mushroom burgers with asian slaw . sprouted kitchen


I remember when I first got your email. It was the week after some negative comments had gotten the best of me, I mentioned it here and you'd written just to say hi. You appreciated my work; the food, yes, but also the way I wrote. I don't consider myself a "writer." I like writing, I can write letters, and I err on the side of vulnerability... you could classify me as a journaler, perhaps. Anyway, I keep coming back to your email because you remind me that I want to be relatable here. Even when vulnerability feels risky.

"I found your blog a year or two ago, and bookmarked it just for salad inspiration. But recently I've realized that your blog has become to me inspiration not just for salads and "bowl foods" and good food in general, but for good LIVING too. In the past 3 months, I've graduated college, gotten married, started a 9-to-5, and moved to a depressed inner-city. Our car has gotten broken into, we've started paying bills, we've learned that good communication in marriage is a full-time job, and, and, and, -- you know: real life happened. The better and the worse."

That's a lot to soak up in 3 months, lady. It wasn't the fluffy pep-you-up type of email, but the real-life-happened part of it that reminded me that we're all in a mess of things. I stop writing in fear of judgement but those aren't the people I'm writing to. We went to the beach late in the afternoon last weekend in search of a bit of perspective. I had let the prospect of a house purchase swallow me up and I needed out of my own head. I had gotten home from work in time for a late afternoon in the sun, and after a weeks-long-swell-drought there were finally some waves, so Hugh was eager to get in the water. He had been working at home all day and needed time in the waves with his buddies. I had been with people all day, so I needed to sit by myself and stare out into the ocean whose endlessness always puts things in perspective. The house was a massive decision, but not the most important we will ever make. And while it certainly comes into play, it is not the single point at which our future happiness and success will teeter upon. It is a house. Sitting there at the edge of the Pacific, so much that I had not thought about all week while I'd been wrestling with the "right decision" filled my heart.

My aunt who continues to fight cancer for the fourth time, sick and discouraged.

Friends with babies in their bellies and friends who desperately want babies in their bellies.

Health. Marriages. Lonliness. Divorce. Loss. All of it right in front of me or just a degree away.

I've re-read your email a dozen times now, Caroline. I keep the entirity of it in my personal email folder to remind me why I love this space and the awesome people I'd have never met if not for this website. Thank you for reminding me that there are people on the other side of this blog - some of whom are here for recipes or maybe the pretty photos, but most that are simply other people doing their best to craft a beautiful, meaningful life. 

I hope more better than worse for you, lovely.



mushroom burgers with asian slaw . sprouted kitchen mushroom burgers with asian slaw . sprouted kitchen


For the slaw, I have this julienne peeler and think the quality is excellent. It is easiest to use when the vegetables are fresh and cold, the firmer the better for peeling purposes. A regular vegetable peeler works fine as well, your shreds will just be thicker. A great thing about marinating vegetables or tofu is that unlike meat, you can put them back into the marinade after cooking to soak up a bit more of the flavors. That said, chicken or fish, salmon maybe, could work here too if you're making food for a more omnivorous crowd.  

  • 4 large portobello mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce/tamari
  • 2 Tbsp. maple 
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil/ extra virgin olive oil
  • squeeze of lemon or lime
  • pinch of pepper
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 small english cucumber
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. tahini
  • 1 tsp. low sodium soy sauce/tamari
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 avocado
  • sriracha mayo*
  • 4 buns

mushroom burgers with asian slaw . sprouted kitchen

Wipe the mushrooms clean and remove the tough stem. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium heat. In a shallow pan, mix together the soy sauce/tamari, maple, oil, splash of citrus and pepper. Add the mushrooms and rub the marinade into all of the surfaces. Let them sit for 5-10 minutes to soak it up. 

Using a julienne peeler or vegetable peeler, shave the carrots and cucumber into thin or thick shreds respectively. Put them in a large mixing bowl with the red onion. Make a quick dressing by whisking together the tahini, soy sauce/tamari, sesame oil and vinegar. Pour it over the vegetables and toss to coat. Add the chopped mint and cilantro and give it all one more toss. 

Grill the mushrooms for 5 minutes on each side or until they are soft throughout. Grill or warm the buns.

To assemble the burger, smash half of an avocado on the bottom of the bun, top with the grilled mushroom and a big scoop of the asian slaw. Spread a bit of sriracha mayo on the top side bun and enjoy. 

* For the sriracha mayo, I use 1 part homemade sriracha to 2 parts veganaise or mayonaise. Stir and spread. The bottled stuff works just fine but try the homemade stuff at some point, it's a treat and has no preservatives. 

 mushroom burgers with asian slaw . sprouted kitchen

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Reader Comments (88)

To Sara and Caroline,

You both are an inspiration-there are so many of us connected in a space just like this because of your courage Sara. I'm sure I am no different when I say that part of the reason I love this blog is because it helps anchor me in my own life-as it happens in all its mess and glory. Thank you both for being real-we need more authenticity in this world.

