Thursday, January 7, 2010

Veggie Might: Veggie Burgers (A Mighty Good Recipe)

Penned by the effervescent Leigh, Veggie Might is a weekly Thursday column about the wide world of Vegetarianism.

Hey y’all, happy new decade. Hope your holidays were dreamy and golden.

So, it’s been awhile. Whatcha been doin’? I’ve been eating homemade veggie burgers almost every day since the beginning of 2010. I made a big batch on New Year’s Eve (because I know how to party) and about half is still stashed in the freezer.

As you may recall, I have a love/hate relationship with veggie burgers, especially in restaurants. A chef or restaurant owner who only deigns to nuke a frozen patty for vegetarian customers can’t think too much of us; and the feeling is mutual.

But at home, a veggie burger can be a quick and easy comfort food/guilty pleasure. (They’re not bad for you. They’re just expensive/processed, and I rarely buy them.)

My favorites have always been the bean/rice varieties; I rarely pursue realism when seeking fake meat. So when I found Mark Bittman’s bean and oat burger recipe, deep within How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, I got happy.

This is a perfect pantry-busting recipe. It’s made from staples most vegetarians have on hand: beans, oats, rice, onion, garlic, spices. And, with canned beans, it’s fast. Otherwise, it just takes a bit of advanced prep. I’ve made it with dried/soaked beans and with canned beans and it works great either way.

My version is the Bittman recipe quadrupled, garlicked, and veganized. He suggests rice instead of egg as a vegan binder and I likey. I also used my homemade adobo spice mix for pizzazz, but you can add whatever spices you like. It’s essentially a meatloaf recipe with beans instead of ground beef.

Once the mixture is set, you can make patties or balls as your heart desires. And your heart will love them. These delicious, satisfying bean/grain burgers beat the cellophane off those pucks in the freezer section.

If you like this recipe, you might also like:

Mighty Good Veggie Burgers
Adapted from Black Bean Burger by Mark Bittman.
Yields about 15 3-oz burgers

25 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed (or 2 1/2 cups cooked beans)
25 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or 2 1/2 cups cooked beans)
1 medium onion, quartered
3 cloves garlic
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups cooked brown short grain rice
2 tbsp adobo spice mix (or spices of your choice)
salt and pepper to taste

1) Cook short grain brown rice ahead of time. You’ll need 2 cooked cups.

2) Rinse beans and put into food processor. Add the quartered onion, garlic cloves, and oats. Pulse a few times to begin mixing. Then add the rice and spices.

3) Pulse until all the ingredients are combined but not pureed, scraping the sides of the food processor occasionally. Add a splash of water if necessary. The mixture should be moist but not wet (if that makes sense).

4) Let bean/grain mixture rest for about 15-20 minutes before forming into patties. Roll mixture into 2 1/2- to 3-oz balls (a little less than 1/4 cup) and flatten into 1/2-inch-thick patties.

5) Pan cook in a teeny bit of oil or cooking spray for 5–7 minutes on each side; or bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, turning after 15 minutes. Either way, the outside gets a little crispy and the inside is nice and chewy, but not dry.

6) Serve with whole grain bread and your favorite condiments, like spicy mustard or peanut butter and American cheese. These burgs rock with sweet potato fries.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, and Price per Serving
156 calories, 1g fat, 5g fiber, $0.43

25 oz canned black beans: 500 calories, 0g fat, 25g fiber, $2.39
25 oz cooked or canned kidney beans: 500 calories, 0g fat, 25g fiber, $2.39
1 medium onion: 40 calories, .2g fat, 3g fiber, $.50
3 cloves garlic: 4.2 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, $.036
2 cups rolled oats: 614 calories, 10g fat, 16g fiber, $.34
2 cups cooked brown short grain rice: 668 calories, 5g fat, 6g fiber, $.71
2 tbsp adobo spice mix: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $.02
salt and pepper: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $.02
TOTALS: 2,332.6 calories, 15.2g fat, 75g fiber, $6.41
PER SERVING (totals/15): 156 calories, 1g fat, 5g fiber, $0.43

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Shanghaifanny said...

I am so into trying out this recipe. I've been a Mark Bittman fan for a long time. I've just recently stumbled upon your blog and you guys are my new heroes!
Here's my question. I don't own a food processor... Can this recipe still work for me if I just mash and mince up what I can?

Anne said...

I can't wait to make a bunch of these and not have to cook for...a while. I have kind of a stupid question which may be caused by grad school-induced reading fail: should I freeze the burgers before cooking or after?

Thanks again for sharing the recipe!

Leigh said...

Thanks Shanghaifanny. Welcome. We blush, I'm sure.

Yes, I don't see why a food processor is essential. With a little elbow grease, you can have mighty fine bean burgers too. Let us know how they turn out and thanks for reading!

Jessie said...

This looks super tasty - so tasty that maybe my bean-phobe hubby will like it. Either way, I'm in!

misseill said...

I don't think it's a stupid question, Anne. I was coming over here to ask the exact same thing. 15 burgers is a lot, and I'll be eating them solo due to another bean-phobe husband!

Leigh said...

Not stupid at all, Anne and misseill. My instructions were unclear. I kept half the batch in the fridge for a week or so and put the rest in the freezer. The cooking times are for fresh (not frozen) burger mix.

I haven't cooked from frozen yet. I'll report back when I do.

Thanks for commenting, y'all.

special55k said...

I was coming to ask about the food processor as well. I would actually love to have one, but I am working with limited space and limited funds - if anyone has a recommendation, I'd love to hear it, and even if I can't get it now I will keep it in mind. Thanks!

Kathryn said...

This sounds good and from the picture it looks like an actual hamburger - most veggie burger are light and very obviously not a hamburger. Going to give this a try some time.

Thanks for sharing this with us!

Sarah said...

I'm not the biggest rice fan especially in my veggie burgers. Does anyone have any suggestions for rice free vegan veggie burgers? Could I use ener-g egg replacer as a binder?

Thanks :)

bronxteaparty said...

I always wanted a great VB recipe!

Jessie said...

I made these this weekend, and they turned out great! I don't have a food processor, so I minced the onion and garlic, then used my stand mixer on medium-low to blend it all until it looked mushy enough. I used an egg instead of water to add a little extra moisture. Next time I might cut down on the spice mix (I'm a wimp) but we both really liked them, even bean-phobe hubby!

Alexandra said...

We made these a few nights ago subbing chickpeas for 1/2 of the beans, some extra seasonings, and they were delicious! Froze the leftovers on a baking sheet and then put them in a container for later. Great recipe!

Rebecca said...

We made these last night for some friends who came over, and they turned out great! We don't have a food processor, so we used a blender to mash the beans and it worked okay. Next time I think I would use the stand blender like someone suggested.

For those of you who don't want to make a large batch of Adobo mix, here is the conversion to get the amount needed for just the burgers (my husband is a math whiz and helped me figure this out):
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1.5 tsp black pepper

Leigh said...

Rebecca! Thanks for scaling down the adobo recipe for us. You're the best!

Sarah, if you're not crazy about rice, I think cooked oatmeal or another glutenous grain would work for binding. Ener-g might work; if you try it, I'd love to hear about it.

Glad y'all are having success with this recipe. Thanks for chiming!

craftevangelist said...

Any word on cooking times for frozen burgers? Shape into patties before freezing, obviously, but should they be cooked or par-cooked before freezing? And how long should they cook from frozen?

SJ said...

We made these last night - very yummy, looking forward to the rest in the freezer!