Burgers

Mother of Invention: Red Bean & Jamaican Collard Green Burgers

Jamaican Red Bean & Collard Greens Burger

“Necessity is the mother of invention.” When it comes to plant-based meals, necessity has become the mother of recipes. One of my biggest frustrations with following a plant-based diet is eating out. When we find a new restaurant that has even just one vegan offering we make it a point to try it out and hopefully become regular patrons. This is the case with a restaurant in our downtown area. When they first opened up, I was delighted to see that they serve black bean burgers. The appearance of a black bean burger on a menu isn’t anything special because it’s been my experience that most vegan options are either a grilled vegetable sandwich, a hummus wrap or . . .  a black bean burger. In any case, we’re happy that there’s something for us. On a recent visit to our go-to place for black bean burgers I was somewhat disappointed. The beans were barely smashed, the flavor was flat and the burger fell apart and out of the bun. Even a healthy pour of barbeque sauce couldn’t rescue my lunch. As so often happens, Bruce was subjected to my usual frustrating and somewhat rant-like questions. “How hard is it to have a bean burger on the menu?” or  “You would think they could come up with something other than a black bean burger. After all there are so many types of beans.” Sheesh! And then I start to rattle off all the different burgers I make. Gumbo Burger. Mushroom Burger. Frank n’ Burger. Jamaican Red Bean Burger. Corned Beet Reuben Burger. Chic Filet Burger. Hoppin’ John Burger. Mushroom Barley Burger. Sounds like a scene from the movie Forest Gump. On the way home I thought about my next burger recipe. I knew I had some leftover Jamaican collard greens and baked sweet potatoes in the fridge and a few cans of red beans in the pantry. I pulsed these ingredients in my food processor and added oatmeal to absorb any excess liquid and keep the burgers together. I kicked it up a notch by adding more Jamaican curry powder. I let them “firm up” in the fridge, then cooked them on a non-stick electric griddle. Since I still had more of the collard greens left, I used them to top off the burgers. (I recommend making the collard greens ahead of time and using the leftovers to make the burgers.) These burgers are so flavorful (and stay inside the bun) that they just might be my favorite burger recipe so far. Or it might be a close second to my Frank n’ Burger. Oh, but what about that Chic-filet Burger? One thing I know for sure — there will be more bean burger recipes being invented in my kitchen. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Red Bean & Jamaican Collard Green Burgers

2 cans red kidney beans, drained
1 cup Jamaican collard greens, drained of any liquid (see below)
1 cup cooked sweet potato
½ cup old-fashioned oats, processed into a coarse flour
1 teaspoon Jamaican curry powder

additional Jamaican collard greens for topping

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place all ingredients in food processor and pulse until beans are smashed and all ingredients are mixed together. Form into patties and place on parchment paper. (A one-half cup measure makes a large burger to fit a Kaiser bun. One-third cup will fit a standard hamburger bun. Refrigerate a few hours to firm up.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350F. Place baking sheet in oven and bake about 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through baking. Alternately, you can use a non-stick electric griddle to grill the burgers.

Jamaican Collard Greens

1 lb. collard greens, thinly sliced or chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tomato, chopped
½ to 1 Scotch Bonnet or Habanero pepper, seeds intact (see note)
1 teaspoon Jamaican curry powder
2 cups water (see notes for cooking in instant pot)
½ cup coconut milk (canned)

Note: depending on your tolerance for hot peppers, use your judgement as to how much of the pepper you want to use and whether or not to scrape the seeds out before cooking.

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute until lightly browned. Add tomatoes, collard greens, Scotch Bonnet, curry powder and water. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook until very tender (about 1 hour). Add coconut milk, uncover and continue cooking until most of liquid has evaporated.

Instant Pot:

Turn setting to saute. Cook onions until lightly browned. Add garlic and cook one minute, then add ¾ cup water, chopped tomato, curry powder and whole pepper. Place collards on top. Cover and pressure cook on low for 10 minutes. Quick release pressure. Set control to saute setting, then add coconut milk. Continue cooking until coconut milk gets absorbed and any excess liquid is evaporated. Remove pepper.

