You might think of mushrooms as merely a topping, a robust garnish on top of your burger or sautéed for your steak.
“The Blend” challenges the notion that these earthy shoots are only the sideshow. Here at Monterey Mushrooms, we view meat and mushrooms as long-lost soulmates, equal partners on a holistic, healthy dinner plate.
Mushrooms can be incorporated regularly into your modern diet by blending them with meat or other plant-based alternatives for an added flavor boost as well as health and environmental benefits.
It’s why we’re creating a group of excited “Blenditarians” all across the United States, who love dicing mushrooms and mixing them in with their favorite meat.
Here are three reasons why you should consider blending fresh fungi with meat:
1. Blended mushroom meals have more flavor.
You’re always looking for new ways to spice up your meat, flipping through cookbooks to find rubs or seasonings to give it a wow-worthy taste. You’re probably so fixated on finding a secret sauce or obscure herb that you didn’t realize mushrooms have one of the most unique flavors of all.
Unlike other familiar tastes, mushrooms don’t please your sweet tooth or boast a bitter bite; they have a special profile called “umami.” Umami is usually described as more savory, brothy or rich— characteristics shared with traditionally salty foods— yet quite unlike most conventional options. When mushrooms are added to traditional ground meat recipes, they enhance the flavor of the meat by inspiring a unique umami experience.
The robust taste of mushrooms pairs so perfectly with meat because they complement each other in many ways. Mushrooms give meat that salty hit we all love without the extra salt, and when finely diced, they blend nearly seamlessly with the texture of your ground meat. While eating your blended meat-mushroom meal, you won’t feel the same chewy texture you might while eating a whole button mushroom, however, you’re sure to love the extra flavor.
2. Blending mushrooms into meat can help make your plate healthier.
Not only can adding blended mushrooms to meat boost your meal’s flavor, but mushrooms also offer their own set of nutritional benefits. All varieties of mushrooms contain vitamins and have antioxidant-like properties. For instance, certain mushrooms can contain Vitamin D, which can help to lower risk of developing certain forms of cancer. All contain B vitamins. Mushrooms also contain two to three of the eight essential B vitamins, from riboflavin, which helps to maintain healthy skin and sharp vision, to niacin, which helps with repairing DNA. And many are a source of selenium, helping to regulate your heart and digestive function.
Blending mushrooms with your meat can also help to decrease that dish’s fat, calories and salt levels. We mentioned in the previous point about mushroom’s rich umami profile, which imitates a mouthfeel similar to sodium, without the added salt. But reducing your serving size of meat is an easy way to reduce all three— the fat, the calories and salt— just by subbing in fat-free, low-cal fungi.
Enjoy the taste of your meat-based dishes while secretly packing in more flavor and nutrients without the guilt. Whether it’s a 70% meat/30% mushroom blend in your chili or a 40 meat/60 mushroom blend in tacos, simply blend to reduce your next meal’s fat level.
3. Blending mushrooms can help the environment.
Various studies show that blending mushrooms into your meat-based meals can reduce pollution and water usage.
Americans eat an average of three burgers a week, according to the Culinary Institute of America. That’s 50 billion burgers a year, eaten by just one country. A Mushroom Sustainability study by SureHarvest found that one pound of mushrooms only requires 0.7 pounds of CO2. One million pounds of mushrooms can be grown in just one acre, they require little water, and are ready for harvest about a month after the mushroom trays are arranged in the growing rooms.
These results complement a study conducted by Harvard University, which found that by replacing beef with mushrooms in a single five-pound meatloaf recipe, the university dining hall reduced its CO2 footprint by 44 pounds. With just one batch! All these figures demonstrate how incorporating mushrooms into your weekly meal plan by blending with meat can drastically reduce your environmental impact.
New to The Blend? Experiment with Burgers!
Curious to become a Blenditarian yourself? Burgers are a great place to start. Check out these five mouthwatering blended burger recipes in our blog round-up or try one of the blends below:
- Blended Turkey With Avocado Mushroom Burger
- Mighty Mushroom Blended Burger
- Mediterranean Blended Burger
- Blended Chicken Cheeseburgers
Become the Ultimate Blenditarian
If you’re convinced enough to try blending mushrooms with meat, we have an amazing resource for you.
Our Everything You Need to Know About Blending Mushrooms ebook lists exact ratios for many popular meat-to-mushroom dishes, ensuring that you’re blending like a professional chef!
It also includes more delicious meat-mushroom blend recipes to keep you busy in the kitchen. Download this free digital book, today!