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Mushroom Burger Recipe
Not Just For Vegetarians
This mushroom burger recipe is seriously delicious and you don't have to be a vegetarian or vegan to enjoy it just as much as you would any other burger. My wife's sister is a devoted meat eater and when I made her one of these she didn't even miss the meat until afterwards when she said "What was in that? It was fantastic!" When I told her there was no meat in it she was shocked to say the least because it tastes so good you won't even care.
Healthy & Tasty Burger
I live on a sailboat with a tiny galley (that's kitchen in landlubber talk) and no refrigeration so I eat mostly vegetarian or vegan but I really dislike those terms. As a devout carnivore for most of my life I thought that the first thing I'd have to do is work out some way of keeping meat on-board but I tried cooking without it and I didn't miss it at all. So, for me, eating vegetarian wasn't so much of a lifestyle choice as it was an awakening to something fantastically different. I don't think in terms of vegetarian ingredients or vegan recipes, I think "what flavors taste great together?" So instead of this being a vegetarian or vegan mushroom burger it's just a mushroom burger. I don't even call it a healthy mushroom burger, even though it is extremely good for you, because, to me, taste comes first.
Fake Meat, No Thanks.
Most of the vegetarian burgers or vegan burger recipes you see call for the use of some kind of fake or artificial meat but not this burger. There are a lot of great food and taste combinations out there that work astoundingly well together and I prefer to use them instead of some concoction fermented in a laboratory to try and recreate the taste or feel of meat. Having said that, in my opinion, mushrooms do the best job of simulating the meat experience, especially portobello mushrooms. When cooked properly their 'flesh' is juicy an rich and feels a tiny bit spongy just like good steak that is well cooked.
Mushroom Burger Ingredients
Half the trick to making a great mushroom burger is in getting the right ingredients and the other half of the alchemy is in preparing them correctly. If you've ever watched that show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives with Guy Fieri then you might have been brainwashed into thinking that you can only make a tasty burger by towering up 97 ingredients into a pile of food that you can't actually put into your mouth. Wrong. Good quality ingredients, flavor matched properly, is the true way to make the most flavorful thing that you will ever eat.
Burger Bun - you can't make a great burger with a shoddy burger bun so don't skimp. Get something that is going to taste good because if you get a poor quality bun then your poor burger is doomed from the start. I like buns with sesame seeds on them but I've also used cheese buns, jalapeno buns, sourdough buns and just about anything else you can think of. A good bun is essential to making a tasty burger.
Mustard - you're either a fan or a foe it seems when it comes to mustard. I love the stuff, my wife can't stand it (but she still loves this burger recipe!) some people like mayonnaise but I can't stand the stuff personally, it gives me the willeys. So, instead I prefer to use mustard, which I think is the secret ingredient to any burger or sandwich. I like something with a little spice to it like Dijon but you could use that hot dog mustard too if that's your thing.
Mushrooms - any mushrooms will do but portobello mushrooms are the absolute best. They are flavorful and satisfying.
Onion - red onion is my favorite to use in burgers and sandwiches because it packs a lot of flavor punch into each bite.
Cilantro - I will be eternally grateful to my wife for introducing me to two things, spinach as a lettuce alternative and cilantro as an ingredient that we now use in almost everything. Apart from being a super-food packed with healthy goodness, cilantro is intensely flavorful and brings alive other flavors as well. Unfortunately for most cooks they only think of cilantro as a garnish which is a sad mistake on their part.
Tomato - some tomatoes have almost no taste at all so just walk right by them and get a red, firm but not hard, tomato, something like an heirloom or whatever your personal choice is.
And that is all you will need to make a fantastic, tasty and healthy mushroom burger. Simple, quick to make and incredibly delicious. Now let's make the burger.
Making The Mushroom Burger
We've got great quality ingredients, now let's make the tastiest mushroom burger you can imagine.
Burger Bun - Sometimes I toast it, usually I don't. The better quality the bun, the less you will need or want to toast it. Great bread doesn't need toasting, it just needs to taste great but a toasted bun is also nice for a change too.
Mustard - no mystery here, just spread it on the buns as thick as you want. Note, that if you are going to add cheese to your burger, make sure it is in direct contact with the mustard. Each accentuates the other's taste.
Bonus Ingredient - You can also use your favorite BBQ sauce or hot sauce. I like to put mustard on the bottom bun and barbecue sauce on the top bun so that the BBQ sauce is in direct contact with the mushrooms. Layering the ingredients in the right order is key to getting any sandwich or burger just right.
Cilantro - chop it but don't dice it. If you cut it into pieces that are too small then it falls out of the bun and is a mess to eat. You're using the cilantro like you would lettuce in this case so chop enough to cover the bottom bun completely.
Tomato - slice it and lay it on top of the cilantro. The stickiness of the mustard and the wetness of the tomato help keep the cilantro inside the bun. See, I told you correct layering of the ingredients was important. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper onto the tomato and you're ready for the next ingredient.
Mushrooms - this is where it all comes together. Slice the mushrooms about as thick as your finger. In a saucepan, melt some butter or a little oil, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Butter produces a better taste but I use a non-stick pan without using oil or butter. Get the pan hot (without burning the butter or oil) and sear the mushrooms like you would a steak. The mushrooms should turn a golden brown if you are doing it right. When they are seared, toss in the onions to sweat them a little.
Onion - slice some rings off or dice it if you like. Rings are easier to eat though and stay in the bun better. You're going to sweat he onions in a pan with the mushrooms as seen above so prepare them before you start cooking the mushrooms. Once the mushrooms are golden and the onions have softened a little, put them on the bun, on top of the tomato, add the top bun and viola!
This healthy mushroom burger is so tasty that I crave it even after I am full and can't eat any more. I hope you enjoy it too.