Monday, August 3, 2009

Mushroom, White Bean, Wheat Germ and Sunflower Seed Burgers

I make a lot of different veggie burgers. There is sort of a formula that I use to make the burgers. I almost always include the following: beans, nuts or seeds, bread crumbs or other grain, and vital wheat gluten. I always add the vital wheat gluten last and start with 4 tablespoons and knead that into the burgers and then add more depending on the texture. Once you have made the burgers a few times you will know what it feels like when they are firm enough.

At cooking class this week one of the topics that came up was whether you should wash mushrooms or not. As with anything else, we all had different opinions. Someone thought the mushrooms would absorb water if rinsed. I decided to test this idea and weighted my mushrooms before I rinsed them and then again after I rinsed them. To be fair I did not submerge the mushrooms in water. I placed them in a wire basket and sprayed them with water until all the exterior dirt was gone. The mushrooms before the rinse weighted 12 ounces, and after the rinse they weighted 12.2 ounces. I don’t know about you but that didn’t seem very significant to me. So much for the theory that mushrooms are sponges and shouldn’t be rinsed.

I included the wheat germ and sunflower seeds for phytosterols since they are linked to a reduction in cancer. The consumption of mushrooms is also linked to a reduction in breast cancer so that is another benefit. The beans were included for fiber and protein.

These veggies burgers are definitely man sized. I weighed a few on them and they come in at 7 ounces. If you are wondering why the calories are so high, now you know. My husband has lost weight recently so I decided to make burgers that had more calories. I may have gotten a little carried away. But then again, if you have these with a veggie side the entire meal still wouldn’t have too many calories for a man or an active woman. Or .... you can do what I did and take 2 of 6 burgers and turn them into 4 woman sized burgers. Don't forget to half the nutrition numbers below too.

Mushroom, White Bean, Wheat Germ and Sunflower Seed Burgers
Serves 6 hungry men or 12 women


12 ounces of crimini mushrooms
2 teaspoons of thyme, dried
1 tablespoon of onion flakes
6 cups of white beans
2 cloves of garlic, grated
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
½ cup of wheat germ
¼ cup of sunflower seeds, raw
2 tablespoons of hot crushed peppers (wet hots)
8 tablespoons of vital wheat gluten
1 tablespoon of canola oil for the pan


Rinse the mushrooms to remove the exterior dirt clinging to the mushrooms. Place the drained mushrooms in your food processor and pulse to grind them. Move the ground mushrooms, onion flakes and dried thyme to a heavy bottomed skillet and cook to release most of the mushroom liquid and to rehydrate the onions and thyme. Return the mushrooms to the food processor and add the beans, garlic, and kosher salt to the food processor. Process to combine the ingredients.

Move the ingredients to a large mixing bowl and add the wheat germ, sunflower seeds, and hot crushed hot crushed peppers. Mix to thoroughly combine the ingredients. Taste the mixture for seasoning and adjust to your taste before adding the vital wheat gluten. Add the gluten and knead so that the gluten is thoroughly incorporated into the burger mixture. There should be no dry gluten left in the bowl. If you can’t get the gluten to completely combine add water a tablespoon at a time until the gluten is absorbed into the mixture. Form the mixture into six large burgers.

Heat your heavy bottomed skillet (preferably cast iron) with a little oil. When the pan is hot add half the burgers and cook until they are brown on the first side. If it is easy to get a spatula under the burger it is probably time to flip it. It took approximately 4 minutes per side in my cast iron pan for the burger to brown. When the burgers are browned on both sides move them to a paper towel lined plate or pan to cool before refrigerating.

I refrigerate my burgers before freezing. The burgers will firm significantly when cold and it makes them easier to wrap and store in the freezer. I have had veggie burgers last for a month in the freezer when double wrapped in cling film individually and then placed in a zipper freezer bag. I believe they would last longer in the freezer but we tend to eat them before they get any older.

Nutritional Information (assumes 6 very large burgers):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 485.66
Calories From Fat (13%) - 63.66

Total Fat - 7.42g
Saturated Fat - 0.86g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 338.28mg
Potassium - 2227.24mg
Total Carbohydrates - 72.24g
Fiber - 17.84g
Sugar - 1.53g
Protein - 36.47g


Mushroom burgers are one of my favorites and this is no exception. I like the nice crust this burger gets in the cast iron skillet. The interior is soft, but substantial. The wheat germ and sunflower seeds add bulk to the burger and the overall texture. Half a burger is more than enough for me. The flavor of this burger is a little spicy from the hot crushed peppers. The thyme flavor is definitely a background flavor. This is a big tasty man friendly burger.

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