September 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJulia

YES. Lots of truth and wisdom here. You might already know we went through a house-hunting, almost-buying marathon this summer that had me way inside my head way too often, and in the end, when we didn't get the house we loved and wanted, I had to realize the same things. It's just a house. It is not the best gift. It is not the thing upon which our future joy and happiness depends. I'm still growing, on the other hand, into the levels of realizations about blog readers and mean comments that you write here. I told Tim this summer I learned the Internet is not my friend, but your post here reminds me that's only partly true. Because you are part of the Internet, and your words here feel just like a friend. Thanks. -s

September 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterShanna

Beautiful. Life is so bittersweet! So much is good and so much is so hard. Thanks for a lovely, honest post.
(Also, these photographs are amazing, as always.)

September 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersarah

Portabellos are always my go-to for veggie burgers. I would never say they are like beef but they taste pretty delicious regardless. And it is so much easier to grill a mushroom or two than go through the steps of making an actual veggie burger pattie and grinding up all of the different elements. Love it!

September 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMallory

Hi Sara,
I have been following and reading your blog for quite a while... can't even remember how long. I also have a copy of your cookbook and love it! Try to ignore the negative. You have inspired me with your recipes and have made me a better cook and healthier eater :) My husband, and two daughters Halle and Liv thank you too as they are the recipients of my craziness in the kitchen. I always look forward to your new posts and check in often. Excited about the new mushroom post but haven't looked at it real close. Wanted to leave a note and tell you how much I have enjoyed not just your recipes, but your words! Thanks!! Steph :)

September 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

I can't wait to make these burgers. Please (PLEASE) keep up the good work and filter out the haters. I love this space.

September 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Morter

So much realism. Life is filled with both the good and bad. And you both are a great inspiration to many, so thank you for being real.

ps; i need these burgers in my life.

September 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKiran @

Ah Sara, so much yes! a few months ago I was struggling to write my thesis, felt like it was all too hard, but then came the realisation that really I have so much to be grateful for and things could be so much worse (and by worse its usually health-related issues, interesting that the prospect of not being well is what gives us perspective). i enjoy this and you and the recipes so much. it's nice to think we have friends all over the world that we haven't met yet x

September 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChloe

Sara, the honesty and vulnerability in which you write provide a constant inspiration, comfort, and sense of compassion in what can otherwise be an impersonal medium. It is a beautiful thing to share your life with us; all the trials and tribulations, all the highs and lows. I thank you for the privilege to look into your life – it allows me to step outside of my reality, to examine my own life, and to connect me to something bigger than myself. Keep being you.

September 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSophie

Sara, the honesty and vulnerability in which you write provide a constant inspiration, comfort, and sense of compassion in what can otherwise be an impersonal medium. It is a beautiful thing to share your life with us; all the trials and tribulations, all the highs and lows. I thank you for the privilege to look into your life – it allows me to step outside of my reality, to examine my own life, and to connect me to something bigger than myself. Keep being you.

September 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSophie

Thank you for sharing such a touching story. It really connected with me, and I can really relate to your need to get out of your own head - something I know I need to do more often. And a beautiful recipe?! Sheesh - talk about a jackpot.

September 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHarriet

how tasty!! I will have to try this. mushromms is my love =)

September 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandra K

I've never been able to wrap my mind around how people can leave such hateful negative comments on blogs especially a blog like yours, which is so personal and not argumentative. But there will always be people that try to bring you down and and for some reason those are the comments we think are true. Those are the comments that makes us question things that we used to feel so certain about. I have been an artist my entire life and went to art school, so I am no stranger to criticism. But, it still can sting. Those that are negative aren't the ones that stick around though. Their opinions only matter if you let them. My husband oftentimes has to talk me back into reality when a harsh comment causes me thoughts to stray. I love your writing. I love your recipes. I love that you collaborate with your husband and create such gorgeous photographs. My husband and I blog together too. I don't know about you, but our blog has allowed us to become closer and make memories we otherwise wouldn't have had the chance to make. I love sharing my life and the beauty I see in the everyday. I don't think we take advantage of that enough. Ok. Novel over. You're awesome.

September 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJade Sheldon-Burnsed

These are so pretty! And I love that slaw!

