As our family and friends know, Lynda and I have been making a ton of changes to how and what we eat. In fact, we now eat like vegetarians a good 90-95% of the time and a good chunk of that is actually vegan or raw. If you know us, you realize that this is a huge change from how we used to eat.
This change has made us go searching for foods that are a good replacement for some of our old favorite meals–which is where this recipe comes in. We have tried a number of commercial veggie patties and I plan to do a review and recommendation on those once we have tried a few more. We have also tried a few different recipes. Most of the commercial patties and recipes we have tried thus far have had fatal flaws that either Lynda or I refuse to deal with. Yes, taste is a big one, but more than that is the ability of the patty to stick together on the grill, when cooking on my cast-iron skillet or on our broiler pan. These burgers, however, seem to fit the bill nicely.
Now, I am definitely not going to say that a beet burger, or any veggie burger for that matter, tastes just like a regular hamburger. I would even say that it shouldn’t taste like a hamburger. Really, all that is the same is the presentation.
I found this recipe on The Post-Punk Kitchen and this is the first recipe that we have made from them and I plan to make many more of their great looking foods.
Quarter-Pound Beet Burgers
Makes 4-5 large patties
Recipe notes: If you’d like to make these gluten-free, just use gluten-free breadcrumbs – ground up gluten-free pretzels would be ideal. And if you’d like to bake them instead, do so at 375 F, 8 to 10 minutes each side, then stick under the broiler to brown them. If you’d like to use a different nut butter, I would recommend cashew or sunbutter. I think PB will be too strong, but who knows? I use a food processor to make these happen quickly, so you’ll have to do some finagling if you don’t have one. And one last tip: I keep a package of frozen brown rice handy at all times. It’s perfect for occasions like this when you just need a little bit for an ingredient.
1 1/4 cups cooked, cooled brown rice
1 cup cooked brown or green lentils, cooled, drained well
1 cup shredded beets
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon thyme, rubbed between your fingers
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel (or finely crushed fennel seed)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3 tablespoons very finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons smooth almond butter
1/2 cup very fine breadcrumbs
Olive oil for the pan
Peel beets and shred with the shredder attachment of your food processor, then set aside. Change the attachment to a metal blade. Pulse the brown rice, shredded beets and lentils about 15 to 20 times, until the mixture comes together, but still has texture. It should look a lot like ground meat.
Now transfer to a mixing bowl and add all the remaining ingredients. Use your hands to mix very well. Everything should be well incorporated, so get in there and take your time, it could take a minute or two.
Place the mixture in the fridge for a half hour to chill.
Preheat a cast iron pan over medium-high. Now form the patties. Each patty will be a heaping 1/2 cup of mixture. To get perfectly shaped patties, use a 3 1/2 inch cookie cutter or ring mold. Otherwise, just shape them into burgers with your hands.
Pour a very thin layer of oil into the pan and cook patties for about 12 minutes, flipping occasionally. Do two at a time if you’re pan isn’t big enough. Drizzle in a little more oil or use a bottle of organic cooking spray as needed. Burgers should be charred at the edges and heated through.
These should be served immediately. However, I have had good success with freezing these as individual patties–or simply refrigerating them if you plan to eat them sooner–and reheating them on my cast-iron skillet or on the grill.
As for specifics on ingredients, I used raw almond butter that I had made fresh just before making the burgers and I crushed the fennel and thyme with my mortar and pestle. Other than that, I followed the recipe verbatim. Sadly, I did not document any of our process with photos, so I borrowed the image that Isa posted with the recipe on the PPK.
If you make these and enjoy them, you should definitely head over to the Post-Punk Kitchen and try some of Isa’s other great ideas.