I have to say this first: One of my very favorite meals in the whole world is a big, fat cheeseburger. But woman cannot live by cheeseburger alone, and a good veggie burger can really hit the spot. The first place I saw a non-meat burger on a menu was at the A&W in St. Helena. When I was a kid living in California, my mom would take me to the Napa Valley Olive Oil Company, a white barn built on old train tracks that was stuffed full of the best cheese and olive oil you could get in the Bay Area. Afterwards, we’d stop on the way home for a Gardenburger.
They were a real treat to me – at the time I was not too fond of most vegetables, but this veggie burger (Gardenburger, of course) didn’t scream “health food.” Probably because it was covered in American cheese and mayo.
Twenty-five years after the Gardenburger first hit the market, there are a bunch of meatless patties to choose from. Most of them are highly processed discs of soy protein or oat powder or some kind of fungus. And I stopped buying Gardenburgers a while ago – they changed their formula back in the late nineties, and they’ve gotten more chewy and oat-heavy over the years.
So I finally got around to making my own patties. Here’s my first attempt, and I’m happy to say it’s a keeper. Made with quinoa, Goya black bean soup, and some of my favorite veggies and spices, these little guys pack a lot of flavor, and they go great with barbeque sauce. Dan asked for another round.
They are on the soft side, like most homemade patties. You see that picture? That whole wheat bun was tasty, but it was a little too hard — it smushed the patties out the egdes of the sandwich. We found we had better luck with sliced, toasted sandwich bread. A typical soft hamburger bun would work as well. Also, for our second round I substituted coleslaw for the lettuce. Winner!
This recipe makes 8 patties. Because it’s labor-intensive, I would double it next time so we could pull patties out of the freezer over the coming months. Also, I thought the flavor of the burgers was even better the next day, so if you have time to let the uncooked mixture rest in the fridge for several hours or overnight, please do.
makes 8 patties
2 C cooked quinoa (use 3/4 C raw)
1 yam, steamed and cubed (yield about 1 1/2 C)
6-7 mushrooms chopped fine
1/2 yellow onion, medium dice
2 cloves garlic minced
4 broccoli florets (about 1 C of chopped broccoli)
1 C Goya black bean soup in the red can*
1 C breadcrumbs (I used panko)
1/3 C grated parmesan
1/2 t salt (or to taste)
1 1/2 t ancho or New Mexico chile powder
1/4 t ground cumin
few dashes oregano
few dashes black pepper
Chop broccoli florets in half lengthwise, then cut those halves in half lengthwise, then chop. Put them in a hot pan with a little water, and cook until the water is evaporated and the broccoli is blanched.
Saute onion and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil until golden and soft. Add mushrooms, and cook until all of the water the mushrooms gave up is evaporated.
Add all of the ingredients and mix well. The mixture will be on the wet side, and sticky. Shape into 8 patties and rest on a plate covered in saran wrap or wax paper, and if you have the time let them rest for a while in the fridge. When you fry them, smash them down with a spatula a bit. If you plan on freezing any patties, it helps to fry them first before freezing.
*Don’t let the name fool you, Goya’s black bean soup is less soup and more bean. Stir the beans up before you measure them out, because the soupy part rises to the top.