These mini mushroom burgers are such a fun idea to serve up as an appetiser next time you're entertaining guests. Rather than using a small slider bun to hold the burgers goods, you instead slice a white button mushroom in half, lightly pan-fry each side and finish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds, and as easy as that you’ll have created the cutest and niftiest little burger bun you’ve ever laid eyes on. You can then stack each one with whatever tickles your taste buds - my pick is a small dollop of hummus, lettuce, cheese, cucumber and tomato. Seriously, you’ll be totally stoked with yourself once you have a plate full of these in front of you, they’re just too cute.
Despite common assumption, mushrooms aren’t classified taxonomically as plants (and therefore vegetables), but rather as fungi. However, given their wonderfully nutrient-dense profile, they’re often lumped along with veggies, but they also share similar nutrients found in meat, grains and legumes, making them an all-round total superfood. In particular, they’re an excellent source of b-vitamins, (especially niacin, biotin and riboflavin) which play an important role in helping our bodies utilise energy from the foods we eat, as well as in supporting a healthy complexion – yes they’re beautifying nutrients! It is important to keep in mind that b-vitamins are water-soluble (meaning they’re unable to be stored within the body), and so we need to enjoy food sources, like mushrooms, daily. They’re are also an excellent source of the mineral selenium, which acts as an immune-boosting nutrient and free-radical fighting antioxidant that helps to protect our trillions of body cells from damage, as well as potassium which helps maintain normal blood pressure and muscle contraction within the body. Flavour wise, mushrooms are referred to as “umami”, which is a word that describes the taste sensation savoury (the other four basic tastes are sweet, sour, bitter and salty)– this umani flavour is due to the presence of an amino acid called glutamate, which is a marker in protein. Foods rich in glutamate can help enhance the savoury flavours of a dish, and so there’s no reason to go crazy with the salt!
The mushrooms I’ve used here are from the wonderful local company Meadow Mushrooms. They’re an environmentally conscious business that have been around in New Zealand for 40+ years, and currently supply three varieties of edible mushrooms – white button, brown button and brown portabello’s. In this recipe I opted to use their white button mushrooms, as they have the mildest flavour of the three and are great eaten raw or lightly cooked. Meadow Mushrooms website has lots of neat nutritional information on mushrooms if you’d like to read more - click here for the link. Like all fresh produce, mushrooms are naturally gluten-free and are an absolute super food for all to enjoy. Nutrition can get wildly confusing at times, and some have suggested that those sensitive to trace components of gluten (such as Coeliac’s) should be mindful of how their mushrooms spores are grown (e.g. in compost containing wheat straw)– however this does not need to be an issue, there is no gluten in straw (only in the grain), which Meadow has shown with recent testing on their mushrooms.
Mini Mushroom Burgers
8-15 white button mushrooms (depending on the crowd you're feeding!)
Lettuce, torn into small even-sized pieces
Cherry tomatoes, sliced into thirds
Lebanese cucumber, thinly sliced
Cheese - I like using Edam, sliced into small thin squares
Knob of butter
1. Remove the stalks of the mushrooms and slice the head into even halves. Melt butter in a pan and lightly pan-fry the mushrooms. Sprinkle the tops of each mushroom with sesame seeds.
2. Spread the base of the mushroom with a little hummus. Layer lettuce, cheese, cucumber and cherry tomato, and finish with the top of the mushroom. Secure with a tooth pick.