Veggie Burgers

In the past year I have come around to veggie burgers.  Sure, there are those out there that are bland and have a bizarre texture and off-putting grey-ish color.  Those are not the sort of thing I’m talking about.  I am talking about those yummy MorningStar ones that are Southwestern or Pizza flavored, with bits of veggies sticking out of the corners and tons of flavor.

While I love those veggie burgers (and talk about a quick and easy meal, man) they are also kinda pricey, usually running about 5 bucks for 4 hockey-puck-sized burgers.  And I am a frugal kinda lady.  Plus, the only place I can find the pizza-flavored ones are at Trader Joes, and I don’t find myself in that area of KC nearly as much as I would like.

Enter: the homemade version. I’ve toyed with a couple of different recipes, but this is the best ‘base’ I’ve found and my go-to whenever I make them myself. It’s flavorful on its own but also takes well to added flavors, like cumin/lime/green chiles to make spicy Tex-Mex burgers. You can change up the cheese, veggies, and binder to give it more of an Italian or Asian flavor. Very versatile, and makes a TON – the recipe claims it makes 6 burgers, but I get at good dozen out of this recipe. I usually reserve 4 for our dinner and then freeze the rest, so we have easy veggie burger meals for another time or for Scott to grab and quickly heat up for lunch.

If you haven’t tried veggie burgers or have had a bad experience with those cardboard tasting ones – you definitely need to give this recipe a shot.

Veggie Burgers
(adapted from Allrecipes)

Ingredients:
1/2 c. uncooked brown rice (or white, whatever you have on hand)
1 c. water
2 (15-oz.) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 green bell pepper, halved and seeded
1 onion, quartered
1/2 c. sliced mushrooms
1 c. corn (I use frozen, pre-thawed)
6 cloves garlic, peeled
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. hot sauce
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs, or as needed

Bring the brown rice and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender, and the liquid has been absorbed, 45 to 50 minutes. Meanwhile, drain beans and mash in a large bowl with a fork until thick and pasty; set aside.

Place the bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor, and chop finely. I then saute my veggies, but you are fine leaving them raw if you prefer. Stir the bell pepper mixture into the mashed black beans. Place the brown rice and mozzarella cheese in the food processor, and process until combined. Stir the mixture into the black beans. Add corn.

Whisk together the eggs, chili powder, parsley, garlic powder, salt, and hot sauce. Stir the egg mixture into the black bean mixture. Stir in the bread crumbs, adding additional bread crumbs as needed until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide into 12 patties.

Cook on the grill (on foil) or in a pan until browned and heated through, about 8 minutes per side. To freeze: bake in a 375F oven for 15 minutes. Cool, wrap individually, and freeze. Thaw before using, then fry/grill as described above (also, if you don’t mind the lack of browning/grill marks, feel free to just nuke in the microwave).

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