Saturday, January 28, 2012

Simple and Easy Porcini Mushroom Veggie Burgers

I've experimented with lots of recipes for homemade veggie burgers, and I must say that this is one great veggie burger. It may even be 'the one'! The tempeh and portobellos add just the right amount of texture while the mustard and worcestershire sauce bring in an unmistakable depth of flavor. 

These are rich and meaty thanks to the addition of a mere tablespoon of dried porcini mushrooms. If you've never tasted porcini, be sad because you are missing out on something great. There's really nothing else like it in the plant world. Chefs will often use dried porcini to give already meaty stews and sauces a meatier flavor if that tells you anything about this powerful, pungent mycelium.

You can find dried porcini mushrooms at Whole Foods. They are about nine dollars for a one-ounce bag, which sounds really expensive, but it's not -- I use them all the time, and that tiny bag lasts about five months. They are great in stocks, soups, stews, and veggie burgers.
Porcini Mushroom Veggie Burger

(Makes 4 veggie burger patties)

1  8-ounce package of tempeh (crumbled)
1 1/2 cups portobello mushrooms (very finely diced)
1 tablespoon dried porcini (minced)
1 cup smoked provolone cheese (shredded)
1/2 cup shallot (minced)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon vegetarian worcestershire sauce
cracked black pepper (to taste)
1 tablespoon grainy or creole mustard
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 eggs
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup of canola oil for frying
4-6 ounces cheddar (sliced)
1 cup chopped romaine lettuce
1 tomato sliced
1/4 cup sliced shallot
1/2 cup dill pickle slices
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup mustard

Mix all ingredients, save for the oil, in a large bowl and work it all through with your hands until all ingredients are throughly mixed. Allow the mixture to rest in the fridge for at least ten minutes before forming the patties. In a 10-inch frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Portion patties using a 1/2-cup measuring cup. Form a 3 1/2 inch patty using your hands pressing the sides with your thumb so they are smooth and not craggy. This will help keep your burger together. Once you have formed the patty place it directly into the hoot oil. Pan-fry in the oil for about 4-5 minutes per side or until they're lightly browned and the egg has set. Remove patties from the pan and serve immediately or set them aside on a paper towel-lined plate until you are ready to take the optional step of grilling the burgers.
Once you have all of your toppings ready, preheat your outdoor grill to 500 degrees. Cook burger patties for about 3 minutes per side -- or until well-marked by the grill grates and heated through. This step adds a depth to the flavor. Top burgers with cheese, and allow the heat from the burgers to melt it. Serve on a soft sesame bun with romaine lettuce, sliced tomato, thinly sliced shallot, dill pickle slices, mustard, and mayonnaise.


  1. The only big note I have is that two of the four burgers fell apart on me, but I think that was more user error than anything else. Great idea to use the measuring cup to portion the patties! My problem, I think, is that I should have just moved them directly from the measuring cup to the oil rather than having a plate as the middle man. Also, I flipped them after about 3 minutes, but I think I really should have kept them on the first side for 4-5 minutes to let them firm up and then adjusted the time accordingly on the second side.

    I like the crispness that the burgers take on, and the flavor is really good overall. I've discovered, though, that I don't necessarily care for the somewhat nutty taste of tempeh. I think that when I make these again, I'll add some crushed red pepper and/or chili powder to balance out the flavor of the tempeh.

    One last thing--in the final paragraph, the second sentence is worded sort of funny. Do you mean that the grill step is optional? Maybe include the words "optional step" at the beginning of that paragraph? I grilled them after pan-frying them, and I definitely think that step added to the flavor.

    By the way, lately when my husband and I sit down to dinner, he's started asking, "Is this a Chubby?" Pretty funny to me.

  2. Great! I think I should have added to allow the mixture to rest for 10 minutes. This allows the egg to soak into the ingredients. That may help keep them intact. Also the size of the mushroom dice is important to keeping them together. A large chunk of mushroom within the burger would certainly be a detriment to the structure of the patty (ha, that's a funny sentence.)

    Tempeh is an acquired taste. It is so healthy for you though. It has one of the best protein to fat ratios of any food. I'll eat a chunk of it after a workout simply for the protein.

    I totally see what you are saying about the grill instructions.