September 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKatrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

I don't know how long ago I started reading your blog - about three years, maybe? I remember my boyfriend sent me a link and said "you will love it." He was so right. I loved your recipes from the very beginning, but I soon realised I also kept coming back for your writing. What you do here feels real. It's not only about food, but also life and its joys and struggles. And whenever someone posts something hurtful, it makes me sad. Don't we all have enough to deal with in our lives? Morrissey sure knew what he was talking about when he wrote "it's so easy to laugh, it's so easy to hate, it takes strength to be gentle and kind". What you and Hugh have created here is a beautiful space that so many people adore, and I hope you can ignore the haters and keep expressing yourself openly.

I rarely post because I seem to be the quiet type even on the Internet, but so much of this resonated with me that I felt compelled to do it. Life has been "complicated" lately and I'm having trouble accepting it all, but one can only hope it will get better eventually. Until then, I'm going to make these burgers and head to the park with a book. It's sunny and I'm on holiday. :)

September 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRebeca

Beautiful post Sarah. You have a kind and generous perspective on things. I love the way you write about life's challenges, joys and sorrows. May your aunt heal. May all the babies in friends' bellies grow healthy and strong. May you make kind and generous decisions for yourself, with Hugh. I hope more better than worse for you, too. Namaste. D

September 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDena

I was just in the Corcoran Gallery of Art in DC last weekend and let out a little excited gasp when I saw your book in the gift shop. I have followed your blog for quite some time and found you because I love your husband's photography. I had to tell everyone I was with that they should buy the book for the recipes and the gorgeous images.

September 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTiana Simpson

I'm just gonna set up camp in that thing, coo?

September 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBev Weidner

What a lovely post. And I'm making these for dinner tonight!

September 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarie

your blog is my favorite food blog out there. You do great work and come up with amazing, healthy recipes. Every recipe I've made from here brings me joy. Please keep doing what you do, because it is appreciated.

September 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMeg

This is a beautiful post.

The words, both yours and Caroline's are so touching. A good reminder that although many say the internet has turned us into a secluded society that no longer knows how to communicate face-to-face, it is possible to feel connected to someone we have never met. This was a perfect read to start my day.

September 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGingerMae

Beautifully said. I have found since becoming an adult that being vulnerable has become increasingly harder as time goes on. Thank you for your simple words that cut deep to the core of your readers.

September 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarly

Thank you for sharing this post; it's one I'm going to come back to time and time again. It's so real.

September 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn

Thank you for such a beautiful post Sara, I hope you continue to write in the style that is most meaningful to you, as that is what keeps us coming back to read. Realness is what we all crave, and this email proves it. Amazing. xx

September 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterShira

Reading this post made me want to reach through my laptop and look you in the eyes and tangibly encourage you. I, like a few others in this comment chain, haven't commented on your blog before, but I want you to know that it - you, your work, your life - MEANS SOMETHING. It's meant something terribly significant and wonderful to me in the past 8 months since I found it: newly married, in a job I don't love, waiting to see what the future holds but scared to step into it. Sometimes I feel like you're inside my head, sharing what I'm feeling and fearing and hoping. It's fed my body and my soul and my creativity, and I'm so grateful. So, thank you. I hope you continue to hold the desires of your heart with open hands, right in front of you, as you love your husband and grieve with family and rejoice with friends and make all those tiny and huge decisions that make up a life worth living. You're in it. You're doing it. Keep on.

September 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

Sarah- I love your blog, your honesty and humility. Caroline- I could feel your emotions touch me through your email. You will make it, I can tell that even through your email!
Sarah both have a way with words and thoughts that touch me beyond your food. I am reader who is struggling to have a baby in her belly- for 4 long years actually. Your kindness of noting friends who were experiencing happiness as well as infertility just made me admire you and this blog even more. Great burger as always, but a greater soul.

September 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRainy

@Rainy - big hugs to you. I'm in that too, email me if you need anyone to listen. xo

September 11, 2013 | Registered CommenterSara

I love this post. And I'm making these burgers soon for my boyfriend, who keeps asking for more mushrooms for dinner.

September 11, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterileana

Looks wonderful!

September 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArthur in the Garden!

Shakespeare said, ‘To Thine Own Self be True’. Please don’t give any power to people who would use the comments to spew their negativity and seed doubt.
You have created a wonderful blog enjoyed by many which is a great accomplishment.

September 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

I come to your blog for honest writings and inspiration - you are a true joy and your pictures are always inviting me..keep writing please.

Beautiful, raw post. Thank you for continuing to share with us in this space. And thanks to Caroline for reminding you that we're all there in the mess too, together. There is definitely way more love out here for you than there is hate - so try to remember that! :)

September 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

That's what I think is so perfect about your blog. It is real and you aren't afraid to write about the nitty-gritty. It is so easy to get caught up in our own lives. This post reminded me to get out of my head and to care more about those around me. Thank you for that. Also, the recipe. Stunning!

September 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChelsea@BigBitesLittleBudget

Love marinated mushrooms. And I love how you used them in this recipe. The slaw looks like a delicious addition. Can't wait to try!

