Of all the plant-based options I know of, there is not a single one that can hold its own against meats at a barbecue like the Portobello.
It has a succulent chewy texture, a wild-woodsy flavor, and--unlike any meat--it keeps delivering juicy pleasure with every bite. It also feels like it's actually good for you, like it's providing nature's medicinal goodness, which in fact it is. Mushrooms are a good source of potassium, niacin, riboflavin and selenium, for starters. They have anti-estrogenic qualities, which helps prevent breast and prostate cancer. So compared with the slabs of red meat on the grill that get the paleo-people drooling, a Portobello mushroom steak is a life-saver (in more ways than one).
I just finished developing a set of recipes for a "Vegetarian Southwest Barbecue" article that will appear in a 2012 issue of Delicious Living Magazine, and I think the "Grilled Portobello Salad with Cashew-Poblano Crema" is my favorite of them all. It began as a simple grilled mushroom with a cashew-based creamy sauce blended with roasted poblano pepper, which was awfully good when I made it the first time. But on the advice of my editor, I later converted it to a warm salad, which was a good call. (As an aside, I have to say that at least half of good writing is trusting one's editor.)
In the final version, I increased the amount of roasted poblano chiles in the "crema" to give it a more robust flavor, and mixed some of it with lime juice to make the salad dressing. The rest I piped across the mushrooms as a topping. The greens will be baby arugula in the article, but I didn't have any on hand, so I used some of our home-grown baby red Swiss chard for the test. Home run, if you ask me--or ask my wife; she loved it too.
You want the recipe? Keep an eye out for the July 2012 issue of Delicious Living--free at your local natural foods store!