A good veggie burger can be hard to find, friends. I'm not the kind of girl who seeks a veggie burger that tastes like meat-if I want that, I'll just make a hamburger. Once John and I went to a restaurant where the veggie burgers tasted SO close to actual meat that we had to check to see if our order was wrong. I like my veggie burger to taste like beans or veggies. Weird? Maybe. But we enjoy the different flavours. Before I go any further, let me do a bit of disclosure here: I was sent a Blendtec blender to try, but was not asked to blog this or paid in any way. I was not asked to blog a number of posts about the blender. I am doing so because I genuinely love the product. As in, love so much that if mine disappeared I'd save my cash to buy another. It really does the work of a blender and food processor in one.
When my Blendtec blender arrived and I leafed through the little cookbook that came with it, I was delighted to find a veggie burger recipe. We have made it a few times and were really happy with it even though I offered my own tweaks and suggestions. The recipe is actually great for using up bits of veggies in your fridge and a tasty alternative to meat. They are definitely softer than your regular burger and tend to fall apart a bit, so you need to use a light hand. Sandwiched in ciabatta buns and topped with a good mayo, crispy lettuce, tomato and a good cheese, they make a wonderful dinner. I even top mine with bacon so they aren't a true veggie burger, but then again-I'm not vegetarian so does it matter?
Another great thing about these burgers is that you can freeze them before you cook them. They'll hang out, as insurance for a day when you don't want to cook, and to fire those babies up all you do is thaw them a bit in your microwave and then toss them in a pan to cook. With all the great healthy ingredients in them, you'll be able to have a burger and not feel like you are indulging too much. Well. Unless you really slather on the cheese and bacon, but who am I to judge?
Time to prepare: 20-30 minutes
Time to cook: 10 minutes
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped (you can use white but I like crimini because they are meatier and have less moisture)
1/2 cup roasted corn kernels (see note below)
1/4 cup sweet bell pepper, chopped finely
1/4 cup onion, chopped finely
1 cup fresh chopped spinach, lightly packed
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1/4 tsp paprika .. I like smoked but you can use plain
pinch cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp rolled oats
2 tsp flax seeds (optional-I've left them out with no issues)
3/4 cup black beans
1/3 cup cooked brown rice
2 tbsp corn flour
1. Roast your corn and get the rice going so that it's cooked when you need it. Get all your ingredients chopped and ready to go. I'm a bit nerdy about that, I even put them all in prep bowls.
A thing of beauty, yes?
2. Saute up your onions in a frypan with a little oil until they are clear and cooked through. Add the mushrooms and pepper, sauteing gently until they are cooked through. Add the spinach at the end and stir around until it wilts. Stir in the salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne, and paprika. Set it aside to cool slightly.
3. When you ingredients are all assembled and ready, get your blender/food processor ready to go. For the Blendtec, I use the twister jar. It's a smaller jar that is better for thicker mixtures. In goes the oatmeal and flax if you are using it, and I pulse it a few times to break it up and make it finer.
4. Add the beans and rice to your blender. Pulse some more. You want it a chunky paste, not a totally smooth one. You may need to add a little water to moisten. Using a long spatula or wooden spoon, move the mixture around so that the stuff on the bottom that has become a paste is mixed with the bigger pieces. Pulse a bit again, so that you have a chunky paste. Add the cooked veggies and roasted corn. Give it a good stir and pulse, then stir and pulse again.
5. Turn the mixture out into a bowl and give it a good stir. I have found that at this stage it's often pretty wet, so I stir in a few tbsp of corn flour to firm it up a bit. If it's not, don't bother. Divide the mixture into four balls and shape into patties.
4. Fry up the patties in a non stick skillet with a little oil over medium heat. Be careful-they aren't substantial like a meat patty and will fall apart if you are too overzealous with them. Even when they are cooked, they are pretty soft and a bit squishy. We love to tuck them into good ciabatta buns, then then top with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and even bacon. Even the meat loving teen gets very excited about these burgers, which says a lot!
*roasted corn is awesome not just here but on it's own. You can use fresh by cutting it off the cob, but you can also use frozen if it's all you have. Thaw the corn and dry it well with paper towel. Toss the kernels with a bit of olive oil to coat. Spread onto a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt, pepper and a bit of paprika, then roast in a pre-heated 375 F oven for 10 minutes. Stir often to prevent them from burning. Allow to cool before proceeding with recipe.
Adapted from Blendtec