Monday, February 13, 2012

Beet Burgers

Beet Burgers with Garlic Kale and Spinach

I have been one pathetic blogger lately.  I blame life.  Kid, job, boyfriend, running, travel...I have an endless surplus of excuses.

What I did have time to do was read "Skinny Bitch" by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin.  Then, in the middle of thinking twice about meat after the horror stories in that scary book, I heard a story on NPR that graphically described how ducks are fattened up to make foie gras.  Ugh, not very nice what they do to those duckies.

Fast forward to a night out with my boyfriend.  As he drove, I sat there agonizing about what happens to animals to get us our precious meats and cheeses.  He said to me, "If you are not comfortable with the process, then you shouldn't be eating it."  He then went on to talk about how people are too disconnected from what they eat, they just see it packaged in the store and don't think about how it got there.  Mind you, this man is a carnivore of carnivores.  His signature dish is Chicken Adobo, he waxes poetic about the taste of lamb, he killed a chicken for his own dinner while living in Africa and sucking on bone marrow with straight bourbon after boxing is his idea of a good time.  Needless to say, he is perfectly fine with lambs being lead to slaughter.    

So, about two months ago, after some research on how to get the nutrition that I would get from animal products, I went Vegan.  The shocker in this is that aforementioned meat loving boyfriend has been my biggest cheerleader in my plant based diet quest.  The only thing he loves more than meat, is something new, interesting and odd to most people.  Going Vegan in a meat loving city like Chicago fits the bill.

So, here is my first Vegan post.  I saw a beet burger online a couple of weeks ago on Post Punk Kitchen and another version in "Color Me Vegan".  I used both recipes to make my own version of the burger and the recipe is below.  Two awesome differences between a beet burger and meat burger: you can actually taste it for seasoning before it is cooked, unlike raw meat and it is wildly healthy.



1 cup shredded beets
11/4 cups cooked and cooled brown rice
1 cup canned lentils
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Few twists of the pepper mill for fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon dry thyme
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons smooth almond butter
1 cup raw, unsalted sunflower seeds

Walnut oil for the pan


Peel beets and shred with the shredder attachment of your food processor, then set aside. Change the attachment to a metal blade. Pulse the brown rice, shredded beets and lentils about 15 to 20 times, until the mixture comes together, but still has texture. It should look a lot like ground meat.

Transfer everything to a bowl big twice the size of the mixture and add all of the remaining ingredients.  Use your hands to mix very well.  Everything should be well incorporated.

Preheat a cast iron pan over medium-high heat.  Form the patties using a heaping 1/2 cup of mixture.  Shape then unto burgers with your hands.

Pour a very thin layer of olive oil into the pan and cook patties for about 12 minutes, flipping occasionally.  Burgers should be heated through and slightly browned.

Serve immediately on a whole grain bun.  The beet mixture keeps well and the flavor gets better with time.  Make more or save to make later.  Either works.  

Throw some tomatoes and avocado on top of this and it is even better.

On the side: I chopped up a clove of garlic, sauteed in a teaspoon of olive oil and added spinach and kale.  I added a little vegetable stock to help the kale and spinach cook down a bit and then hit it with some Kosher salt and pepper.  Excellent!

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