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‘Pulled Portobello’ BBQ Sliders

BBQ sauce is terribly underrepresented in vegetarian cooking. Our culture seems to think that without meat, there is no place for BBQ sauce. What a tragedy! There are so many exciting plant-based uses for this amazing sauce. You can sauté tempeh or tofu with it, dip french fries into it, use it as a pizza sauce, make a salad dressing with it, and so much more. This recipe, however, might be one of the tastiest uses: we’re finely-slicing portobello mushrooms and sautéing them with onions, BBQ sauce, and some spices for a delicious “pulled pork” type of sandwich filling. I daresay these sandwiches could make even a few meat eaters jealous at your summer BBQs.

Best of all, this recipe is super simple. With only 5 minutes of easy prep and 30 minutes of simmering, it’s the perfect lazy, last-minute weekend dinner.

BBQ Portobello Sliders

Makes about 10 sliders


  • 4 large portobello mushrooms
  • 1 white onion
  • 1/3+ cup BBQ sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 10 mini hamburger buns

Step One

Finely dice the onion and garlic and add these to a saucepan with a splash of water. Allow this to brown for 5-7 minutes while finely slicing the mushrooms into thin strips. You can do this by hand (like I did, but the ones in my picture are actually a little too big) but for best results, use a julienne peeler or mandolin with julienne attachment to create very thin strips. Add these to the skillet with the BBQ sauce, vinegar, and soy sauce.

Step Two

Allow everything to simmer on low heat for at least 30 minutes. The mushrooms will reduce considerably and absorb the BBQ flavor. Since BBQ sauces can vary so much, it’s smart to give the mushrooms a taste after 30 minutes to adjust any seasonings. Not salty enough? Add more sea salt. Want more heat? Throw in some cayenne. Need stronger acidity? Add more vinegar.

When everything is perfect, simply add the mushroom filling onto the mini buns (or full-sized hamburger buns) and serve. These aren’t super calorie-dense so 4 sliders or 2 full-sized buns might be a reasonable serving. Enjoy!

A Note About BBQ Sauce – BBQ sauce is not exactly a one ingredient food. It has sugar and (sometimes) preservatives. My views on condiments aren’t as strict as on more substantial food items (the One Ingredient Diet is all about big victories) so if you can find a fairly natural, unprocessed BBQ sauce in a bottle (as I did), go for it. But if you insist on making your own, it can be a fun experiment. Here are two solid recipes you might want to try: Jamie Oliver’s Epic BBQ Sauce (this one looks fun) or Chow’s Basic BBQ Sauce.

BBQ Portobello Sliders

BBQ Portobello Sliders

BBQ Portobello Sliders


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  1. Thank you, Andrew! This is the recipe I’ve been needing for 10 years. I’m very happy eating nice veggie food, but BBQ has always been my kryptonite.

    I made your Sesame Rice Bowl today. It’s fantastic! Thank you so much for this site, your recipes are exactly what I’ve been looking for to be able to make lasting changes.

    • Thanks, Andrew! I appreciate the comments. BBQ is great, isn’t it? I’ve been as guilty as anyone of thinking veggie food can’t be BBQ’d but this recipe reminded ne how untrue that is. 🙂

  2. A note for KC and Texas BBQ fans: be sure to make or purchase a sweeter sauce with a solid amount of molasses. A more vinegar-based sauce is great for east-coasters, but I really loved it with a rich, thick sauce. We will absolutely make these again. My husband loved it!

    • That’s a great point, Misti. I’m not (yet) a BBQ sauce connoisseur and I’m not totally clear on the differences between sauces. But yes, a thick, rich, slightly-sweet sauce is what I used and it was perfect.

  3. Made these tonight (with some yummy Salt & Vinegar Potatoes). They were delish! Thanks for the great recipe — totally fixed the BBQ craving in our house! We’re thinking me might add some shredded carrot next time too, for some added crunch.

    • Thanks, Ashely! I’m glad you guys liked them. I think carrots could work nicely. Those salt & vinegar potatoes do sound yummy!

