Friday, January 18, 2013

Mushroom and Brown Rice Veggie Burgers

For Christmas, my parents gave me The Sprouted Kitchen, by Sara Forte, because I was looking for healthy recipes, mostly vegetarian (this book does have lean protein such as fish, turkey or chicken, but as the name suggests, it’s focused on produce, and all whole foods). The first recipe I made from it is these veggies burgers, which were really good, albeit long to make. What I liked was that they were… multidimensional. By that, I mean that there are so many ingredients that the taste was very layered and interesting in every bite. As a matter of fact, when I walked out of the shower about 2 hours after cooking the burgers, I felt like the house smelled like steak! Maybe it was some umami flavor lingering… Anyway, these burgers are complex, and while the patties do get mushed up a bit as you’re eating, they don’t completely fall apart. I recommend serving the burgers with sweet potato fries or some variation thereof.

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter (or margarine)
5 cups stemmed and finely chopped cremini mushrooms (about 1 lb.; also called baby portobello)
5 cloves garlic, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup ground flaxseed (flax meal)
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 cup cooked chickpeas, drained well
3 Medjool dates, pitted
¼ cup fresh flat-leafed parsley
1 egg
1 tsp. fennel seeds
2 ½ Tbsp. tahini
3 Tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
2 cups cooked and cooled brown rice
1 to 2 Tbsp. old-fashioned rolled oats, as needed (I didn’t need them)
4 large shallots, sliced thin
1 tsp. extra virgin olive-oil or coconut oil
6 whole grain English muffins
¾ cup hummus (homemade or store-bought)
2 avocados, peeled and sliced
2 cups arugula

Melt the butter in a large sauté pan. Add the mushrooms, garlic and a pinch of salt and sauté until the mushrooms are softened and the excess water has cooked off, 8 to 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool.

Combine the ground flaxseed, parmesan, chickpeas, dates, parsley, egg, fennel seeds, tahini, tamari, ½ tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. of pepper in a food processor. Give the mixture a few pulses to combine well and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Once the mushrooms are at room temperature, add them, along with any juices in the pan, to the bowl along with the rice and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. At this point the mixture should be pretty moist, but if it seems too wet to form into a patty, stir in 1 to 2 Tbsp. of oats to soak up some of the moisture. The recipe can be prepared to this point up to a day in advance.

Arrange a rack in the upper third of your oven and preheat the oven to 475 °F.

Form the mixture into 6 patties (we got 8), each about 1 inch thick. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick silicone baking mat and arrange the patties on the baking sheet with space in between. Bake them in the oven until toasted on top, 14 to 18 minutes.

While the burgers cook, prepare the shallots. Warm the oil in sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and a pinch of salt and sauté until the edges begin to brown, 5 o 7 minutes. Set aside for assembly.

After removing the patties from the oven, toast the English muffins while the burgers rest for a moment. Put a swipe of hummus on each muffin half and assemble the burgers by layering the patty, avocado slices, arugula and sautéed shallots. Serve immediately.

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