Veggie Burger? VEGGIE Burger!
There’s just something about the thought of a thick, juicy 100% Black Angus burger sizzling over the coals of a backyard grill. The dark and slightly crusty stripes marking the kiss of flame, the smoky aroma of beefy juices in the air, a warm summer evening of delightful anticipation---unless, perhaps, you are not a carnivore. There you are, standing off to one side while a crowd of anxious meat lovers hover over their sizzling prize. Oh, they haven’t forgotten you. You can always have a “veggie burger”. Sigh. Veggie burger. There it sits, a solitary disk with no sizzle, no smoke and not much love.
What IS a veggie burger, anyway? By definition (and by definition I mean according to Wikipedia…) “ The patty of a veggie burger may be made from vegetables (like potatoes or corn), textured vegetable protein (like soy), legumes (beans), tofu, nuts, mushrooms, or grains or seeds, like wheat and flax.“ That sounds like a veggie burger could be made from just about anything that isn’t meat. As an omnivore, I happily eat from both plant and animal kingdoms. The goal is always to eat healthfully, but in the end, it all comes down to taste. Of the various veggie burgers I have tried, whether commercially prepared or made from scratch at home, there have been winners and also some very big losers. The biggest hurdle for an omnivore is to adjust expectations. That tofu patty will never be a beef burger. The bean and lentil burger will be neither fatty nor juicy. That doesn’t mean that it won’t be delicious!
I have a delightful veggie burger recipe to share with you. The star of this particular patty…..chickpeas! They are smooshed into a texture that remind me of lumpy mashed potatoes, held together with old fashioned oats and contain no added oils or fats, only veggies, seeds and lots of flavor! I bake the CHICKPEA BURGERS in the oven on a parchment lined sheet tray, but they can be pan fried or grilled over coals on a piece of aluminum foil. The recipe can also be reimagined with flavors from your favorite cuisines. Adding in different herbs, spices and veggies makes for an endless variety of delicious meals. The basic mixture can be kept in the fridge all week long for quick and easy suppers, or frozen either “raw” or cooked. Add a side dish of my favorite BROCCOLI SALAD, and no one will be asking “Where’s the beef?”
Makes 6 patties
3 cups cooked chickpeas (1 large can, drained or cooked from 1-1/4 cup dried)
¾ cup old fashioned oats
¼ cup Vidalia onion, diced
½ cup dill pickle, diced (may substitute sweet relish or chow chow)
I carrot, peeled and shredded (approx. 1 cup)
¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon hemp seed (hulled)
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seed
2 Tablespoons flax seed, ground (makes approx. ¼ cup)
1 Tablespoon miso paste
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 Tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
2 teaspoons maple syrup (may substitute honey or agave)
Preheat oven to 400°.
In a large bowl, mash cooked chickpeas with a potato masher. Mix in oats, onion, pickle, carrot, parsley, hemp seed, sesame seed and ground flax seed. If not using ground flax seed, substitute an equal amount of flour.
In a separate bowl, blend miso, mustard, soy sauce and maple syrup. Add to the chickpea mixture and mix thoroughly. Form into 6 patties.
On a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper, bake patties at 400° for 25-30 minutes, flipping patties halfway through the cooking time. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
Serve as you would any burger---on a bun with accompaniments of lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion and condiments of your choice.
2 medium bunches broccoli (approx.6 cups chopped)
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
2/3 cup Vidalia Onion, thinly sliced
2 carrots, grated (approx.1 cup)
¾ cup celery, chopped
¾ cup raisins or dried cranberries
1 cup Cheddar cheese, cubed (3.5 oz.)
½ cup pecans, chopped
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
I Tablespoon sweetener (sugar, honey, agave, Truvia)
Salt and pepper to taste
In a small bowl blend together mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, sweetener of choice and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside while assembling salad.
Prepare broccoli by removing florets and cutting them into manageable pieces. Cut off the dry end of the broccoli stem, then peel the stem to remove the tough outer fibers. Slice the stem into thin disks or half moons.
In a large bowl combine broccoli florets and sliced stems, red pepper, onion, carrot, celery, raisins, cheddar cheese and pecans. Pour the mayonnaise dressing over all and mix thoroughly. Chill and serve.