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.

CLICK HERE TO PLEDGE


Get Social

Share the new site, blenditarian.com, 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

mooving-forward

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

whitefish-ps-1

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

meatballs

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, www.montana.edu/mtfarmtoschool/documents/beef-to-school/Beef to School Project Case Study Report.pdf

Excite Students with a Blended Burger Bash!

Blended-Burger-Bash-in-Schools

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-Clings


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:

Jehangir-Graffiti-Burger

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

Belly-Acres-Burger

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

Catelli-2-Burger

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

Bachi-Burger

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

blended-burger-recipes

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!

Order-USDA-IQF-Diced-Mushrooms-110421

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.”

Vegetarian Success Tips & Stories, PLUS suggestions from Dayle Hayes, School Nutrition Guru

veggie-pizza

2 out of 3 U.S. schools now offer vegetarian fare for lunch on a regular basis.

Meatless offerings for students are moving toward dishes that will also appeal to non-vegetarians based on taste alone. Recipe such as, Mexican-themed vegetable burritos, vegetable-topped pizza, vegetable pastas, egg salad or pimento cheese sandwiches are a great way to appeal to all students.

Coming up with meatless options that are tasty can be the easy part; it’s meeting the meal requirements that can be tricky. Vegetarian diets are often high in fiber and low in fat. This may cause children to feel full before they consume enough calories1. Adding nutrient-rich low calorie mushrooms to the menu creates the opportunity to add calorie dense foods, such as avocados and nut butters, to ensure proper calorie intake.

Mushrooms in a Vegetarian Diet

Just like meat mushrooms are savory making them a favourite ingredient in vegetarian recipes. Mushrooms naturally contain umami — the savory taste found in food. The meaty, savory flavor that mushrooms provide has been found to be a healthy and satisfying substitute for salt.

Nutritional benefits of mushrooms:

  • Only produce source of vitamin D.
  • Contains 9% of the daily recommended intake of potassium per 5 medium mushrooms.
  • The vitamin B-12 found naturally in mushrooms is the same form found in meat.
  • Mushrooms contain antioxidants (selenium and ergothioneine), which offer protection from cancer and heart disease, and moderate blood sugar levels2.

Dayle Hayes Tips

Adding Mushrooms to Vegetarian Meals

Want to make vegetarian choices so tasty that all your customers will want to eat them? My advice is to add some mushrooms! With their meaty texture, savory flavor and umami deliciousness, mushrooms are a perfect way to boost the popularity of any vegetarian menu option!

Lacto-ovo vegetarians (includes dairy products and eggs. Excludes meat, poultry, and fish) can enjoy the pairing of mushrooms and cheese – with twice the umami!

  • philly-portabella-cheesesteakPizza is always popular with students. Adding mushrooms can be as simple as Fresh Sliced Mushroom and Cheese – or with some chopped fresh tomatoes and basil, a marvellous Margherita and Mushroom Pizza.
  • Mushrooms also pair nicely with all other pizza produce options, like olives, onions, peppers and even pineapple – and are as great on flatbread as on a pizza crust. The Vegetable Flatbread, from California Olives, is a colorful and delicious example.
  • With mushrooms and the right recipe, your customers won’t even notice that the meat is missing. Portabella Mushrooms on a whole grain roll make a tempting vegetarian Philly ‘Steak’ Sub and fresh sliced mushrooms combine with a variety of IQF USDA vegetables to make a hearty Garden Fresh Vegetable Lasagna.

Mushrooms are even more important in stricter vegan options with more limited ingredients.

  • vegetarian-chiliHearty Vegetarian Chili is a deliciously simple dish – perfect for winter menus.
  • Chopped mushrooms add an extra layer of flavor to ethnically inspired vegan dishes, like East Indian curries or vegetable fajitas, while slices of portabellas are lovely on veggie or bean burgers.

 


References
1. Vegetarian Nutrition for School-Aged Children, RD Resources are a project of the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group. © 2010 by VN DPG. Christine Creighton, MS, RD
2. Nutrition-wise blog: Mushrooms aren’t just for vegetarians, Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. August 22.

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