Mushroom-Leek Burger with Smoked Tempeh Strips

Happy Independence Day folks! I made this burger last week in hope to get all of my "burger woes" out of the way for this meat-filled BBQ weekend. Let me tell you - it was yummy. Surprisingly, the Smoked Tempeh Strips (aka Facon Bacon) were also quite delicious. I was very pleased with this burger. I got the idea to make this burger from a restaurant highlighted in Vegetarian Times July/August 2011 issue. The restaurant, Off the Griddle, has a Mushroom-Leek Vegan burger with Smoked Facon and Vegan Blue Cheese. Unfortunately, the restaurant is in Oregon, and I was out of blue cheese, but I think I captured the essence of the burger!

Mushroom-Leek Burger with Smoked Tempeh Strips
Source: Burger Adapted from Ultimate Veggie Burgers; Smoked Tempeh adapted from Healthy Happy Life
Makes 6 Burgers and 4 strips of Bacon

1 small potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces SS: Mashed potato is a surprisingly great vegan 'binder' for burgers, you can also use egg I'm sure
1 portabella mushroom
12 crimini mushrooms
10 shitake mushrooms
3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 leek, finely chopped, pale green and white parts only
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup cooked barley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  1. Steam or boil the potato until tender. Mash with a fork.
  2. Trim off the stem of the portabella mushroom and scoop out the gills. Chop into 1/2-inch pieces. Thinly slice the crimini and shitake mushrooms. SS: I didn't slice the crimini or shitake mushrooms, because I didn't read thoroughly, smh.
  3. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  4. Heat 1 Tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Cook the portabello mushrooms, crimini and shitake for 10 minutes, until the mushrooms have sweat off their moisture and it has dried up in the pan. Deglaze with the vinegar, scraping off browned bits with a wooden spoon.
  5. Transfer mushrooms to a food processor and coarsely grind. (Alternatively, chop the mushrooms finely by hand.) Combine the mushroom mixture with the potato, barley, leek, salt, pepper, and mushroom mixture in a mixing bowl. Shape into 6 patties.
  6. In an oven-safe skillet or nonstick frying pan heat oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the burgers and brown each side, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Move the pan to the preheated oven and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until firm and cooked through.

5 ounces tempeh (2/3 a standard 8 ounce pack)
1-2 Tbsp maple or agave syrup
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
a dash of cayenne
1 tsp liquid smoke (opt'l) SS: I didn't use this
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp thick black pepper
for pan: 2 tsp olive oil
*if you don't have liquid smoke use these BBQ spice combos:
(garlic, pepper, paprika and onion)


  1. Very thinly slice the tempeh.
  2. As thin as you can slice it without it falling apart.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a shallow dish.
  4. Soak tempeh in marinade for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Turn saute pan on high, add 1-2 tsp olive oil. Lay the tempeh flat on skillet. One layer only. Drizzle a bit of excess marinade onto skillet-it should be sizzling a lot now.
  6. Allow to cook for 1 minute, then flip. Allow to cook for another minute on other side-or until both sides are crisp and browned.
  7. Lay cooked tempeh on parchment paper to cool. Sprinkle with black pepper and thick sea salt to taste.
  8. For a crisper tempeh bacon, do not pour excess marinade in skillet, and allow all liquid to steam off of pan while cooking.

I served the burger over a bed of spinach, and added some cheddar cheese since we were out of blue cheese. Everything was DELICIOUS!!!

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