The Blend Makes Better Burgers

Create delicious, better-for-you burgers with one simple ingredient – mushrooms.

Based on traditional culinary techniques, many chefs are finding that you can blend finely-chopped, umami-rich mushrooms with ground meat to create better tasting, more nutritious burgers with better implications for the future supply of food. Finely chop or dice mushrooms to match the texture of ground meat, combine the ingredients, and you get a seamless blend that improves taste and showcases your creativity.

Chefs have long known that through the principles of umami, there is a symbiotic relationship between meat and mushrooms.  The umami in both meat and mushrooms provide a greater flavor impact, which is why mushrooms have always been the top vegetable topper for steak and chicken and #1 for burgers (after condiments like lettuce, tomato and onion).

Whether you create burgers with ground beef, turkey, veal, lamb, pork (ground, bacon, chorizo or other) or any combination, you will not only reduce calories, fat and sodium without sacrificing flavor, you will increase texture and juiciness of your burgers. Many are blending mushrooms with their own grinds of cuts like short rib, sirloin tips, any type of veal, pork, bacon, sausage, chorizo, turkey (dark or white meat) chicken, venison and even combinations of these. With mushrooms, you can create great flavor with white buttons, but also change up flavors with the variety of mushrooms like criminis, portabellas, shiitake, maitake/hen of the woods, oyster, trumpet and more.

The Trend is to BlendThe chefs at the Culinary Institute of America have been helping educate their chefs on the concept of Blending and the Blend has been called “the future of food” by The Culinary Trust. The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek, the New York Times, NRA, Sysco Shape, Plate Magazine and more have called out the blend as a top trend to watch. Prevention Magazine called the blend “the best burger ever” while the Washington Post celebrated “the latest miracle of mushrooms: their ability to blend with and boost the flavors of ground meat in foods such as burgers and chili, while simultaneously cutting calories, fat and costs.”

Watch as Chef Bill Briwa from the Culinary Institute of America demonstrates how easy it is to use The Blend to make your family favorite recipes healthier and tastier:

Key Benefits

  • Lower Calories
  • Lower Fat and Saturated
  • Lower Sodium
  • Enhanced Flavor
  • Juicier Texture
  • Better Holding
  • More Creativity and Differentiation
  • Potential Food Cost Savings

Impacting Flavor

Customers love burgers, and as chefs, you know that the key is to always give them the best ingredients while never sacrificing flavor. A sensory study conducted by The Culinary Institute of America and University of California, Davis and published in the Journal of Food Science shows that most consumers prefer the flavor, texture, spice levels and salt level of the blend over 100 percent beef.

Enhancing Nutrition

While chefs can blend in mushrooms at any ration, a 25 to 50 percent addition of diced mushrooms has incredible nutrition impact.

Beef-Mushroom-Patty-ComparisonBased on 50:50 Blend, Compass Group, 2014

Calorie Reduction & The Blend


Blend Recipes

The Blend Takes Off

Sysco Shape, July 2014 Newsletter
Chefs are exploring the blending of grains or vegetables like beets or mushrooms with animal protein. Mushrooms, for example, lend themselves to the blending process because they contain an abundant amount of glutamate, a naturally occurring compound directly linked to the taste sensation known as umami. Chefs are finding that by blending mushrooms with ground meat, they can create items that are more flavorful, moister, more nutritious and have a better texture. Read more >>

Eric Ernest, Executive Chef, University of Southern California Hospitality
“Using mushrooms in our burgers is not only healthier but it adds taste. It induces trial in both people searching for more flavors or a healthier burger option. We have found benefits in both flavor and cost.”

Michele Wilbur, RD, CDN, Cornell Dining Registered Dietitian
“Serving healthy meals is very important for us at Cornell Dining. The Blend concept is a good one; it’s not something we’ve implemented yet on campus, but it would increase health while decreasing food dollars. That’s a win-win for me as the dietitian, and for our chefs!”