A vegetarian and vegan BBQ sandwich? Yes please! Sweet. Smoky. Spicy. And finger-licking good, make em’ with my Bourbon BBQ Sauce! Pulled Portobello BBQ Sandwiches (veggie pulled ‘pork’) come together in about 30 minutes and are freezer friendly! This recipe is vegetarian, vegan and easily gluten free. [see recipe VIDEO on recipe card!]
For the Love of BBQ
Being a former Texas girl, I’ll never relinquish my love of BBQ flavors. Back in the day, BBQ pulled pork, or smoky sausage was how I liked my BBQ sandwiches, with plenty of sauce. Never in a million years would I have thought at the time that one day I’d give it up to find new ways to enjoy veggie pulled ‘pork’ BBQ sandwiches.
After-all, there are still ways to love a smoky BBQ sandwich living a meat-free life.
Quick Guide: How to Make Pulled Portobello BBQ Sandwiches
This vegetarian and vegan BBQ sandwich recipe comes together with ease, offering a little hands off time while the mushrooms are roasting to whip up a batch of easy coleslaw or other sides. In summary, here’s how to make em’ (see recipe card for details):
- First, roast the mushrooms.
- Second, while the mushrooms are roasting, saute the onions.
- Continuing, once the mushrooms are out of the oven and have a bit of time to cool, shred the mushrooms.
- Next, mix the mushrooms and onions together.
- Last, slather in your favorite tangy homemade vegetarian and vegan BBQ sauce or store bought.
This veggie pulled ‘pork’ BBQ sandwich is ready. It’s really that simple!
What Kind of Mushrooms to Use
Pulled mushrooms are a delicious stand in for a meatless BBQ sandwich. They’re easy to work with, accessible, delicious and healthy!
I use portobello mushrooms in this recipe but king, oyster and/or cremini can be used as well, and I’m sure many more I’ve not tried. They all shred!
Although this pulled mushroom BBQ sandwich looks like pulled pork, the texture is not the same. These are mushrooms after-all. But to me, it’s a suitable and delicious homemade plant based alternative.
A Few Expert Tips
- Make Homemade Smoky Bourbon BBQ Sauce at least a week ahead for an easy, weeknight or weekend dinner.
- Variations: Shredded BBQ mushrooms are also delicious stuffed into lettuce wraps or in a baked sweet potato.
- What to Serve it With: Serve this finger-licking vegetarian and vegan BBQ sandwich with Carrot Pineapple Salad, corn on the cob, coleslaw, Broccoli Slaw, Texas Potato Salad and always with plenty of extra BBQ sauce for slathering!
- Freezer Friendly: Yes please! For up to two weeks (to avoid freezer burn!).
More Vegetarian BBQ to Love
- Vegan Baked Beans
- BBQ Black Eyed Pea Collard Rolls
- Tofu and Veggie BBQ Kebabs
- Grilled BBQ Cauliflower Ranch Bowls
- BBQ Chickpea Veggie Burgers
Pulled Portobello BBQ Sandwiches Recipe
- 3 (450g) Portobello Mushrooms about 1 lb
- 1 Tbs Coconut Oil unrefined or olive oil
- 1 C (150g) Yellow Onion diced, about 1/2 a medium onion
- 1/2 C (100g) Homemade Smoky Bourbon BBQ Sauce* or favorite brand + more for serving (see note)
- 1/4 + 1/8 tsp Liquid Smoke I like hickory (optional but recommended)
- 2- 3 Hamburger Style Buns gluten free if needed
Serve With (optional):
- Texas Potato Salad
- More BBQ Sauce
- Preheat oven to 425F (220C), place oven rack in the center of the oven. Line a sheet pan with silpat or parchment paper.
- Remove the stems of the portobello and set aside (they don't need to be roasted like the tops.. they're already dry). Turn the mushroom caps, bottoms up, on a work surface. Using a small metal spoon, gently scrape out the "gills" on the underside of the mushroom. Doing this helps reduce the moisture content further (toss the gills into the yard, garden or compost!). Place the mushroom caps, bottoms up, on the sheet pan and roast for 20-25 minutes. This helps dry them dry out.
- While the mushrooms are roasting, add the oil to a saute pan and heat until it shimmers. Turn the heat to low to medium-low and add the onion, stirring occasionally until tender, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, slice the stems removing the smallest amount possible at the base to remove the tough edge. Use two forks to "pull" the mushroom stems separating pieces with your fingers if needed until they are shredded. Set aside in a medium bowl.
