Blended Burgers. Who knew blending health with sustainability could taste so good!
It is summer time, and grills are fired up all over the country. Many of us will be enjoying summer staples like burgers with baked beans, macaroni or potato salads and a side of watermelon. While beef can fit into a healthy diet, it is important to keep the portion size appropriate and don't over-do it. Also, pair that beef with some grilled vegetables, or better yet, make a blended burger with mushrooms. Blended burgers can be made by mixing any meat (beef, turkey, chicken or even tofu) with mushrooms. I am going to focus on beef for this post.
Using mushrooms for at least 1/4 of the beef in your patties reduces calories, fat, and cholesterol while making a more environmentally sustainable burger. I blend almost a 50/50 mushroom to beef burger and it comes out fantastic. The beef I used for the recipe below is from Plato Dale Farm. They manage their crops and animals sustainably. For any Buffalonians reading this, you can find Plato Dale Farm meats and produce at the Elmwood Bidwell Farmers Market on Saturday mornings.
Serving size reminder!
So what do mushrooms add to the patty?
I have already mentioned what mushrooms reduce in a burger, so lets go over what they bring to the table in this marriage of foods. Mushrooms are 80% water, so adding them to your burger brings some "juice" to the burger. This is especially true if you leave the mushrooms raw, and let them cook while you cook the burger. You can roast or saute the mushrooms first to bring out more flavor, but to keep things simple, I use raw mushrooms in this recipe.
Mushrooms are a sulfur-rich “vegetable” (I know they are fungus, but they sound more appetizing with the vegetable label opposed to fungus). Health benefits associated with sulfur rich foods include: cancer prevention, anti-microbial action, promotes healthy blood vessels, helps with detoxification, supports immune cell function, and supports liver health.
They are also a good source of Pantothenic acid (or vitamin B5). Especially shiitake and white mushrooms, but all provide the mitochondria supporting nutrient. Pantothenic acid is essential for conversion of the food we eat into energy. It also keeps our neurotransmitters functioning properly, aids red blood cell production and hormone production.
Mushrooms are also a prebiotic, or food for the bacteria in our gut. Mushrooms support the growth of good bacteria that lives in your gut and promotes health. The fiber in mushrooms can also help with weight loss. They increase satiety, or feeling full and therefore reduce hunger.
Mushrooms are not as vibrantly colored as some fruits and vegetables, but they are still loaded with antioxidants. Mushrooms are rich in selenium, which acts as an antioxidant, reducing free radicals which can damage our cells.
Now that you have plenty of good reasons to make blended burgers, other than the fact that they are delicious, try this easy recipe below. There are only two fresh ingredients in the actual patty to keep things simple. If you have fresh onion and garlic, you can use fresh. For this recipe I would use 3-4 cloves of garlic and 2/3 cup chopped onion.
Some side notes about the preparation
Step one does not require a special mushroom brush. As I mentioned earlier, mushrooms are 80% water, so they are not going to absorb that much more. It is totally fine to rinse your mushrooms. I used a salad spinner and they came out just perfect.
Step two does not require a food processor. You can just chop the mushrooms, or even pulse them in a blender if you have one.
Lastly, if you don't have a grill, no reason not to try a blended burger. You can roast or pan fry these babies. The burgers above were cooked on a stove top, and I covered them to let the natural juices that escaped from the mushrooms steam them a bit.
I hope you enjoy making blended burgers, and try different variations. Even if you do not like mushrooms, I highly encourage you to try the burgers. You might be surprised how much you like them.
Share your creations #nutritionwithnoelle