September 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRawmazing

Reading this, I was reminded of a wonderful Mary Oliver quote:
"Look, I want to love this world
as though it's the last chance
I'm ever going to get
to be alive
and know it."

Thank you for doing what you're doing, Sara.

September 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEvie

This is perhaps the best part of blogging. Reaching people you would otherwise never know and realizing how much we all have in common with each other. And, the reminder that there are wonderful, wonderful people out there.


September 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Judge

This is so heartfelt and simple its like drinking a warm cup of hot chocolate and sitting back into a snug sofa and letting out a huge sigh..

So grateful to know that everyone 'feels', and things are a struggle at times. Yet we persevere, because that is life and we have to live it.


September 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNuran

goosebumps. that's what i just got reading this. i am a long-time fan of yours and hugh's and think what you two have done here on this blog and in your cookbook is beyond lovely. i appreciate that you make yourself "vulnerable" by speaking not only of food, but also opening up and revealing some of you are, what you think, and what touches you. that is what truly breathes life into your craft and inspires those who come to this space, cook from your recipes, and perhaps think about their life in a different way.

big hugs.

September 11, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersamantha

You are open, honest and real. I feel like you are my friend and neighbor and that's why I love your writing. And I love your recipes and can't wait to try this slaw.

September 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSandra

Great post, I love the use of grated carrots in anything I cook....grated anything in fact, does quit e well to add taste and aroma to a dish.

September 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaankhuri

Sara, I know I say this every. Single. Time I comment here, but you are such a wonderful writer! Even if you don't think of yourself as one! You have such a unique, appealing way of being thoughtful, poignant, touching, heartfelt, honest (but without EVER sounding like you are complaining or overly negative), and like you are speaking with a voice of someone who knows she doesn't know everything, but is still smart, people-smart, life-smart, talented, experienced, knowledgeable, and brimming with really interesting things to share and she works on figuring life out, the same as we all are even if we can't all put it into words as eloquently and gently as you do. I am so, so happy that you didn't let any naysayers stop you from writing here. There are truly only about 3 blogs in my feed of I don't know how many that I actually get excited to read and never skip over, and yours is one of them, of course. And yes I love your food and photos, but I love your writing and perspective just as much.

I will pray for your aunt and friends and the house decision. So many things to worry and wonder about and be baffled by. Cancer is so heartwrenching to say the least, I know. Whatever your house decision was, to buy or not to buy, I am sure it will work out fine either way. There will be more houses, or I bet you will settle into the quirks of the one you picked. We just bought our first, and we love it, but of course it also comes with more work and surprises and trips to Home Depot than we anticipated. :) Especially here in CA, house decisions do come with extra agonizing I think! So expensive! :) Either way, you made the right decision, I am sure of it! Follow your heart and your gut and who knows what the next door will open to around the bend, for you and all your loved ones.

September 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

And to you, my dear Sara.

Also? You underestimate yourself. You build words like ingredients: beautifully.

Best to you on the house, and all the rest. The Pacific, I find, puts everything in perspective.


September 11, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermolly

I love your blog! Forget the haters! you are so unique and this mushroom burger looks amazing-hell all your food looks amazing! Don't stop what your doing, continue to make delicious yet healthy recipes this is what the world needs! I really love all of your food and I think you should update your blog more! the pictures are also sooo gorgeous and artistic, something I've seen in very few food blogs.

September 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandra

These look incredible :) Thank you for sharing xx

September 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Thank you for this. I think it is being able to relate and empathise and listen and learn from a blog that keeps people coming back...and I totally get this with yours! We are house hunting in the UK at the moment and it is hard not to feel that you are standing on the edge of something so massive and life-changing. It is daunting. Yet life is still swirling around us and we need to balance that with what feels like such a big decision. Thank you for reminding us that it is just a house, and it won't be the 'be all and end all'. Jessica

September 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

Words are so powerful. They can take us to great heights and drop us into such lows. Please know how positive the words are that you write here and take comfort in the inspiration they provide to all of us who read them. I, like so many others, love what you do.

September 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKate

Sending you all the love in the world Sara. And please know, that for every hater there are a million or so of us who adore you and everything you and Hugh create. Arohanui xx

September 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEmma Galloway

Dear Sara:
In this world of the internet, people post with anonymity and say hurtful things; things they might never say while looking a person in the eye. Kudos to you for putting yourself out there...for your selflessness, bravery, openness, vulnerability, warmth and humor. I have a copy of The Sprouted Kitchen that I never tire of poring over, using your guidance in the kitchen over and over...many thanks for the inspiration.

September 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

There's something about avocado + asian seasoned vegetables and mushrooms that make my heart (and stomach) super happy. Lovely recipe dear!

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