Veggie Burgers

All the flavor without the guilt.

To paraphrase the 80’s  hit, “Turning Japanese,” I think we’re turning vegetarian. Yes, we do eat meat and fish, but for the last few weeks, ever since our first juice fast, we have eaten so little meat, fish, and dairy, that multiple days have gone by without any animal products showing up in our meals, and without either one of us conscience of our eating habits until days later. It’s been such an unusual change in our dietary habits that we’ve even started eating at vegan restaurants and, gasp, liking it!

In the midst of all that juicing and fasting, our thoughts drifted to daydreams of big juicy burgers. A trip to [your favorite burger shop] was tempting but we knew that if we were to succumb to the temptation we’d regret it.

Now, veggie burgers are not the sort of thing that either one of us likes to eat – usually – but after purchasing a big container of crimini mushrooms, Jason’s thoughts turned to creating the meatiest, meatless burger he could muster. Using a basic veggie burger recipe from a Vegetarian Times he swiped from the laundromat as a template, an idea began to take shape. The burger that was created has a similar taste and texture to ground beef but without the meat. Mushrooms, miso, and soy sauce gives the burgers the umami that many veggie burgers lack.

For those of you who are die hard carnivores, and aren’t willing to exchange a veggie based patty with your beloved beef, nothing we say is going to make you want to try our burgers. But if you’re willing to try something different, or if you’re looking for a hearty but easier to digest fast breaker, we suggest you break one of these burgers. It will help you ease back into the meat world and you won’t feel guilty for breaking your fast with that greasy cheese burger.

From beans to burger.

Black Bean, Mushroom & Quinoa Burgers

½ cup quinoa
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces Crimini mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup Miso
1-2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 cup cooked black beans (1 15 ounce canned rinsed and drained)
Salt & pepper

Rinse quinoa in several changes of water. In a small saucepan, add rinsed quinoa with 1 ¼ cups water with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20 minutes (all the liquid should be absorbed when the quinoa is fully cooked). You should have about 1 ½ cups cooked quinoa.

Peel and rough chop the onion and add it to a food processor. Clean the mushrooms and add them to the food processor. Pulse the processor 5-10 times or until the onion and mushroom mixture comes to a small rough consistency.

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the mushroom onion mixture and a pinch of salt, to draw out the moisture in the vegetables, and sauté until the mushrooms and onions are dry, 5-10 minutes. Add the soy sauce and miso and mix together. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

In the food processor, add the black beans, quinoa, and mushroom mixture. Pulse about 10-15 times or until thoroughly mixed together. Taste and season with salt and pepper or more soy sauce to taste.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. With about ½-3/4 cup of the bean mixture, form the patties. You should get about 8. Place the patties on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the patties are crisp on top, then flip the burgers. Bake for 10-15 minutes more, or until the other side is also crisp.

Serve on top of a bun with all the usual “burger” condiments or on a bed of lettuce with a crumble of goat or feta cheese.

Note: The bean patties can be frozen after shaping. Add 10-15 minutes to the baking time for frozen patties.