Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mediterranean Quinoa Burgers

Clockwise starting with the pita bread, cuke loaded tzatziki,
roasted red pepper hummus, sriracha mayo (sauces sprinkled
with smoked paprika) greek olives, quinoa burger topped with
tomato and baby greens.
The husband has informed me has informed me that this is one of his favorite dinners, and it always results in lots of "MMMmm!!" grunts while he's eating.  I guess I'll take that as a compliment.  These vegetarian 'burgers' are kind of falafel-ish, and like falafel, the fun part is topping them with whatever floats your boat.  Tonight, we had cuke loaded tzatziki, roasted red pepper hummus, