Two Delicious Takes on Homemade Veggie Burgers

07.19.2013
Photo Credit: Karen Mordechai

-By the editors at Food52.com

It’s easy to equate veggie burgers with the store-bought, pre-wrapped patties you find in the freezer aisle, the kinds that taste sort-of meaty, but leave you unable to discern any one real ingredient. Thankfully, those factory-made pucks are not your only option. In fact, there are so many wholesome ingredients that can be used to whip up veggie burgers at home that the variations are endless.  Just choose one or more vegetables and one or more protein sources (nuts, grains, beans, or lentils), season to taste with herbs and spices, and bake or pan sear.

Let the recipes below kick-start your creativity. The first recipe features a base of zucchini, chickpeas, and quinoa, while the other builds on beets, walnuts, and rice. Both will fill you up, give you plenty of nutrients when it comes to refueling after a workout (or a day at the beach), and leave you eager to try your hand at another batch.

Zucchini Quinoa Burgers by Gena Hamshaw

These seasonal burgers may seem time-intensive at first, but fear not: once you have your quinoa and chickpeas cooked, they're really a snap -- but you can use canned, organic beans to make them even easier. We love how the sautéed zucchini is mixed into the bean base at the end so its distinct flavor punctuates every bite.

Serves 6

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup onion, chopped finely
1 1/2 cups zucchini, julienned on a mandolin or grated on a box grater
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, raw or toasted
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
Black pepper to taste
1 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas (1/2 heaping cup dry)
1 cup cooked quinoa (1/3 cup dry)
2/3 cups water
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 teaspoon paprika

  1. To prepare chickpeas, soak beans overnight. In the morning, rinse them and discard soak water. Place beans in a pot with enough water to submerge them by several inches. Heat to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 45 min to an hour, or until beans are tender. Drain and store in the fridge for up to three days.
  2. To prepare quinoa, rinse quinoa in a sieve. Add to a small pot and add 2/3 cups water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook, with a lid slightly ajar on the pot, until the water is absorbed and you can see the thin “ribs” of the quinoa becoming detached from the grain. Fluff, cover, and let sit for a few moments. Store in the fridge for up to three or four days.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium sauce pan. Sauté onion and garlic until tender. Add zucchini, and continue to sauté until zucchini is cooked through and onion is translucent. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Grind pumpkin seeds, sea salt, and pepper in a food processor till they’re broken into a fine meal.
  5. Add quinoa, chickpeas, the Dijon mustard, lemon, dill, paprika, and oregano to the mixture. Pulse to combine a few times. Then, run the motor to continue mixing the mixture. You may need to stop it a few times so that you can scrape the sides of the processor and start the motor again. You want the beans to be broken down and for the mixture to hold together well, but you don’t want to process so extensively that the mix has no more texture. If you need to add a little water to the mixture, that’s totally okay.
  6. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and add the zucchini, onion, and garlic. Mix with hands (as if you were making meatloaf). When everything is incorporated, season once more with salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Shape mixture into six patties with hands. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a sauté pan on medium heat. Cook burgers for five minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Alternately, you can bake them at an oven set to 375 degrees for twenty-five minutes, flipping once halfway through. Serve.

Save and print this recipe at Food52.

Photo Credit: Sarah Remington

Sweet and Smoky Beet Burgers by Louisa Shafia

These scarlet burgers can be served on top of grains or salad, eaten like latkes or falafel, or tucked into a bun. However you present them, they’re best topped with yogurt, a pinch of fresh dill, and a simple chopped tomato and cucumber relish. The burger mixture can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator for even easier dinner assembly.

Makes 8 burgers

1 yellow onion
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil, plus extra for searing
1 cup peeled and grated raw beets (approximately 1 small beet)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
1/2 cup cooked green lentils, rinsed and drained
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups cooked short-grain brown rice or white sushi rice, at room temperature
1 egg

Get the recipe at Food52.

Tell us: What are your go-to veggie burger ingredients?

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