Friday, January 4, 2013

Savory 7 Vegetable Veggie Burger

the counter veggie burger recipe

I am among the legions who think The Counter restaurant serves the best veggie burger. Healthy veggie burgers {those loaded with vegetables and light on eggs and breadcrumbs} are notoriously messy to eat, so the Counter's option to order them in lettuce bowls with fork and knife is a brilliant one.  

Wanting to come up my own at-home veggie burger, I experimented and experimented and came up with this version.  Like the Counter's, it features 7 vegetables - plus rice and beans which form a whole protein. Healthy and delicious on a bed of lettuce, these burgers can also be consumed in a civilized manner in the form of sliders.

3 T olive oil
1 c red onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 c mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1/2 c red bell pepper {roasted red pepper work well too}
2 garlic cloves, mashed
1/2 c zucchini, coarsely chopped
1/2 c baby carrots, thickly sliced
1/3 cup fresh baby spinach, chopped
1/3 c corn
1 t chili powder
1 t onion powder
1 t smoked paprika
1/2 t fresh ground black pepper
1/4 t salt
2 c cooked brown rice
1 c black beans
1/6 c fine bread crumbs {with more on reserve}
1 egg
1/2 c dried cranberries
16 bib lettuce leaves {or 16 mini slider buns}
Your favorite condiment {I used muhammara here but chipotle vegenaise is also very good}
{note - there is no need to spend a lot of time prepping the vegetables;  simply cut them into manageable pieces for sauteing; they will be neatly diced later in a food processor} 

Heat olive oil in a wide saute pan over medium heat.  Add the garlic, vegetables and seasoning. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally, for about 12 minutes. Add 1 T of water to de-glaze the pan, scraping up any seasoning that has settled into the pan. Remove from heat and let cool.

While the vegetables are cooking,  rinse and drain the beans and transfer them to a cutting board.  Mash them with the back of a fork until about 75% are mashed.  Place the rice in a food processor and pulse, one click at a time until the rice is still whole but in dice size pieces, 5 or 6 single maximum pulses. Be careful not to over-process as rice will become pasty. Transfer rice and beans to a bowl.

Transfer cooled vegetables to a food processor and pulse, one click at a time until they are still chunky but dice sized. Do not over - process as vegetables can quickly puree.

Add vegetables to the bowl along with the egg and cranberries.  Mix until well combined. Mix in 1/6 c bread crumbs.  You should have a consistency that is quite moist, but dry enough to form a firm patty as you would with real meat.  Add more bread crumbs if necessary but err on the side of caution to avoid a crumbly result. Form 4 large burger patties or 16 minis burgers.

The best way to cook the burgers is on a non-stick 2 sided indoor grill {similar to a panini press}.  Spray both sides of the grill with non-stick cooking spray, heat the grill, place the burger patties in and close the lid.  Cook until the outsides start to turn golden, 4-5 minutes.  Alternatively, bake them on a sheet pan lined with foil and non-stick cooking spray at 350 degrees until set.

Serves 4.
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Source:  Jill Crusenberry

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