Serves you right

A finished mushroom beef burger.

Almost everyone loves a good burger. One of my favorite patties is a hybrid, made with mushrooms and lean ground beef. The mushrooms add moisture and complexity to the umamior savory flavor. I like to use the portabella variety, but any type of edible will work. Although unavailable in most markets, there are more than 2,000 varieties of edible mushrooms in all shapes, sizes and textures.

Nutritionally, mushrooms are a good source of potassium, assisting with healthy blood pressure. They contain numerous B vitamins, which help your body release energy from food.

Mushrooms also can be an excellent source of vitamin D if they have been exposed to ultraviolet light right before or after harvesting.

Of course, beef is a good source of protein and iron. It also contains vitamin B12, which is important for your brain and nervous system, and zinc, which is involved in maintaining your tissues and assisting with many body functions.

This health-promoting recipe is sure to please most any burger lover.

Mushroom Beef Burgers

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

12 ounces fresh mushrooms of choice, chopped

¼ cup onion, chopped

4 ounces fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

1 pound lean ground beef or chicken

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 egg, beaten

½ cup bread crumbs, or as needed

In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Add chopped mushrooms and onions, stirring frequently until mixture starts to brown. Add spinach and stir until wilted. Turn off heat.

In a large bowl, mix together ground beef or chicken, salt, pepper, Worcestershire and egg. Add vegetables from skillet. Mix thoroughly. If the mixture seems too wet, add ½ cup of bread crumbs to firm it up.

Form the mixture into 4 — 6 patties, depending on what size you would like or how many people you have to feed. Place patties on a tray lightly coated with oil. Cover and refrigerate at least 20 minutes.

Cook over medium heat in an oil coated skillet or on a grill, turning once the bottom side is nicely browned. The thickest part should reach 155°F, 165°F if ground chicken is used.

Serve on a whole grain bun with toppings of choice.

Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D. is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and extension agent with NC Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups., (828)264-3061

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