 

18 Apr 2017

Don’t Fast. Feast: Gumbo Burgers with Roasted Pepper Sauce

Gumbo Burger with Roasted Pepper Sauce

I’ve been trying to incorporate more vegetables into my bean burger recipes and came up with this recipe the last time I made a pot of Vegetable Gumbo. Gumbo has its roots in Louisiana’s Creole cuisine and I usually make it right around Mardi Gras time. The highlight of Mardi Gras happens on Fat Tuesday, reflecting the practice of the last chance to eat rich, fattening foods before the ritual of the Lenten fast begins. Well, if you eat healthy, low-fat plant food all year round there’s no need to fast in the first place. I still enjoy learning about and celebrating holidays and traditions, so I wanted to share this recipe for Gumbo Burgers just in time for Fat Tuesday.

To make the burgers, I start by cooking the the “holy trinity” of onions, celery and bell peppers, adding tomatoes and aromatics, then cooking out most of the liquid. The mashed beans act to hold the vegetables together and the oats help to absorb any extra liquid. The Roasted Pepper Sauce is made with a small amount of cashew cream, roasted red peppers and hot sauce. These burgers have so much going into them that you don’t need anything else going on top of them, but feel free to serve with your favorite burger toppings. We had our burgers with a side of steamed spinach with a honey-mustard-cider vinegar dressing. The recipe makes a lot of burgers, so you can wrap them individually and place in the freezer to enjoy in the weeks ahead. Why fast when you can feast all year long on these healthy, hearty Gumbo Burgers? Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Gumbo Burgers with Roasted Pepper Sauce

Makes 8 to 12 patties

2 cans red kidney, pink or pinto beans, drained
½ cup whole oats, processed into course flour
1 extra large onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large tomato, diced
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
8 oz. okra, chopped
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
2 Tablespoons dried thyme
Cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

Roasted Pepper Sauce (recipe follows)
Hamburger buns
Burger toppings as desired (tomato, onions, lettuce, etc.)

Place beans in a large mixing bowl and smash with a potato masher or fork. Place oat flour into bowl and set aside.

Heat a non-stick skillet on high heat. Add onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic and saute until lightly browned. Add tomato, tomato paste, okra, liquid smoke, thyme and cayenne pepper and continue cooking until all of the liquid has dried up. Add to mixing bowl and stir to combine. Season with salt and black pepper, adding more of the other seasonings as desired.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide mixture into even portions using either a one-third or one-half measuring cup and form into patties. Place on parchment paper and refrigerate for several hours.

When ready, heat a non-stick electric griddle on 350F. Place patties on griddle and cook until browned and burgers become firm, turning once during cooking. Serve on buns with roasted pepper sauce and your favorite toppings.

Roasted Pepper Sauce

½ cup raw cashews (soaked)
½ cup roasted red peppers
2 to 4 teaspoons hot sauce

Rinse and drain the soaked cashews. Place in container of high-speed blender and add enough water to cover about half of the cashews. Process on high until super smooth. Remove from container. This should yield about ½ cup, but you will only use ¼ cup to make the sauce.

Return ¼ cup of the cashew cream in the blender container along with the roasted peppers and hot sauce. Process on high until smooth. Place in a covered container and refrigerate before using.

Note: if you do not wish to use cashews, you can try substituting silken tofu.

