Monday, April 30, 2012

Inside-Out Veggie Burgers

I read this recipe on 101 Cookbooks and it made complete sense: when you make a veggie burger with legumes, then put it in a bun, you end up with something heavy that doesn’t have the right consistency. Having the legume patties AS buns and putting the garnish in between them solves the problem! And with this recipe, the patties actually held together well enough that eating the burger with my hands would in fact have been feasible (this isn’t always the case with bean patties). I ended up mostly eating with a fork and knife, though, because it was my avocado that was falling out (the slice of tomato was fine). The Engineer chose to use the bread anyway and said that with the tomato slices and condiments, it wasn’t too dry for him. I couldn’t find any sprouts at my regular grocery store, so I threw in some watercress, but sprouts would indeed have been better. You could always use Boston lettuce leaves and make a wrap with the patties! I served the burgers with homemade baked chips.

2 ½ cups sprouted garbanzo beans (chickpeas) OR canned garbanzos, drained and rinsed
4 large eggs
1 onion, chopped
½ tsp fine-grain sea salt
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
grated zest of one large lemon
1 cup micro sprouts, chopped (try broccoli, onion, or alfalfa sprouts - optional)
1 cup toasted (whole-grain) bread crumbs
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
fillings of your choice (such as tomato, avocado, caramelized onions or sprouts)

If you are using sprouted garbanzos, steam them until just tender, about 10 minutes. Most of you, like me, will be using canned beans, so jump right in and combine the garbanzos, eggs, onion and salt in a food processor. Purée until the mixture is the consistency of a very thick, slightly chunky hummus.

Pour into a mixing bowl and stir in the cilantro, lemon zest, and sprouts. Add the breadcrumbs, stir, and let sit for a couple of minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture. At this point, you should have a moist mixture that you can easily form into patties. (Err on the moist side here, because it makes for a nicely textured burger. You can always add more bread crumbs a bit at a time to firm up the dough if need be. Conversely, a bit of water or more egg can be used to moisten the batter.) The original recipe called for making 12 patties that were 1 ½” thick each, then slicing them in half lengthwise after cooking. I thought this might cause the patties to crumble, so I made thin patties right away (about ½” to ¾”), and I actually ended up with 12 anyway. I’m not sure what to tell you about the discrepancy in number, but I do recommend making thin patties.

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium low, add 4 patties, cover, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the bottoms begin to brown. Turn up the heat if there is no browning after 10 minutes. Flip the patties and cook the second side for 7 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the skillet and cool on a wire rack while you cook the remaining patties. Carefully cut each patty in half, insert your favorite fillings, and enjoy immediately.

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