In honor of Earth Day this Sunday, my family has been taking a hard look at our eating habits. And I bet you know where this is going from the headline, right? Cows.
It’s no secret that our collective love for beef is having a harmful impact on the environment. In fact, just last month NPR reported that if 30% of the beef in every hamburger in America were replaced by mushrooms (and that’s just in America!) it would reduce greenhouse emissions so much, it would be like taking 2.3 million vehicles off the road. Whoa.
Don’t worry, I’m not recommending you make anything that would taste utterly horrible. In fact, I’ve tried lots of recipes and those mushrooms will make your burgers more moist, rich and savory…all with fewer calories, too.
Want to try it with your own favorite recipe? Just take one container of white mushrooms, pulse until fine, and add to your beef mix. Blend in your favorite seasonings, and get grilling.
Or, if you’re looking for alternatives for more eco-friendly burgers, I’ve put together five of my favorite burger recipes — from beef and mushroom to black bean and tempeh — that I promise taste amazing.
In fact, I originally listed six recipes, but ended up tossing one, because it turned out terribly. So trust me — you can’t go wrong with these.
Top: Lentil and Mushroom Burger | Hello Veggie
If the idea of a burger entirely without beef is sacrilegious to you, then try this mushroom-and-beef blended burger at From James to Jamie. It requires finely chopping mushrooms, then adding them to the beef to make it go farther, and the result is a wonderfully juicy, rich, savory flavor. And no, your kids do not have to know. Unless you want to tell them.
No lie, I make this Black Bean and Quinoa Burger from Peas and Crayons once a week. In fact, I love them so much that I triple the recipe and refrigerate, which yields enough for me to eat these eco-friendly burgers for lunch at least 2-3 more times. They come out spicy and moist and delicious, and even my meat-loving brother-in-law asked me to make a batch for him to keep on hand too.
(Tip for vegans: You can sub 1 tablespoon of aquafaba for the egg. I think it’s easier and cheaper than using a flax egg.)
Our favorite burger joint in town has an amazing Southwest burger, and the flavors of Minimalist Baker’s Green Chili Veggie Burger recipe capture it in an easy at-home version. The burger patty itself is basically a Mexican-inspired falafel, with tortilla chips incorporated. And look at those green chilis, salsa, and avocado. Yum! Yep, I’m game.
For all the burger fun without actually making a burger, try out this Grilled Salmon Sliders recipe from The Forked Spoon. In fact, you might skip the bite-sized slider portion and just go ahead and make yours full-sized. Because, OMG, that garlic aioli looks amazing. (And hey, any excuse to eat a fantastic, fresh burger bun, ha.) For a fresh, lighter option at your backyard cookouts this summer, this is the one. Plus, it leaves plenty of room for dessert.
After reading Kiersten’s passionate description at Hello Veggie of the lentil and mushroom burger recipe she cooked from Nina Olsson’s Veggie Burger Atelier cookbook, I’m ready to try it tonight. If you’re okay with being a bit loose and creative with a veggie burger recipe, this is one for you. It gives you options to vary it up, so you can make it whatever you’ve got on hand. That’s my kind of cooking.