Roasted Portobello French Dip

20130302-DSC_7660-3I have a love/hate relationship with mushrooms. For some reason, I’m very picky when it comes to mushrooms. I love mushrooms on pizza, in pasta dishes, in veggie burgers, in chili and raw with dip. Yum! However, for the longest time, I refused to try any mushroom that was not a simple button mushroom (cremini). Portobellos creeped me out the most for some reason and I refused to try them. Recently, I was at a restaurant that served a delicious zucchini ribbon pasta with fresh seasonal vegetables. When my order arrived, I noticed large slices of portobello mushroom mixed in. Hmmmm.  I was not impressed. *hah* But after about 10 minutes of pushing the mushrooms around on my plate, I gave in and finally tried a portobello mushroom. And I loved it. Who would have thought – It was full of flavour and had a great texture.

So now, I don’t write off recipes that call for portobello mushrooms. I actually have been dog-earring them in my cookbooks as of late. This was the first portobello recipe I tried at home. I had always wanted to try a French Dip sandwich – a sandwich that originated in the United States. I could not say no to a sandwich with roasted mushrooms and a delicious spread with garlic, shallots, fresh herbs and white wine. Mmmm! Toss in some caramelized onions and some swiss cheese (or vegan cheese) on some toasty, crusty bread and you’ve got one incredible meal. Serve with a simple side salad and you’re set.

Sandwich Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil; divided
  • 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
  • 3 portobello mushrooms
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 rustic baguette or 4 small crusty buns
  • 4 slices of swiss cheese or vegan cheese
  • French Dip Spread (recipe to follow)
  • Mushroom Dip (recipe to follow)

French Dip Spread

  • 1/2 teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh, chopped herbs or 1 teaspoon of dried herbs
  • 2 tablespoons of white wine
  • 1/2 cup of vegan butter or unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mushroom Dip

  • 1/2 pound of whole crimini mushrooms
  • 6 cloves of garlic, lightly crushed
  • 2 tablespoons of reduced-sodium soy sauce


1. French Dip Spread: Heat the 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot, garlic and herbs. Cook for two minutes, stirring constantly. Add the wine and cook until most of the wine has evaporated, but mixture is still moist. Remove from heat and cool completely. Once cooled, whisk shallot/garlic mixture into the softened vegan butter or unsalted butter. Add salt and pepper to taste.

2.Preheat oven to 350’F. In the saucepan used for the French Dip Spread, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the sliced onions while the portobello mushrooms are roasting (next step).

3. Mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the garlic in a small bowl. Brush both sides of the portobello caps with the garlic/oil mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Place the mushrooms gill side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes. Once roasted, allow the portobello mushrooms about 15 minutes to cool completely. Leave oven on at 350’F.

4. Mushroom Dip: While the portobello mushrooms are roasting, combine the crimini mushrooms, garlic, and 4 cups of water in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer the mixture for about 40 minutes (allowing enough time for the mixture to reduce). Strain the liquid and whisk in the soy sauce. Note: mushroom dip can be frozen to be used at a later date.

5. When the portobello mushrooms have cooled, slice them thinly on an angle trying to get about 8 slices per portobello cap.

6. Cut the baguette into 4 equal portions. Spread the French Dip spread on all 8 halves of bread. Griddle the bread in large skillet for 3 minutes, or until lightly golden.

7. Place 4 baguette pieces (the bottoms) on a baking sheet (griddled side up). Top each piece with 1/4 of the portobello slices, some of the cooked onions and a slice of cheese. Toast in the oven at 350’F until the cheese is melted and the mushrooms heated through (about 10 minutes). Top with the top halves of baguette.

8. Cut each sandwich in half at an angle. Serve with a side of mushroom dip (1/3 cup per person).

Yield: 4 sandwiches

Source: Café Flora (Seattle) Cookbook by Catherine Geier


    • thefigtree says

      I’m obsessed with sandwiches lately. I think I just love all of the garnishes you can add. The caramelized onions and garlic herb spread make this sandwich irresistible! :)

    • thefigtree says

      *hehe* Thanks Kristy! :) It was a really yummy sandwich. Highly recommended! Loved the garlic herb spread. Mmmm!

