Burgers Burgers

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It is officially hot out side. Its muggy like you would expect it to be in Georgia or Florida, not Fargo ND. I have taken more showers in the past two weeks then I have all the month of June (ok that may not be saying a lot). The point is that I have no desire to turn on anything in my apartment that causes it to get even hotter. The alternative is the BBQ. I like this alternative, it may be sticky outside but to hell with it I get to play with fire.

 

Now I have searched long and hard to find a vegetarian burger that is as tasty as a traditional burger. This is a bit of a conundrum since the main ingredient is well beef and I want to replace the beef. I have had the premade frozen Boca burger and a few others. I have also found random recipes using mushrooms, lentils and legumes for the substitution. The trick is to get a burger like consistency with no meat and also have the flavors that are so enjoyed.

 

If you have read my previous articles you do understand how much I do love the classic American or lets say the California burger. I cant help it I am a Midwest boy. Thick and juicy and I mean bun soaking juicy cooked to a nice med rare. The buns maintaining its structural integrity just long enough to get that first bite of bacon, mayo, tomato, and cheese goodness into your mouth. These are the things of BBQ legends.

 

Now that you know that I have a serious love affair with the cheeseburger it makes it that much harder to create a vegetarian version of it. I have had the red bean burgers; the lentil and wild mushroom burgers and a stand by, the store bought frozen patties (brown hockey pucks) that are only really good if you can fry them were bacon has been cooked previously. The reoccurring problem that I find is the lack of flavor and the consistency of the patty itself. The flavor is usually bland and needs to be amped up by all of the condiments and sides that you place on it or it just tastes like wild mushrooms and lentils. The burger is the one thing that I really want to taste like a burger. The issue with consistency is that besides the pre-packed veggie burgers from the store I cant seem to get a recipe to hold together like a traditional burger does.  Until now.

 

The following recipe has worked out the flavor issue and the consistency issue with just some minor adjustments.

 

Black Bean-Quinoa Burger

Vegetarian Times

Issue: July/Aug 2011

 Pg 60

½ cup Quinoa

1 small onion finely chopped (1 cup)

6 oil packed sun-dried tomatoes (1/4 cup)

1 ½ cups cooked black beans or 1 15oz can black beans, rinsed and divided

2 cloves garlic minced

2 tsp, dried steak seasonings

  1. Stir together quinoa and 1 ¼ cup water in a small sauce pan, and season with salt. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium- low, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed

 

  1. Meanwhile, place onion and sundried tomatoes in medium non stick skillet, and cook over medium heat (the oil on the tomatoes should be enough to sauté the onion). Cook 3-4 minutes, or until onion has softened. Stir in ¾ cup black beans, garlic, steak seasonings and 1 ½ cups water. Simmer 3 to 5 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated

 

  1. Transfer the bean onion mixture to a food processor; add ¾ cup quinoa, process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, stir in remaining ¾ cup quinoa and ¾ cup black beans. Season with salt and pepper, let cool.

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, generously coat cookie sheet with cooking spray. Shape bean mixture into 8 patties (½ cup each), and place on prepared cookie sheet. Bake 20 minutes or until golden on top. Flip patties and bake for an additional 10 minutes until both sides are golden brown.

 

I know I said that this was a BBQ item. I made these a few weeks ago and froze them so that I would have them for just such an occasion as Sundays with Heather. Let it be known that I made these with the use of Worcestershire sauce which makes them non-vegan an also adds to the moisture content. When I first tried this recipe I rushed it and had lots of extra water in my mix. I added oatmeal to my mixture to soak up a lot of the extra moisture. This worked fine and was the only change I made from this recipe. To cook from frozen, simply thaw for an hour or so and place on grill. Make sure to use indirect heat, as these will burn quickly. I also grilled off some onions to place atop our burgers.

 

Heather made a garden fresh salad with strawberries, green onions, lettuce and mint; quick vinaigrette and we were eating in style. Another delicious Sunday spent with my favorite person.

Eat well; your body will appreciate it.

Pete Nielson

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