Recently a viewer wrote with a question about veggie burgers. In our Veggie Planet episode, Didi Emmons and I put together a delicious burger built on a foundation of brown rice and kasha. Included in the burger are carrots, mushrooms, tarragon and walnuts. The question was concerning the addition of mushrooms. For those that don’t like them, can some other vegetable be a reasonable substitute for our fungi friends?
The answer is yes. You can substitute another ingredient and omit the mushrooms. A veggie burger is really what you make it, but the base ingredients of grains and nuts don’t change much. Mushrooms simply add a little texture and moisture to the burger, as well as a particular flavor. If you don’t like mushrooms, try adding zucchini or eggplant (finely diced and stir fried) or some extra steamed carrots.
A cup and a half of mushrooms cooks down to very little, so the recipe doesn’t depend on them. Zucchini and eggplant are both big on moisture and, if you want to, try adding more herbs to compensate for the deep flavor of the mushrooms. You can also add half a cup more of nuts. The trick here is to keep the moisture level up so the burgers are easier to work with. You don’t want the mixture to be wet, but you do want it to have a slightly sticky moist texture. If you don’t like mushrooms, give this a try and let me know how it works. Good luck and remember, everybody can cook, the more you experiment the better you’ll get.