Grilled Portabella Caprese

by Dorothy Reinhold on June 6, 2023

Print This Post Print This Post Colorful tomato mozzarella basil salad is piled atop a Portabella mushroom cap, resting on a white plate

Grilled Portabella Caprese uses a grilled Portabella mushroom as a vehicle for a traditional salad of tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil.

If you haven’t yet grilled Portabella mushrooms, now’s the time. These meaty, firm mushrooms hold up well to grilling, and can fit a meal in their giant cap, as they do in this recipe. We’re making a traditional caprese salad, and piling it into the grilled mushroom cap, which serves as the edible bowl. 

Grilled Portabella Caprese has 2 white plates piled with colorful salad, with 2 forks in a pile alongside.

How to make Grilled Portabella Caprese

Ingredients for a Grilled Portabella Caprese including tomatoes, mushrooms, basil, and olive oil on a white marble counter. First, as always, gather all your ingredients to make sure everything is at hand. For this recipe, we’re using:

  • Portabella mushrooms (mine are from Melissa’s Produce. You can find them at the grocery store or farmers market)
  • Tomatoes (large, heirloom or cherry tomatoes will work. Summer tomatoes are ideal!)
  • Fresh mozzarella (mozzarella pearls or a hunk diced)
  • Fresh basil
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar and balsamic glaze
  • Salt and pepper

Portabella mushrooms with the gills removed on a wooden trayTake the caps off the mushrooms and use a spoon to scrape out the gills. This will allow more space to fit your salad in the mushroom cap.

A hand places a Portabella mushroom on the grill for a Grilled Portabella CapreseGrill the mushrooms until just tender. Start with gill side down.

4 Portabella mushrooms on the grill with a metal tongs holding the edge of one. Then flip and grill gill side up.

Mix the salad ingredients and spoon into the mushroom caps. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and use some fresh basil as garnish.

Frequently asked questions about Portabella Caprese

A hand holds 1 Portabella mushroom with 3 additional mushrooms in the background, on a white marble counterWhat is a Portabella mushroom? It’s a large, dark brown mushroom with a cap that can grow to 5-6 inches in diameter. It’s a mature Cremini mushroom or relative of a white button mushroom, 3 to 7 days older than a smaller Cremini.

What does a Portabella taste like? It has a very intense, savory mushroomy flavor with big umami. It is a cartoonishly large, meaty mushroom, and can stand in as a meat replacement in vegetarian or vegan dishes. The original veggie burger was a marinated Portabella cap grilled and served in a bun! It makes a big impression on the plate when kept whole and grilled, but you can also slice it into thick strips.

How to store a Portabella mushroom: Keep it in a brown paper bag in the refrigerator for 7-10 days. If you put it in a plastic bag, it is more likely to get slimy quicker.

How to prepare a Portabella mushroom: As with other mushrooms, brush off debris with your fingers or a damp paper towel. The whole mushroom, including stem, gills and cap, is edible.

How do you spell it? The Mushroom Council spells it Portabella (with 2 a’s), but it is often also seen as Portobello. Either are correct. It’s also known as a Giant Crimini, or Ports.

Do Portabellas have a season? They are grown year-round, and can be found at the grocery store or farmers markets.

What’s in a traditional caprese? Slices of fresh mozzarella cheese, tomatoes and fresh basil, seasoned with salt and drizzled with olive oil. 

What should you eat with a Grilled Portabella Caprese?

Grilled Portabella Caprese for lunch on a white plate with a peach and dessert on the plate, and a fork and napkin in the background.I served it for a patio lunch with a sliced fresh peach, and a square of Rhubarb Dream for dessert. A crisp green salad would also be fabulous with it, or even some pasta or orzo.

Portabella Caprese

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

Portabella Caprese

Grilled Portabella Caprese uses a grilled Portabella mushroom as a vehicle for a traditional salad of tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil.


  • 4 Portabella mushrooms
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (can include halved cherry tomatoes)
  • 8 ounces Mozzarella pearls (slightly more than 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Fresh basil leaves, for salad and garnish
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garnish: Balsamic glaze, fresh basil leaves


  1. Turn grill on to medium.
  2. Prepare mushrooms: Remove stems with a knife, cutting it flat with the gills, being careful not to cut into the cap. Use a spoon to carefully scrape away the gills, to make room for the salad. The gills are edible, but if you scrape some away, more salad will fit!
  3. Grill the mushrooms gill side down for 4-5 minutes, then turn over and grill for another 4-5 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside. Turn off grill.
  4. Make salad: In a large bowl, add tomatoes, Mozzarella pearls, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some torn basil leaves. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Mix gently and taste for salt, adding more if needed.
  5. Place each Portabella cap on a plate, and fill with the salad, piling it up. If it won't all fit, save leftover salad for another meal. Drizzle a few lines of balsamic glaze over each Portabella cap, garnish with fresh basil sprig, and serve.
  6. Serves 4.


Recipe source: Dorothy Reinhold |

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2 white plates with colorful salad on them in this Grilled Portabella Caprese Pinterest Pin

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