- Remove the portobello from the oven and once cool enough to handle, and using two forks again, shred the mushrooms, separating larger pieces with your fingers if needed until they are shredded. Add them to the same bowl with the shredded stems.
- To the sauted onions, add all the shredded mushrooms, BBQ sauce and liquid smoke. Cook on medium-low for about five minutes to warm through stirring occasionally. Put the lid on to keep warm until ready to serve. Serve on warmed buns, stuffed into a sweet potato or cooled slightly in sturdy lettuce wraps. Top with coleslaw or pickles and serve with potato salad, corn on the cob, baked beans... anything that you love with BBQ!
- Store in a lidded container in the refrigerator for up to three days or in the freezer for up to two weeks. Thaw in the fridge overnight and gently reheat on the stove-top.
Mixed thoughts about this recipe.
Turning the mushrooms over, top up, on a rack in the oven might have worked better for us?
After 20 minutes, our mushroom caps were filled with the liquid cooking out of the caps. I turned them over one by one to dump them. The first ones were dry enough. The last half that I emptied were soggy.
That might be why we didn’t care for these portobello mushrooms nearly as much as the other mushroom recipes we have tried?
That said, these looked beautiful, but like meat. It occurs to me that *for me*, if something looks like meat, but don’t feel like meat, they just aren’t right to me.
If I try this recipe my own way, I’ll pulse the mushrooms in a food processor (or see if I can shred the tops while still raw) and saute them until they have lost a lot of their liquid, almost to that leathery quality
This whole thing might be something that I did wrong, but that is just my personal experience.
Thank you for the technique of making mushrooms look like meat. I’ll work with that to see if I can get a more meaty texture down the road to go with the beautiful look.
As for missing BBQ? I personally fell in love with large limas or white beans in BBQ sauce in baked sweet potatoes. And, as the mushrooms turned out today, I still prefer those white beans.
But I’m not giving up.
I’ll try to remember to let you know how my mods work out.
Hi Rainah! Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I’m sorry these didn’t meet your expectations.
Delicious and easy! Best BBQ alternative we’ve had. Made it just as written, used 24 ounces of portobella mushrooms and it made three good sized sandwiches with just a little left over. Yummy!! 😋
Hooray! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe Kathy. I truly appreciate your note!
This was excellent! Made it just for myself as I’m the only vegetarian here, and it was great that not only was it delicious but so simple to make. I didn’t think about how much the mushrooms would shrink once the moisture was removed, so I have no leftovers for lunch tomorrow :( but next time I will use more. Thanks for another great recipe!
Hi Vivian! Thank you for your note… a double batch next time! So happy to hear you enjoyed the sammie!
We paired this recipe with the Smoky Bourbon BBQ sauce. Move over Jackfruit……Portobellos are the way to go! I had to use baby portobellos…..and it was still and excellent experience. Loved the texture and tantalizing tastebuds. My guy mentioned he had a taste for BBQ……after dinner he said ‘I hope we’ll be revisiting this recipe’. Thank you!
Hehe! Thank you for your note Kimberly and sending a smile! SO happy to hear you two enjoyed the sammie! Aren’t mushrooms so good in this? And they’re incredibly good for us – even if topped with a bit of BBQ sauce ;D
I love this recipe. I really missed pulled barbecue when I changed to plant based. I’ve used jackfruit but I can’t find it unless I trek to TJ’s or Whole Foods. This honestly has a better texture, quick and delicious. Thanks. I’ve recommended this a few friends.
Hi Madonna! Thank you for your note, sharing with friends and giving the recipe a go! Yes on texture, so happy you like it. ❤️
I made this recipe today and it was delicious! Even my 20 year old meat eating son loved it!
Hooray!! So happy to hear Michelle! Thank you for your note and giving the recipe a go!
Excellent recipe will make again
for buns we used Irish potato boxtys
Thank you for your note, Bruce, and sharing on social! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe!
Yum! We just made this tonight and absolutely loved it! I’m a vegetarian also and share the need for BBQ sauce! Thanks!
Hooray! So happy to hear, Brianna. Thank you for coming back and leaving a note!
This was sooooo delicious! My whole family (hubby and 2 sons ages 11 and 14) LOVED them. And even though my shrooms didnt look as lovely as the picture after roasting, they looked just like the photos after I pulled them apart. I also pressed them btw towels to remove more moisture which I think may have allowed increased absorption of that fantabulous BBQ sauce. I had to keep myself from eating that as a dessert soup! Truly. After making this and some other great dishes from you, V&B is my new go-to recipe finder!
