What is a Portuguese “Bifana”?
One of the main sandwiches in the country, enjoyed from north to south, is the bifana. Simply put, it’s steak sandwich. Usually a pork steak, to be more specific, seasoned with garlic and spices, then put inside a bread roll. Seems basic enough, doesn’t it? It is, but it’s a huge success in traditional portuguese cuisine.
Now that you know where the term “bifana” comes from…let’s talk about a more compassionate and cruelty-free version of this dish.
Today, as a suggestion for another “meat-free Monday”, I bring you one of the most successful recipes, either at our recent Vegan Retreat in Portugal, either at a number os brunches I have organised for friends and family here in London.
It is a completely plant based adaptation and “cruelty-free” of traditional Portuguese pork “bifanas”.
These “bifanas” are made of mushrooms and couldn’t be more tender and juicier than this. Besides, they are super healthy and almost fat-free.
They are delicious, and can be an excellent side to many different dishes. They are particularly sublime when served with avocado mash, and why not, with a homemade gluten-free seeded bread. “Satisfaction guaranteed!”
I remember when I was doing these healthy “bifanas” at the retreat, someone asked me “Flor, what is this smell? Are you grilling meat? “…. Loved it! And it made me laugh with so much satisfaction. The truth is that these mushroom bifanas smell (and look) exactly the same way as the tradicional portuguese meat bifanas, but with the advantage of being healthier and “cruelty-free”. So it’s undoubtedly, a Win-Win situation.
Hope you like the suggestion and see how it is possible, with a little creativity, to recreate flavors to those we are used to in a much healthier and more natural way.
Ready for the recipe?
If you are curious and want to know more about our Vegan Retreat in June, as well as the retreat that we are organizing for October, click here, and make sure not to miss this wonderful getway in sunny Portugal.
- 600g of pleurotus mushrooms
- Lemon juice, to taste
- 1,5 dl of tamari sauce or balsamic vinegar
- 3 Bay leaves
- 5 cloves garlic
- Olive oil, for grilling
- ½ cup of dill or parsley, chopped
- Oregano, to taste
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- Salt, to taste
- Peel and chop the garlic cloves.
- Wash the mushrooms well.
- In a bowl, place a layer of mushroom steaks and season with salt, pepper, bay leaf, oregano, lemon juice and chopped garlic.
- In the end, marinate the mushrooms with the tamari or balsamic vinegar for at least 30 minutes.
- In a large frying pan or grill, place a small amount of olive oil and let it heat well, and grill the mushroom steaks. Turn the "steaks" and grill them gently on each side.
- Once the "bifanas" are well grilled and have lost most of their water, add the liquid from the marinade and let reduce until it evaporates.
- Sprinkle with dill or chopped parsley and more lemon juice.