Living Burgers

I love me a good burger.

Squishy, juicy, gratifyingly messy.

But the truth is, it is not something to eat everyday. Well not the standard sort, anyway

Living Burgers, Tess Ward, Recipe, vegan, raw, easy, tasty, mushroom, ideas,

I have a real hankering for food you can eat without cutlery. For me, this sort of food is eaten with a happy informality, a meal without pretention, either shared in the company of good friends, at a barbecue or picnic, or in the solitude of ones own kitchen – a 11pm grilled cheese after an evening at the pub (we’ve all been there) 

Some of my favourite foods : chicken wings, sandwiches and ice cream cones are all food you can hold. Not always the most healthy, but some of the most enjoyable to eat. Because I work in food, I am ever tending to new recipes, trying new restaurants and developing dishes, as such every now and then my body craves a break, so I give myself a week or two off. I cut out the grains, starches and meats (only fish if I need it) and go hard for the veggies. This is one of my go to options if I am hankering for a sarnie or burger. It hits the nail on the head for a my need to go feral and desire to ditch the cutlery.

Living Burgers, Tess Ward, Recipe, vegan, raw, easy, tasty, mushroom, ideas,

Entirely meat, grain and dairy free, this burger is essentially a richly flavoured, meaty hunk of mushroom that is dehydrated, instead of cooked, to preserve all its goodness and  served with a wickedly tasty dairy-free cheese sauce and a shredded courgette salad.

I call this my ‘living burger’ because unlike the usual sort, that usually contain a heartstoppingly large hunk of cow, this one is almost entirely made up of living plants (well nearly living) and as such is easy to digest, and energising as well as tasty. You wont need an espresso, or a half hour nap after eating it either – making it an ideal weekday lunchbox option, or lighter summer dinner.

Living Burgers, Tess Ward, Recipe, vegan, raw, easy, tasty, mushroom, ideas,

 The bun is made from slow roasted mushrooms and marinaded in coconut aminos, my (allergy free, alternative to soy sauce) I certainly recommend you marinade and cook up a whole bunch of these mushroom buns and have them on hand for the week… one burger is never enough! You can feel free to pimp your burger with whatever fillings you fancy, I would recommend I kept it simple with ripe baby tomatoes for a pop of sweetness and some sprouted beans but the coconut bacon recipe on would make a great addition too.

Living Burgers Recipe

To make this into a main course, I would certainly recommend a big bowl of sweet potato fries and the shredded kale and nectarine salad from my book as great sides.

Serves 1

  • 4 large portabello mushrooms
  • 3 tbs tamari, or coconut aminos
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 courgette, grated
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Mix the tamari/coconut aminos and smoked paprika in a large bowl. Add the portabello mushrooms, tossing them in the mixture to combine.

Place the mushrooms in your dehydrator at 70 degrees C for 4 hours, top side up, or in the oven at 120 degrees C for 30-40 minutes. You want the mushrooms to only partially dehydrate and intensify in flavour but still hold their texture.

For the salad, place the courgette in a clean cloth and ring out any extra moisture. Add the courgette and all the remaining ingredients to a bowl, with a generous pinch of salt and a grinding of black pepper. Mix well and set aside.

Cheese Sauce

  • 2 tablespoon tahini
  • 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, germ removed and grated
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seed oil
  • 75ml – 100ml cold water
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Place all the ingredients for the cheese sauce, except the water, in a bowl. Add the water gradually as mix, until you reach the texture of thick, melted cheese. Season as you go, to taste

Living Burgers, Tess Ward, Recipe, vegan, raw, easy, tasty, mushroom, ideas,

To Serve

The burger lends itself to any fillings you fancy. You can keep it raw and vegan, with the ingredients below, or alternately give it a go with a meat filling. The baked pork and ginger meatballs in The Naked Diet make a great option too.

Ideas :

  • Sprouted seeds
  • rocket leaves
  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • toasted sesame seeds


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