28 Feb 2017

Smokin’ Good: Frank n’ Burgers

Frank n’ Burger

I don’t remember exactly what I was doing a few weeks ago when I had what I call a “sensory flashback”. It was most likely brought on by something I had cooking on the stove, but there was something in the air that reminded me of the sweet and tangy onion sauce served up by the hot dog vendors of New York. Some folks like sauerkraut and mustard on their hot dogs and others like chili dogs. Maybe it’s a Brooklyn thing, but there’s nothing sweeter than a hot dog with red onion sauce. The sauce is so easy to make with ketchup or tomato sauce, onions and spices. The hard part is the hot dog. I’m sure there are countless vegan versions of hot dogs made with tofu and seitan. The problem for us is that there is too much sodium and fat in these products. A problem for others may be a soy or gluten allergy. So, how about those carrot dogs simmered in soy sauce that were popping up every day this past summer? They might make a fun treat, but a meal it does not make. And, again, it’s too much sodium for us. I wanted to come up with something substantial that would fit inside a bun and was reminiscent of that smokey hot dog flavor. I started with pinto beans as they have a pink-ish hue to them. I pressure cooked them with onions, garlic and liquid smoke to infuse the beans with flavor. I used sweet potatoes as a binding ingredient and for their color and smooth texture; oatmeal to absorb excess liquid; sauerkraut for a little zing; and some smoked paprika and additional liquid smoke to deepen the smokiness. All I can say is that the aroma coming off the griddle smelled just like hot dogs cooking on the grill on a summer afternoon. We enjoyed them with mustard and onion sauce on toasted burger buns. I was stuffed before I was done with mine. Smoky, sweet, tangy. All that and healthy, too. These Frank n’ burgers just might go down as my all-time favorite bean burger . . . and hot dog. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Frank n’ Burgers

Makes 8 to 10 burgers.

8 oz. dried pinto beans, soaked overnight
1 small yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons liquid smoke

1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup cooked sweet potato
1 cup sauerkraut, drained
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
Black pepper, to taste

Hot dog onions (recipe follows)

Drain and rinse beans. Place in pressure cooker with onion, garlic and liquid smoke. Pressure cook on high according to manufacturer’s instructions (usually 4 to 6 minutes). When safe, release pressure and drain the beans.

Place oats in bowl of food process and process until coarsely ground. Add remaining ingredients and the cooked beans. Pulse until combined. Taste the mixture before adding the additional liquid smoke. The mixture can be chunky.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide mixture evenly and form into patties. One-third cup is the perfect size for standard burger buns. One-half cup measure will make a thicker burger suitable for a larger Kaiser roll. Refrigerate until firm. Heat an electric griddle on high and cook burgers until browned on both sides, about 15 minutes total. You can also bake in a 375F oven, turning once halfway through cooking (about 20 minutes total).

Serve on toasted buns and topped with mustard and hot dog onions.

You can cook the burgers, let them cool and wrap individually to place in the freezer. Simply defrost/re-heat in the microwave or on an outdoor grill.

Onion Sauce

2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Garlic powder and black pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cook until onions are soft and sauce has thickened and becomes flavorful.

03 Jan 2017

All the Trimmings: Black Friday Burger

Black Friday Burger

Black Friday Burger

The Thanksgiving dinner that I grew up with was always turkey and all of the trimmings, with the emphasis on the trimmings. With all of those yummy side dishes — stuffing, stuffed mushrooms, Brussel sprouts, green beans, mashed potatoes, sweet potato pie, cranberry sauce — it’s a wonder that I had room for even one slice of turkey. And we always looked forward to the left overs that would last until Sunday. My Mom would make a sandwich with all the trimmings by layering turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and hot  gravy on a hard roll. Since there seems to be an over abundance of recipes for Thanksgiving dinner, I decided to make something to gobble up in the days following. Maybe you’d like to take advantage of Black Friday sales. Perhaps family will be visiting for the long weekend. And what about all those football games? With all the comings and goings, you might want to have something easy for your guests to re-heat and assemble on their own. You know, “make yourself at home and help yourself” . . . to a Black Friday Burger.

So, I thought about all the foods I love about Thanksgiving and squeezed them all into one neat little burger. We always made our bread stuffing with celery, onions and mushrooms. Sometimes we’d add pork sausage to the stuffing, so I included fennel and sage to capture that flavor. The white beans are used for substance and the sweet potato keeps everything together. At the end of the meal we would break out the nutcrackers and a basket of nuts and chestnuts, so I added some ground walnuts. I might try some roasted chestnuts in the next batch. Be sure to save some Shaved Brussel Sprouts, cranberry sauce and gravy from Thanksgiving Day to use to dress up the burgers. If you don’t want to fuss with the gravy, you can just use the Dij-ayo spread at the end of the recipe. This burger has it all. The stuffing. The sweet potatoes. The mushrooms. The flavor. Take some Roasted Butternut Squash Soup out of the freezer or make a huge Powerhouse Salad to serve with the burgers. The only ones stuffed this year will be your friends and family. You can make the burgers ahead of time, cook them and place them in the freezer, leaving you free to cut down a Christmas tree, spend time with your guests or shop for those Black Friday deals. This Thanksgiving I give thanks for my health, my family and friends. And I thank you for being Vegi-curious.

