If you are trying to eat less meat, this recipe for Mushroom and Beef Sliders (or meatballs) will give you all the flavor –and even the texture– of an all-meat slider, with substantially less meat. And no, it’s not because sliders are a fraction of the size of a burger. Even if you decided to make a full size burger from this recipe, which you could most definitely do, you’ll still be getting a lot less meat than you would otherwise…
If you happen to have any of our books, then you know I never make an all-meat burger. Of course sometimes I don’t use any meat at all. Whether it’s a Baked Falafel Burger,a Quinoa Burger or the Zucchini and White Bean Burger recipe from my friend Melissa King, the blogger over at My Whole Food Life, many times burger night at our house could easily be on Meatless Monday! I’ll be honest though, my husband and son are always most enthusiastic when the burger recipe has meat (wink).
The Secret to the Best Mushroom and Beef Slider Recipe
Just like with my Turkey Burger recipe, the secret to making Mushroom and Beef Sliders that have substantially less meat than a conventional burger (but still taste every bit as juicy and meaty) is to use a food processor and pulse the mushrooms into ittty-bitty pieces. You then want to saute the mushrooms in a little oil to soften them and then mix the mushrooms with the ground meat.
I realize sauteing the mushrooms might seem like a pointless extra step, but trust me, you would not want to put a full 2 cups of raw shredded mushrooms into any recipe that calls for combining the mushrooms with ground meat. Mushrooms release a lot of liquid when cooked, so it is important to saute them first to get a head start on releasing as much water as possible. You want to keep the heat on high as the mushrooms cook to evaporate as much liquid as possible as quickly as possible. And then you want to keep cooking the mushrooms until all of the water is gone.
Note: Even after sauteing the mushrooms, you still need to bake the Mushroom and Beef Sliders on a wire rack set on top of a baking sheet because the mushrooms will release even more liquid as the sliders are baked.
Why Less Meat is Better for Your Gut Health
We have all been hearing for years now that eating too much red meat is not healthy for a variety of reasons, but the latest research gives us even more reason to cut back….
According to a Harvard University scientists’ report in the journal Nature, a diet full of meat and dairy foods alters the gut microbiome in a negative way and, most concerning, it does so more or less immediately after eating. One particular type of bacterium that thrive in a red meat-laden diet is Bilophila, which has been linked to inflammation and intestinal diseases.
Some people might decide to just cross meat right off their list of acceptable foods. However, as we discuss in our book, we are not vegan and we do still eat a small bit of grassfed red meat for a variety of reasons. (We talk more about why we are not vegan here and we outline our clean eating definition here.)
If you love meat, which our family does, we believe you can still eat a small bit without negative health consequences IF you are also eating an otherwise nutrient-dense and mostly plant-based diet. And if I am serving meat in the form of a burger, or any recipe that calls for ground meat, then I always try to sneak in plant-based superfoods. For example, in my Shepherd’s Pie recipe, I add in lots of minced vegetables. In the recipe for Mushroom and Meat Sliders, I add LOTS of minced superfood shitake mushrooms.
“Meaty” Superfood Shitake Mushrooms
Not only will minced (and sauteed!) shitake mushrooms help you reduce your overall meat consumption without sacrificing flavor or texture, you’ll also be getting a number of additional nutrition and health perks…
From a nutrition standpoint, shitake mushrooms deliver a good amount of vitamin D as well as selenium. But they also have known potent antiviral and anticancer benefits. Eritadenine is a substance found in shitake mushrooms that encourages the absorption of cholesterol and lowers the amount of cholesterol circulating in the blood. In fact, Japanese researches have reported that consumption of shitake mushrooms lowers cholesterol by as much as 45 percent.
Shitake mushrooms have also shown promising weight loss benefits. B-glucagon, a dietary fiber that is also found in barley, rye and oats, is a component of shitake mushrooms that has been shown to have fat-reducing effects. Studies have reported that b-glucan can increase satiety, reduce food intake, delay nutrition absorption and reduce plasma lipid (fat) levels.
Read more about why I love cooking with shitake mushrooms here.
How to Serve the Mushroom and Beef Sliders
You pretty much put anything you would normally put on a burger on a slider, and this recipe for Mushroom and Beef Sliders is no exception. The main thing to keep in mind is that sliders are small, so don’t overwhelm them with too many toppings.
For this slider recipe I decided to go open-faced and top it with just a raw onion, pimientos (I pat them dry first) and mustard.
You can get ideas for toppings in my blog post on how to set up a clean burger buffet.
If you are trying to eat less meat (a good thing!), this recipe for Mushroom and Beef Sliders (or meatballs!) will give you all the flavor and even the texture of an all-meat slider –with almost half the meat!
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a wire rack over a large, rimmed baking sheet and set aside.Add the oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat.
- Add the mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms are very soft and all of the liquid has evaporated, about 7 or 8 minutes.
- Season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add the meat to a large mixing bowl.
- Use a wooden spoon to stir in the beaten egg, garlic, minced parsley, mustard and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the mushrooms and use the wooden spoon to thoroughly mix all of the ingredients together (but be careful not to over-mix!).
- Using a 2-tablespoon measuring spoon, scoop the meat mixture into meatballs.
- If making meatballs: Roll the mixture in your hands to form a round ball that looks like a meatball.
- If making sliders: Roll the mixture in your hands to form a round ball that looks like a meatball and then use the palm of your hand to ever-so-slightly flatten it into the shape of a slider (or mini burger).
- Place each meatball or slider on the prepared wire rack (Note: it is important to bake the sliders on the wire rack to allow the juices to drip onto the baking sheet.) Repeat with the remaining meat mixture.
- Transfer the meatballs (or sliders) to the oven and bake for 17 to 18 minutes, or until meat is no longer pink inside. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm.
A food processor is the easiest way to mince both the shitake mushrooms and parsley. However, since the shitake mushrooms and parley are called for separately in the directions, you will need to process each ingredient separately in the food processor.