When I go to burger joints, I hardly ever order the veggie burger; they’re usually processed to the max, loaded with way too much rice and corn, and taste like cardboard — hello, vegetarians love spices, too! I knew veggie burgers could be done better, so I decided to do my own (delicious) take on the genre.
I wanted something that was healthy and really, really flavorful. This veggie burger has roughly chopped beets, a mix of garbanzo and black beans, red onion for a nice bite, heirloom brown rice, as well as some of my favorite spices like sumac, thyme, cumin and coriander. My favorite aspect of this burger is the option to make it vegan, as there is no egg that holds this together! Since I love a burger with cheese, I added a slice of strong Morbier, some butter lettuce and slice of tomato. It was the lightest, healthiest and most delicious burger I’ve had in quite some time.
Irresistible Veggie Burgers
Makes six burgers
8 ounces beets, steamed or roasted and peeled*
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, washed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, washed and drained
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1/4 cup rolled oat flour**
1/2 red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon sumac
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
For the burger:
6 hamburger buns
6 thin slices of Morbier cheese (or other strong cow’s milk cheese of choice)
Dijon mustard (optional)
Pulse beets in a food processor until roughly chopped. Add beets to a large bowl, along with the garbanzo beans, black beans, brown rice, oat flour, red onion, garlic, sumac, thyme leaves, ground cumin and ground coriander. Mash with two forks until all the beans are incorporated. Salt and pepper to taste. (I added about one teaspoon of kosher salt and half of a teaspoon of pepper.)
Using a half cup measure, form six patties. Cover them with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes. (Since we aren’t using egg to bind the mix, this step helps the patties hold together.)
Melt butter or olive oil in a non-stick skillet. Toast the hamburger buns for 1-2 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add more butter or olive oil if needed. Add the patties and cook on both sides for 3-4 minutes and until the tops are lightly golden brown. Place the slices of cheese on top of each burger and cook for 1 minute longer, until cheese is melty.
To assemble burgers, add a smear or two of Dijon mustard and mayonnaise, a sheet of butter lettuce and a slice of tomato to one half of the bun. Top with the veggie burger pattie and the other half of the bun. Repeat until all six burgers are assembled.
*Many grocery stores sell roasted beets. If you’d like to roast them yourself, here’s how: Preheat the oven to 400?Fahrenheit. Trim the beets. Place them in a casserole dish, add a splash of water, cover with foil and roast for 30-45 minutes, until beets are tender when scored with a fork. Allow to cool to room temperature, then peel.
**You can buy oat flour, or you can make it at home. To make oat flour, add 1/4 cup of rolled oats to the jar of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is very fine. Measure out 1/4 cup (you may end up with a few tablespoons more) and proceed with the recipe.
All photos by Adrianna Adarme.