By Stephanie Stillman
Labor Day is just around the corner, which means I will likely attend a barbecue. Here in the Midwest where I live a barbecue means meat…a whole lot of meat (and potato salad). My friends and family are definitely considerate of my vegetarian diet, but when they offer to serve vegetarian food it usually consists of a raw veggie tray and a pre-packaged, soy-based frozen patty. I’m not much for raw veggies or lengthy processed ingredient lists. However I love cooking, so coming up with a vegetarian solution for barbeque season was a lot of fun. It’s great to bring a stack of this freshly made veggie burgers with me and offer them as part of the spread. And the results? Vegetarians and meat eaters alike have enjoyed this rendition. Great for camping trips, too!
Makes approximately 8 veggie burgers
Time needed: 90 minutes (from cook to set)
1/2 cup barley
1/4 cup rice, white basmati
1/4 cup adzuki beans (measured dry)
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp. cumin powder
1/4 tsp. asafoetida
1 tsp. coriander, ground
1/2 tsp. mustard seed, ground
1/4 tsp. fenugreek powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. ghee (additional ghee or oil for cooking)
Note: measuring spices isn’t my forte, so adjust accordingly!
Step 1: Cook
Cook rice and barley in rice cooker with 1/4 tsp. salt and 1 Tbsp. ghee. Cook beans with remaining spices and ghee in pressure cooker or regular pot until soft (on my induction cooktop, this quantity of soaked beans takes 16 minutes in a pressure cooker).
While the grains and beans are cooking, chop the celery and nuts. Often I’ll lightly cook the nuts and celery in ghee and a splash of water, but you can add them in raw as well.
Step 2: Assemble
Once the grains and beans are finished cooking, add the beans to the grains while both are still warm. The temperature makes a difference. If you mix them at room temperature or cool the veggie burgers won’t stick together.
Fold in the celery, nuts and additional vegetables that you may be using. At this point the consistency should feel pretty sticky. Add enough flour to the mixture until the whole mix starts to move as one. Aim for a doughy consistency.
Step 3: Set
Heat some oil in a pan (I love my mini cast iron for this) and place a large spoonful of the mixture onto the pan. Use a spatula to flatten out the scoop. After about one minute, flip to the other side, adding a bit more ghee.
Place the finished veggie burger aside on a plate and continue steps 2 and 3 until all veggie burgers are set.
Remember, all the ingredients are cooked at this point, so this final step is simply to set it all together. Cook them just enough on each side so that they hold together.
Step 4: Enjoy
I served mine with a side of mashed sweet potato mixed with grated zucchini. I like to keep the 60:40 augmenting and extractive foods guideline in mind for a balanced meal.
Tweak the recipe to what you like! Sometimes I’ll substitute quinoa for one of the grains, use split mung beans or whole mung beans for the adzuki beans and walnuts for pecans. You can also add in a grated carrot or another augmenting vegetable. Organic ingredients are the way to go and the fresher the better! For camping trips, I wrap each veggie burger individually in aluminum foil for easy travel and warming.