"Staycation" Creation: Homemade Veggie Burgers

A couple years back, when veggie burgers were all the rage, I was totally on the bandwagon.  They were just so easy to pop out of the freezer and into a bun and you could almost feel as if you were eating a real cheeseburger, without the nutritional baggage that goes along with it.  But then one day I realized how kinda gross they are (at least the frozen ones that come with a laundry list of ingredients in them, half of which, I can't pronounce).  I just don't know what's in them and furthermore, I question their nutritional value and that's when I got to thinking, there has be something that I can do.

And there was.  I could make my own.  These have been on my "to create" list for a while now and I'll admit, I loved the end result.  With fresh vegetables and various textures and flavors all rolled into a little patty, it was great.  I started by pureeing some of the vegetables (the carrots, peas, mushrooms, roasted red peppers and shallots) and then I tossed in fresh cut corn on the cob and zucchini.  For an added dimension of texture and flavor, I added some brown rice, oatmeal and for some some crunch, pine nuts.  Because the plan was to just build the recipe base, I seasoned it simply with some cumin, coriander, Dijon mustard and salt and pepper.  The next time I make these I plan to kick them up a bit, maybe with an  Asian flare (by adding cilantro, five spice powder, soy sauce and maybe some red curry paste) or maybe make them a little Mexican (by adding black beans, cilantro, more cumin and chipotle seasoning).  The options are endless.

After it was all said and done the veggie burgers ended up being fresh and delicious and much (much!) better than any freezer selection.  The only tricky part was keeping them together when frying.  I used an egg to help bind it all together but I still found myself manually keeping it together with a spatula while frying it up.  Perhaps it could have used another egg?  I made 6 veggie burgers, ate one and froze the rest.  Maybe they will hold their shape better when frozen?  I'll be sure to report back next time I have one.  Which will most likely be soon, they were really good when served on a poppyseed bulkie roll with sliced farmer's market tomatoes and arugula.  I also melted down some Gruyere, which ended up working well with the other flavors.  Although I need to work on this recipe a little more to make them "grill ready", I think I'm on to something here!

Homemade Veggie Burgers 
*Makes 6 patties
- About 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
- About 1/2 cup oats
- 1 medium sized zucchini, julieanned
- 1/2 box of button mushrooms, fried until just cooked through
- 1/2 roasted red pepper
- About 2 carrots (or you could use a giant handful of baby carrots)
- 1 ear of corn, cooked and kernels removed
- 1 shallot
- A large handful of fresh (or frozen) peas
- A small handful of pine nuts
- 1 egg
- About a tbs of Dijon mustard
- A small palmful of cumin
- A small palmful of coriander
- Salt and pepper to taste

Start by roughly pureeing the roasted red peppers, mushrooms, peas, carrots and shallots in a food processor.  Remove the vegetable mixture from the food processor and put in a medium sized bowl.  Add the pine nuts, oatmeal, rice, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper.  Taste and add more seasoning if desired.  Add the egg and mix thoroughly.  If the mixture is a little watery, add more oatmeal to thicken it up a bit.  Chill in the refrigerator for about an hour to let the flavors mix and the veggie mixture to stiffen.

Remove the mixture from the refrigerator and shape into patties.  Using a very hot skillet, fry the veggie burgers in a little olive oil, carefully shaping the patties and not turning too often (if you turn frequently, the veggie burger won't have the opportunity to set properly.)  Once the veggie burger has browned on the outside, add to bun and top as you'd like.  Serve immediately.


Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

This looks AWESOME! I've made turkey bean burgers before but this seriously looks easy and tasty. Thanks for sharing!

Boston Food Diary said...

I knew these would be delicious!!! They look great!

Anonymous said...

I wonder how this would taste as the stuffing to a large portabella cap, and grilled?

The Small Boston Kitchen said...

Thanks Fun and Fearless and BFD! They were really good!

BobinMass3- My mind is blown. I can't believe I didn't think of that, brilliant, absolutely brilliant!

ashleigh said...

What a great recipe!! I love veggie burgers too and I have tried to make them a few times but these look WAYY better. Thanks for sharing!! I hope you are enjoying your staycation!

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