19 May 2010

Veggie Burgers

Last weekend Heidi and I made veggie burgers, something we'd talked about doing for a long time. We used sweet potatoes, lentils, onions, and brown rice to make a somewhat sweet but still savory burger. Now that I know how ridiculously simple it is, I am going to do it all the time! It seems like a great way to use up extra vegetables you have lying around.

We had this recipe as a guideline, but since we substituted most of the ingredients and used different amounts of everything, I'm going to just tell you how we did it.

Note: The burgers took almost no time to make, but our potatoes, lentils and onions were all cooked ahead of time. If you don't have those ingredients pre-cooked, plan for it to take a bit longer.

One onion, diced small
Five cloves of garlic, minced
Cooking sherry
One large sweet potato, baked until very tender and diced
One can of lentils (or equivalent amount home-cooked), drained and rinsed
About half a cup of cooked rice, ideally a little over-cooked (you want it very soft)
One tsp coriander
One tsp tarragon
Small handful of milled flax seed (if you are a health nut like me)
Two tablespoons of chickpea flour (or any other type of flour)
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

- Heat some olive oil in a pan and cook the garlic and onions together until the onions are browned and starting to get crispy. Deglaze the pan with cooking sherry and set aside.

- In a bowl, mash the lentils up a bit with a fork. Add the rice, sweet potato, onions, and spices. If you want to amp up the nutritional value, throw in some flax seed. Stir everything together along with a tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Then add the flour, making sure to stir it in well.

- Generously coat a stainless steel pan with olive oil and heat it on a medium-high setting. The writers of the original recipe think that a nonstick pan will not give you the ideal texture. Once the oil is very hot, take a handful of burger goodness and shape it into a patty. Place it in the pan - it should sizzle immediately. If it doesn't, your oil isn't hot enough, and you should wait before adding more burgers. Fill up your pan with as many burgers as you want to eat, and cook them for about 2 minutes on each side.

- Eat your delicious veggie burger! It should be a little crunchy on the outside and scrumptious all the way through. We ate ours on my homemade whole wheat bread with fresh spinach, smoked Gouda cheese, and some blueberry chutney I got at Pike Place Market. It was amazing.

Keep your leftover uncooked burger mixture in the fridge and cook it as you eat it. If you do end up with uneaten cooked burgers, they'll reheat pretty well in a toaster oven.

I think you could easily substitute an equivalent amount of other vegetables and grains. I'm thinking whatever vegetable combination you choose should include something starchy and something with protein. The original recipe called for beets and black beans, which sounds very tasty indeed. If you try your own version, let us know how it turns out!

Here's our burger creation, along with Heidi's mustard-vinaigrette potato salad. Heidi made two potato salads last weekend, and she had better post the recipes, because I don't even like potato salad and I could not eat enough of these. Om nom nom!

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