Peanut butter and jelly…ketchup and mustard…pancakes and syrup. These classic food combos are so familiar, it’s hard to think of one without the other. But now there’s a new kid on the block: mushrooms + meat, AKA, The Blend!
The Blend is truly as simple as that; it’s a mixture of finely chopped mushrooms added to your choice of ground protein. Ground beef or bison, chicken or turkey, pork, chorizo, and lamb can all work well for blending depending on your taste preferences.
Making your own version of The Blend is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Just chop, blend, cook and you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits of mushrooms in each bite. Here are some tips and best practices I’ve learned through my own culinary experiments with The Blend:
- Match the consistency of the chopped mushrooms to your meat. This helps with even cooking, since more uniformity makes it less likely to end up with undercooked meat (which is a food safety concern) or undercooked mushrooms (which could impact flavor and texture).
- Use the right ratio. Consistency matters when it comes to blending meat and mushrooms. Use the “The Blend Scale” tool to determine the right ratio for what you plan to make. You can incorporate more mushrooms for something like a stew or chili (which I do all the time!) but for something like meatballs or burger patties, a little goes a long way.
- Let creativity be your guide. One of my favorite things about using The Blend is that it offers so many ways to get creative. While there’s nothing wrong with consistency, I find that my blend turns out different almost every time. I sometimes use the same type of mushroom, other times there’s a variety based on what’s in my fridge. One thing that never changes, though, is that it’s always delicious!
And while infusing savory, umami flavor into each bite is a clear benefit to blending, it’s not the only reason to give this cooking technique a try. Mushrooms also contribute juiciness and moisture during cooking. My favorite way to use this to my advantage: grilling season! Although the current temperature says otherwise, it’s right around the corner. You’ll find me taking advantage at every opportunity. If you want to do the same, find some recipe inspiration in the Banh Mi Blended Burger, the Buffalo Chicken Blended Burger, or the Classic Blended Burger.
If you want to share your own creation using The Blend in a burger recipe, don’t miss the upcoming contest with FoodNetwork.com! Learn more HERE.
Here are some other unique benefits to using The Blend:
- Blending mushrooms into meat can help you stretch your grocery dollars further. Mushrooms add bulk and volume without sacrificing flavor. If you’re mindful with your shopping budget, it’s a win-win to blend mushrooms with the proteins you’re cooking with.
- Choosing mushrooms is an Earth-friendly choice. As a dietitian, many of my clients voice concerns about sustainability. They want to eat in a way that reflects their values. If you feel the same, know that mushrooms are grown with care using minimal water, land, and electricity.
- Finally, adding more mushrooms to your meals means more veggies! Most Americans struggle to meet the recommendation of 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. So featuring blended recipes on your menu you can make it easier to benefit from the nutrition mushrooms provide.
This list highlights a few of my favorite benefits of The Blend. And you can get your hands on them (pun intended) through more than just burgers! Try using The Blend for any recipe using ground proteins. My early adventures in the kitchen started with burgers. Then I realized what works well for burgers would easily translate into meatballs or meatloaf. And my latest endeavor: queso dip topped with a spicy blended chorizo! You can find that recipe (pictured above) HERE along with lots of other ideas to get you started.
Happy cooking, we can’t wait to see what you blend up!