We are in the middle of summer and its the height of BBQ season! And I totally get it. It is a nice thing to do with friends outdoors, and share a good meal together. But if you have a friend over, who doesn’t eat meat, or you yourself don’t eat meat, but don’t want to miss out on a good grilling session, things can get a little tricky. And as much as I love veggie skewers on a grill, sometimes they are simply not enough. Don’t you feel amazing when you hold a burger tightly in your hands, so that none of the amazing toppings fall out, and take a big, messy bite?! It is part of the process to get messy while eating a burger and indulge in all the flavoursome ingredients. And lots of people think this “burger privilege” is reserved only for meat-eaters. Well, I couldn’t disagree more! You can get this gratification from a meat-free and nutritious veggie burger as well.
I have been experimenting and searching for a good veggie burger recipe for quite a while. I have tried many different recipes – with chickpeas, potatoes, veggies and more, but there was always something that did not feel quite right. Either the texture was off, the flavour was lacking, or the consistency was so fragile that too often my burgers would start breaking down as soon as I would put them on the grill. So I found myself on a mission to come up with a recipe for a burger that would look good, and stay together while grilling, and most importantly: taste great!
I don’t eat cheese, so having a patty, that is rich in flavour is very important for me to enjoy a burger. So I started experimenting with different flavours. This recipe is going to leave you full and will provide you with a lot of nutrition. The three main ingredients for this burger are beetroot (rich in folate, manganese and vitamin C), lentils (rich in fiber, protein, and iron) and brown rice (rich in manganese, and some more protein and fiber). The burger does hold well together, but you should still be careful when you flip it. So without any further ado here is what you will need for the recipe:
- 1 1/2 cup of shredded raw beets
- 1 1/2 cup of cooked lentils (brown or green)
- 1 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice
- 1/2 tsp finely ground fennel seeds
- 1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 heaped tbsp tahini
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the lentils and brown rice for about 20-25 minutes, until they get soft. Allow them to cool down (I rinse them with cold water or place them in the fridge for 10 minutes while preparing the rest of the ingredients).
- While the lentils and brown rice cook, start peeling the beets and shred them. Place the beets in a food processor.
- Add the cooled lentils and brown rice to the beets and blend well. You want to get a nice homogeneous consistency, while still having some whole lentils and brown rice inside.
- Transfer the mixture into a big bowl. Add the remaining ingredients to it and mix it all really well, using your hands. You will notice it will start looking a little pasty.
- Form your burgers again with your hands (it is a fun process ;)) and place them in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up a bit. You can cook them on the grill or in a pan, with a bit of oil.
I love to add the following toppings on this burger and I encourage you to try them as well: lettuce, rucola, avocado slices, tomato and roasted peppers. I also make a cashew cream or a vegan aioli. If you want to try the cashew cream (It goes really well in this recipe!) here is the link for it.
Arrange everything on a lightly grilled whole-wheat bun and enjoy!
Credits: Photos by David & Linda.