May 29, 2013

BBQ Pulled Portabella Sliders + Spelt Buns + Pineapple Cole Slaw

Lots of info in today’s post. Three recipes. Four if you count the cashew mayonnaise for the cole slaw. Five if you count the little slider buns! Whew… I’ve been busy. I’ve never seen small, pre-made buns in the store that weren’t made with white flour and other junk so I made these with whole spelt flour.

I first had BBQ portobello mushrooms at Rosetta’s Kitchen in Asheville, NC. I was hooked! I’ve made them a few times since then and I really want to share them with you. And for this recipe, I paired them with slider buns for something different. They’re so cute! And tasty. This meal is perfect for a cookout or a pot luck. I would suggest making the BBQ sauce AND the buns ahead of time. Otherwise you will spend the whole day in the kitchen!


       ~ for the slider buns

  • 1 pack of yeast + ¼ cup warm water
  • 2 tsp natural sweetener of your choice (I used coconut sugar)
  • 2 TBS ground flax + 3 TBS water
  • 3 TBS applesauce
  • 1 cup unsweetened ROOM TEMPERATURE soymilk + 1 TBS apple cider vinegar (vegan buttermilk!)
  • ~ 3 cups whole spelt flour (see info below about spelt)
  • ¼ tsp salt

       ~ for the mushrooms

       ~ for the cashew mayonnaise

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 TBS yellow mustard
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ¾ cup water
  • pinch of salt

       ~ for the cole slaw

  • 1 small head green cabbage, very thinly sliced
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple, diced
  • ½ tsp celery seed
  • ¼ cup raw hemp seeds
  • 1 recipe of mayo (above)

Spelt vs. Wheat
Spelt is more water-soluble and more easily digested than wheat flour. It is preferred by many people with wheat sensitivities and may be an acceptable substitute for some people with gluten intolerance. However, it is not gluten-free. Something that is gluten-free will naturally be wheat-free; however the reverse is not true. Therefore spelt would not be a suitable substitute for someone with true wheat allergies or celiac disease.

spelt rolls, just out of the oven


If you are fortunate enough to not suffer from a wheat sensitivity, spelt can be a healthful addition to your diet. Although we don’t eat a lot of grains, I like to use a variety of them to help ensure we get as many different nutrients and the benefits from a wide spectrum of different foods. Spelt flour has slightly more protein and fewer calories than wheat flour. It contains a broad array of nutrients and is a good source of vitamin B2, manganese, niacin, copper, phosphorus, protein, and fiber. Spelt has a much tougher outer husk than wheat. During milling, this tough outer shell helps protect the grain, preserving both nutrients and flavor. It also helps protect the grain from pests and infestations which makes it much easier to grow without the use of harmful pesticides.


       ~ for the buns

  1. Combine the flax meal and the water and set aside.
  2. Place the yeast in a large bowl and add the sweetener and warm water. Stir gently.
  3. To the yeast, add all the remaining wet ingredients.
  4. Stir to combine.
  5. Add the flour, a little at a time. Use a strong wooden spoon to stir.
  6. When you reach a dough-like consistency, turn the mixture out onto a table or countertop and knead for about 5 minutes, using extra flour as needed.
  7. Place the dough into a new bowl. 
  8. Cover with a kitchen towel and place in a draft-free place to rise for about 1 hour.
  9. After it’s risen, turn the dough out again (add a bit more flour if needed) and pinch off balls about 2″ in diameter. Roll them in your hands until smooth and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper about 1″ apart. You should have about 16 rolls.
  10. Let rise again, about 30 minutes. After they rise again, they will be touching. That’s a good thing.
  11. Preheat oven to 330 degrees F.
  12. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until they are a bit golden and are firm to the touch.


       ~ for the cashew mayonnaise

  • Combine all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth.


