinch of kosher salt.
- Slather the avocado mixture on the bottom bolillo or focassia bread then layer with the mushroom cap, tomato slices, cooked mushroom with cheese, and roasted poblano.
- Top with bread and serve.
Photography by Jenna Sparks
Originally published: July 2019.