The Beet Burger
I think this recipe wins the award for me getting the most crap about a dish. Turns out that if you bring a delicious homemade vegetarian burger to a BBQ, people will make fun of you.
I mean it was relentless! People ate them and agreed that they were interesting and tasty, but then they proceeded to mock me for the rest of the night.
Which is fine by me. Next time I’m just going to mix up a batch of these and just eat them in my house by myself. That’s somehow better right?
Anyway, the point is that if you can find a forgiving BBQ or just want a change, these burgers are pretty darn good.
Yield: 10-12 burgers
1 Cup cooked brown rice (1/2 Cup dry)
1 onion, diced
1 poblano pepper, diced with seeds removed
3 large red beets, diced small
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
Juice from 1/2 lemon
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar (I left this out because I didn't have any, but I think it would work well)
3 Tablespoons parsley, minced
1 Teaspoon coriander
2 Teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 Teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 Cup - 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper
Normal burger stuff like buns, cheese (provolone or Gruyere work nicely), toppings.
1) Get a pot of water boiling and add 1/2 Cup of brown rice along with a pinch of salt. Boil until rice is slightly overcooked but not mushy, about 35-40 minutes. Strain the rice when done.
2) Peel and dice the beets into 1/4 inch cubes. Seed the poblano pepper and dice small along with the onion. Mince the garlic.
3) In a large pot, add a Tablespoon of oil and put it over medium high heat. Add the onions, peppers, and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
4) Add the beets to the onion mixture, cover, and cook until the beets are soft over medium heat. They should be done in 15-20 minutes. Stir in the cider vinegar near the end.
5) Combine the beet mixture with the rice and drained beans and mush everything together. Add the spices and taste for salt and pepper.
6) Cook the burgers by shaping them into patties and adding them to a very hot oiled skillet. They should sizzle. Flip them after a few minutes. Add cheese once you flip it. If you cover the pan with a lid (or plate) the cheese will melt faster.
7) Serve with a toasted bun and whatever toppings you want!
Adapted from a Kitchn Recipe.
The Beets Mixture
One of the problems that some veggies burgers have is that they can be a bit mushy. These guys definitely don’t have that problem. The rice, beans, and beets give a really great texture to the burger that almost gives it kind of a meaty feel and a really nice deep flavor.
The beet base for these burgers is really easy. The hardest part is just chopping up all the stuff. Be especially aware of what you’re wearing when you’re dicing the beets. HINT: Wearing white is a recipe for disaster.
Dice up the poblano peppers (take the seeds out), onions, and beets into pretty small cubes. I diced them into about 1/4 inch cubes.
Next, add a Tablespoon or so of olive oil to a large pot and put it over medium-high heat. Then add the onions, peppers, and garlic and cook them until the onions are translucent which should take about 4 minutes. Then stir in the beets, cover the dish and cook until the beets are soft. Stir the dish every few minutes until it’s done just to make sure nothing burns. It’ll probably take about 15-20 minutes for the beets to cook.
Stir in the cider vinegar near the end and set the bright red mixture aside.
While you’re working on the beet mix, get a large pot of water boiling separately and add a good pinch of salt to it along with 1/2 Cup of rice. Boil the brown rice until it’s a bit beyond cooked. It’ll make it easier to mush and form later.
It’s not important how much water you use when boiling the rice in this case. Just cook it until it’s the right consistency and then drain it using a strainer.
Combine the rice with the black beans (I just used canned) and mush them together a little bit.
Then add all of the beet mixture along with the spices.
The original recipe called for a few Tablespoons of flour to help thicken the mixture, but mine was pretty wet when I was done and so I added a bit more flour. The burger mix should be shapeable obviously so just add flour in small increments and try forming a patty out of it. It’ll be pretty delicate (or at least mine was) but it should stick loosely together.
This was what my final mix looked like. Don’t forget to taste it and add some salt, pepper, or any of the other spices if it seems under-seasoned.
Cooking the Burgers
While it’s nice to fire up a grill and cook these guys, they are actually really hard to cook on the grill. I was able to do it by spraying the grill with some non-stick spray and grilling them on high heat for just a few minutes a side. It was pretty touch and go though.
I think the real way to cook these guys is in a heavy pan. You don’t need anything special. Just your largest skillet should do the trick. Add a tiny amount of oil to it and crank up the heat to high. Then form your burgers and add them straight to the pan. They should sizzle!
Cook them for a few minutes a side until they are nice and browned on the outside. Obviously these are cooked already so you just want to give them some texture. Mine cooked beautifully in a pan and it was a lot easier than the grill.
If you’re using cheese (probably should) then just add it when you flip the burger. If you cover the pan the cheese will get really melted.
Then add a burger to a toasted bun and chow down!
I thought these were awesome and ate a few of them. The beet mixture keeps great in the fridge for a week or so. It would be totally acceptable to have some on hand and cook up a burger when the mood struck you.
Of course, you wouldn’t want to tell anybody about it because they would ridicule you.
Whatever though. I don’t mind suffering through a few snide comments if it means I get to eat this burger. It might not be for everybody, but there’s no doubt that I’d choose this over a normal veggie burger and probably on many occasions over a real burger.
If you refuse to at least try something like this then the joke’s on you suckers!