Labor Day is best observed in backyards with fists full of juicy burgers. To honor it, and leisure, Eatsy is going hyper seasonal with an easy veggie burger recipe.
For the DIY’er, the dignified vegetarian, and anyone else interested in a decent (read: not freezer-burned or tough) veggie burger, I entered uncharted territory. Having never made a meat-free burger before, there were rules. The result had to be easy and it had to be fool-proof. Happily, the burger is also satisfying and really tasty; it wouldn’t be worth sharing otherwise.
Here are some first-timer notes you may find helpful.
1) Veggie burgers are adaptable. Substitute rice, couscous or any grain for the bulgur; lentils, pintos or other legumes for the garbanzos. Omit zucchini, add grated carrots, more herbs, less herbs, no nuts, other nuts. Some mustard maybe? A dash of soy? Up to you.
2) The recipe below is for a pan sear, because our grill was on loan. But this recipe works equally well when grilled over medium heat.
3) All chopping, except for the onions, can be done in the food processor, by pulsing quickly and often until chopped according to the specifications.
4) As for the bulgur, I cooked mine in plenty of salted water until tender but toothsome, about 8-10 minutes. Then strained and tossed to dry.
5) Leftovers keep wrapped in the fridge for days. They freeze well, too.
1 plump clove of garlic, smashed and peeled
1 1/2 cup garbanzo beans, cooked
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup, cilantro and/or parsley leaves, plus their stems
1/2 medium red onion, chopped fine
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, roughly chopped
1/4 cup zucchini, chopped fine
1 1/2 cups bulgur, cooked
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Dash of Tabasco sauce
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper
Place the garbanzo beans, garlic and olive oil in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Puree until uniform and completely smooth.
Transfer the garbanzo bean puree to a large mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix well to thoroughly combine.
With clean hands, form six patties out of the mixture and set them aside to rest for at least 10 minutes. Don’t make them patties too thick or they’ll be hard to flip and will crack.
Add a good amount of olive oil to a large skillet, enough to amply cover the base, and set it over medium-high heat. Once hot, lay the patties into the pan. Lower the heat to medium and cook until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Flip and sear the other side, until golden brown, an additional 3-4 minutes. If adding cheese, after flipping, lay thinly sliced cheese over top of the seared half. Then cover the pan with a lid. Once the cheese melts, remove the lid and cook an additional minute.
Serve veggie burgers on a platter with grilled bread, foccacia or buns and a choice of the following fixins’: mayo, ketchup, sliced tomato, mustard, avocado, sliced onion, greens.
Happy Labor Day, Etsians!