There are some thing that the Veg community tries to keep secret. Well, I’m about to let the cat out of the bag: most vegan burgers suck.
I know, because I’ve tried about 10,000 of them. While most are OK and can pass for a decent patty filled with vegetables and beans, none are convincing anyone to give up their favorite hamburger.
At least not in my experience. It’s funny, before giving it up, I was never a big meat person. Chicken was whatever, I never liked pork, and fish was delicious but rare. Beef though, yum, I used to love steaks and burgers.
I went back and forth between being vegetarian and not for a few years before I finally gave it up for good… it was always the burgers that pulled me back. And so my quest was born- a delicious, meaty vegan burger that rivals any un-kind one.
While this isn’t going to fool anyone into thinking it’s beef, it’s pretty damn good. Hearty, full of savory, umami flavors thanks to the addition of roasted eggplant, mushrooms, and caramelized onions. Yes, this will take a bit longer to make than your usual black bean patties but they are worth it. Just make a bunch and freeze.
You’ll then be ready for cookouts all summer long.
Meaty Vegan Burgers
Adapted from Serious Eats
1 lb. button mushrooms, halved
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 small japanese eggplant, chopped into 2″ pieces.
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup arborio rice
3 cups vegetable broth
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 cup toasted cashews
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, toss the mushrooms and eggplant with 1/4 cup oil, oregano, chili powder, cumin, and pinch salt and pepper. Wrap the mushrooms and eggplant in foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, until mushrooms are browned and eggplant softened. Remove from oven and let cool.
Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, and cook until softened. Add garlic and cook another minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
Bring 3 cups vegetable broth to a boil. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the Arborio rice and stir until lightly toasted. Add 1/2 cup of vegetable broth and stir until all liquid is absorbed. Continue to add liquid, 1/2 cup at a time until risotto is al-dente. You may not need all the liquid. Let cool and place into a large bowl.
In a food processor, combine 1/2 cup white beans, flour, baking powder, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, and eggplant. Process until a paste forms. Add mixture to bowl with risotto.
Add the remaining white beans to the food processor along with the cashews and mushrooms. Pulse into a mixture forms, finely chopped but still course in texture. Add to the risotto mix.
Lastly, add the cooled onion and celery mixture to the food processor and pulse 10 times. Add to the risotto bowl and mix together until completely mixed.
Since you’ve done so much work- you can refrigerate the mixture for up to 5 days or freeze up to 3 months in a sealed air-tight bag.
Season to taste.
Add breadcrumbs and mix in with your hands. Once you add the breadcrumbs, start to form the patties. You don’t want the breadcrumbs to become soggy.
Bring a skillet or grill to medium-high heat. Lightly spray and add the patties. Flip burgers after 4-5 minutes, until bottom is lightly-browned. Cook another 4-5 minutes. Serve!
For an awesome treat, top with caramelized onions.
Happy Tuesday! How was your weekend?
We spent Saturday at a fundraiser breakfast and then headed to San Francisco for the afternoon/evening.
Ah, the city. It’s quite possibly my favorite in the world. I love the energy, the people, the culture. We love walking around, exploring different neighborhoods while shopping and eating.
Before our jam-packed weekend, I made this on Friday night. Usually our unspoken dinner-out night, we decided it would be nicer to relax at home.
I have a pretty good size list of ‘Date-Night-In Meals’. Dinners that impress, don’t keep me in the kitchen the whole evening, and are fancy enough that we can justify not venturing out to eat. This one definitely tops the list.
I know what you might be thinking. Risotto has quite the little reputation of being complicated, laborious, and fussy.
I promise you, this recipe is worth it. 20 minutes. That’s it. 20 minutes is all it takes to stir the risotto, from start to finish. Quite the bargain for a luxurious meal like this.
You will need to use Arborio rice for this. It’s essential for making risotto, regular rice won’t behave the same way. If your local grocery store doesn’t carry it, you can find it online. DK readers can use code KCF880 for $10 off $40 purchases or $5 off purchases under $40.
Prepare a quick salad for a side; baby greens and a simple dressing. Whisk together extra-version olive oil, red wine vinegar, 1/2 tsp. dijon mustard, 1 small clove minced garlic, salt/pepper. Toss with greens.
Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto
6 cups vegetable broth
3 cups butternut squash, cubed
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1 tbsp. butter
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp. cumin
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
1 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. nutritional yeast
Preheat oven to 450ºF. Toss squash cubes with 1 tsp. olive oil and a pinch of salt. Place in roasting pan or baking sheet and cook for 45 minutes until fork tender.
In a saucepan, bring broth to a simmer. In a separate saucepan, heat butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add rice, garlic, cumin, nutmeg and stir. Cook for 3 minutes.
Stir in 1/2 cup simmering broth and cook, stirring frequently, until broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring and allowing each 1/2 cup of broth be absorbed before adding the next. The risotto should be creamy but still al-dente. You might not use all the broth.
Add roasted squash, nutritional yeast, salt, and sage. Stir together and cook an additional 1 minute. Serve immediately.
You made dinner, right?
Make your sweetie do the dishes. It’s the least they could do for enjoying a meal like this. ; )
Talk about comfort food! Seriously this dish taste like butter! Creamy, saffron-spiked risotto mixed with fresh asparagus and spring peas. I actually made this back in late April and recently remembered that I had yet to post it! While asparagus and peas might not be in season anymore, it would taste great with red pepper, zucchini, green beans or tomatoes.
Saffron makes this dish taste elegant and rich. Yes, it’s a bit expensive but you only need a pinch or two to flavor the entire dish.
1 leek, halved and sliced into half moons, white part only
1 tbsp. oil
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 tsp. saffron
1 small white onion, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
4 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup white wine
Dissolve the saffron in 1/4 cup hot water. Heat the stock in a separate sauce pan and add the saffron broth. In a separate sauce pan, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil and sweat the garlic and onion for 5 minutes. Add the rice and continue to stir a few minutes, toasting the rice. Add the wine and cook another 5 minutes until the rice has absorbed the wine. Using a soup ladle, ladle 1 cup hot broth to the risotto mixture along with 1/4 tsp. salt. Stir until most of the liquid has absorbed. Continue to add the hot broth to the risotto until broth is gone and/or rice is creamy and fully cooked. Stir in the lemon juice and chopped vegetables, for this I used 1 bunch asparagus, sliced into 1″ pieces, and 1/2 cup spring peas. Cover the pot and let sit for 5 minutes. Season with salt/pepper if needed. You can also stir in nutritional yeast/parmesan cheese if desired.