Savory mushroom and kale burgers are rich in umami mushroom flavor with the texture of bulgur, almonds, and power-packed kale. These baked, plant-based burgers are best if chilled for a few hours before baking, so they are well-suited for making a day ahead.
why you need this recipe
Veggie burgers are at their best when they provide complex flavors, bites of texture, and satisfaction beyond the bun. This burger recipe doesn't rely on potatoes or beans as a binder and places mushrooms firmly at the front along with kale. We got burger-binder creative with this one and loved the results.
Here’s what’s going on in these tasty burgers.
Mushrooms – Mushrooms can make tricky burger ingredients because they have a lot of moisture. I’ve had the best success using button mushrooms or chestnut mushrooms (the brown ones).
Red onion – Use a small to medium red onion to sauté along with the mushrooms. You’ll want to dice the onion into medium to small pieces so that they get soft and release their sugars. Cooking will take the oniony sharpness out as well.
Kale – Kale isn’t just a power-food (it is). It also makes a great veggie burger green because it blends well and maintains some of its texture. Although you can substitute with spinach, it will add slightly more moisture than kale. This shouldn’t be a problem as long as you adhere to chilling the burgers long enough for them to set up.
Almonds – Ground almonds serve as a binder for the burger and give them a nutty bit of texture. I recommend using unblanched (skins on) almonds. They are a good source of fiber and are less expensive. Use raw almonds and avoid roasted and especially salted almonds. Roasted almonds usually contain extra oil and other additives. Raw almonds are an easy way to avoid the extra calories.
Bulgur – Cracked wheat, bulgur, is a quick-cooking whole grain because it comes to us already par-boiled. That's why it's ideal for soaking. The gluten in the bulgur will also assist in binding the mushrooms and kale into burgers.
Flax seeds – Flax seeds are such a wealth of nutrients, including being a good source of Omega 3. In vegan cooking, flax seeds are also invaluable as an egg replacement. In particular, ground flax seeds interact with liquids and form a coagulant that thickens and binds.
Anytime I run across a recipe that uses eggs, I always start experimenting with 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds plus 3 tablespoons of water for every egg required. We'll skip the water part for this recipe because there is already sherry and soy sauce added for deglazing. Along with the mushrooms, there will be plenty of liquid to interact with the flax seeds.
Sherry – Sherry makes a tasty deglazing ingredient for mushrooms and red onions. If you don't want to use sherry, white wine is a good substitute or substitute vegetable broth if you don't want to add alcohol.
Soy sauce – The umami of soy sauce adds salt and depth. I ended up adding ½ a teaspoon of salt in the end, but if you use a dark soy sauce, that may not be necessary. Use Tamari if you want a gluten-free option.
Dried thyme – Herby, slightly woody dried thyme complements the flavors ties up the flavors of the mushrooms.
Garlic – Slice or mince the garlic after peeling it. You don’t need it too small as it will go into the food processor with the rest of the ingredients.
- Start the onions and mushrooms in a preheated pan and keep them moving as you sauté them. It’s ok if they stick a bit – you’ll be deglazing the pan shortly. Be mindful of the heat of the pan and try not to let it get too hot.
- After you deglaze the pan with the sherry and soy sauce, use a wooden spoon to clear the bottom. You don’t want to miss out on the flavorful bits on the bottom.
- If there is still a lot of moisture left in the pan before adding the ground flax seeds, transfer the contents to a mesh strainer and squeeze out the excess water.
- When you make the patties, the most important thing is to keep them separated and chill them. My recommendation is 1-2 hours, although overnight will do the trick as well. The longer the burgers are chilled for, the better they will set up and the quicker it will take to bake them.
- Don’t try to force the burgers to flip. If you can’t get them separated by gently using a spatula, continue baking them for another 5 minutes.
- Line the baking tray with parchment paper or a baking mat. This helps keep the burgers from sticking.
When making burgers, you want mushrooms that will get mushy enough to blend with the other ingredients. These types include button mushrooms, portobello mushrooms, cremini, shiitake mushrooms, or porcini mushrooms.
