In the spirit of eating healthier, I’ve been making more plant-based recipes and last weekend, I attempted something a little more ambitious: vegetarian mushroom burger!
(Yes, bean-based vegetarian burgers ones are common but they give me flatulence. Ahem.)
Verdict? I loved it!
The mushroom texture and flavour tasted amazingly close to meat. I was worried the burger wouldn’t hold its shape but nope, mine was fine even without refrigeration. Add some nice condiments like cheese, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and sauces like mayo and sriracha sauce, and you won’t even know it’s vegetarian!
In making any dish, I typically research and compare dozens (at least) of recipes and make my own deduction from comparing the theories before road-testing them. Here are observations that will ensure success for your mushroom burger!
Which type of mushrooms to use?
I used a combination of fresh mushrooms and reconstituted dried shitake mushrooms. I figure shitake’s intense umami would benefit the burger. But I was worried the shitake would be too overpowering, so I only used a normal mushroom:shitake ratio of 5:1. The shitake flavour was quite mild, to my surprise, so I think this can be upped to 5:2 for an even more intense flavour.
I also heard that hericium mushroms or “Lion’s Mane” makes a good alternative. It has “a flavor and texture similar to lobster or crab and is stringy, meaty, and delicate. Once cooked, it’s slightly chewy, tender, and juicy.” In other words, the perfect meat replacement for burgers! You try and let me know lah 🙂
Boosting the umami
I am trying to keep my sodium levels low, so I added only a little salt and cheddar cheese to add the savoury flavour. But I believe you can experiment with umami agents like miso and stronger-flavoured cheese to transform your burger into a real umami bomb! I like to keep my flavour profile singular (e.g. not too many competing tastes), but please feel free to add spices such as thyme, oregano, cumin, etc.
For texture, you can also try adding in chopped nuts. Start with soft nuts like walnut and see how you like it, before experimenting with harder ones. Pistachios should also be delicious!
Will my burger fall apart in the pan?
In a lot of recipes I read, people were worried about whether the mushroom burger patty would fall apart or hold its shape. Mine didn’t. I think this has to do with a few things – you have to blend the mushrooms enough to be grainy yet not pasty, and you must use enough binding agents. I used wheat flour, breadcrumbs and egg to bind the mushroom paste after I’d blended it.
More burger recipes
Mushroom Burger (Vegetarian)
- Mixing bowl, nonstick pan
- 200g brown and white field mushrooms
- 50g dried shitake mushrooms
- 50g cheddar cheese, grated
- 1-2 eggs, beaten
- 1-2 tbs flour
- 2 tbs breadcrumbs
- Salt and pepper
- 2 Shallots, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Oil for shallow pan frying
- Soak shitake mushrooms in hot water about 1 hour or until soft. Chop roughly.
- Roughly chop brown and white mushrooms
- Heat up 1 tbs oil. Saute shallots and garlic until soft, not brown. You don't want your burger to taste bitter!
- Add brown and white, and shitake mushrooms and a bit of salt to draw out the moisture. Cook until mushrooms are lightly brown.
- In a food processor, blend mushrooms until mixture achieves a rough pasty consistency. You want the mixture to remain a little grainy yet sticky to help form a patty later.
- In a mixing bowl, add salt and pepper. cheddar, flour and breadcrumbs. Add one egg first - you may not need up to two eggs. Use your judgement to see the wet consistency.
- Shape into burger patties nearly 1cm thick. The burger needs to be thick enough to ensure the middle remains moist when you fry the outside. (See recipe notes)
- Heat up oil in nonstick pan and fry on both sides for a few minutes until outside is crispy. Serve with condiments of your choice. Bon appetit!
- I was initially nervous about the burger disintegrating - as reported in so many other vegetarian burger recipes - so I popped the mixture into the fridge for an hour to firm up the mixture. But I tried doing without the refrigeration and my burgers still held their shape. If you have enough binder, and you pan-fry the burger, I think the shape will hold up. Do experiment and let me know how it goes for you.