Blend the Rules Winners Announced

Blend the Rules was an in cafeteria promotion that challenged school nutrition professionals to “Blend the Rules” using fresh or IQF diced mushrooms.

Congratulations to the Winners:

Grand Prize Winner

Fantastic Fun with Fungi – Bethel School District, Eugene, OR

By offering cooked vs. raw mushrooms along with engagement and education we increased the quantity of mushrooms that were offered by 25%. Less than 10% of product was returned to the kitchen which leads us to believe our campaign was a success. One excited kindergartener exclaimed, “I loved it! It was so good! I popped the whole thing in my mouth. It was great!” – Jennie Kolpak

Second Place

Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union, Chittenden VT

The students created and cooked their own foods to share. These students began trying things they had never tried before. When we started talking about mushrooms the group really took flight. They had a contest of their own to determine who could come up with the best mushroom recipe.” – Sandra Gardyne


Third Place

Marion Elementary, Allen, TX

One of our leaders attended the Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassador Summit last summer and thought that the blended burger activity they did was cool and brought the idea to us. Students developed their own recipes and created cooking video and posted them on social media which was sent to teachers and parents to get the student body excited and involved. We recieved 13 awesome entries.” – Kera Williams

Runners Up

1. Chicopee Public Schools, Chicopee MA
2. J. Sterling Morton High School, Cicero IL
3. Greenville Public Schools, Greenville SC
4. Victor Central Schools, Victor NY


Join the #Blenditarian Movement


As a valued member of the School Nutrition Community, The Mushroom Council would like to invite you to take part in a new and exciting movement to do better.

Are you looking for ways to do better for your students? If so, join the blenditarian movement! What’s a blenditarian? Anyone who wants to “do better” – starting by blending mushrooms with meat.


One who believes that the mighty mushroom has meaty powers to make meals more delicious, nutritious and sustainable!


The Blend has become a force to be reckoned with, making its way into 20% of schools*, across the United States.

Major manufacturers  and management companies such as JTM, Sodexo, Maid-Rite (The Rite Blend), and Advance-Pierre have embraced the benefits of The Blend — it can reduce fat and sodium, while boosting flavor and allows for larger portion sizes — and have developed prepared burgers, meatballs and crumbles to get onboard with the blenditarian movement and have taken the pledge.

Join the movement to “do better” for your health, planet and palate. We are inviting you, to join fellow schools, to take the blenditarian pledge.


Get Social

Share the new site,, to your channels with an invite to take the pledge and help us grow the community. Use the hashtag #Blenditarian to be featured on the Buzz page. Download the social graphic here.

Website Features

  • The Blend:
    The basics of The Blend boiled down in quick overviews, tips and how-tis.
  • Blenditarian Map:
    This is a living map of everyone who has pledged. Toggle between people, restaurants, Blended Burger Project participants and retailers – click on each pin to learn more about that person or place.
  • Buzz:
    Visitors can stay up-to-date on news, events and recipes – as well as share their personal experiences with The Blend – with this real-time, user-generated social media feed that follows the hashtags #Blenditarian, #BlendedBurgerProject and #BlendedBurger.

* This percentage is based on programs completed with Loudoun County Public Schools, Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, Coppell Independent School District, Montana School District, San Diego Unified School District, New Orleans Public Schools, Hickman Mills School District, Maplewood Richmond Heights, Southbend School District, Cincinnati Public Schools, Provo School District, and the 400+ School Districts that receive prepared blended products from Sodexo, as well as the hundreds of other schools who are recieving blended products from the dozens of blended products available by the school meat processors JTM, Advance Pierre, Maid Rite, Don Lee, Lower Valley Processing, Miami Beef and Jennie O.

Montana Schools are Mooving Forward with Beef + Mushrooms


The Montana Beef to School Project conducted a comprehensive case study with schools, producers, and processors across Montana to identify the benefits, challenges, best practices, and gaps that exist for beef to school procurement models in Montana.

  • The Montana Beef to School Project aims to explore what factors make beef to school programs successful and encourage the use of local beef in every Montana school.
  • Discover the creative ways that schools are working with producers and processors in Montana to procure local Montana beef.
  • Bring tested beef to school strategies to Montana communities through lessons learned from case studies across six beef1.

Utilizing The Blend in Schools

Three schools in Flathead Valley; Somers Lakeside Schools (District 29); Whitefish School (District 44); and Kalispell Public Schools (District 5) were open to a pilot project with the mushroom blend. Other objectives included:

  • Provide USDA IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) mushrooms to schools
  • Develop recipes specifically for locally raised (often grass-fed) Montana beef
  • Provide technical assistance using blend of local beef + mushrooms

Featured Recipes


Beef and Mushroom Burgers: Whitefish Public School – Recipe can be found on page 25 of the Case Study.


Italian Meat and Mushroom Meatballs: Somers Lakeside Schools – Recipe can be found on page 22 of the Case Study.

