Welcome to my blog, where one may find all sorts of random, hopefully amusing tidbits about food & other things.

January 28, 2015

veggie beet burgers (vegan, gluten-free).

Drops of liquidy red stipple the counter .... the remains of some recent mess are evidenced by the now diluted pink water in the mugs sitting in the sink .... a pair of hands working hard nearby are deeply stained with red.

Is this a murder scene? Some crime show? 

NOPE. It's all the result of working with beets! And messy as they may be, they make for great veggie (and vegan) burgers.

My first commercial veggie burger was a Boca burger. I thought they had accidentally roasted and gave me the cardboard freezer box instead of the burger.  It was TERRIBLE.

Mind you, this was a time where I was able to eat plain unflavored/unsalted/no sugar oatmeal made with water for breakfast ... by itself. I was okay with that. Not with this Boca thing though, for edible it was not.

I have since never had a satisfying commercial veggie burger. I've heard the smashburger black bean burger is good ... but what's a veggie burger made of simply gassy beans! Where are the veggies?!?!!

Recently, I stumbled upon the Kitchn's post about a veggie burger recipe that was meant to imitate a famous one from Northstar Cafe in Ohio. I immediately loved that the burger had beets (IRON), brown rice (FIBER), some beans but not overwhelmingly so (PROTEIN), and prunes (JUST PLAIN INTERESTING). That the burger is also vegan is kinda cool too, I guess.

It's kind of a lot of work to assemble the different components - but def worth it. It makes a lot of patty mixture! While the brown rice took 5 years to cook, the beets cooked in a mini pressure cooker (I was aggressively guarding my clothing lest splatters stain them forever), I sauteed onions with mushrooms, mashed the beans, ground the oat flour, and started combining the spices.

The final result is delicious! It really is a great burger recipe, and I love that it's healthy & hearty, as well. It's equally fantastic both atop a bed of spinach with avocado and between slightly roasted hamburger buns.

My only negative comment was the lack of crunch, but I addressed that issue below with the addition of sesame seeds pressed into the burger before roasting. I actually literally used the leftover pile of seeds from the sesame hamburger buns LOL. Worked pretty damn well.

Anyone as dubious as me about veggie burgers should try this out!

PS - sorry for the lack of pictures. It was late, I was starving, and I just could not bear to wash my hands again & take a picture of my what would by then be cold burger. Just trust that it was good!

Veggie Beet Burgers
Very slightly adapted from here. My yield: 9-10 burgers
I've highlighted the ingredients in the actual recipe, as there are kind of a lot.
  • 3 large red beets 
  • 1/2 cup brown rice, uncooked 
  • 1 teaspoon coconut or canola oil
  • 1 Tablespoon finely minced jalapeno or green Indian chili, optional (can use more or less) 
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped small
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 baby bella mushrooms, chopped into small-ish pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons cider vinegar (or red wine)
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, ground to a flour in food processor (gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can black beans
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can dark red kidney beans
  • 5 - 6 prunes, roughly chopped small
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 big squirt brown spicy mustard (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • sesame seeds, optional (this adds much welcome crunch)
  • oil (any kind) for roasting
  1. RICE:  It's not necessary, but if you have even an hour, immerse rice in water & soak for as long as possible. You want it just slightly overcooked. Use a slightly more than 2:1 liquid to rice ratio. Add 1/2 cup rice with 1 1/4 cups water into small pan. Bring to boiling, and then cover. Lower heat and simmer for about 35 minutes, without stirring! Keep an eye out after 25 minutes to ensure rice does not dry out. 
  2. While rice is cooking, start the BEETS:  Rinse beets. Cut stems if there are any. If the beets are large, cut in half. Add to pressure cooker with a little water, and cook until a few whistles go - about 10-15 mins. Alternatively, cover in foil and roast at 400 degrees for 50 - 60 minutes. Beets should be easily pierced by fork. Let cool.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare BEANS:   Drain both cans of beans. Smash in food processor or with your fingers into large bowl. Add prunes. Squeeze as much juice as possible out of beets into a glass or over sink. Add drained beets to large bowl and discard/drink the juice.
  4. Heat the teaspoon of coconut or canola oil. Saute minced jalapenos. Make sure to keep all jalapeno in the oil. Let simmer for a minute or two. Then add garlic. Saute for 30 - 60 seconds. Then add onion. Saute on high heat for about 5 minutes. Add cider vinegar (or wine) and deglaze the sticky bits at bottom of pan. Add mushrooms, and cook for another 5 minutes. Leave to mostly cool.
  5. In the bean and beet mixture, add all your spices. Rice should be done by now. Let cool slightly and add. Add onion mixture. Mix everything up. Gently stir in oat flour.
  6. Refrigerate for a few hours - overnight, if possible. Can leave in fridge for up to 3 days.
  7. When ready to cook, form patties, press into some sesame seeds, and cook in some oil. Serve over salad or in buns, perhaps with nice relish, spicy mayo, or just good ole avocado slices, spinach, and tomato. Enjoy!

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