We’ve used the same veggie burger recipe around here for years. When I say we’ve, I actually mean I’ve, because although Howard is happy to grate cheese for nachos, or nuke the peas for dinner (gasp — it’s true), it is unlikely that he will ever assemble any recipe comprised solely of vegetables and grains, never mind a momentous undertaking like the making of GOOD homemade veggie burgers…
Our old recipe, from Cook’s Illustrated, was really good. But then we had that marathon of potlucks before Christmas, where I made 75 veggie sliders in 3 days, and, somewhere between day 2 and day 3, I lost my taste for it. Nothing specific, just time to move on.
While we were in the spirit of moving on, I moved away from the bulghur and breadcrumbs in the original recipe, and replaced them with gluten-free quinoa, brown basmati rice and buckwheat groats (kasha). The carrots are new too. I kept the mushroom/lentil base, and the cashews for their buttery taste, then I tried to simplify the method. Because it has A LOT of steps – I have been known to split it into a 2 day effort — and those who know me will tell you I am EFFICIENT in the kitchen — scary, get-out-of-my-way efficient, sometimes.
I managed to eliminate a couple of steps and simplify things a bit, but then I had to add one of my own, and so in the end it was pretty much an exercise in maintaining the status quo. I’ll be upfront about it — these take time — but they’re worth it. Consider doubling the recipe (see Tips below the recipe).
Gluten-Free Veggie Burgers
Yield: 12 – 4” patties
|Brown Basmati Rice||½ C||g|
|Buckwheat Groats (kasha)||½ C||g|
|Brown Lentils, picked through||¾ C||185 g|
|Quinoa||¾ C||135 g|
|Vegetable Oil||2 T||30 g|
|Button Mushrooms, cleaned and sliced ¼“ thick||7 C||500 g|
|Onions, julienned||2 C||250 g|
|Celery, sliced on the bias, ¼“ thick||¾ C||110 g|
|Garlic, minced||2 t||10 g|
|Ginger, minced||1 t||5 g|
|Raw Cashews, unsalted||1 C||g|
|Mayonnaise||¼ C||65 g|
C=Cup t=teaspoon T=Tablespoon
Preheat oven to 350˚. Bring 2 cups water, rice, buckwheat, and ½ t salt to boil in medium saucepan over high heat. Stir and cover. Reduce heat to low, and cook for 20-22 minutes. The rice may be slightly underdone – that is OK. Remove to the mesh strainer and press lightly with a rubber spatula to squeeze out excess moisture. Spread in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment/wax paper. Toast in the oven until dry, about 15-20 minutes, stirring the mixture well every 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool to room temp. Measure 2 cups of the mixture into a large bowl. Reserve the remaining rice and buckwheat for another use (see Tips below recipe).
While the rice and buckwheat toast, bring 3 cups water, lentils, and 1 teaspoon salt to boil in medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until lentils are just beginning to fall apart, about 25 minutes. Drain in fine-mesh strainer, and dry on a baking sheet lined with a clean tea towel (or a double layer of paper towels).
While the lentils simmer, bring 1 cup water to the boil in a small saucepan. Add quinoa and ¼ t salt. Stir and cover. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 12 minutes. Remove to the mesh strainer and press lightly with a rubber spatula to squeeze out excess moisture. Layer the quinoa on top of the lentils on baking sheet, cool both to room temp, and add to the bowl with the rice and buckwheat.
Heat 2 T oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions, celery and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables reach a light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Watch the heat – you may need to reduce the heat midway to prevent scorching. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Spread vegetable mixture on baking sheet and cool to room temp. Stir into the bowl with rice, buckwheat and lentils.
Process the cashews in a food processor until finely chopped, about fifteen 1-second pulses. Stir into the bowl with the growing mixture and the mayonnaise. Transfer half of the mixture to the food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped, fifteen to twenty 1-second pulses — mixture should hold together but have a rough texture. Transfer processed mixture to clean bowl and repeat with remaining unprocessed mixture and combine with first batch. Stir in carrots and salt & pepper to taste — about 1 t of each.
Divide mixture into 12 portions, about 1/2 cup each and shape each into tightly packed patty, 4 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick. Patties can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 3 days. Can also be frozen.
Brown on both sides in a lightly oiled pan over medium heat, about 4 minutes a side.
- Doubling is straightforward and recommended to save labour, as long as you can use the frozen patties within about a month, give or take a week. After that, “frostbite” will effect quality.
- Freeze the patties on a baking sheet. When solid, stack them into air-tight containers and return to the freezer.
- The toasting of the rice and kasha is crucial to reduce the moisture — skip it and you’ll have soggy patties — especially if you freeze them.
- Roasted cashews can be substituted if you, like me, live in a small rural location where the grocery store is simply not big enough to stock EVERYTHING I NEED.
- To make these vegan, substitute an eggless mayonaisse.
- If you want to eliminate the buckwheat, use ¾ C rice instead, and 1½ C water for cooking.
- Leftover toasted rice and buckwheat can be stirred into soups, or toasted further until VERY DRY, then ground fine for use as a breading for meat, chicken or tofu.
- A convection oven is the best way to quickly toast the rice & buckwheat. If you have one, use it.
- If this recipe is too daunting — split it up into 2 days. Cook the grains and vegetables on the first day. Mix everything into a large bowl, cover and refrigerate. Complete the recipe on the 2nd day.