Black Friday Burgers

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed

1 (15-ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup cooked sweet potato
½ cup rolled oats
¼ cup walnuts, coarsely ground
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon ground fennel
1 teaspoon ground sage
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)

whole wheat burger buns
left over shaved Brussel sprouts or fresh baby spinach
cranberry sauce
Dij-ayo spread (recipe follows)

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and celery and saute until golden. Add mushrooms and garlic and continue to saute until browned. Add fennel and sage and cook another 30 seconds. Remove from heat and place into large mixing bowl.

Place beans into the bowl and mash the beans using a fork or potato masher. Add sweet potato and mash into beans.

Place the oats in a mini-chopper and pulse just enough to break them down but not processed into a flour. Add to mixing bowl with remaining ingredients and mix well with a fork. Adjust spices as desired.

Separate into five or six portions and form into patties. (I find that 1/3 cup is the perfect size for a standard burger bun.) Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until firm. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400F. Bake for 20 minutes, turning half-way through cooking. You can also cook in a non-stick skillet or on a non-stick electric griddle. You can enjoy them now or place them in the freezer for future use.

Serve on burger buns with shaved Brussel sprouts or fresh baby spinach and top with Dij-ayo and cranberry sauce.

Dij-ayo

½ cup raw cashews
2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon tahini
Water as needed to thin out

Place all ingredients in high-speed blender and process until smooth.

17 Nov 2016

A New Day: Hoppin’ John Burgers

Hoppin John BurgersKnowing that we would have family visiting both the week before and after Christmas and a big family party on the 28th, I wanted to get a jump on this post. I didn’t want to miss something for New Year’s Day because, for many of us, it is a New Day. You know, “out with the old, in with the new”. Last New Year, I posted a recipe for Hoppin’ John. In the southern United States, eating Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day is thought to bring a prosperous year filled with good luck. It so happens that a few weeks ago, Bruce and I had lunch at Metropolitan Kitchen in Annapolis, Maryland. As we were enjoying our black eyed pea burgers, I thought this would be a good way to use up the stockpile of black eyed peas that I have at home. (Warning: when you store dried beans in a can in the basement it’s easy to forget what you have down there.)  And since the New Year is fast-approaching, why not create a recipe that would bring you good health and possibly some good fortune as well? The burgers have all of the ingredients that are found in my Hoppin’ John recipe — black eyed peas, onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes — even rice. Forgetting that I have an awesome electric griddle in the basement (maybe I should move “getting organized” to the top of my resolution list), I opted to brown the burgers in the oven on parchment-lined baking sheets to eliminate the need for any oil. The burgers were set on whole wheat buns and topped off with onions, tomatoes and lettuce. And don’t forget to pour on your favorite barbeque sauce. Make some Hoppin’ John Burgers and have yourself a prosperous and healthy New Year! Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Hoppin’ John Burgers

Makes 10 to 12 burgers

  • ½ lb. black eyed peas
  • ½ cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Water or vegetable broth
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal, ground into flour

Place black eyed peas, sundried tomatoes, liquid smoke, bay leaf and thyme in pressure cooker. Add water until it covers beans by about 2 inches. Add salt and pressure cook for about 6 minutes. Drain in a colander and reserve the cooking liquid. Let cool.

In non-stick skillet, saute onions, peppers and garlic until soft and lightly browned. Add rice, thyme and liquid smoke. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes, adding the reserved cooking liquid a little at a time to prevent sticking. Stir in hot sauce.

Place black eyed peas, vegetables and oatmeal in food processor and pulse until desired consistency is reached.

Form into patties (1/3 cup each for standard hamburger buns or 1/2 cup each for Kaiser buns) and place on baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate until firm. Preheat oven to 350F. Bake for about 10 minutes per side.

 

29 Dec 2015

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