Thursday, May 21, 2009

They Come in Peace

I feel like every time I mention veggie burgers everyone runs screaming. I know in my mom's case it's because she won't let go of the preconceived notion that veggie burgers = tofu, so not true. And even if they did always have tofu as a main ingredient, how many of you have really tried tofu (in various forms) to know that it truly is evil? Anyway, veggie burgers come in a number of forms, some tofu-packed and others tofu-free. This particular recipe that I found in a Better Homes & Gardens magazine is of the tofu-free variety, honestly my preference though tofu does have it place. Although it's not a typical beef patty, there really is no reason to shun the idea of a veggie burger, they're a delicious and healthy way to mix up your summer grilling routine.

So what is in a veggie burger, you may ask? Again, recipes vary greatly. I decided that not only would I tell you what I used to make these delectable patties, but show you!

Veggie Burger

Lentils, couscous, chopped onion, sunflower seeds, shredded carrots, one egg, and a splash of lemon juice were all that when into these. Well, that and a little salt, pepper, and a dash of cumin just because it's my most recent favorite spice ;). I pulsed 3/4 cup cooked lentils, 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, and the egg in a food processor until smooth. I then transferred the mixture to a bowl and stirred in the couscous (1/4 cup soaked in a 1/4 cup hot tap water for 5 minutes), 1/2 chopped sweet onion (the recipe called for red, but I don't get along well with red onions...), one medium sized carrot shredded, and another (about) 1/2 cup of lentils. I stirred in 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt (recipe called for 1/2, but I like to cut down on the sodium) and a dash of cumin (my own addition :D) and a tablespoon fresh lemon juice (can used bottled if necessary). I then formed these into patties and let them sit in the fridge for 20-25 minutes uncovered to firm.

The only absolutely wonderful thing about everybody else turning up their noses at the sound of veggie burgers is that I get them all to myself!!! My recipe made six good sized patties, certainly more than I was willing to eat in one sitting, so I wrapped up five and put them in the freezer.


The remaining patty received a generous coat of nonstick cooking spray and sat in a skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side. Veggie burgers tend to be really crumbling, despite the egg's best efforts they never fail to fall apart a bit, so be super careful when flipping them! I also sauteed some onions with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. These I placed neatly on top of the veggie patty and both went inside a whole wheat bun. DELICIOUS.

Veggie Burger

Admittedly I was too lazy to track down a camera when I took a second patty out of the freezer the next day (this one I defrosted for about a minute and then cooked according to previous directions) and nixed the whole burger idea. Instead I piled fresh spinach on a plate, topped that with a little lemon juice, fresh cracked pepper, and a layer of tomato slices. My cooked patty went right on top and made for a delicious salad-type meal!

DON'T BE AFRAID OF MEAT FREE BURGERS. Another one of my favorites is Black Bean Burgers. SO GOOD. I like to put them on a bun and top with a little salsa or even guacamole, kinda tastes like a burrito! But again, they fall apart pretty easily, we've grilled all the recipes we've tried on aluminum foil to keep them from slipping through the grill. But anyway, veg it up, you may miss meat less than you thought you would!!! Except maybe if your Taylor... or Taylor's dad...

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