The best substitute for almonds for this burger recipe is ground walnuts, cashews, or pecans. If you do not wish to use nuts, consider ground pepitas (pumpkin seeds). Sunflower seeds could be used, but they will have a nuttier flavor than pepitas.
You can pan-fry rather than bake mushroom burgers. Use a heated, non-stick skillet and fry the burgers a few at-a-time for about 3 ½ minutes per side. Don't crowd the burgers in the pan, so they are easier to manipulate and flip. Consider a lite spray of oil if your pan tends to stick.
You can freeze mushroom burgers after cooking them. Cool them thoroughly, then wrap them individually so that they are easy to separate. Thaw them in the refrigerator and reheat them at 400 degrees. F. (200 degrees C.) oven for 20 - 30 minutes. Cover the burgers with foil if they begin to brown too much.
burger sides we love
mushroom and kale burgers
Savory mushroom and kale burgers are rich in umami mushroom flavor with power-packed kale for a baked, plant-based burger that’s a crowd-pleaser.
- Prep Time: 140 min
- Cook Time: 45 min
- Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: burgers
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
- ¼ cup bulgur
- ½ cup almonds (raw, unsalted)
- 1 small red onion, peeled and cut into large pieces
- 1 pound (450 grams) of mushrooms, cleaned and cut into quarters
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced or minced
- 2 teaspoons of dried thyme
- 2 cups of kale roughly chopped or shredded
- 2 tablespoons of sherry (white wine or vegetable broth)
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce or Tamari
- 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Place the dry bulgur in a small bowl and add ½ a cup of boiling water. Set is aside for 20-25 minutes until most of the water is absorbed.
- Meanwhile, place the almonds in a food processor and process them until they break down. Leave them there as that’s where you’ll be adding the rest of the ingredients.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. Then add the onions and quartered mushrooms. Sauté the ingredients until the onions are soft and the mushrooms start releasing their moisture. This should take about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and thyme. Stir for about 30 seconds. Then add the kale.
- Stir the ingredients until the kale softens and the moisture from the mushrooms has started to dissipate.
- Add the sherry and soy sauce to deglaze the pan. Stir the ingredients for a few minutes until the pan is relatively clean on the bottom and the liquid has dissipated.
- Sprinkle the skillet with the ground flax seeds and mix them in. This helps to soak up any remaining moisture.
- Take the skillet off the heat, returning to the bowl of soaking bulgur. Drain the bulgur into a fine mesh strainer and squeeze out the water. Add the bulgur, the ingredients from the skillet, salt, and pepper to the food processor.
- Process the ingredient for about 30 seconds to break up the larger pieces. After that, use the pulse feature to continue blending. You don't need the mixture to be perfectly smooth. Think blending with texture.
- Line a baking tray or large baking dish with parchment paper. Divide the burger mixture into 4 – 6 equal portions and form burger patties. Place the burgers on the tray, separated.
- The burger patties will be very soft, so handle them carefully. Place the burgers in the refrigerator and allow them to set up for 1 – 2 hours.
- To bake the burgers preheat the oven to 4000 F. (2000 C.). Place the burgers on the tray in the oven and bake them for 30 minutes. Check that the burgers are firm in the middle and brown on top. If they are, then gently slide a spatula under the bottom of one of the burgers. If it is stuck to the bottom of the pan, then let the burgers bake for another 5 minutes before flipping them.
- After flipping the burgers, bake them for another 15 minutes until they are firm in the middle and brown.
- If the sauteed mushrooms, onions, and kale have a lot of liquid after deglazing, transfer the ingredients to a small mesh strainer and press them to drain. Return them to the pan to mix in the flax seeds.
- To freeze the burgers, bake them first, then thoroughly cool them. Wrap them individually so that they do not stick together. Thaw them in the refrigerator before baking them in a 4000 F. (2000 C.) oven for 20-30 minutes. You may want to cover them lightly with foil if they begin to brown too much.
- Use mushrooms that will blend easily (get mushy) like button, chestnut, portobello, shiitake, or porcini.
Keywords: mushroom and kale burgers