Last week I was at Sam’s club, like every Saturday morning picking up my weekly supplies perusing through the fresh produce section. I was pushing my buggy (yes ‘buggy’ – that’s what us Yinzers call a shopping cart) through the aisles, taking my time looking at everything when I spotted the most incredible Portabella mushroom caps. Each cap was literally the size of a dinner plate! I have never seen them that big; I mean EVER! And for like $3.50 I was all over that! So I brought them home but then kinda sorta forgot about them for a few days. I got side tracked with other things to make that when I “re-found” them I was tickled pink! Since my tummy was on the fritz and hating most meats (it does it every once in a blue moon) I figured it was perfect timing to use these face-sized mushrooms.
Since it’s Lent now I try to come up with truly meatless dishes as even though most people eat seafood on Friday there are tons that hate seafood. I took out the gorgeous portabellas (I wish I had taken pictures of them because they were MASSIVE!!!) and cleaned out the gills. Now you don’t have to remove them as they are edible. Most chef’s remove them as they will discolor your sauce and make it muddy. For this dish, it’s totally your call. I just do it out of habit. Once I chopped them up I could have easily stopped there with the veggies and just added the binding ingredients and seasoning but I wanted protein and a more well-rounded flavor profile. That being the case I opened up the fridge to see what other veggies I could add. Garlic is a must and onion as the onion adds moisture. I spied some fresh broccoli and thought that would brighten up the dish not only visually but in flavor profile. However what I didn’t have was protein. Sure the eggs were a great source of protein but I want more. I opted to add black beans not only for color, protein and flavor but also texture. They, unlike cooked broccoli, mushrooms and onions stay semi-firm.
These burgers just came together beautifully. Since I had made black bean burgers in the past (that are friggen AMAZING!!!) I knew the best bet to really get these to stick together with as little filler (bread crumbs) as possible was to mash half of the beans. That really helps to bind the stuff together without adding a lot of bread crumbs making it then almost meatloaf-like.
*looks at you* WAIT!!! I just got a genius thought! This would be AMAZING as a vegetarian meatloaf!!! OMG OMG OMG OMG!!! Oh I’m so totally making that!
My biggest advice I can give you when you make these is to make sure you have like a bowl or something with water in it so you can dip your hands in to get wet as this mixture is soft and will stick to dry hands. Plus it helps making shaping them so much easier. As you can see by the pictures they are super moist and juicy inside. I just love how you can see the different ingredients and textures. That peek-a-boo look of pieces of broccoli just make the pictures (plus the taste!). Honestly I’m not sure if I’d change the veggies I put in these as they were honestly one of the best burgers (meat or bean) that I’ve ever had. Well wait, maybe shredded zucchini next time. THAT would rock in these!
But yeah as I was saying the flavor profile on these are incredible. Portabellas are beefy and meaty in texture. To me they mimic beef/steak. And by adding in the other seasonings these taste like beef. I literally was blown away by the flavor of these.
You could easily serve these on burger buns (go with a Brioche onion bun) or do what I did and nestle one in a few bib lettuce leaves, top it with some hummus and maybe a slice of cheese. I ate these for breakfast and lunch for 3 days straight because I couldn’t get enough of them! I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect veggie burger as I just went and created it. Yes I am tooting my own horn on this (BEEP BEEP) as seriously these rocked my world in a big way!
It’s funny as when I was heating these up at work for lunch so many people would come into the kitchen and say “What is that smell? It smells amazing! Lori what did you make??”. Then when I showed them their eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. So I managed to lose one every day to passers-by as they wanted to taste. I didn’t mind though as I find that to be such a huge compliment. What’s funny is I’d tell them it was all veggies and then a few guys would argue with me saying “It can’t be as it tastes like beef! There has to be beef in there!” but I would just shake my head no over and over. So yeah if you can get people arguing with you over a veggie burger tasting so much like beef that they question if it’s really just veggies then you’ve created something pretty amazing!So even if you’re a hardcore carnivore I’m asking you to give this a shot. You will LOVE these! And yes if you really wanted to you could add some beef in with the mix but you’ll have to adjust your cooking time to ensure the beef is cooked all the way through but honestly I wouldn’t as these are perfect just the way they are. I would not steer you wrong on this!
2 cups portabella mushrooms, cubed (smaller pieces); gills removed
2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and divided
1 cup minced broccoli, fresh only
1/2 cup red onion, minced
3 XL eggs, beaten
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbl Panko or Gluten Free Panko
1 Tbl Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 Tbl Worcestershire *for full vegetarian style use one that does not contain anchovies
2 Tbl minced garlic
3/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan *Look for vegetarian or vegan Parmesan cheese if you do not eat animal products
In a large bowl add 1 cup of black beans and mash with a masher (chunks are OK).
Next, add in the mushrooms, the rest of the beans, broccoli, garlic, onion, Worcestershire and steak seasoning.
Mix just until coated.
Add in the eggs, cheese and bread crumbs and mix gently with a large spoon until the mixture is combined.
Set aside while you place a medium non-stick pan over medium heat and add in 2 Tbl of oil.
Once the oil starts to shimmer (about a minute or two), using dampened hands (the mixture will stick to you if you don’t), scoop a 1/2 cup of mixture into the palm of your hand and gently shape into a burger all the while pressing together. The mixture should hold a burger shape. If it doesn’t add just a Tbl more of bread crumbs.
Place in the oil and cook for 3-5 minutes per side or until golden brown and a crust has formed on each side.
Serve with hummus, guacamole or steak sauce
Thank you, The Kitchen Whisperer.