  4. Oh MY these sound amazing! This is a meal that will make meat lovers drool and may even sway them to the veggie side. Thanks for sharing this mouthwatering recipe…


  5. Just found this website and the food looks great! Wondering though based on the one ingredient concept, what things do you look for when buying bread or BBQ sauce that you would be able to keep all natural ingredients?

    • Hi Jen! Good questions. So, BBQ sauce is almost never going to be a truly ‘one ingredient’ food. The one I used (from Trader Joe’s) only had like 5-6 ingredients and they were all perfectly understandable (tomato paste, etc.). Now for bread, the mini rolls I used in this recipe were white bread (gasp!) just for the pictures, but I would definitely recommend a sprouted whole wheat bread (Ezekiel brand is popular) for something that is very lightly processed. Ezekiel even makes hamburger/hotdog buns as well.

  6. I am so happy to come across this site. It is just perfect for the lifestyle I live and helps me think of new ideas when I am in a rut… like BBQ eggplant slices (skin on for the amazing color/texture). I’m trying to educate and inspire people around me one skeptical set of taste buds at a time. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your wonderful recipes and ideas. Cheers!

    • Thanks, Anna! I’m happy my recipes can give you new ideas. And I’m glad I’m not the only one trying to inspire those with skeptical taste buds. 🙂 Cheers!

  7. These were so good I wanted to punch someone. SERIOUSLY. I added shredded carrot, vidalia onion and used liquid aminos instead of soy sauce. I don’t think I’ve ever commented on a recipe before. I’m used to making huge, intricate recipes. This one is so simple and delicious I couldn’t stop giggling. This fed two hungry soldiers! 5 stars, sir!

    • Hahaha, this made me laugh: “These were so good I wanted to punch someone.” I think I’ll use that as a testimonial 🙂 I’m so happy you liked them, Angela – thanks for the comment!

  8. Do you think it would be ok to make this the day before and then heat up before a party? Thought this would be a great option for the vegetarians at a DIY slider party. Just trying to save time on last minutes things needed to do right before people come over.

    • Absolutely! Though I haven’t tried this, I can imagine it would only get better as the mushrooms have more time to marinate in the sauce.

  9. Oh my! So good! I made it into a sandwich and used half zucchini and half mushroom but that was because it was what I had. It was wonderful! Freaking awesome.

    • Awesome! I’m so glad you liked it, Ashley. 🙂 I actually love the idea of adding zucchini in with the mushrooms. Very cool!

  10. I just found your website. I’ve been trying to go vegan for my health but love food in general. And after having 3 kids very close together I have some weight to lose. Your website and recipes (especially this one) has me believing I can do it! How exciting! Making a shopping list right now!

    • You can do it, Sarah! 🙂 Going vegan is actually really easy once you get past those first few weeks of transition. I’m so glad my recipes have inspired you, and let me know if there’s anything I can do to help along the way.

  11. I just wanted to share a variation of this recipe that I love to make. Instead of serving the “pulled pork” on buns/bread, I serve it over buckwheat. Mushrooms and buckwheat go really well together. Just had this again tonight and can’t wait to have the rest tomorrow for lunch 🙂

    • Hi Aga, thanks so much for the suggestion. I love the idea of serving this with grains like buckwheat (or even rice?) instead of bread. I’ll have to try that soon. 🙂

  12. made these tonight… it’s all about which bbq sauce you select! as a lifelong vegetarian, i had never experienced bbq sauce. these were awesome. my non vegan boyfriend was satisfied as well 🙂

  13. This recipe is great! A fine result with very few ingredients… I prepared last night for lunch and it was hard to contain myself. I recently “found” your blog and it is wonderful, I already have several recipes line up. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  14. Thanks so much for a great recipe. I’ve been looking for more vegan meals I can make to share with my meat-eating boyfriend. These were great, and my pulled-pork-LOVING boyfriend agreed! I used baby bellas sliced super-thin, made some quick-pickled red onions to put on top, and as a side, we had spiced sweet potato fries with turmeric, nooch, garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin.

  15. These look amazing and we have some beautiful portabellas in the fridge as I type. My husband and I don’t do well with onions do you think that subbing more mushrooms in for the onions would be ok?

  16. Beef and pork will always be the main headliner but that being said I made the recipe of portobello mushrooms and they make this nice side dish over rice

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