I love veggie burgers.
I used to buy a box of them once a week and eat one every day for lunch. Something light and easy that always hit the spot. Then I found out that my favorite brand contained hexane. A neurotoxin.
So, it was time to find a recipe for a good homemade veggie burger. Specifically, I wanted something with big flavor that would form real patties. And I wanted it to be made with things I would normally have on-hand.
No beets. No bulgur. No quinoa.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it?
Oh, do not be fooled!
The world’s supply of veggie burger recipes are all very different. Some are as bland as mud patties. Others are so crumbly that they just fall apart. And then there are the mushy ones. People in Hell eat the mushy ones.
After some trial and error – and a lot of profanity – I finally found this recipe. A veggie burger that’s delicious, moist but firm, and made with things you probably have in your kitchen right now.
You start by swirling a few tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and sautéing a mix of red onion, black olives, red bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic and maybe some artichoke. While the vegetables cool, you grab a bowl and combine the burger’s dry ingredients – rolled oats, bread crumbs and all of the seasonings. Then grab a bigger bowl, and combine about half a cup each of black beans, chickpeas and white beans. Add the vegetables to the beans, then the dry ingredients, then an egg to help bind everything together, and mix it with your hands, making sure to smash most of the beans, especially those chickpeas.
You can form the patties by hand, or use four small ramekins (one for each patty). To use the ramekins, drape a piece of plastic wrap inside each one, pack the burger mixture inside the ramekins (on top of the plastic wrap), and use the ends of the plastic wrap to cover the burger mixture. The plastic wrap will help the patties pop right out of the ramekins, and you can use it to create a barrier between your fingers and the patties if you need to press the burgers to make them flatter before sliding them into the pan.
I’ve been using a wide spatula for flipping the burgers, and so far, there have been no casualties. Just be gentle and courageous, and everything will be fine.
If you follow the recipe, you’ll wind up with four big burgers weighing more than a quarter-pound each. So, feel free to divide the mixture into eight patties.
I ate one of these veggie burgers for lunch today with lettuce, tomato and cheese on a fresh hamburger roll, and I’m already thinking about tomorrow’s burger. If you’re ready to “hold the hexane,” too, this recipe is worth a shot.
Adapted from Guy Fieri (“Guy’s Big Bite,” Food Network)
Makes 4 big burgers or 8 smaller ones
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 tablespoons diced red onion
- 2 tablespoons diced black olives
- 2 tablespoons diced red bell peppers
- 1 teaspoon diced jalapeno (optional)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons diced garlic
- 1 tablespoon diced artichoke (optional)
- 2 cups (6 ounces) rolled oats (or old-fashioned oatmeal)
- 2 tablespoons seasoned bread crumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground sage
- 4 ounces black beans, drained
- 4 ounces chickpeas, drained
- 4 ounces white beans, drained
- 1 egg
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a a saute pan over medium heat. Add all of the raw vegetables except the beans. Saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove and cool.
- In a medium bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, gently combine the beans. Add the sauteed vegetables, and mix thoroughly. Stir in the dry ingredients, along with the egg.
- Using your hands, thoroughly mix the ingredients. Form into 4 patties for large burgers or 8 patties for smaller ones. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saute pan, and cook patties 2 to 3 minutes per side. (If you’re making 8 patties, you’ll need to cook them in two batches.)