You might be thinking I have gone off the deep end. A veggie burger, yes indeed. I’d never made veggie burgers from scratch before but was more than happy to try, simply because my friend asked. (A certain Ms. Mikaela Lefrak, audio expert here at The District Table.) That’s right, I take recipe requests. So send them my way, either by leaving a comment or sending an email. I love to try new recipes and this is one that I’ll be making again.
Grilling season is sneaking closer (thank goodness) and now there is something to eat for everyone. This recipe is its own type of burger, rather than a meat imitation. It’s lighter than hamburger but very filling, thanks to a mix of quinoa and beans. It’s also a healthier alternative, because a little less red meat is something all our hearts could go for. I didn’t know where to start with this whole veggie burger business, but I liked the look of this recipe by Half Baked Harvest. I learned that there are actually endless kinds of veggie burgers: sweet potato, beet, black bean, mushroom, and different combinations of each. However, I wanted a recipe that didn’t have 20+ ingredients and even more steps. So I skipped the recipes with textured vegetable protein and ground flax. This is definitely an easy veggie burger to make, with accessible ingredients.
I was also happy to find in my research that instead of sad tasteless soy burgers, many people are putting more effort into veggie burger recipes these days. When I first moved to DC right out of college, I actually ate veggie burgers a lot. My roommates and I would buy the Costco packs of frozen veggie patties. When we got home after work we would simply throw one on the George Foreman for dinner and eat it with some ketchup. Oh yes, it was a sad little meal, and luckily we have come far from those days.
These burgers are mixed together in a giant bowl, similar to a standard burger recipe, but first you need cooked quinoa. I’ve noticed quinoa is cheaper to get at Trader Joe’s, and a little goes a long way. (I swear I’m not sponsored by TJ’s but my love for them is real.) It cooks in about 20 minutes, so while you are waiting you can throw some fries in the oven, caramelize onions perhaps, or get your other toppings together. Suggested toppings include slaw, cheese, tomato, lettuce, and/or BBQ sauce (our fave).
Mash the beans first – you may even be able to use other kinds of beans such as chickpeas or black beans. Panko is also added, which is an Asian breadcrumb that has a little more crunch than usual breadcrumbs. After everything is mixed together, form into patties and refrigerate. This recipe made 7 patties for me, but I usually make them small. You might also be able to experiment with adding shredded carrot, corn, peppers, etc. Or put a spicy twist on them by adding poblanos and jalapeno, with cilantro. Now that I have a good base I’d like to try more.
Take care when flipping the burgers during cooking, since they are more fragile than hamburgers. My patties all stayed together no problem. Then I melted some cheese on top (of course), slapped it on a bun, and devoured within a minute. The caramelized onions certainly didn’t hurt. (It’s really about the toppings anyway, isn’t it?)
What’s the best veggie burger you’ve ever had?
- 1 cup Great Northern beans
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 egg, beaten
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
- ½ cup sharp white cheddar, shredded
- Extra virgin olive oil, for the pan
- Hamburger buns, toasted
- Toppings as desired, such as lettuce, onions, slaw, tomato, and cheese
- Place the beans in a large bowl and mash. Add the quinoa, breadcrumbs, egg, garlic, and spices. Mix well and then stir in the cheddar cheese. Use your hands to form the mixture into patties. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare any of the optional toppings or toast the hamburger buns. After 20 minutes, preheat a skillet to medium-high heat and coat with oil. Cook each burger for about 5 minutes per side. If desired, place a slice of cheese on top of each burger with 2-3 minutes left to cook and cover the pan.
- To serve, place each burger on a bun and top with ingredients of your choice. Enjoy!