For those of us who became vegetarian in the 90s, a familiar scene at many restaurants went as follows:
Waiter – “What can I get you?”
Me – “I’m vegetarian, what options do you have?”
Waiter – “Let me check and I will be right back.”
Waiter comes back after checking with the kitchen.
Waiter – “We can do a vegetable plate for you…”
Me (saying) – “Fine. That would work.”
Me (thinking) – “That is just fabulous. When will these restaurants ever clue into the fact that vegetarians actually enjoy food and move beyond putting raw/steamed veggies in front of them?”
Well things have come a long way and a lot of casual dining restaurants do have a veggie burger on the menu. Mostly, though, this is a Black Bean Burger premade patty (most likely from Morningstar). So when my friend Sunjay pointed me to an article in NY Times on different takes on veggie burgers, I was intrigued. See here. Having made a trip to our Farmer’s Market I was loaded with fresh beets. A bag of quinoa (Pronounced – Kee-Nwa – a wonderful South American grain. Read about it here) beckoned from the pantry and I concocted the burger below. Turned out quite well. My picky daughter took several steps back when she saw the weirdly pink patties but after a bite, was a convert and wanted to take it for lunch.
INGREDIENTS (enough for 11-12 patties)
1 Tbsp cooking oil
1/2 onion finely chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1 can white northern beans
1 tsp lemon juice
1 lb roasted beets (recipe here)
1 cup dry quinoa – cooked according to instructions
1 tsp chipotle seasoning
1/2 tsp black pepper
A few sprigs of rosemary – finely chopped
Salt to taste
1. Heat the oil, add the garlic and onion. Saute till the onion starts the brown. Set aside.
2. In a blender – puree the beans with lemon juice and egg. Set aside.
3. Peel and mash the beets in a large mixing bowl. Add the quinoa and everything else. Mix well.
4. Make into patties.
5. Preheat the oven to 400F.
6. In a saucepan with a little oil (or without if you are using cast iron or non-stick) – brown the patties slightly on both sides.
7. Place the patties on a cooking sheet and stick in the oven for 12 minutes.
8. That’s it. What I did after that is that I browned the patties a little more on either side before assembing into a sandwich. We had it with some mayo, mustard, ketchup, cheese but you can add all the fixins’.