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Mushrooms Masquerading As Meat

Chefs are figuring out how to stealthily add mushrooms to ground beef to cut fat and calories without sacrificing flavor.

mushrooms on cutting board

Photo: Mike (Flickr)

Mushrooms provide flavor and moisture to beef.

Meat and mushrooms are no recent pairing. From gravies to stroganoff, fungi plus protein are a time-honored combination.

For those looking to eat healthier without sacrificing meat, mushrooms have been creeping into the everyday burger.

In 2011, the Mushroom Council joined the Healthy Menus R&D Collaborative, which includes restaurants like McDonald’s and Panera. Their goal was to make the food they sold healthier, but still marketable.

Mushrooms aren’t only the healthier choice, they are also the more eco-friendly one as well. Adding one-quarter mushrooms to beef in a recipe decreases fat, sodium and calories by a third. Less beef in our food also means less cattle production, which uses a significant amount of resources and produces methane.

After some testing, an 80/20 mix of beef to mushrooms makes a moist, flavorful burger.

Roasted button mushrooms have been substituted for ground beef, but other options, like cremini, provide an increased depth of flavor and moisture to the beef mixture.

Looking to increase your mushroom intake? The Huffington Post has a mushroom guide slideshow that outlines five different mushroom varieties and how they are best enjoyed. The New York Times provides a recipe for a roasted mushroom base and mushroom burgers using cremini mushrooms.

Read More:

  • The meat-mushroom blend makes sense (Washington Post)
  • Make Room For Mushrooms: Fungi Compete With Meat In Burgers (NPR)
Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Chicago. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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