Ultimate Maitake Mushroom Burger

vegan • egg-free • potato-free • soy-free • dairy-free

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I've maintained a vegan diet for two months now. One day, I'll write a post about that entire situation, but it will probably take me forever considering it's a (very) long story and I have A LOT to say. Right now, all I want to talk about is the one thing I craved every. single. day. during my first two weeks as a vegan... burgers!

So, like I said, it's been a little over two months since I've had any animal products. By now, I fully expected to be huddled on the floor in a fetal position rocking back and forth and mumbling something about turkey bacon. Surprisingly, things are good (great even!), but I'm not sure I would have made it even a week without this mushroom burger on standby.

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I wasn't interested in any of the burger-shaped soy bricks available at my local store, because 1) I'm trying to limit my soy consumption, 2) I refuse to eat anything that looks like I could build a tiny house with it and 3) vegan or not, most of those products still count as processed foods and contain a significant amount of chemicals. Pass. I know there are some great options out there, they just weren't available at my particular grocery store.

Just when I started to give up hope, I got a newsletter email from Whole Foods about vegan barbecue! The embedded video featured maitake mushroom steaks on the grill, and I was completely sold. Maitake mushrooms make excellent burger patties, and the flavor is amazing. For produce, they're a bit on the pricey side, but nothing more (per mushroom) than you would have spent on a quality burger elsewhere. Plus, they taste way better.

So, what do you do when you start to miss the heartiness and flavor of a good old-fashioned burger and all the ready-made products look like cardboard? Well, instead of making a beeline to Five Guys, you eat one of these. And what if you're neither vegan nor vegetarian? You'll want to eat this burger anyway. It's just that good. Promise.

Ultimate Maitake Mushroom Burger

veganegg-free • potato-freesoy-freedairy-free
Always check ingredient labels before proceeding. Yield: 1 mushroom burger.


Barbecue Sauce 1

  • 1/3 cup original mild barbeque sauce
  • 3 tablespoons organic grade B maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon organic garlic powder
  • Mushroon Burger

  • 1 organic maitake mushroom
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
  • sea salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste, freshly ground
  • 1 teaspoon organic smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic garlic powder
  • 1 ciabatta burger bun
  • Toppings

  • 1 handful of organic spinach
  • 1 slice of 1 organic yellow onion, peeled and cut into half rings
  • 1 slice of 1 organic red onion, peeled and cut into half rings
  • lemon hummus
  • soft fresh truffle, dill and chive nut cheese

  • small mixing bowl
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • whisk or dinner fork
  • cast iron grill pan or cast iron skillet
  • a second smaller cast iron skillet or something heavy, heat-safe, and food-safe with a flat bottom (like a small pot) for pressing
  • metal spatula
  • bread knife or sharp knife of any kind
  • serving dish
  • butter knife

    1 If you already have a barbeque sauce that you love, please feel free to skip this step and use your own.


    Barbecue Sauce

    1. Add barbecue sauce, maple syrup, and garlic powder to small mixing bowl.
    2. Whisk to combine. Set aside.

    Mushroom Burger

    1. Place mushroom in medium mixing bowl. Sprinkle with olive oil. Use your fingers to gently coat as much of the mushroom as possible. Again, be gentle or your mushroom will crumble.
    2. Season with sea salt and pepper.
    3. Sprinkle with smoked paprika and garlic powder. The most important thing to remember is that the maitake mushroom, with all of its beautiful tendrils, has a lot of surface area. Make sure to cover as much of the mushroom as possible with seasoning. Set aside.
    4. Place the cast iron skillet on top of the stove and turn on stove top to medium-high heat. Lightly grease the pan with olive oil.
    5. Once heated, place mushroom in skillet and press with second skillet. This allows the mushroom to flatten into a patty while cooking. If you need more clarity, check out this video as a demonstration. Watch from 1:53-2:30. Save mixing bowl with remaining olive oil and seasoning for the toppings.
    6. Allow the mushroom to cook for about 5 minutes or until seared, remove the press and flip mushroom to the other side. Allow the new side to cook for another 5 minutes while pressed.
    7. While the second side is cooking, slice burger bun in half, to create a top and bottom, if not already sliced. Place face down on remaining space in skillet for about 3 minutes to toast or until golden brown. Set aside on serving dish.
    8. After the last side of the mushroom has cooked, turn the heat down to low-medium. Pour about 3/4 of the prepared barbecue sauce on top of mushroom patty in skillet. Let marinate in the skillet while you prepare the toppings.


    1. Add spinach to the same mixing bowl with leftover olive oil and mushroom seasoning. Wipe the bowl with the spinach to coat it with remaining oil and seasoning. Add to same skillet as mushroom on low-medium heat to cook down for 2 minutes.
    2. While the spinach is cooking, spread lemon hummus and nut cheese on burger buns. 
    3. Remove spinach from heat and place on bottom portion of bun.
    4. Turn heat up to medium and add onions to the same skillet. Let cook for 2 minutes.
    5. While the onions are cooking, pour half of the remaining barbecue sauce on top of spinach.
    6. Remove mushroom patty from skillet and add on top of spinach and sauce.
    7. Pour the remaining barbecue sauce on top of patty.
    8. Turn the heat off and place onions on top of patty and sauce.
    9. Top with other half of burger bun. Enjoy!