Our colleague Hannah Kaminsky is a wonderful vegan cook and author. Her latest book, Super Vegan Scoops!: Plant-Based Ice Cream for Everyone, is a great gift for ice cream lovers who prefer plant-based options. Sweet Heat Chipotle Pecan ice cream? Cucumber Raita frozen yogurt? Yes, please!
Today, Hannah shares an air fryer or oven recipe for veggie burgers made with chickpeas and mushrooms join forces to create burgers that are crisp on the outside, tender on the inside. And bursting with an intense depth of savory flavor, thanks to her “secret ingredient”: shiitake mushroom powder.
It does great things to veggie burgers. “No one will guess your secret ingredient,” says Hannah, “but everyone will know in an instant that these aren’t your average, humdrum veggie burgers.”
Even if you don’t like mushrooms, she says, “shiitake powder will become your new best friend. Mushroom haters needn’t fear these spores; unlike dried porcini, shiitake can enhance the taste of your cooking without adding the funky, earthy mushroom flavor that turns many away.”
Hannah doesn’t use vegan cheese in this recipe, but takes a different approach.
“Melting sumptuously into those supple centers [is] a generous dollop of homemade garlicky aïoli, infused with even more shiitake goodness.
While the spread comes together in mere minutes, she recommends making it in advance and keeping it on hand—not just for the burgers, but “for all sorts of sandwiches, using as a dip for French fries, or drizzled over salads for a creamy dressing. In fact, you might want to double that recipe right off the bat. It’s irresistibly tempting to pour it on thick.”
Holy shiitake! Get cooking! You need to let the dried shiitakes soak overnight.
For The Shiitake Mushroom Patties
If you prefer the conventional mayonnaise aïoli, here’s a quick recipe using store-bought mayonnaise.
You may wish to prepare the aïoli (step 6) in advance. Then, soaking the mushrooms overnight, and…
1. MAKE the burgers. Begin by thoroughly draining the mushrooms, reserving the liquid for another recipe. It’s great for making soup or cooking rice, for starters. Remove the stems, roughly chop the mushroom caps, and set aside.
2. ADD 1 tablespoon of the oil to a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Once shimmering, add the shallot and garlic. Cook for 4-6 minutes, until aromatic and lightly golden brown.
3. TRANSFER the cooked vegetables to the bowl of a food processor, along with the mushrooms, scallions, chickpeas, flaxseeds, miso, soy sauce, vinegar, paprika, pepper and salt. Pulse until thoroughly combined and broken down into a thick paste, but not completely smooth. There should still be a good bit of texture remaining, sort of like falafel.
4. DIVIDE the mixture into 5-6 equal parts (depending on how large you want the burgers), using lightly moistened hands to shape them into balls. Place them on air fryer racks or baking sheets lined with aluminum foil, pressing them down gently to about 1/2-inch in thickness. Brush lightly with the remaining oil.
5. AIR FRY at 350°F for 14-16 minutes, flipping halfway through. For a conventional oven, bake at 375°F for 18-22 minutes, flipping halfway through. The burgers should be lightly brown around the edges when done. Meanwhile…
6. PREPARE the aïoli. Combine the shiitake mushroom powder with the hot water, stirring thoroughly. Let stand for 10 minutes to rehydrate and thicken.
7. TRANSFER the mushroom mixture to the blender along with the garlic, aquafaba, lemon juice and salt. Pulse to incorporate. Once combined, run the blender at medium speed while slowly drizzling in the oil, allowing it enough time to emulsify. The mixture should become light in color, velvety smooth, and thick enough to spread. Transfer to an airtight container or glass jar. Refrigerate if you won’t be using it immediately; it will keep in the fridge for 5-7 days.
8. ASSEMBLE the burgers. Cover the bottom of each bun with lettuce and place one patty on top. Add a generous dollop of shiitake aioli, followed by tomatoes, red onion and pickles as desired. Finish with the top bun and enjoy right away.
*Hannah advises that not all shiitake are created equal. “Imposters in the marketplace offer tempting deals, much to the detriment of quality (small, woody, bland and muddy mushrooms). Don’t gamble with your cooking; seek out high-quality shiitake from those who know them best. Sugimoto sells only premium, forest-grown shiitake mushrooms straight from Kyushu, Japan. Harvested from the natural sweet sap oak log, a collective of over 600 independent growers use 1,000-year-old Japanese techniques to cultivate sustainable harvests, producing the best tasting and textured shiitake possible” That’s a ringing endorsement!
†Aquafaba is the viscous water in which legumes like chickpeas have been cooked. Due to its ability to mimic functional properties of egg whites in cooking, aquafaba can be used as a direct replacement for them in many recipes, including meringues and marshmallows. The starchy liquid is a great binder, and it also it whips and creates a foam. You can reserve the aquafaba when you’ve opened a can of chickpeas, by freezing it until you need it. Here’s a recipe to make your own using dried chickpeas. Here’s more about aquafaba.