By Angela Greenwood

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — It’s being called a top trend in the food industry — a burger blend that mixes mushrooms with meat.

It’s a way to create a more healthy and sustainable burger, and restaurants from Roseville to El Dorado Hills to Sacramento are testing it out as part of the Blended Burger Challenge.

The idea is to replace at least a quarter of the meat in burgers with mushrooms, and some chefs say that makes a better burger that’s also better for you. It’s an American diet staple with a twist that some say makes the burger better.

Magpie Cafe bartender Luke Schwan said, “My personal opinion is that it’s delicious. I love mushrooms myself.”

The patty looks like the typical burger, but it has special ingredient. Twenty-five percent of it is made with finely chopped mushrooms.

“I think more what this is about is about tuning into the idea that we have to start consuming a little bit less meat generally,” said Schwan.

It’s all part of what’s called the “Blended Burger Project,” created by a culinary organization called the James Beard Foundation.

Magpie Cafe is just one of nine restaurants in the area competing in the contest. It chose to blend the mushrooms with its bison burger, which is served on the lunch menu and can be ordered from the bar at any time.

“It’s always kinda good to see unique, exciting things on a menu.” said customer Bay Miry.

And the burgers are a hit. Miry says he tried it and loved it.

But, why change things up?

Schwan says the mushroom adds more depth. And it’s not only more flavorful, but creators say it’s more healthy and sustainable. Mushrooms are known to increase juiciness and texture when mixed with meat while cutting down on fat, sodium, calories, and cost.

Of course, mushroom lovers love the burgers and Schwan says mushroom haters may not even know the difference.

“If you didn’t know that there were mushrooms in the burger, then you’d have no idea you were eating mushrooms whatsoever,” said Schwan.

The contest runs through July 31. You can vote online for your favorite burger, as well as a list of local restaurants participating in the challenge at:

https://www.jamesbeard.org/blendedburgerproject

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