A great veggie burger is a thing of beauty, and one of the hardest to make. As we head into grilling season my thoughts always drift toward the possibilities for the next recipe… It’s not that I don’t eat meat, I do, but a good veggie burger is a pleasure unto itself, you don’t have to be vegetarian to crave one. It’s tricky, though, because one of the things working against them is that we all have such naturally high expectations of a burger. When we bite into a one we expect it to be ‘meaty’, juicy, and flavorful…not too mushy, not at all bland. That’s a tall order when you consider you’re dealing with grains, veggies, and beans.
Black beans and red quinoa form the base of these burgers. You can substitute regular quinoa if you like, but the earthier red version is pretty and is particularly good. For flavor I relied on dried shitake mushrooms, jalapeno, a good dose of Worcestershire sauce, and onion salt. Red onion and bell pepper lend a little fresh crunch.
Anyone who loves veggie burgers knows that half the pleasure of eating one is in the ‘accessories’. Choose good fresh whole grain buns, crisp lettuce and the best tomatoes you can find. I swear by thinly sliced red onion, and the chipotle mayo is a must.
- 1/2 oz package dried shitake mushrooms (or any variety you like)
- 1/2 red onion, peeled
- 1 jalapeno pepper
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper (any color you like)
- 1 cup cooked black beans (canned is fine) rinsed and well drained
- 1/2 cup bread or cracker crumbs
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 cups cooked red quinoa (regular quinoa is fine, too
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp onion salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- olive oil for frying
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 small can chipotle chilies in adobo sauce (you won't need the whole can)
- whole grain buns
- thinly sliced red onion
- sliced heirloom tomato
- Reconstitute the mushrooms according to the package directions. Drain them and squeeze out excess moisture with a paper towel.
- Give the onion and bell pepper a rough chop and put them in the bowl of a food processor. Cut the stem off the jalapeno, and slice it, seeds and all. Add it to the processor along with the mushrooms. Pulse the machine about 12 times.
- Add the beans and pulse 8 more times. Scrape down the sides of the machine, and pulse another 8 times.
- Add in the crumbs, the egg, the quinoa, the Worcestershire sauce, salts, and pepper. Pulse about 12 times until everything is combined but still has texture.
- Use a 1/2 cup measure to scoop out the mixture and form into burgers. Separate the burgers with waxed paper, and cover with plastic wrap. Put in the refrigerator to chill until needed.
- To cook the burgers, coat the bottom of a pan with olive oil and heat until hot. Fry the burgers for about 7-10 minutes per side, on a medium heat. Flatten the burgers with your spatula if they are on the thick side.
- Make the chipotle mayo by mixing the mayonnaise with the sauce from the chiles, to taste.
- Serve up your burgers with all the traditional fixings.
There are so many possibilities when it comes to veggie burgers, it can be a lifelong quest. I chose to make these on the plump side for the photos, but actually I prefer them thinner. Just use your spatula to flatten them out as they cook. Start with a high heat to sear the outside, and then turn it down so they get nice and hot throughout. The patties can be wrapped and frozen, too.