Homemade veggie burgers can be hit or miss. This recipe for vegan peanut ginger cauliflower veggie burgers are a hit! Made with a combination of quinoa, oats, chickpeas and rice cauliflower seasoned with ginger, soy sauce, peanut butter and fresh herbs. Enjoy over a salad on in a bun with an easy sriracha mayo!Read More
This classic grilled portobello balsamic portobello mushroom burger packs a flavor punch from an overnight marinade! Pop on the grill for an easy vegetarian summer main. Top with all your favorite burger toppings - my personal favorites are guacamole, tomato and feta.Read More
This month's theme for Recipe Redux is reworking leftovers. My spicy lentil and mushroom veggie burgers taste like sausage in a sweet potato hash made from the leftover burgers.
Although I’ve seen and heard it all in my years as a dietitian without judgement, there are a few eating quirks I don’t understand. For example, people who don’t like chocolate. HOW IS THAT PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE?? I just don’t get it. Or with the recent popularity of intermittent fasting, people who skip breakfast and say they feel great. Are you sure you’re not homicidal by 10:30 am?
But what confuses me the most are people who don’t like leftovers. I understand it when you make a dish that turns out a little disappointing, but when you create something delicious, don’t you want to eat it for every meal for the rest of your life? Or at least for the next week?
That’s why this month’s Recipe Redux was such a challenge for me. The theme is reworking leftovers to get two dishes out of one. But what if I like the first one? Why fix something that’s not broken?
But the more I started to think about it, it made sense. Why not make extra portions of something more time intensive, then work the extras into an easy, weeknight meal?
So, I started to think about what I spend the most time on in the kitchen. Veggie burgers immediately came to mind. The frozen ones will do in a pinch, but once you’ve had a homemade veggie burger, its hard to go back. Only problem? Most recipes (or the tasty ones at least) involve cooking beans and/or grains, sauteeing vegetables, blending patties, forming patties, then pan-frying or baking said patties. It's not exactly weeknight friendly.
This first recipe for mushroom and lentil veggie burgers was heavily adapted from My New Roots. Rather than being made with the ingredients left whole then bound together with egg, all the ingredients are blended up in the food processor. The result is somewhat of a wet dough, which I was initially dubious of. But when you bake them in the oven with a quick spray of olive oil, they come out with a crispy crust and tender interior. Oh, and TONS of meaty flavor from the mushrooms and spices. In fact, of all things, the flavor reminded me of sausage, which inspired me to create recipe number 2.
A few years ago, Scott and I had this amazing Southern hash with sweet potatoes, collards and sausage when we were on vacation in Asheville. I decided to recreate it using crumbled veggie burger, added towards the end of cooking. You could top it with a fried egg, but since we were running out the door the play kickball, we enjoyed it plain. Which was anything but plain with all the flavor from the bitter greens, sweet sautéed potatoes and spicy “sausage.”
Spicy Lentil & Mushroom Veggie Burger
Makes 8 patties
- 1 cup lentils (I used black lentils)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 8 ounces mushrooms, halved
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Pinch or two of cayenne
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/2 cup pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds)
- 1/2-3/4 cup oats
- Burger buns
- Toppings (lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, mayo, mustard, etc)
- Place lentils in a medium pot an cover with water by a few inches. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large pan on medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add onion and pepper. Saute 5 minutes until onions are translucent. Add mushrooms and garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook until mushrooms are golden and have released their liquid. Add cumin, thyme, smoked paprika, cayenne. Stir and cook 1 minute until fragrant. Add 2 tablespoons soy sauce to deglaze the bottom of the pan.
- Place pepitas and oats in the food processor. Pulse until they form a breadcrumb-like consistency. Add sauteed vegetables and lentils with salt and plenty of pepper in the food processor and blend until combined. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
- Spray a baking sheet with olive oil. Form 8 balls and flatten slightly on the baking sheet. Spray again with oil and bake in the oven 40 minutes until golden.
- Serve on toasted buns with desired toppings.
Sweet Potato, Greens and Vegan Sausage Hash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 small-medium sweet potatoes, diced
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bag of Trader Joe's Southern greens, or a bunch of greens of choice, stemmed and chopped
- 2 leftover spicy mushroom and lentil burgers
- Heat olive oil in a large sided skillet. Add potatoes and cook until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add onions and garlic and season with salt and pepper. If using sturdy greens, add the greens along with a couple tablespoons of water to help it wilt. If using tender greens, add them at the end. Continue to cook, stirring, until sweet potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
- Crumble in veggie burger, stir to combine and cook until heated through, 2 minutes.
