Blended Lamb Harissa Burgers

Lamb is actually a perfect candidate for Blend and Extend, because it’s a bit fattier than ground beef and has a heftier price tag, which means that substituting part of the meat with finely chopped crimini mushrooms is good for both your waistline and your budget.

Recipe and photo by Isabelle of Crumb: A Food Blog

Prep Time: 10 mins. | Cook Time: 10 mins. | Serves: 4

Ingredients

200g crimini mushrooms, roughly chopped
400g ground lamb
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup finely diced red onion
1 tbsp harissa paste
½ tsp salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
4 pita buns (or regular hamburger buns)
Arugula sprouts, for garnish
Garlic-Yogurt Sauce:
½ cup full-fat plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
½ tsp salt

Method

1. Using a food processor, pulse the mushrooms until very finely chopped.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground lamb, chopped mushrooms, cilantro, onion, harissa paste, salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix until well combined, then shape into four large patties. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, make the garlic-yogurt sauce by whisking together the yogurt, garlic and salt in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
4. Preheat a lightly oiled gas or charcoal grill (or, if you prefer, you can use a lightly-oiled cast-iron grill pan or a countertop griddle on medium-high heat).
5. Once the grill is good and hot, cook the burgers for 4-5 minutes per side, or until they’re well-browned on the outside and an instant-read thermometer registers an internal temperature of 160F.
6. Serve the burgers in pita buns topped with a dollop of garlic-yogurt sauce and a generous pinch of arugula sprouts.Note: These patties are a little more fragile than a more traditional burger patty, so handle them gently when flipping. I find you get the best results if you only flip them once, halfway through the cook time.

Chipotle Turkey & Mushroom Zucchini Boats

One great way to lighten up the comfort food we crave is by blending mushrooms into your dinners. You can chop them up fine with a knife or food processor and mix them in with ground meat like beef, chicken or, in the case of this recipe, turkey! They’ll lighten up your meal, add an extra serving of veggies to your dish and, they’ll make your grocery dollar stretch further.

Recipe and photo by Denise of Sweet Peas and Saffron

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 45 minutes | Serves: 6

Ingredients

200g/7 oz white button mushrooms, cleaned and ends trimmed
6 medium-sized zucchinis
1 tablespoon olive oil
0.5 lb ground turkey
1 onion, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup corn kernels
Juice of 1 lime
1 chipotle pepper, finely diced
1 tablespoon adobo sauce
1.5 cups shredded cheese

Method

1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
2. Add the mushrooms to a large food processor and pulse until they are small uniform pieces.
3. Slice zucchinis in half lengthwise. Using a teaspoon, scoop the insides out of the zucchini, leaving about half a centimeter around the skin. Chop the zucchini insides into small pieces and set aside.
4. In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and ground turkey, and cook for 5 or so minutes, until no pink remains in the turkey.
5. Add the mushrooms, chopped zucchini flesh, cumin, chili powder and salt. Cook for 5 or so minutes, until mushrooms are cooked through.
6. Add the corn kernels, lime juice, adobo sauce and chipotle pepper. Stir to combine. Remove the pan from heat.
7. In a 9×13 inch baking dish, arrange the scooped-out zucchinis.
8. Spoon the turkey/mushroom mixture in. Top with cheese.
9. Bake, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and zucchinis are cooked through.

Notes

For a non-spicy version, omit the chipotle pepper.
Filling can be made a day ahead of time.

Grilled Portobello & Poblano Tacos with Cotija Crema

I took the Blenditarian Pledge because this Blend & Extend concept is seriously legit!  I love mushrooms already, but I had no idea how packed with nutrients they are.  There are so many ways you can incorporate them into meals you already make, like tacos!  I made these Beef & Portobello Tacos with Cotija Crema for my first go at the #blendandextend concept.

Recipe and photo by Julie of Dailytiramisu.com.

