Why We Love The Blend

By Guest Blogger Katie Workman, The Mom 100

There is much talk about reducing our overall consumption of meat. It’s good for us personally, it’s good for the planet, and it’s also good for the karmic universe. But those burgers! Those meatballs! A piping hot moist meatloaf! These dishes won’t stop calling our names.

And that’s why the concept of The Blend is so smart. You don’t have to give up meat, you don’t have to sacrifice flavor, and you don’t even have to compromise texture. The simple act of replacing some of the meat in various dishes keeps the door wide open on taste, but accomplishes some of these worthy goals, deliciously and easily.

In the notion of The Blend, it’s usually ground meat that gets replaced with chopped mushrooms. Some of the Blended recipes I’ve come up with are Caramelized Onion and Parmesan Burgers, Asian Beef Mushroom Burgers, and Japanese Chicken, Pork and Mushroom Meatballs with Ponzu Sauce.

But really the concept of The Blend can be extended even further – a beef and broccoli stir fry that might use a pound of meat, maybe trades half of that for shiitake mushrooms. Some of the sausage in the Thanksgiving stuffing might be replaced with any kind of mushrooms you like. Because mushrooms have that great texture and chew, they do make excellent add-ins (I don’t want to say substitutions, since that lessens the role of mushrooms in any of these types of dishes). A frittata might have a bit of bacon in it, and some sautéed creminis. You could use a bit of pepperoni on your homemade pizza, and add on some sautéed mushrooms to fill out the topping.

Once you start thinking along the lines of The Blend, you’ll see how flexible and versatile this idea is. No one is trying to make you into a vegetarian (unless you want to be!) – we’re just embracing the idea of less meat equaling more alternatives. The Mushroom Council has set out to sign up 1 million self-identified Blenditarians by 2025. Click here to raise your virtual hand (and check out some of the other Bended recipes and chefs who are on board).

It’s a bona fide movement! And a really delicious one.