Veggie Burger

It’s summertime and that means burgers! Therefore, for our next Drought Friendly Recipe, we bring you a delicious, hearty and umami packed (thank you, mushrooms) veggie burger. This recipes makes thirteen 1/4 pound burgers. Now, if it were beef we were using, that would mean a serious water footprint. According to the LA Times, it takes 1,799 gallons of water to make 1 pound of beef. So, again, if this recipe were using beef, it would take a little over 5,800 gallons of water to produce thirteen 1/4 pound burgers. Good thing this recipe is comprised of veggies and grains. When you calculate the water footprint of this recipe as is, it comes out to something around 800 gallons of water or around 1/7 of the water used for a beef burger. So, how about swapping in this recipe for your next burger night? Bonus: you can make the burger mix in advance and then cook the pattys off when the time comes. Enjoy!

veggie onions

Spreading out the caramelized onion on a parchment-lined sheet tray to cool

veggie burger mushroom

1/2 batch of quartered mushrooms ready for pulsing

mushrooms chopped veggie burger

Good texture for the mushrooms

mushroom onions veggie burger

Spreading the roasted mushrooms over the cooled caramelized onions

rice lentil veggie burger

Rice/Bulgur/Lentil mixture

spices veggie burger

Spices!

veggie burger

Brushing the burgers with oil before putting them in the pan

Veggie Burger Overhead

Time to eat.

Drought Friendly Veggie Burgers

Yield: 13 burgers

 

¼ cup grapeseed oil, divided, plus more for brushing

1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced small (2 cups)

1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste

20 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped roughly (1/2 cup)

24-ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided, plus more to taste

4 cups vegetable stock

¼ cup white jasmine rice

½ cup black (beluga) lentils

¾ cup bulgur

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, undrained

1 cup panko

1 tablespoon dried Greek oregano

½ teaspoon chipotle powder

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons vegan worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon ground fennel

1 teaspoon ground cumin

The Fixin’s:

13 burger buns

13 large slices tomato

Lettuce (your choice!)

Pickled shallots

Organic ketchup, no question

Dijon mustard, gotta’ have mustard too

 

Place an oven rack to the upper position and preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add the onion, 2 tablespoons oil and ¼ teaspoon salt to a medium (3½ quart) saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 8 minutes until onions are translucent and just beginning to brown. Stir in the garlic and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and spread the onion mixture over a parchment-lined sheet tray to cool. Do not wash the saucepan.

In a food processor, pulse half the mushrooms until finely chopped, approximately 30 quick pulses. Transfer mushrooms to a medium mixing bowl and pulse the remaining mushrooms in the same way. Transfer remaining mushrooms to the medium mixing bowl. Do not wash food processor.

Stir to combine the chopped mushrooms with 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

Spread the mushrooms evenly over a parchment-lined sheet tray. Transfer sheet tray to the oven and bake for 30 minutes, stirring once after 15 minutes. Remove the sheet tray from the oven and evenly spread the mushrooms over the onions to cool to room temperature.

In the same medium (3½ quart) saucepan used for the onion mixture, add the stock. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Add rice, black lentils, bulgur, black beans (with liquid), ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Stir to combine and bring to a boil again. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes (scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent burning). Remove from the heat and drain excess liquid using a fine mesh strainer. Spread strained rice mixture evenly over a parchment-lined sheet tray and cool to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, using a fork, stir to combine the cooked mushrooms, cooked rice mixture, panko, dried oregano, chipotle powder, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, fennel and cumin. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Put half of the mixture into a food processor and pulse 15 times until mixture is well combined. Transfer the processed batch back into the large mixing bowl and stir everything together until well mixed.

Using a ½ cup measuring cup, measure out ½ cup of mixture per burger, shaping the burgers with your hands into 4-inch (diameter) patties. Set each burger on a parchment-lined sheet tray and brush the top of each burger evenly with some oil.

Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat for 3 minutes. Transfer the prepared burgers, oil side down, into the pan and cook undisturbed for 3 minutes. Brush the second side of the burgers with oil and then flip the burgers over. Continue to cook for an additional 3 minutes. Transfer the cooked burgers to a parchment-lined sheet tray and bake for 10 minutes. Flip the burgers and continue to bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Remove the sheet tray from the oven. Serve burgers on buns with tomato slices, lettuce, pickled shallots, ketchup and mustard.

Vegetarian Red Beans and Dirty Brown Rice

A twist on this classic Cajun Louisiana dish – made for all my vegetarian and vegan friends. Here’s to a happy, healthy and delicious New Year!

Dirty Veggie Red Beans and Rice

Vegetarian Red Beans and Dirty Brown Rice

Yield: 2 to 4 servings

 

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced small (2 cups)

3 medium celery stalks, diced small (1 cup)

1 large green bell pepper, diced small (1 cup)

8-ounces cremini mushrooms, diced medium (2 ½ cups)

¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

5 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced (2 tablespoons)

1½ teaspoons ground Hungarian paprika

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon dried Greek oregano

¼ teaspoon celery salt

1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle powder

1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup vegetable stock

2 ½ cups cooked long grain brown rice

 

In a large sauté pan, add the olive oil. Turn the heat to medium-high and let oil heat until hot and shimmering.

Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, mushrooms and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, until vegetables have given off their liquid and are beginning to caramelize.

Add the garlic, paprika, black pepper, cumin, oregano, celery salt and chipotle powder. Stir and cook 2 minutes more.

Add the beans and vegetable stock and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, loosening up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Cook until almost all of the liquid has evaporated, approximately 10 minutes.

Turn off the heat and fold in the cooked brown rice until thoroughly mixed.

Season to taste with additional salt. Serve in 2 large bowls (big servings!) or 4 smaller bowls.

Roasted Eggplant Meatballs

I’m not usually one for a faux meatball: the texture is usually all wrong and flavor bland. That said, this little puppy is darn good. In fact, I wouldn’t even classify it as faux. It stands on its own. Meaty from the mushrooms and eggplant and deliciously herby. And with the added Parmigiano-Reggiano, it’s a mouthful of umami. No meat required.

eggplantmeatballoverhead eggplantmeatballside

Eggplant Meatballs

Yields 8 meatballs

1 large Italian eggplant, peeled and diced medium (1.25 pounds diced)

8-ounces cremini mushrooms, diced medium

6 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon Kosher salt, divided

3 packed tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not pre-grated, grated on a Microplane

1 ½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme

1 ½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano

¾ teaspoon ground fennel

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

1 large egg, whisked

1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

Adjust 2 oven racks to the middle position and preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Put eggplant and mushrooms in a medium bowl and mix in olive oil. Toss or stir to combine. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir to combine.

Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper. Spread eggplant mushroom mixture onto sheet pans.

Bake for 20 minutes. Stir, rotate pans and bake for an additional 20 minutes.

Remove sheet pans from oven and let eggplant and mushrooms cool to room temperature.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Place eggplant mushroom mixture and all additional ingredients in a food processor.

Pulse to combine. The mixture should be well combined and still have some texture (not blended into a paste). Season with additional 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Roll the meatball mixture into equal sized 1.75-inch balls.

Bake for 20 – 30 minutes, until cooked through and beginning to firm up.

Remove sheet pan from the oven and let meatballs rest at room temperature for 5-8 minutes.

Serve with your favorite pasta, marinara sauce and/or pesto in addition to some fresh basil and grated parmigiano-reggiano.