Monday, September 19, 2011

Homemade Veggie Burgers...and a winner!

Homemade Veggie Burgers...

First a big WootWoot to LadyTink_534, aka Jen, the winner of the Gold Medal White Whole Wheat Flour giveaway. Jen will receive a VIP coupon for a free bag of the flour, a set of recipe cards, and a nifty blue Gold Medal cookie jar! Jen, let us know how your snickerdoodles turn out using the white whole wheat flour.

You all may remember me talking about how my daughter, Taylor, is a vegetarian. The phase that I thought she would outgrow has turned into a permanent lifestyle change and, while I remain a true carnivore, I gladly embrace most of the food that she now prefers. Good food is good food, after all. Now, my husband has seen how healthy former President Bill Clinton is looking these days (rumor has it he had become a vegan), and has decided to jump on the "mostly" vegetarian bandwagon. I really have to go with the flow here....

This weekend, I had a request from Taylor for some homemade food. As a poor college student (that dang chemistry book was $400!), she has been existing on ramen noodles. She specifically requested a couple of homemade pizzas--one veggie for her, and one pepperoni for the boyfriend--and some veggie burgers. The veggie burgers are a relatively new invention of mine. They even have a secret ingredient. Care to wager a guess? No? OK, then. I'll spill the beans. Pun intended. :)

The soup adds some liquid and some flavor to the veggie burgers.

Homemade Veggie Burgers
4-6 tablespoons olive oil for frying
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cup fresh or frozen sweet corn
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (19 oz) can ready-to-serve lentil soup
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups fresh spinach leaves
¾ cup Panko bread crumbs
2 cups quick cooking oatmeal
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Turn down the heat to medium, and add the onions and peppers, then saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, corn, and garlic, then continue to cook until the mushrooms are softened and browned, 5-6 minutes. Stir in the corn. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Reserve skillet for sauteing the burgers. While the vegetables are cooking, place the black beans in a large bowl and mash slightly with a fork. Stir in the can of lentil soup and the beaten eggs. Add the vegetables and the spinach and stir to combine.
Combine the oatmeal, breadcrumbs, and seasonings in a medium bowl. Add to the lentil and bean mixture, mixing well. To form the patties, line a custard cup with plastic wrap, leaving an overhang and fill with the bean mixture. Carefully pull the bean mixture out of the custard cup and fold the plastic wrap over the top to form into a patty. Repeat until 12 patties are formed, leaving wrapped in the plastic until ready to cook (you may freeze the patties at this point). Add a tablespoon of oil to the skillet and heat over medium high heat. Unwrap 2-3 bean patties and carefully add to the heated skillet. Reduce the heat to medium low and fry for about 5 minutes per side, or until browned and cooked through. Repeat for the remaining burgers, adding additional oil to the skillet, if needed. 

I chose the red bell pepper for some color. Feel free to use green instead.

I used Trader Joe's Roasted Sweet Corn...because I like it. :)

Instead of canned black beans, I cooked my own. The only problem was that they were a little hard, so I pulsed them in a food processor. All was good.

Here's where I could have added a slew of fresh herbs...but I didn't have any. Feel free.

Isn't this a clever way of forming the patties? No fuss, no muss.

I filled them almost to the top and got 12 patties.

At this point you can freeze the patties. Once they are frozen, they are easier to handle. When I fry them from frozen, I put a lid on the pan so that they cook through.

Of course, I toasted the bun with a little butter, then I spread some basil/tomato hummus on the bottom bun and topped it with some fresh spinach.

Have you seen the Pretzel Buns at Trader Joe's? Yum!

You can add whatever toppings you love. I used some prepared Taboule that I bought at Costco.  MMM...tomatoes, onions, parsley, cracked wheat, seasonings, olive oil....this was great on the burger.

The bottom line is that these veggie burgers are tastier and far more economical that the ones you find frozen  at the store. In fact, the husband is wanting me to make a second batch for our own freezer....they must be good!