After I stopped eating meat, burgers were something I missed. I never really ate a lot of them, but often, when I did, they usually came from fast food.
When we made burgers at home, we grilled them, mostly with friends. These were some things I needed to work around emotionally and logistically.
New habits, new norms.
I started buying frozen, pre-made burger patties. And this was a good transition for me, until I learned how to make homemade veggie burgers.
It was a game changer.
I’m still coaxing Rob to get on the homemade veggie burger train with me. While he loved these Smoky Quinoa, Beet Veggie Burgers, he’s still somewhat expecting a meaty, firm texture like he can get from store-bought varieties, or the real deal. These aren’t as firm as either of those, but they are more flavorful and have whole foods one can recognize in the ingredient list. A fair exchange, in my opinion.
Something else I love about making homemade veggie burgers is I can make a big batch then freeze them. This makes busy week nights or an impromptu weekend dinner a breeze. Oh and those busy holiday weekends can be prepared for days in advance.
Convenient, delicious and nourishing.
While the ingredient list is long, don’t let that deter you. Most of the ingredients are pantry staples and spices.
To pull out umami flavor, I’ve used vegan Worcestershire, tomato paste, and mushrooms in this recipe. These ingredients not only amp up flavor but also induce salivation. I know you want to salivate just thinking about it. I’ll wait.
Besides the adobo sauce and smoky paprika in this recipe, another ingredient that amps up smoky flavor is liquid smoke. In small quantities, it adds just the right amount of smokiness without being overwhelming.
One of the best parts about a burger is the toppings and condiments. I’ve finished this burger off with a quick adobo aioli, loads of onion (read: too much – where’s the bug-eyed emoji when I need it?), lettuce, tomato and California avocado. The avocado lends a cool contrast to the heat of the adobo.
Or, for a real mess, top it off in my Smoky Bourbon BBQ Sauce!
If watching carbs, enjoy these burgers in a lettuce wrap or the patty alone with all your favorite burger toppings.
*The patties are delicate, so when enjoying them as a burger, there will be a squish factor. I often end up with a fork in my hand to finish a burger off!*
Smoky Quinoa Beet Veggie Burgers with Adobo Aioli
For the Burgers:
- 1/2 C Red Quinoa rinsed, 98g
- 1/2 C Green or French Lentils 110g
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 1/4 tsp Sea Salt divided
- 1 C Purple Onion small dice, about 1 large onion, 202g
- 1/2 Tbs Coconut Oil unrefined, cold-pressed + a few Tbs for pan frying
- 8 oz Cremini or Button Top Mushrooms destemmed, small dice, 226g
- 2 Cloves Large of Garlic minced
- 1 Tbs Tomato Paste
- 1 C Beets raw, peeled and shredded, about 2 small, 145g
- 1/2 C Oat Flour* 50g, gluten free if necessary
- 2 tsp Worcestershire Vegan**
- 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 2 tsp Smoky Hot Paprika
- 2 tsp Adobo Sauce
- 1 tsp Ground Cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp Liquid Smoke optional
For the Quick Aioli:
- 1/2 C Vegenaise 96g, or high quality mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
- 1 1/2 tsp Garlic minced
- 3 tsp Adobo Sauce
- 1/8 tsp Sea Salt
For the Burgers:
- In a small sauce-pot, add quinoa, lentils, bayleaf, 1/2 tsp salt and 2 C (473g) water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15-17 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove bayleaf. Transfer lentils and quinoa into a large mixing bowl. Using a potato masher, mash to bring ingredients together, but not quite a paste. Set aside.
- In a medium saute' pan, add 1/2 Tbs coconut oil, heat until shimmering. Add onion and saute' on medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir only occasionally. A bit of char is okay. Add the mushrooms and garlic cooking on medium heat for an additional 6 minutes. Stir only a few times as the mushrooms should get a nice bit of caramelization on them. Stir in the tomato paste, mashing to incorporate. Remove from heat and add to the large mixing bowl along with the quinoa mixture.
- In a food processor, process the shredded raw beets and oat flour. Pulse 6-7 times, just until the beets are finely diced. Add to large mixing bowl.
- To the large mixing bowl add all the seasoning; worcestershire, pepper, paprika, adobo sauce, cumin, 3/4 tsp salt and liquid smoke. Mix throughly so that all the ingredients are evenly distributed, mashing and compressing the ingredients together. Use your hands!
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or silpat. Using a 1/3 C (90g) measuring scoop, scoop up and pack the veggie mixture into the scoop. Tap the scoop, upside down over the bowl with your hand cupped underneath to catch the falling patty. Place on sheet pan. Repeat until all burgers are formed. Use a small sheet of parchment and large can or cup to press the veggie burgers to between 1/2"-1/4" thick (1.3cm-0.6cm). Place in freezer for about 40 minutes not to freeze, rather to rest and to help the burgers hold together.
- At this point the veggie patties can be stacked between small squares of parchment and stored in freezer bags for up to two weeks. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
- Warm oven to 200F (93C). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. In a skillet add a few Tbs of coconut oil and bring to shimmering. Very carefully, using a spatula, pan fry up to 3 patties at a time, on medium heat, about 4 minutes on each side. Do not rush flipping the patties. They are very tender so in order to flip them, use two spatulas; one to slide underneath the patty and one to support the opposite side. Place on parchment in warmed oven until ready to serve.
- Refrigerate leftovers in between small squares of parchment and in a lidded container
For the Quick Aioli (makes about 1/2 C):
- In a small bowl, whisk the Vegenaise, lemon juice, garlic, adobo sauce and sea salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Smokey Bourbon BBQ Sauce, avocado, lettuce, tomato, onion
*I used whole oats and ground them to a fine meal in the food processor.
**If gluten free, sub Tamari for Vegan Worcestershire.