Evan Mallett’s Blended Burger

By Yankee Magazine

Apr 03 2019


Spending a day in the woods with an expert mushroom forager is a pleasure on many fronts. There’s the thrill of finding previously unseen treasures, the calming stillness of learning to observe closely, the safety net of knowing that your companion can distinguish edible specimens from poisonous ones, and, finally, the joy of eating your haul.

Such was my afternoon with acclaimed chef Evan Mallett of Black Trumpet in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Evan is an experienced forager whose southern Maine home is surrounded by acres of forested land. Just a short walk from his back door, he can collect hedgehog, armillaria, and lobster mushrooms and wild chanterelles, to name a few. And that’s just what we did while filming a recent season of Weekends with Yankee

After we returned to his house, Evan cleaned the mushrooms, chopped them, and roasted them in a skillet. Then he worked them, along with some grated roasted beets, into a fantastic burger, whose texture and flavor were fully enhanced by the additions.

The recipe was inspired by the Blended Burger Project, an effort by the James Beard Foundation to encourage chefs to use a bit less meat in their kitchens. In this annual competition, chefs compete to create the most delicious recipe for a burger that includes at least 25 percent mushrooms. This not only makes burgers better for the planet (and your health), it actually makes them taste better.

Evan took his recipe a step further by the adding grated roasted beets to the mix. Their flavor is subtle but completely complementary. And the beets and mushrooms protect the burger from becoming dry, even when cooked all the way through. Evan roasts his own beets, but you can buy good-quality vacuum-packed roasted beets in most supermarkets. Once you try a blended burger, you may never go back.


4 servings


2 medium fresh beets, any color, or 8 ounces vacuum-packed roasted beets
2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces mushrooms, any kind (we used wild mushrooms, but shore-bought shiitakes and button mushrooms work well too)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1 pound ground beef, preferably grass-fed
4 slices cheddar or other melting cheese
4 hamburger buns
Lettuce, tomato, and other toppings of your choice


If using fresh beets, preheat oven to 400°. Peel and cut the beets into quarters, set them in a small dish, and drizzle them with 2 teaspoons olive oil. Roast until tender, 30 to 40 minutes, then let cool. Grate the beets with a box grater. (This can be done up to a day before if necessary.)

Meanwhile, brush the mushrooms clean and dice into 1/4-inch pieces. In a sauté pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and add the chopped mushrooms, along with the salt and pepper. Stir and place in the oven for five minutes. Let cool.

Place the ground meat, mushrooms, and beets into a mixing bowl, and knead them together gently until the mixture has an even color and consistency. Form four patties from the blend, being careful not to overwork the mixture, and make a small divot in the center of each (this allows the patties to cook flat).

When preparing to cook the burgers, whether on a grill or in a pan, season them with a bit more salt and pepper and cook to your desired temperature. If cooking in a pan, be sure to bring the pan to a high heat before adding the burger. When the burger is seared on one side, flip it, add the cheese, and pop it into an oven (or close the grill cover) just until the cheese is melted.

Serve on buns with greens, tomatoes, and the condiments of your choice.