A tasty mushroom burger can go head-to-head against any beef burger. Mushrooms are tasty, healthy and low in calories. What they lack, however, is a binding property. If not properly mixed, mushroom burgers will fall apart on the grill. For a burger that sticks together, use strong binders with mild flavors. These include potatoes, wheat gluten, grains and legumes. These will allow you to add the seasonings of your choice without worrying about how they will pair with the flavors of the binding ingredients.
Glue It With Gluten
Wheat gluten makes a powerful binder for mushroom burgers. You can use vital wheat gluten alone, but it will be easier to mix in if you combine it with whole wheat bread crumbs. Vital wheat gluten, a protein extracted from wheat berries, is a powerful binder that requires special care. Add all of the wheat gluten and breadcrumbs to the burger mixture at once and stir quickly. Otherwise, it can turn into glue-like strands and ruin your mixture.
Potatoes Pull It Together
Potatoes can thicken soups, but also work magic in a mushroom burger. To prepare the potato as a binder, boil it, mash it with a fork and mix it into the other ingredients. You can also shred the potato with a hand grater and add it the mixture as a raw ingredient. Many burger recipes call for a starch ingredient, such as oats, rice or barely. If you don't want to add one of these, starchy potatoes make an excellent choice as a binding ingredient.
The Mighty Mushroom
The earthy flavor of mushrooms is complemented by the flavors of nutritious legumes and grains, such as lentils and barley, which make excellent additions to mushroom burgers. Consider a burger of cremini mushrooms and pinto beans, both of which have a meaty flavor. Season with garlic powder and pepper and add soy, barbecue or steak sauce. You can also mix several types of mushrooms, such as portobello, cremini and shitake, with barley for a tasty patty. This time, try thyme, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
Once you understand how to prepare binders, experiment with your own recipes. Taste all of the mushroom varieties your supermarket or farmers market offer to find the ones you like best. If adding vegetables with lots of water, such as spinach, cook them first or your burgers may get soggy during cooking. The ideal burger mixture is moist enough to shape easily into substantial patties that bind together well. Patties must have enough moisture so they don't dry out during cooking. If the mixture is too crumbly, add a little water. If the mixture is too moist, add in more of your starch ingredient or dry oats.
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