Introduction: "1UP Mushroom" Mushroom Burger!

About: I like whiskey on the rocks, bears, videogames, my rottweiler Cisco, and ring pops. I work for an uber rad gaming outlet as a designer, an occasional writer, and a World of Warcraft podcast host. Aside from si…

Your veggie nerd friends will gawk and awe over this deelish burger with a sense of humor.
Remember all those childhood summers spent playing the NES indoors when it got too hot outside? Summer vacation, BBQs, and the NES. Ah...Those were the days.

When I cook dinner for my friends, I tend to put as much attention to the vegetarian dishes as the meat ones. Why not dress up the veggie burgers to make your guests feel special and have a spiffy time at your barbecue?

This instructable was inspired by Barry Rosenstein's The Red Fez Burger from Build a Better Burger Challenge from the Food Network a few years ago. He colored his top bun red to look like a fez to reflect a Moroccan theme. I thought that was the coolest frakkin' thing ever.

For this instructable, I made my own veggie mushroom patties. They taste like okonomiyaki so it has like a soft fritter/pancake/omelet texture. Okonomiyaki is a Japanese household savory pancake dish where vegetables, meat, and noodles are all mixed together in a pancake batter and placed on a griddle, then topped off with a special soy-based sauce. Feel free to change according to your taste: Boca burger, Gardenburger, meat patties, or just a slab of meat... unless you are Bowser, who desperately needs to cut down his meat intake if he wants to be in good princess-kidnapper shape.

Makes 4 burgers

half of one white onion
2 large portabello mushroom caps (or 6-8 ounces of whatever mushroom you like)
1 tsp. of kosher salt
1 egg
1 tbs. of pancake mix
1 tsp. of minced garlic
black ground pepper to taste

4 large slices of mozzarella cheese
1 tomato, sliced at least quarter inch thick at room temperature
4 spoonfuls of pesto
*optional: mayonnaise (I personally hate mayo, but it's like crack to some people

4 *very round* rustic crusty buns. The type I decided to go with are my favorite whole wheat kind.
1/2 tsp. green food coloring
1 tsp. of water
4 large slices of mozzarella cheese for the circle decoration
*optional: I also tried this recipe with basil juice instead of the food coloring in attempt to be more "natural." The green looked good but it made the burger WAY TOO PUNGENT. Whew!

Step 1: Prepping the Patties

First, wash your hands!

Then wash your produce!

Washing is important!

If you are deciding to use the portabello mushroom caps, then here's an extra step. As most foodies know, portabello mushrooms, when cooked, turn black and muddy. This is because of the dark gills on the underside of the mushroom caps. They also tend to burn easily and make the whole thing taste a bit burnt and bitter (a little like gasoline). To avoid this, use your fingers and rub off the gills. Do this over a running faucet and the gills come off fairly easily.

Dice! Dice! Dice! Chop the onion into itty bitty pieces. To be exact, I would say into less-than-1/4" rough square pieces. Now, chop the mushroom caps into the same rough size. Add the chopped mushrooms, chopped onion, minced garlic, salt, black pepper, and the olive oil into a bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and the pancake mix together until the lumps are gone. Add it into the mushroom mix.

I know that the pancake mix sounds weird-- usually, people use breadcrumbs, flour, or cornstarch as a binding agent. I personally like the buttery taste of pancake mix. (It's great for making fritters and veggie pakora too!)

Mix the whole thing well until the pancake mix and egg are well incorporated into the mushroom bowl bonanza.

Step 2: Grilling

The ideal grill temperature for cooking the patties should be medium-low.

When it's time to put on the grill, take your bare hands and take enough of the mushroom mix to form something in the size of a ping pong ball. Then flatten the ball with your hands into a patty shape about an inch thick. Place onto a plate and spray the surface of each patty with cooking spray. Now it's fire time!

If using an outdoor grill, I suggest either place the patties on the outer rim for 6 minutes on each side and 3 minutes hanging out on the top rack or on the outer rim. This will give it some steam action too.

If you would like to save time, especially at a popular BBQ function. Make the patties the night before using a skillet. Cook both sides for 6 minutes over medium heat and stick it under the oven for about 3 minutes. Then carefully store the patties in the fridge.

Of course, this whole patty thing is technically optional. Feel free to substitute any patty you like for this step. If you're a meat eater and would still like to partake in this festivity, you should! This particular mushroom patty reminds me of a Japanese household dish Okonomiyake and that's why I like it.

Step 3: My Anaconda Don't Get None Unless You Got Buns, Hun.

While the patties are cooking, it's the ideal time for prepping the buns. Mix the water and food coloring together in a small bowl. Brush the outer part of the top halves with the green solution. This is the time for personal judgment. Food dyes differ, and buns differ. I suggest have a throwaway bun ready to use it as your first trial bun for coloring. If the color is too strong, dilute with water and try to reach the optimal solution. This is why using crusty, hearty breads is better than using airy, porous soft buns-- they don't turn into soggy mush.

The green will look really vibrant at first, but it will gradually mute down as the buns dry.

Using a shot glass or a small bottle cap, punch holes into the slices of cheese to make small circles. This is for the mushroom spots on top of the buns. Each slice yields about 5 small circles.

After coloring the buns, place it on grill (color face up) to toast and give it some heat. Remove from grill after a light toast. Place the cheese circles onto the colored surface to resemble the mushroom spots. The warmth of the bread will make the cheese stick.

Step 4: The Fixings

Don't take the patties off the grill after they're done cooking. They should be resting on the top rack and it's time for the works. The goal of the next few steps is to make the burgers look like the white 1UP mushroom stem.

First, take a dollop of pesto and place it on each patty (still on the grill!). Align a tomato slice onto the the patty, over the pesto. Now you should have a nice little mini tower.

(*note: I'm kind of a tomato snob and I'm really picky about it. The tomato I used is a local black heirloom tomato that has a less gooey innards and is nicely tart. Since the mushroom, onion, and bun all have a nice sweetness to them, I wanted something more acidic in this burger, and that's why I opted to put in such a thick slice.)

Then take a large slice of the mozzarella cheese, aim and center, and place it on the tower. The goal is to have the cheese melt and drape over the tower without ripping. This is why the tomato slices should be at room temperature so the cheese won't have a difficult time to melt evenly. After the cheese has achieved the ideal drape, remove from grill and place it on the center of the bottom burger bun. Place the green bun on top, and there you have it, a "1UP Mushroom" Mushroom Burger!

It will jazz you up with enough energy to jump on goombas for a while in World 1-2 so you can get even more 1UPs! (Does everyone know that trick?)

Step 5: Gallery of Other People's 1UP Mushroom Burgers

I'm so glad people are tweaking this project on their own and creating their own awesome 1UP Mushroom Burgers.

From 1UP User Daniel Carter:
Hey Miss Karen, I just wanted to let you know that today I set out on making my very own 1UP burgers, and they came out looking okay. I changed the patty, because well my family is full of Bowsers, I kinda look like one! Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I have always wanted to get into the world of cooking as a hobby, also just as a good skill to have, and seeing your recipe really just gave me the push to do something with it. I mean it combines one of my favorite things in life (gaming), with cooking!

BBQ PDQ Contest

First Prize in the
BBQ PDQ Contest

The Instructables Book Contest

First Prize in the
The Instructables Book Contest

BBQ PDQ Contest

Participated in the
BBQ PDQ Contest