Meatless Goes Gourmet
With our spiced up veggie burger
Burgers are a well-loved staple food in my family. We cook them year round! And like good Americans, we love the basic beef rendition, cooked to perfection with a bit of smoky char, pickle, lettuce and tomato, all topped with a dollop of ketchup on a white bun. That being said, this veggie version of the burger won’t be a hard sell for you, or your family, as long as you’re open to the fact that it’s not pretending to be meat. It has a meaty texture thanks to the bulger wheat and the mushrooms, but it’s all flavor! I’ve tried a lot of veggie burger recipes, but this is the best I’ve tasted so far. The key is not to over-process anything. Otherwise you’ll have a dense, heavy, and very texturally unpleasant patty. To take our Basic Veggie Burger recipe to the next level, we added taco seasoning to give it a Southwestern vibe, then topped it with Mexican fixings. Feel free to experiment with any herbs, spices, and flavorings that accentuate the gourmet cook in you! For example, you could give your burger an Italian feel by adding oregano, balsamic, basil, and a pesto topping, then finish it off with a melty slice of mozzarella.
BASIC VEGGIE BURGER:
- 1 c. carrots, shredded
- 1/4 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 c. bread crumbs
- 1 1/2 c uncooked bulgur wheat (this can be found in the bulk section of Natural Abundance or the health food isle of most grocery stores)
- 1 1/2 c. black beans, coarsely chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 6 oz. cremini mushrooms
- 1 whole egg, whisked
- 8-10 hamburger buns or sliced kaiser rolls
ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS FOR SOUTHWESTERN VEGGIE BURGER (pictured):
- 1 package Ortega taco seasoning mix, dry
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced
- 1 jar medium salsa
- 2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
- 1 purple onion, sliced
- 1 package fresh alfalfa sprouts
- 1 jar pickles or jalapeños, sliced
- Sliced pepper jack cheese (optional)
- Sour cream (optional)
SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED:
First, bring 1 cup of water in a sauce pan to a boil, then add 1⁄2 cup of bulgur wheat. Cover and simmer on low until all the water is evaporated (about 20 minutes). In the meantime, chop the beans, mushrooms, and onions until they are a little smaller than pea sized pieces, then add the shredded carrot. Whisk the egg and bread crumbs in a large bowl, and add spices to taste. Now pour in the chopped vegetables and cooked bulgur, mix well and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
When you are ready to cook, preheat a well-oiled skillet on medium high. Form 8 to 10 patties, depending on the size you’d like them to be, and fry them for about 6 minutes on each side. Make sure patties aren’t too thick so they cook all the way through. Now put each patty on a bun or roll and lay on the toppings!
COOK’S TIP: There are endless uses for this Basic Veggie Burger. If you’d like, you can skip the refrigeration and patty forming part, and cook it up in a sloppy joe sauce. Or wrap it in boiled cabbage along with some long grain rice, smother it in tomato sauce, bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes, and you’ve got the German dish “pigs in a blanket!” Whether you are an avid meat eater or not, this recipe offers a delicious way of incorporating more vegetables and fiber in your diet.