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 10 minutes | Serves: 12

Ingredients

3 Portobello Mushrooms, finely chopped
500g high quality ground beef
1 small onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 tsp paprika
½ tsp cumin

12 Small Flour Tortillas

Cotija Crema
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream or crème fraiche
1/2 cup finely crumbled cotija or feta cheese, plus more for serving
1/2 teaspoon ancho or guajillo chili powder, plus more for serving
1 medium clove garlic, finely minced

Other Toppings
Corn
Avocados
Salsa
Sliced radishes
Cilantro

Limes, for a fresh burst right before serving

Method

1. Heat an oiled, large deep skillet to medium high heat and add in the onion. Let them soften, about 2 minutes and then add garlic, paprika, cumin and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the beef and mushrooms to onion mixture and cook until the beef has browned. Salt as needed.
2. Make the Cotija crema: combine mayonnaise, sour cream, cheese, garlic and chili powder in a large bowl. Stir until combined and set aside.
3. Wrap the pile of your flour tortillas in foil paper and warm them in your oven (I warm my tortillas for 6 minutes at 350 degrees F).
4. Create your taco: Add the beef and mushroom mixture to the centre of your tortilla. Add desired toppings. Top with the cotija crema and enjoy!

Mozzarella Mushroom Blended Burger with Caramelized Onions

There are few burger combinations as classic as mushrooms and mozzarella. Using the Blend and Extend technique, these fresh mozzarella blended mushroom burgers with caramelized onions are a new take on an old favourite.

Recipe and photo by James of From James to Jamie.

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

200 g. cremini mushrooms
400 g. extra lean ground beef
½ tsp. salt, dash of pepper
medium yellow onion, halved and sliced
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
4 brioche buns
4-8 slices fresh mozzarella
Mayonnaise
BBQ sauce (optional)

Method

1. Blend/pulse your mushrooms until fine in a food processor.
2. Cook the mushrooms on a griddle (or in a large frying pan) over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes, stirring often. Set aside to cool.
3. Give the griddle a quick wipe-down, turn it down to low-medium, and toss on your sliced onions along with the butter. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring often, until soft and golden.
3. While the onions are cooking and once the mushrooms have cooled, combine the mushrooms together with your ground beef in a prep bowl. Stir until well-combined and form into four patties. Place the patties on a plate, cover, and place in the fridge.
4. Once the onions are the right texture and colour, add the balsamic vinegar and cook another two minutes, stirring often. Remove from the griddle and set aside.
5. Wipe down your griddle, turn it back up to medium, then add a small lug of oil and spread it around.
6. Combine together your salt and pepper in a small prep bowl, then sprinkle roughly half of your seasoning on the tops of your burgers. Place the burgers on the griddle with the seasoned side facing down.
7. After about 4 minutes, season the tops of the burgers with the other half of your salt/pepper mix, then flip. Cook an additional 3-5 minutes until no pink remains.
8. Construct your burgers by applying mayo to both sides of your buns, then adding the patties and topping with 1-2 slices of fresh mozzarella and your caramelized onions.

Lamb Ragout

This one pot ragout is extremely flavourful and an easy weekend meal. Mushrooms blend seamlessly with the ground lamb extending the portion size and boosting the flavour. Leftovers taste even better the next day.

Recipe developed in partnership with Ontario Lamb.

Prep Time: 15 mins. | Cook Time: 2.5 hrs. | Serves: 4

Ingredients

8 oz (227 g) fresh crimini mushrooms
2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1 lb (500 g) ground lamb
4 tbsp (60 mL) tomato paste
1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon
1 tsp (5 mL) nutmeg
1 tsp (5 mL) Italian herbs
1 can (796 mL / 28 oz) whole tomatoes
1/2 cup (125 mL) red wine
1 bay leaf
1 lb. (500g) dried spaghetti
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Fresh parsley, finely chopped

Method

1. Place mushrooms in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until finely chopped.
2. Heat oil in a large sauce pan over medium-high. Add mushrooms and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add onions and sauté for 2 minutes. Add carrots and celery; sauté until they start to soften, 4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté another minute. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add ground lamb and cook until browned, approximately 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, cinnamon, nutmeg, and Italian herbs. Stir until well combined.
4. Add tomatoes to the pan. Using spatula, break up tomatoes. Add red wine, stir until well combined. Add bay leaf. Lower heat to low, place lid on pot and simmer 2 hours. Stir occasionally to ensure bottom does not burn.
5. Remove lid and taste sauce; season with salt and pepper as needed. Continue to simmer on low, with the lid removed; sauce will begin to thicken.
6. Meanwhile prepare spaghetti as per package directions. Serve the sauce over the pasta with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and finely chopped parsley.

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