       ~ for the cole slaw

  1. Slice the cabbage as thin as you can.
  2. Once you have shredded your cabbage, toss it with the diced pineapple, the celery seeds, the hemp seeds and the cashew mayonnaise.
  3. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.


thinly sliced cabbage


       ~ for the mushrooms

  1. Slice your mushrooms into thin pieces, keeping them as long as possible.
  2. Place sliced mushrooms into a saute pan, add a little water and simmer until soft and all the water has evaporated. You may need to actually pour some water off if they sweat a lot out. That’s okay.
  3. Add barbecue sauce, enough to cover and stir to combine.
  4. Slice the slider rolls in half and stuff with the mushrooms. If you made them ahead of time, warm them up first in the oven or toaster oven.


This is how your mushrooms should be sliced. It takes a while…
Have patience, it’s worth it!


The recipe for these rolls makes 16. The mushrooms will make about 10 slider sandwiches. Enjoy the leftover rolls however you like!

Healthy trails,


6 responses to “BBQ Pulled Portabella Sliders + Spelt Buns + Pineapple Cole Slaw”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Helyn,

    These recipes look great. I will test them out because we expect a lot of company this summer. I really appreciate the additional information you always add to help me better understand why you make certain food choices, and your photography is spectactular.

    On a different note, I purchased the coconut aminos you linked in a previous post from Vitacost and I was surprised at the sweetness. Do you use coconut aminos very often?


  2. Helyn says:

    Hi Brenz,

    Thanks so much for the comments and the question! I don't use the coconut aminos that often. As you said, the product does add a bit of sweetness. But it does pair well with certain recipes, particularly in salad dressings and in Indian cooking. I do prefer it to Bragg's and other soy sauce type products since the sodium content is SO much lower.


  3. Anonymous says:

    Hello Helyn,
    I'm enjoying your recipes and all the great information you share. I wondered if your spelt bread gets dry? I've noticed my wheat breads will be getting dry in a few days. But spelt bread starts drying out fast. I made these spelt buns and have also made other spelt bread. Within a couple of hours of coming out of the oven it's getting really dry. Any ideas? I'm wondering about natural dough conditioners etc… I've read a little about adding granular lecithin, a sprinkle of ginger, citric or ascorbic acid. Since we follow Dr. Mcdougall's way of eating we do not eat oil. So I'm wondering if I should replace the oil with avocado or a nut butter.
    Thanks! Katie

  4. Helyn says:

    Hi Katie,

    I'm glad that you are enjoying the blog! I haven't noticed the spelt products getting dry. As soon as they are at room temp, I place them into a ziplock bag and then into the fridge… seems to keep them fresh. Re: the oil… ah, it's so tricky baking without it. If you've poked around my blog you may have found some baked things that use no oil. I haven't tried these muffins without it, but I know there are lots of recipes for breads out there that do not require oil. I try to really minimize its use. Lecithin! That's something that I haven't thought of before so I'm glad you brought it up. I'm going to try it in a few things and if successful I will post them! Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!


  5. Brenda H says:

    Hi Helyn,
    I finally made the bbq pulled portobello sliders – minus the buns – and I have a few questions. I made the sauce exactly as shown but after tasting added more hot sauce. However, I notice a strong vinegar flavor. I do not know the difference between "raw" apple cider vinegar and what is commonly available on store shelves. Maybe I didn't follow the recipe exactly – should that make a difference?
    Additionally, I sliced the l mushrooms very thin and cooked as directed with some water. They are still somewhat chewy – is it possible I should have cooked longer? They cooked down quite a bit.
    Any thoughts?


  6. Helyn says:

    Hi Brenz,

    I don't think you did anything wrong. Did you use the BBQ sauce pretty soon after making it? The vinegar flavor will definitely mellow with time. And vinegar amount is a personal thing, too. My honey is not a fan, so I didn't use as much as some other recipes call for. The raw vinegar may be a little stronger than others, but not much.

    On the mushrooms, they do tend to stay a bit chewy. Portabellas are pretty sturdy that way. How long did you cook them? I hope you enjoyed the dish anyway!


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