Salmon Shiitake Burgers

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

Salmon Shiitake Burgers with Sesame Sriracha Mayo

Have you tried a blended burger? “The Blend” is technique promoted by the Mushroom Council to combine chopped mushrooms with ground meat to “make meals more delicious, nutritious and sustainable.” (1)

People are positive about the combo (2) because it combines the best of plant and meat worlds; you have a crave-able burger that aligns with health and ethical goals.  

“The Blend” tastes good because mushrooms are rich in “umami,” the 5th taste described as meaty, delicious or savory (3,4). Umami amps up other flavors to make food taste better.

Umami Science

According to the Umami Information Center (5), umami generally refers to substances that combine the amino acid glutamate and/or the nucleotides inosinate and guanylate in a salt molecule with minerals such as sodium and potassium. Meat and seafood have naturally occurring inosinate while mushrooms are rich in glutamates; combining these foods leads to magnified flavor. Examples of tasty glutamate rich foods include parmesan cheese, soy and fish sauces, tomatoes and tomato paste; common nucleotide rich foods are meat and seafood, including anchovies, and dried mushrooms. 

I used The Blend in this salmon burger recipe, mixing sautéed shiitake mushrooms with raw salmon and other seasonings. Seafood sustainability is a growing concern – global demand for fish and shellfish has doubled in the past 50 years (6) to an average of 44 pounds per person per year (2014). Americans eat less, 16 pounds capita in 2017, but demand for salmon is high in the U.S.A. where it’s the second most popular seafood, after shrimp (7). 

Beyond palatability, an appetite for salmon is fueled by attention to the health benefits of the omega-3 fats in salmon and other oily, cold water seafood. These benefits include cardiovascular and brain health, lower body weights and improved health outcomes (8).

U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 and the American Heart Association.  (9,10) recommend 2 seafood meals or 8 ounces per week with an emphasis on oily, omega-3-rich species which, in addition to salmon, include anchovies, sardines, trout and black cod (11).

Eating a variety of seafood is wise, to spread out demand and because seafood is a healthful, protein-rich food that supplies minerals such as iron, selenium, zinc and iodine and has more B12 and vitamin D than other foods (12).  

Salmon burgers help my family enjoy more seafood meals. Next time I’ll make them with a less popular variety of fish.   

Salmon Shiitake Burgers with Sesame Sriracha Mayo

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

Shiitake mushrooms can be pricy – use half or all cremini mushrooms if you like. My favorite burger bun recipe is here:  Potato Onion Burger Buns, Or, for something unusual, serve these burgers on crunchy rice cakes.   

Serves 4.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided use

¾ pound shiitake mushrooms (or combination), sliced

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped, divided use

2 green onions, thinly sliced (white and green part separated)

2 tablespoons mirin or dry sherry (optional)

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 pound fresh or thawed, frozen sockeye or other salmon filets, skin removed and cut into 2-inch pieces

1 large egg

¼ cup unflavored panko (whole wheat preferred)

1 tablespoon grated, peeled fresh ginger

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce

To Serve:

4 burger buns, whole grain preferred, or English muffins, toasted

Sesame-Sriracha Mayonnaise (recipe follows)

Cooked Mushrooms, reserved from step 1

4 lettuce leaves

  1. Place a large, nonstick skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil, mushrooms, white part of green onions and 1 clove of chopped garlic. Cook, stirring often, until mushrooms are soft and begin to brown. Stir in mirin, salt and pepper; cook for a few seconds, until liquid evaporates.  Remove mushrooms from pan. Cool to room temperature. 
  2. Set aside half of mushrooms for topping burgers. Spoon remaining mushrooms into bowl of food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Add salmon, green part of green onions, remaining clove of chopped garlic, egg, panko, ginger, tamari and mayonnaise. Pulse until salmon is finely chopped and ingredients are mixed. Spoon mixture into a bowl.
  3. Form mixture into 4 patties. Place on a plate and chill for 30 to 60 minutes.
  4. To cook burgers, swirl remaining oil into a large nonstick skillet and place over medium heat. Place burgers in pan. Cook, turning once, until golden brown and cooked through (an instant read thermometer inserted horizontally into center of burger registers145°F). To grill burgers, place on oiled foil on a preheated grill. Cook, turning once, until golden and cooked through.
  5. Serve burgers on buns with Sesame Sriracha Mayo, reserved mushrooms (reheat gently if desired), and lettuce. 

Sesame-Sriracha Mayo:  Stir together 1/4 cup mayonnaise,1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onion, 1/2 teaspoon lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon sriracha and 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil. Adjust seasonings to taste.  (Recipe can be doubled.)


  1. The Mushroom Council. The Blend.
  2. Blended Burgers: Gateway to Plant-Based Meat Alternatives? Hartman Group.
  3. The Blend Why?    
  4. Journal of Food Science. Flavor‐Enhancing Properties of Mushrooms in Meat‐Based Dishes in Which Sodium Has Been Reduced and Meat Has Been Partially Substituted with Mushrooms 
  5. The Umami Information Center. What is umami?
  6. E.U. Science Hub. How much fish do we consume? First global seafood consumption footprint published. Sept 27, 2018.
  7. News Update: U.S. per capita seafood consumption up in 2017, Seafood Nutrition Partnership. Dec. 13, 2018

8. Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Fact Sheet for Health NIH Professionals 

9. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

10. American Heart Association

11. Which Fish is Richest in Omega-3s?

12. Advice about Eating Fish. For Women Who Are or Might Become Pregnant, Breastfeeding Mothers, and Young Children 

© Lorelle Del Matto 2019

lorelle About lorelle

Crazy about cooking, eating and sharing good food – my work and leisure revolve around the kitchen. As a culinary dietitian my professional life encompasses nutrition counseling and education, recipe development, product development, food and nutrition writing, marketing communications, corporate test kitchen and consumer affairs management, food styling and work as a product spokesperson.

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