  1. says

    portobello mushrooms used to freak me out, too! but, i, of course, eventually gave in and fell completely in love. what a great idea to make a french dip to go with the sandwich! dayv loves dipping his sandwiches into tomato sauce, so it make s alot of sense!

    • thefigtree says

      I’m the same as Dayv. I love dip. I love dipping bread in sauce. I love veggies in dip etc. The more sauce, the better! This was really nice, a the bread soaked up the dip perfectly. So much flavour!

  2. says

    I love the look of the blog! Great colours and nice and clear. I’m really liking it! This french dip is a fantastic vegetarian alternative. The gravy looks perfect! I’d write off the beef to eat this one!

    • thefigtree says

      Thanks Jeff! :) Feels so nice to have a shiny, new place to share recipes and connect with people. Feels like spring! I wish it felt more like spring outside, mind you. We had a snow storm here today! *hah* This French Dip could really rival a meat version. The portobello is perfect replacement.

  3. says

    French dip sandwiches are one of those meaty things I miss since become a vegetarian a gazillion years ago. I’ve never been able to think of an acceptable substitute for the roast beef, so I’m excited to find this recipe here! It looks divine. Congrats on trying the portobellos – a whole new mushroom world awaits! ;)

    • thefigtree says

      Awe, thanks! *hehe* I still need to gain a little courage trying a few other types of mushrooms, but I’m glad I conquered the portobello! *hehe* The portobello in this sandwich works perfectly in lieu of the roast beef. Roasting the portobello creates the perfect texture for the sandwich and infuses it with so much flavour. Add in some caramelized onion, garlic herb spread and cheese and you can’t go wrong. I think even meat eaters would be impressed :)

  4. says

    I have a love/hate relationship with mushrooms too .. Used to hate them when I was younger and would pick them off everything, then I tried a raw mushroom in a salad a few years ago and loved it, and have since been using them all the time, both cooked and raw, but then I had a mushroom pizza recently that started to creep me out towards the end because there were just too many on there. hah! I need to find the perfect balance I guess and just make sure I don’t go overboard with them :) This sandwich looks like it had a great balance of mushrooms and looks delicious!

    • thefigtree says

      *haha* You sound like me. I definitely have a mushroom limit. Too many mushrooms and I get grossed out. I still cannot seem to eat shitake or enoki mushrooms. They are next on my list of mushrooms to tackle. *haha* This sandwich was really good though. The mushroom developed so much flavour through roasting and had a really nice texture. I highly recommend it to picky mushroom-eaters just like me.

  5. says

    I have to admit I didn’t know what a French dip sandwich was, but now that I’ve looked it up, I understand why you used mushrooms in both the sandwich and the dip – great concept! I’m picky about mushrooms too, but I’m learning to like them. Portobellos are actually my favourite kind, especially grilled! The gills do creep me out a bit though haha…

    • thefigtree says

      I’m the same way! When I’m cooking with portobellos, I try to avoid looking at the gills. *hehe*

    • thefigtree says

      Awe, thank you so much for the lovely comment :) I’m glad we’ve connected. I hope you enjoy the sandwich. It’s delicious!

  6. says

    I love to cook, and have been a vegetarian for around 13 years, and I can honestly say (and my husband did too) that this is one of the best things I have ever made. Took a little work with all the steps, but boy, was it worth it!

    • thefigtree says

      Awe, I am thrilled to hear you enjoyed the sandwich! :) I agree – it’s definitely a bit of work with all of the steps, but it’s so worth it in the end! Thanks for the lovely comment. xo

  7. says

    You are missing out! There are so many amazing mushrooms, I am so happy to decided to dive in and try that Portabella – my current favorite are King Oyster Mushrooms that are grown locally and organic along with matsutake mushrooms- so good!!!

  8. Meghan Fowler says

    Ok, Courtney, this was UNBELIEVABLE. My (gulp!) beef-loving husband loved it (and obviously I did, too). Every bit of this was fantastic. I didn’t have white wine, so used red for the spread, and it tasted great (reminded me of french onion soup somehow…). And I used an artisanal bread sliced 3/4″ thick or so. So delish. Will definitely make it again. I’ve already committed to make it for my parents and some of my friends:) That’s what happens when I get excited about a recipe. I go on and on about how delicious it was and then end up promising to make it for whoever I’m raving to. Heehee!

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