Mushroom Veal Burgers with Pesto Mayo

Here's a burger that may be considered controversial! It can be viewed as controversial because there are some strong feelings about the consumption of veal, which is the meat of young calves. The controversy lies in terms of animal welfare, in that some veal production procedures are considered inhumane. However one company I can trust for veal is Strauss Brand. They're a company not too far from me in Wisconsin that takes pride in raising free raised veal. I recently prepared these Mushroom Veal Burgers with Pesto Mayo using free raised veal from Strauss. With every bite, you get caramelized mushrooms and onions, tender veal, cool lettuce, juicy tomato and a creamy pesto mayo to tie it all together...

I normally don't cook veal because it's not always readily available at my local supermarket and I haven't had the opportunity to eat it very often. When the folks of Strauss Brand offered to send me some of their free raised veal to play with in the kitchen, I was thrilled! Veal is a delicious meat and I feel comfortable preparing it, especially if I'm confident of where it came from and how it was handled. With that said, Strauss Brand offers free-raised veal and they one place I know I could trust to get veal products.

These burgers were tender, flavorful and had mushrooms in every bite. I sauteed onions, garlic and mushrooms which were mixed into the veal. Patties were formed and then cooked on a skillet. The burgers were then topped with slices of swiss cheese, lettuce and tomato. For another punch of flavor and to add a creamy condiment, I also made a pesto mayo which was smeared on the bun.

Mushroom Veal Burgers with Pesto Mayo
recipe adapted from Strauss

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced onions
1-1/4 cups cremini (or white) mushroom caps, finely chopped
2 large clove sgarlic, minced
2 lbs. Ground Veal
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Vegetable oil cooking spray
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

sliced tomatoes
slices of swiss cheese
pesto mayo (recipe follows)

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook, stirring for about 1 minute, or until they begin to soften. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the mushrooms soften and onions caramelize. Set aside to cool.

Combine the veal, parsley, cooled mushroom mixture, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Using your hands, mix well. Form into 6 patties. Refrigerate until ready to grill or to cook on in a skillet.

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill. Lightly spray the grill rack with vegetable oil cooking spray. The coals should be modestly hot. Grill the burgers for about 8 minutes. Turn and grill for about 6 minutes longer for medium-well burgers. Top with swiss cheese during the last minute of cooking.

If cooking in a skillet, cook the burgers in a hot skillet over the stovetop, using the oil and topping each one with swiss cheese and a basting cover during the last minute of cooking.

Place the burgers on the bun bottoms. Top each with a slice of tomato, lettuce and pesto mayo. Cover each burger with the bun tops and serve immediately.

Pesto Mayo

1-2 tablespoons of homemade or store bought pesto
1-2 tablespoons of mayo

Combine equal parts of pesto and mayo together and use as a condiment.


  1. Love your mayo. I can't wait to try this recipe.

  2. Thanks for sharing. I have to say, I was really impressed when I went to their website. Veal is such a challenge for me because I love things like Osso Bucco. However, like you, I object to the conditions under which veal is normally raised. I'm curious to find out more because it seems like the main reason people argue for the more traditional treatment (and in my mind less tolerable) is the fact that it produces pinker meat and a different texure. I'm curious if in a blind taste test this really holds true.