Summer is bbq season and it seems at every picnic these days there’s at least one person who doesn’t eat meat, gluten, dairy or last weekend, not even zucchini!! I guess there are always tofu hot dogs or frozen garden burgers for those folks but I was inspired to do a little experimenting into the realm of veggie burgers and Charlie was game, as always, to give his opinion. In truth, with a big pile of fresh greens he’ll eat just about anything, but in this case, he seemed to enjoy both burgers equally. I had a slight preference for the beet burger but some of that may come from my fascination with it’s vivid color and texture.
I almost want to call it a Red Velvet Burger. It has the same shocking, supernatural color but none of the red dye. Beets, black beans, brown rice all blend together to create a texture and flavor that mimics a real burger. So much so that I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t eating very rare meat. It requires more ingredients and chopping than my usual lazy summer cooking style but if you have leftover rice and beans, you’re most of the way there. Add finely chopped beets, onion, garlic and seasonings and plan in advance so the patties can firm up in the fridge before hitting the frying pan.
If you want the meat-like texture, you’ve gotta chop, chop, chop.
Beet Burger Recipe (4 burgers)
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
3 small beets, finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 T olive oil
1 T parsley
1/2 t coriander
1 small sprig fresh thyme
1 T flour (use rice flour if you want to be gluten-free)
Salt & pepper
Add a teaspoon or two olive oil to a frying pan and cook onions until soft and translucent. Add beets, cover the pan and cook until the beets are tender, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for another minute or two.
Put beans in a large bowl and use fork to mash them up a bit. Add cooked rice, beets, onions and garlic mixture, lemon juice, olive oil and all the spices.
Stir to combine, then taste for salt & pepper. Once seasoned the way you like it, add flour and stir until you see no more dry flour.
Using your hands or a large spoon scoop up mixture and form into patties. Set on parchment paper on a plate and store in the fridge, uncovered for a couple of hours until you’re ready to cook.
Take them out a little in advance to become room temperature before frying.
Heat enough oil in a cast iron skillet to cover the bottom of the pan on medium-high heat. You can also brush a little of the oil directly on the burgers before placing them in the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes per side or until you see a nice crust forming. If you want to add cheese, you may need to add a lid for a couple of minutes to melt. I used havarti because that’s what I had, but I think some but goat cheese might be even better.
This recipe was originally from the Northstar Cafe in Columbus, Ohio but I read about it in the Kitchn section of Apartment Therapy.
I don’t want you to think that the bulgur burger wasn’t delicious because it was. It’s just that the beet burger is a hard act to follow. While the bulgur burger is meatless, bulgur is a type of wheat and may not be appropriate for your gluten-free friends. I made a few extra patties to put in the freezer to pull out for a fast meal later.
Bulgur Veggie Burger Recipe (6 burgers)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup uncooked bulgur
1 cup water
1 cup or 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup walnuts
1 1/2 T soy sauce
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
3/4 t ground cumin
1/4 t cayenne
Heat a tablespoon olive oil in a heavy saucepan. Saute onion until translucent and soft. Add garlic and saute a minute or two more.
Add bulgur and water and cook over low heat until water is completely absorbed — about 15 minutes.
Remove lid, stir and let the remaining moisture steam off.
Stir beans and soy sauce into the bulgur.
In food processor, pulse the bulgur bean mixture, walnuts, and seasonings until mixed together, still chunky, not completely smooth. Taste for seasonings, add salt and pepper, if you wish.
Using a large spoon or your hands, form patties and put on parchment paper on a plate. Put them in the fridge, uncovered, for several hours or until you’re ready to fry. Bring patties to room temperature before you fry.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Use enough olive oil to completely cover the bottom of the skillet. Brush the patties with olive oil before frying. Fry for about 4 minutes on each side or until a nice crust forms.
I found this recipe on Epicurious and they served it with a delicious lime mayo, which was just that — mayo with a little lime juice stirred in. Now why haven’t I thought of that before?
If these veggie burger recipes have inspired you to think about other meatless burger possibilities, check out Sally’s recipe for Farro and Wild Mushroom Cakes.