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Veggie burgers need to celebrate harvest, not try to trick you

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT
Caption
((AP Photo/Matthew Mead))
A harvest burger can be topped with either cheddar and mayonnaise or Tzatziki or hummus.

The problem with many veggie burgers is they try too hard to be hamburgers.

Sorry, but they’re not fooling anyone, least of all diehard carnivores. So why not embrace the idea of a veggie burger and make one that tastes and looks like what it is – a burger made from veggies and grains?

That was our motivation as we set out to create this harvest burger, a patty bursting with flavor, not to mention onions, red pepper, corn, pumpkin, rice and oats. It won’t fool you into thinking it’s meat, and it’s not supposed to.

We like our burger dressed with a slab of cheddar and a slather of mayonnaise, but feel free to top as you see fit. Tzatziki or hummus would make delicious choices.

Harvest Burgers

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Servings: 6

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, core and diced

1/2 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen

1 cup cooked brown rice

1 cup quick oats, lightly toasted*

15-ounce can pumpkin or squash puree

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Pinch cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

6 burger buns or large rolls

In a medium skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the cumin and onion and saute until the onions soften and begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper and corn kernels and saute until just tender, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and cool for 5 minutes. Add the rice, oats, pumpkin, cilantro, balsamic vinegar, cayenne, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Form the mixture into 6 patties.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the patties to the skillet, in batches if needed, and brown for 3 minutes per side. Serve on buns with preferred condiments.

* To toast the oats, place them in a dry skillet over medium heat. Stir constantly for 2 to 3 minutes. Alternatively, spread them evenly over a baking sheet and toast at 350 degrees F. for 5 minutes.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 330 calories; 100 calories from fat (29 percent of total calories); 11 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 51 g carbohydrate; 9 g protein; 7 g fiber; 540 mg sodium.

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