How to make burgers better – with mushrooms


INTERNATIONAL Burger Day is coming up on May 28 and we’ve put together a whole lot of burger options which make use of mushrooms – and not an ordinary, predictable saucy topping – to help you celebrate the yummiest of yummy “any time meal”. The added twist is burgers that work for carnivores, flexitarians and vegetarians. So whether you’re thinking local, Asian, Greek or Plant-based, The South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association has just the burger for you.

Let’s begin with some meat-free recipes.


Serves 4, pictured above


  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 3 large portobello mushrooms
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (from about ½ uncooked)
  • ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Juice and zest of ½ lemon

To serve

  • 4 burger buns of choice, toasted
  • Lettuce, *mayonnaise, cucumber ribbons, red onion slices, bean sprouts 
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 


  • Preheat oven to 180°C. Prick sweet potato all over with a fork; rub with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast directly on an oven rack until tender, 45-60 minutes. (Place a baking tray below to catch any drippings) Allow to cool. Remove and discard skin; mash flesh with a fork. Set aside.
  • Roughly chop portobello mushrooms and blitz in a food processor until very finely chopped.
  • Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a frying pan over low. Cook shallot and chilli flakes, until shallot is tender. Add mushrooms and cook until they release all their liquid. Transfer to a large bowl; mix in quinoa and season with salt and pepper. Let cool.
  • Add breadcrumbs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and mashed sweet potato and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Divide mixture into 4 and form into patties, pressing firmly together with your hands. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium and cook patties until golden brown and the edges are crisp. 
  • Build burgers with all the fixings and serve straight away. 
  • *use vegan mayonnaise to keep this recipe 100% vegan 

This veggie burger and Blacksmith Wines Limbo Red are a match made in heaven. Both are juicy, crunchy and on the lighter, fresher side. This fruity wine has hints of strawberry, raspberry and red cherry. The bright tannins pair nicely with the little hint of spice from the chilli flakes and the touch of sweetness from the sweet potato in the burger. Both are utterly scrumptious and complementary. 


Serves 4 – 6


  • 15ml odourless coconut oil or avocado oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 250g white button mushrooms, finely diced
  • 5ml miso paste
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 45g fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 2ml cayenne pepper
  • 60g Parmesan cheese, finely grated (or vegan cheese)
  • 1 cup – 1 ½ cups mashed potato, cooked and mashed
  • 1 cup panko crumbs or rye bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • Odourless coconut oil or avocado oil, for shallow frying

To serve

  • Steamed spinach, lemon zest
  • Roasted vine tomatoes in balsamic vinegar
  • Avocado wedges, grilled
  • Red tomato-based chutney
  • A few rocket leaves


  • Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Place the mushrooms in a food processor and blitz until fine. Add the mushrooms to the onions and fry for 3 minutes.
  • Mash the beans with a fork or blitz in a food processor. Transfer the mushroom mixture to a mixing bowl and stir in the miso paste, mashed beans, parsley, salt and pepper, cayenne pepper, Parmesan cheese, mashed potatoes, bread crumbs and eggs. Mix well together and shape the mixture into patties and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.
  • Heat some coconut oil or avocado oil in a shallow pan and pan fry the patties for 3-4 minutes per side. Alternatively, arrange the patties on a greased baking sheet and bake at 180°C for 15 – 20 minutes.
  • Serve for breakfast or brunch with wilted spinach, balsamic roasted vine tomatoes, avocado wedges, chutney and a few rocket leaves if desired.


Serves 4



  • 400g white button mushrooms
  • 2 x 400g tin brown lentils, rinsed and drained 
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs
  • Olive oil 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 

Avocado salsa:

  • 1 large ripe tomato, diced (or use a handful of colourful cherry tomatoes) 
  • ½  red onion, diced
  • 2 small – medium sized avocados 
  • ¼ cup fresh coriander leaves 
  • Juice of ½ lemon 
  • Freshly ground pink peppercorns, to taste 
  • Salt, to taste 

To serve:

  • 8 large portabello mushrooms 
  • 2 large carrots, peeled & peeled further into ribbons 
  • 2 cups mixed lettuce 
  • Sesame seeds
  • Side suggestion- Sweet potato fries and mayo


For the patty: 

  • Blitz mushrooms in a food processor until finely diced. 
  • Add mushrooms to a hot pan with a drizzle of olive oil. 
  • Cook out all of their water. Work in batches if necessary to not overcrowd the pan. 
  • Scrape mushrooms into a large bowl. 
  • Add the lentils to the dry hot pan and toast them until dry. 
  • Add to the bowl of cooked mushrooms. 
  • In the same pan add a fresh drizzle of olive oil and cook the onion until soft. 
  • Add the garlic and paprika and cook for a minute until fragrant. 
  • Add to the bowl of mushrooms and lentils. 
  • Add the flour, breadcrumbs and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Mix everything well together. Mash some of the mixture against the side of the bowl. Keeping some of the lentils whole and some more mashed gives the patty great texture. 
  • Divide the mixture into 4. The patties will be around 180g each. 
  • Fry patties in a little drizzle of olive oil until golden brown on both sides. 

For the salsa:

  • Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and lightly mash together. 
  • Season well. 

To build the burger: 

  • Place the 8 portabellos on a wire rack on top of a baking tray.
  • Sprinkle with a little seasoning and roast for ± 7 minutes at 200˚C until tender. 
  • Brush with a little BBQ sauce or any brown sauce to give them a glazed and shiny look. 
  • Slice a little off 4 of the portobello “bottom buns” so they sit flat. 
  • Top with a generous pile of greens and carrot ribbons. 
  • Place a lentil and mushroom patty on each one. 
  • Top with a generous amount of the avocado salsa and finish with the top portobello bun. 
  • Sprinkle with sesame seeds for a burger effect and serve alongside some crunchy sweet potato fries. 
You might also like
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments