Healthy, eco-friendly blended burgers fall short

Students wait in line in South Campus dining hall. South is home to the new half-mushroom, half-beef burger that one writer found unimpressive. (Carly Zaleski/The Daily Campus)

Recently, UConn’s South Campus dining hall added a new option to its grill section, replacing the standard hamburgers and cheeseburgers with a creation called “The Blended Burger.” The blended burger is made of 50 percent beef and 50 percent mushroom, and is now being served at over 40 colleges and universities.

The dining hall advertises the new burger option as “A healthier choice. A more sustainable option,” on the basis that it takes 1,847 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef for a burger, while the blended burger is made with 45 percent less water. The eco-friendly option is also 50 percent lower in fat, calories and cholesterol, thus making it a good option for those trying to diet in the dining hall.

While UConn’s blended burger is healthier and more eco-friendly than the average burger and looks like the average burger, it most certainly does not taste like the average burger. Admittedly, I don’t love mushrooms in general, but I am fine with them in most foods. However, in the blended burger, something about the mix of the mushrooms and beef was honestly quite off-putting. On the other hand, some friends of mine who tried it enjoyed the creation. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t that great for my taste.
Perhaps the worst part of the blended burger is not so much the taste, but the fact that the dining hall completely replaced the regular beef burger. I have returned to the dining hall a few times and they have not put out a second option for regular beef burgers.

I understand the need to be eco-friendly and the push for healthier food. I wouldn’t mind the dining hall having mostly blended burgers, but only as long as there are a few regular beef burgers for people who don’t like mushrooms or the particular blended burger that South has brought to its menu. Say 90 percent of the burgers the dining hall makes in the future are blended burgers and the remaining ten percent are regular beef burgers. That way, while still saving gallons of water with most of the burgers made, people who don’t like them can still enjoy another burger option.

Unfortunately, the blended burgers (and only burgers currently offered at South) really fell short of their promise and I have to give them one-and-a-half stars out of five for the creation. This is just one reviewers’ opinion, however, and if you really like trying new healthy alternatives, head down to South to try the new blended burger for yourself.


Chris Hanna is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at christopher.hanna@uconn.edu. He tweets @realchrishann