Adding mushrooms to beef provides an additional serving of vegetables to a meal.
Extending meat dishes with mushrooms is a cost saver, too. In taste tests, our students found the beef-mushrooms blends to be very appealing, juicy, savory, and palatable. When we served blended products, our participation numbers increased.
– Robin Vogler, Director, Somers Lakeside Schools

What’s Next

  • Introduce local beef + mushroom blend recipes to a state-wide audience at Montana School Nutrition Association
  • Support Mission Mountain Food Enterprises Center’s work to develop meatball (Montana beef and lentils + mushrooms) for school channels
  • Provide technical assistance for distribution of USDA IQF mushrooms through state child nutrition channels
  • Expand use of local beef + mushroom blend to other foodservice channels of Montana including higher education

Find out how each district utilized The Blend, as well as key findings in the detailed case history.

1.  University of Montana, Moooooving Forward Together, Strategies for Montana Beef to School, to School Project Case Study Report.pdf

Excite Students with a Blended Burger Bash!


Winter semester often feels like it goes on forever. Creating small celebrations with food can help motivate excitement and participation with students through the long winter months. Burger Bars can channel summer grilling memories and create a festive atmosphere for students. Pairing new fruits and vegetables in a fun burger concept can encourage students to experience new ingredients while enjoying one of their favorite foods!

Since Blend Burgers have less calories, fat and sodium than regular burgers they allow for more topping flexibility for student’s favorite toppings like cheese and turkey bacon!

Here are some of our favorite burger builds for your next burger bash!

  • Pizza Burger: Pizza sauce & melted mozzarella cheese
  • Philly Burger: IQF Diced mushrooms, onions, peppers & provolone cheese
  • California Burger: guacamole or avocado and salsa
  • Diner Burger: Lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle and American cheese
  • Classic Jr Burger: American cheese and turkey bacon
  • Hawaiian Burger: Pineapple spirals & BBQ sauce
  • Gyro Burger: Plain Greek Yogurt mixed with dried dill, diced cucumbers and diced onions
  • Sweet & Spicy Burger: Siracha sauce and soy sauce slaw
  • Hot & Hotter Burger: Jalapeños and Siracha sauce


Blended Burger Bashes in Restaurants Across the Country

School Districts are not the only ones featuring Blended Burgers on their menus. Check out what top chefs are doing with the Mushroom & Meat Blend on their menus:


Chef Jehagir Mehta’s “Graffiti Burger,” Graffiti, New York, NY


Chef Rob Ray’s “Mushroom State of Mind Burger,” Belly Acres, Memphis, TN


Chef Domenica Catelli’s “Burger 2.0,” Catellis, Sonoma, CA


Chef Lorin Watada’s “Tikka Masala Burger,” Bachi Burger, Las Vegas, CA

Blended Burgers in the News

Mushroom Council Partners with Sodexo to Promote Blend Burgers and Encourage Produce Consumption

Sodexo, a leader in delivering sustainable, integrated facilities management and foodservice operations, announced they will be switching the all-beef burgers sold to their K-12 school district accounts to the meat and mushroom Blend burger. This change supports better nutrition for students in more than 250 school districts and aligns with Sodexo’s commitment to enhance student well-being.

Lisa Feldman, director of culinary services for Sodexo Culinary Solutions, commented, “Recent studies tell us that kids are taking more fresh fruits and vegetable at school meals, but not necessarily eating them. In addition to our work incorporating behavioral economics principles into our school nutrition programs to encourage students to both take and consume more fruits and vegetables, Sodexo is also looking at ways to add produce to other things we serve like adding natural and nutrient-packed mushrooms to burgers.”

Learn more about Sodexo’s move to Blend Burgers here >>

In the Kitchen with Mushrooms


Beef & Mushroom Burger

Yield: 100 servings, 74.4 grams
Serving Size: 1 Burger equals 2.62 Ounces
Meal Equivalencies: 1.5 m/ma, 1/8 cup other vegetable

Find the full recipe here >>

Don’t Forget to Add Mushrooms to your Foods Available List!


Remember to add USDA IQF Mushrooms (Material Code #110421) to your Foods Available list for your districts to order.

USDA IQF Diced Mushrooms can be used in menus to:

  • Top pizzas, sandwiches and burgers
  • Blend with pastas, sloppy joes and tacos to increase portion size
  • Divert to your processor for juicy burgers and meatballs
  • Increase flexibility in meeting guidelines while adding toppings students love
  • Increase consumption of vegetables by combining with popular consumed entrées


See here why schools already love the mushrooms!

Carmen Fischer

Carmen Fischer

Director of Child Nutrition Services & Warehouse / Rockwood School District

“We were excited to see mushrooms on our Missouri commodity open order list. It's always fun to experiment with new vegetables and to educate kids about them. We introduced the mushrooms in a Taste Test Tuesday recipe for marinated vegetables and are working on an egg Florentine soufflé using USDA eggs, mushrooms, spinach and cheese. We are looking forward to incorporating mushrooms into more recipes that our students enjoy.”

Eric Zacarias

Eric Zacarias

Manager of Marketing & Innovation / Cincinnati Public Schools

“Serving the Blend burger helps us keep our high school participation above 76%. The burger blended with mushrooms is a juicier, bigger patty with less fat and calories so we are able to add two slices of turkey bacon and cheese to the burger. The kids come in week after week because they know the Blend burger is on the menu that day. It was so popular we will be adding Blended meatballs to the menu to as well.”

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