Often, veggie burgers are seen as a substitute for “the real thing,” know what I mean? Like no “normal” person would choose a veggie burger made of grains and legumes when they could have one made out of animal meat.
I want to change that.
And I’ve been thinking about exactly how to change that for months, mulling over different combinations of beans and grains, wondering how many veggies I can add before things get too wet and fall apart, debating whether it’s better to try and create something meat-like in flavor or go veggie rogue. All of these questions loomed, intimidating me from even trying.
But yesterday we had the absolute most beautiful autumn day ever in Seattle. It was 83 degrees out and crystal clear. My summer loving soul rejoiced and decided it was time to give summer a last hurrah with veggie burgers al fresco.
Usually, I try a recipe at least a couple times before I share it here, but these are already great. We just had the leftovers for lunch—I repurposed the patties into a sloppy joe kind of thing—and my husband said he thinks it’s his favorite thing I’ve ever made (wha?! it was good, but I mean…that good?!?).
The only thing is I pan fried these veggie burgers last night, so I don’t know yet how they stand up to the grill. If you try them on the grill, please tell me how it goes! You can find me on Instagram or Facebook.
Southwest veggie burgers
Yield 6-8 burgers
- 1 cup millet (note special cooking instructions below)
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup gluten-free bread crumbs
- ¼ cups walnuts
- ½ cup corn
- 1 T liquid aminos or tamari
- 1 tsp ume plum vinegar*
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1½ tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ cup high heat oil (grapeseed or avocado) for frying
- Boil two cups of water and add the millet.
- Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer.
- After ten minutes, poke around the millet with a wooden spoon or spatula. Stir it and just kinda mess with it. You want to disrupt the little grains so they’ll start to stick together (this is why recipes typically say not to disrupt the grain during boiling!).
- Cover and continue to simmer for a total of 20 minutes, stirring every so often and pressing the grains into each other.
- When all of the water is absorbed, the millet is done. Let it sit covered for a few minutes.
- Meanwhile, in your food processor, combine all of the other ingredients except for the frying oil. You might also begin prepping your burger toppings while the millet is cooking/cooling.
- When the millet looks like a pasty blob, pour it into the food processor and pulse vigorously several times.
- Scrape the sides of the blender and pulse again until you have a very coarse “dough.”
- If it’s too dry and things don’t appear to be sticking together, add a tiny bit of water, a teeny bit at a time. When the dough is ready the ingredients will be even combined and the consistency of Play-Doh.
- Keep a bowl of water nearby and moisten your hands. (Moistening your hands between patties reduces the stickiness factor.)
- Form the first patty and set it on a large plate to await it’s fate in the skillet.
- Repeat steps 10 and 11 until all of the patties are formed.
- Heat ¼ cup of the oil in a skillet over medium heat.
- When the oil is hot and glossy looking, add as many patties as will fit in your pan with plenty of wiggle room between them (my large skillet holds three at a time).
- Cook the burgers 4 minutes on each side, then let cool on paper towels.
- Add more oil and cook the rest of your burgers, four minutes per side.
- Assemble the burgers and serve with roasted potatoes, sweet potato wedges, a green salad or coleslaw.
*Ume plum vinegar is available in some health food stores and Asian markets. If you don't have any, you can substitute 1/2 teaspoon of tamari and 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. But I highly recommend you get yourself some! It's a great way to vary and build flavor in dressings and dishes of all kinds.
Nice toppings to emphasize the southwestern flavors in these veggie burgers include chipotle mayo, charred poblano, avocado/guacamole, caramelized onions, and vegan pepper jack cheese. Pretty sure they'll be pretty epic no matter what you put on them, though.
To make chipotle mayo, just mix about a teaspoon of chipotle powder with a quarter cup of your favorite vegan mayo.
You can also make meatballs from this recipe, or little sliders (adjust cook time accordingly—more if the product is thicker, less if it's thinner).
If you're going the meatball route, swap the southwest spices (like cumin and cayenne) for italian (think oregano, basil, and garlic).
Once these burgers are done, they're also good crumbled up and reheated with BBQ sauce. This approach yields something like a sloppy joe or pulled pork sandwich...serve with sweet pickles and coleslaw for a super tasty treat.
This approach would make great tacos, too, come to think of it.
Actually, what can't you do with this basic recipe?! Please let me know how it goes for you. I think we're on to something here...