Hey Tonya! My goodness…. a total WIN-WIN for everyone, right? Thank you for the tip about removing more moisture – I’ll do it! I completely understand the dessert soup – lol! Thank you for coming back and leaving a note… big smile here!
This recipe is AWESOME!! Never knew you could do this with mushrooms. Have made this twice already and was a huge success. And the BBQ sauce is outstanding! Thank you so much, Traci. You never disappoint me.
Oh my gosh Claudia! You’re the sweetest. I just want to slather that sauce on EVERYTHING (gotta watch that sugar tho) :D !! So happy to receive your note, Claudia. Thank you :D .
Jill | sugarspicelifeblog
I never knew that you could prepare mushrooms like this! This is really amazing!
Mushroom as amazing, aren’t they? SO many ways! I hope you enjoy the recipe, Jill!
Have you tried grilling the mushrooms before? Just curious. Thanks!
Not for this recipe, but I’ve grilled mushrooms before, yes!
Geraldine | Green Valley Kitchen
This is such a clever idea, Traci – I don’t eat a lot of BBQ since there aren’t really great vegetarian options – so this really fills a void. You really do BBQ right! And I love mushrooms – so this is a double win!
Chris and Kerwin
Thank you! My husband and I LOVED this pulled portabello barbeque sandwich. I am preparing the pressed Italian now for tomorrow! Really appreciate your blog and delicious recipes! Soo soooooo YUMMY!
Hooray Chris and Kerwin! Thank you for your note – SO happy to read this!
Oh my dear, this looks just perfect. Who will miss the meat, when they can have this. LIke MaryAnn says, it’s probably one of the most innovative uses of portobello mushrooms. Like I always say, your posts are so inspirational and so well thought out. Great job my friend.
Wow Tracy, this is genius! I can’t believe it’s mushrooms. Love the smokey spicy flavor, you know me. Texas girl likes her spice ;)
Can never get over the spicy! Mushrooms = magic! So happy you like it, Linds!
Shredded mushrooms! Never thought to do that- such a great idea! Ryan always orders a meat burger while I order my portobello, but this one looks better than any other that I’ve had. seriously. your photos here are mouthwatering, as usual! xo
Awh, thank you Emily! Maybe Ryan would go for something like this? xo
Pulled mushroom sandwiches are such a cool idea!! I’d love to try this!
I would have never ( in my wildest dreams) thought of “pulled” mushrooms. You are a genius girl.
Such a creative recipe my friend.
All heart eyes, right? I’m such a big fan of mushrooms, but Rob is not. Therefore I ate this recipe, all. by. myself… and froze a bit for later (hello lunch!).
Traci, it’s still just breakfast-time and this sandwich is all I can think about! I’m with Liz – finger licking good! xo
LOL – BBQ for breakfast? Bring that ice cream Annie! xo
Oooh yes! These are on next week’s menu … can’t wait to try them! Thank you!
Hi Linda! I hope you enjoy the recipe!
Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health
You are a GENIUS!! Shredding mushrooms to mimic pulled BBQ is pure gold. Plus you went and made them look like the sexiest BBQ sandwich on the planet. Dying over this one, Traci!!
Hahhaa… You’re going to LOVE these Sarah! xo
I’m in total agreement with Mary Ann-such an original idea for a pulled BBQ recipe. Mushrooms are such flavor sponges so with the combination of sauteed onions and your Bourbon BBQ Sauce and Mango Avocado Salsa you’ve hit all the right notes, Traci!
Thaank you Jean! I hope you enjoy these savory sandwiches!
Oh my gosh, I could totally dig into this sandwich. There’s something so savory about portobellos. I bet it tastes amazing!
I couldn’t agree more Karen… they have that umami!
Liz @ Floating Kitchen
I have never tried shredding mushrooms before! Brilliant and I can’t wait to try these. They sound amazing! Finger licking good!
Thank you Liz! Finger lickin good… with corn on the cob?! I can’t wait for fresh corn!
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
This has to be one of the most creative and delicious recipes I’ve seen in quite a while Traci! I would have never thought to shred mushrooms. Leave it to you to come up with such an awesome idea! Tom would even love this BBQ sandwich because mushrooms are one of his favorite veggies! Perfect with your Texas potato salad and that fabulous bourbon BBQ sauce! Seriously droolworthy! Well done my friend!
OMG! I’m smitten that Tom would like this Mary Ann! Hooray!