Regardless of your personal food preferences, it is difficult to deny yourself a delicious burger. The patty:bun formula is a staple of the backyard barbeque and rightfully so, burgers are great! Beef, chicken, vegetarian, whatever you crave, the burger has been there for you.
In pre-blogger days, my freezer was loaded with boxes of ready made frozen hamburgers. These were days before I discovered just how easy (and healthier and more cost-efficient) it is to mix my own ingredients, keep out the additives, and form up my own patties.
For this Meatless Monday, we’re making my favourite vegetarian burger – the Best-Ever Beet Burger. It is the end of the fructuous summer produce season, meaning it is time to stock up, use up, preserve and freeze all of these amazing beans, tomatoes, fruits, and beets from your garden and farmers’ market. I LOVE beets so there is really no concern of a single scarlet pearl going to waste in this house. If you are looking for creative ways to use up your beets, however, check out my Chocolate Beet Root Cake.
OK, back to this hearty beet burger.. there is a little prep work involved in making this burger so go ahead and prepare the raw mixture ahead of time, you can refrigerate it for up to 5 days. Cooked burgers should be eaten that same day.
- 1/2 cup brown rice (doubled if you like more rice)
- 1 onion, diced small
- 3 large red beets (about 1 pound), diced small
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- juice from 1/2 lemon
- 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons parsley, minced
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- salt and pepper
- thin slices of provolone or monterey jack cheese (optional)
Bring a large amount of water to a boil. Add a handful of salt and the rice, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the rice until it’s a little beyond al dente. You want it a little over-cooked, but still firm. This should take about 35-40 minutes. Drain the rice and set it aside.
Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the onions are translucent and softened. Stir in the beets. Cover the pot and cook until the beets are completely tender, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan using the cider vinegar.
Empty the black beans into a large bowl and use a fork to mash them up a bit. Add the cooked rice, the beet and onion mixture, the lemon juice, the olive oil, and all the spices. Stir to combine and then taste for seasonings. Add salt and pepper to taste. Once it tastes the way you like it, add the flour and stir until you see no more dry flour.
Heat a cast-iron skillet over the highest heat. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil – the oil should completely coat the bottom of the pan. When you see the oil shimmer and it flows easily, the pan is ready.
Using your hands, scoop up about a cup of the burger mixture and shape it into a patty between your palms. Set it in the pan, where it should begin to sizzle immediately. (If it doesn’t sizzle, wait a minute or two before cooking the rest of the burgers.) Shape and add as many more patties as will fit in your pan. Once all the patties are in the pan, reduce the heat to medium-high.
Cook the patties for 2 minutes, then flip them to the other side. You should see a nice crust on the cooked side. If they break apart a little when you flipped them, just reshape them with the spatula – they’ll hold together once the second side is cooked. If you’re adding cheese, lay a slice over the burgers now. Cook the second side for another 2 minutes.
Serve the veggie burgers on soft burger buns or lightly toasted sandwich bread along with some fresh greens.
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