Thursday, August 19, 2010

Black Bean and Quinoa Burgers

When I was about 13 I decided I no longer wanted to eat red meat. This was after years of being far too pickey about the meat I would eat, and it just felt easier to avoid this whole category of protein. This decision was followed by an introduction to veggie burgers, a food group I have been studying closely ever since that time. As I've become a better cook I have experimented with different veggie burger recipes, but too often the mushy product was flavorful but hard to eat.

These Bulgur Burgers were the first breakthrough we've had with homemade veggie burgers, and Joe and I have made them a couple times in the last year. But I was still searching for the perfect recipe, one that I could double and freeze. I've been wanting to end our relationship with grocery store frozen veggie burgers, which are filled with too many questionable things to be considered good for you. The recipe below is one I discovered at a grilling class at The Chopping Block, and I think it has won the coveted spot of best homemade veggie burger. The recipe made 8 burgers, and after grilling them all we froze the leftovers. They were perfect to pull out on a busy night, as a more natural alternative to the boxes of frozen patties that we'd gotten so used to. I loved serving it on a bed of lemony arugula, and we also enjoyed these on a traditional bun. Even our meat-loving guest we served these to said she loved them!
Take a minute to check out The Chopping Blog, where I also shared my experiences with this recipe and other creative grilling ideas!

Quinoa and Black Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayonnaise
From The Chopping Block Vegetarian Grill class

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, medium dice
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
1 cup cooked or canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
3/4 cup walnuts
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup packed cilantro sprigs
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup flour
1/2 to 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Chipotle Mayonnaise (recipe below)
2 cups arugula
Lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Sauté the onion until caramelized, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the quinoa and toast for 1 minute.
2. Add the water, bring to a boil, and then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, until the water is absorbed, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and rest, covered, for 10 minutes.
3. Place the cooked quinoa in a food processor and add the black beans, soy sauce, walnuts, garlic, cilantro, cumin and cayenne in a food processor until finely chopped. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a mixing bowl and fold in the flour, 1/2 cup panko and eggs. If the mixture is very loose, stir in the rest of the panko.
4. Form rounded 1/2 cups of mixture into four (3 1/2-inch-diameter) patties. Chill until firm, at least 20 minutes. (Patties may be frozen at this point.)
5. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat. Set up a grill grate with narrow slats to support the burgers.
6. Place the burgers on the grill and cook until browned and crisp on the outside and warm all the way through, about 5 minutes per side.
7. Place the burgers on a platter and top each with a dollop of Chipotle Mayonnaise.
8. Toss the arugula with the lemon juice and olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Top each burger with the dressed greens and serve.

Chipotle Mayonnaise

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 chipotle pepper, minced
Juice of 1/2 lime
2 tablespoons cilantro, rough chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Mix together the mayonnaise, chipotle pepper, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper.

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