The Blended Burger Project is the genius idea of the James Beard Foundation. It began as a way to encourage healthier eating that is more sustainable for our planet by blending ground meat with mushrooms. Unknowingly I had started doing my own testing for ways to decrease the amount of meat in burgers for a summer blog post. It began as a recipe test for black bean burgers using ground mushrooms as one of the ingredients. But having a husband who adores meat I decided to test a ground meat burger with the concept of mixing ground mushrooms in too. After all I need to keep my taste testers happy. And I thought I was being so original.
Well timing is everything. That same week I was testing, an e-mail from the JBF popped into my inbox with the subject “Blended Burger Project”. And just like that I was both justified and humbled.
I opted for ground bison over ground beef for this burger (to learn more about bison click here). If you haven’t used it in cooking, now is the time. Nutritionally it is a rock star compared to beef, with a four ounce serving size having almost half of the calories of beef and 1/10th the amount of fat. It’s texture, while leaner then beef, is similar enough not to be able to tell the difference. But for those of you loyal to ground beef it can be substituted.
White button, Crimini or Portabello mushrooms work equally well for blending. Wash the mushrooms and trim the steams then pulse them in a food processor just until they are evenly and finely chopped. Be sure to take the time to thoroughly mix the ground meat and mushrooms together along with salt and pepper or whatever additional seasoning you prefer.
The grilled result is a very juicy and flavorful burger. My husband was instantly won over. And that is not an easy thing to do.
- 8 ounces mushrooms (white button, crimini or portabello)
- 1 pound ground bison (available in the meat section of many grocery stores. You may need to ask) or ground beef
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Wash mushrooms and trim stems. Put in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse several times just until finely and evenly chopped, scraping down sides with a spatula as you go.
- Transfer mushrooms to a bowl and add ground bison, salt and pepper and thoroughly mix all together.
- Divide mixture into 4 parts. Using your hands first form them each into a ball, then pat the mixture while turning it in your hand to form a patty with an even edge, about ¾ inch thick. Patties will be about 4 to 5 inches in diameter. Patties can be made to this point, covered and chilled several hours ahead.
- Cook burger on a preheated grill over medium high heat, about 4 minutes, then turn and cook until meat is cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes longer.