Have I found the perfect veggie burger in this smoky chipotle beet and quinoa burger? Quinoa lends a meaty texture, shredded beets give it a beef-like appearance and chipotle chilies add smoke and heat. This hearty burger will have you asking 'where's the beet?' (<--pretty proud of that one)
Indiana Jones had the Holy Grail. Moulder had "the truth." Nemo's dad had Nemo. Me, I'm searching for the perfect veggie burger. And I think I may have found it in this smoky chipotle beet and quinoa burger.
Thanks to Recipe Redux to thank for the inspiration. This month's theme is all about using smoke and spice to flavor dishes. From actual smoking techniques to bold, smoky spices and condiments, it's definitely a trend this year.
This past weekend when I was in Nashville, I had a pretty incredible falafel veggie burger at Pharmacy Burger. It had a great smoky flavor from the spices, something that's often missing from other veggie burgers. That's when I decided to do a burger for this month's challenge. I also wanted to challenge myself to create a veggie burger that was as close to a beef burger as possible.
One of my tricks for getting a ground meat texture in vegetarian dishes is using quinoa, which adds protein as well. Shredded vegetables also add to the texture and keep the burger from drying out. To make it look more like a traditional beef burger, I used beets. Maybe a little too beef like - doesn't it look like beef tartar when you slice into it?
To make it smoky, I used canned chipotles in adobo sauce, an ingredient I always keep on hand to flavor chilies, roast vegetables or sauces. Chipotles are dried jalapenos. You can purchase them canned in the Mexican aisle, packed in adobo, a smoky, spicy sauce made with tomatoes, garlic and vinegar. Since most recipes only need one or two, I store extra in the freezer until ready to use. I used two in this recipe, but if you really like it spicy,try three.
If like me, you prefer foods extra-spicy, get excited because hot foods actually have health benefits. Bring on the sweat napkin!
Spicy foods increase metabolism. I wouldn't, oh I don't know, drown a hot dog and fries in hot sauce in an attempt to undo calories, but heat does have a modest effect. One study found a 10% increase in metabolism for a few hours after eating. Another study found spicy foods increase the amount of brown fat cells, the type of fat that actually burns calories.
Capsaicin, the substance in chilies that lends heat, is also a powerful phytochemical. Although it may burn your mouth, capsaicin is frequently used for pain relief, especially for arthritis pain. In fact, capsaicin cream is frequently used to treat arthritis. The same substance has been found to help lower bad LDL cholesterol and improve blood flow, thereby reducing the risk or heart disease and lowering blood pressure.
For more spicy, smoky creations, check out the link up below. Enjoy!
Smoky Chipotle Beet and Quinoa Burgers
Makes: 8 burgers
For a gluten free version, use a whole grain gluten free bun. If you don't love the flavor of beets, try substituting shredded zucchini or squash, or even using half and half. Instead of quinoa, you could also use brown rice, millet or bulgur.
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1 lb raw beets, peeled
- 2 medium carrots, shredded
- 1 large onion
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 chopped chipotles in adobo, plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- Salt and black pepper
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup buckwheat flour, oat flour or other whole grain flour
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 100% whole grain burger buns, toasted
- Avocado or guacamole
- Sliced red onion
- Olive oil or vegan mayo
- Dijon mustard
- Pickles (fermented if possible)
- Bring water and quinoa to a boil on medium heat. Cover and reduce heat to simmer 15-20 minutes until water is absorbed. Keep covered and let sit 5 minutes. Remove cover, fluff with a fork and set aside.
- While quinoa is cooking, shred the beets, carrots and onion with the large grates of a cheese grater or in a food processor. Toss the vegetables together in a large bowl. Add cilantro, soy sauce, chipotles, cumin and season with salt and pepper.Taste for seasoning and add more if needed.
- Add 4 eggs and combine. Stir in flour and combine until flour is incorporated.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Create 4 balls out of half the vegetable mixture. Drop into the skillet and press to flatten slightly. Cook until browned, about 5 minutes, then flip and cook about 5 minutes more. Remove from skillet and transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining mixture to make a total of 8 patties.
- Because it's difficult to cook veggie burgers all the way through without burning, I microwave mine 2-3 minutes to finish cooking and retain the crisp, browned exterior.
- Serve on a toasted bun with toppings and condiments as desired.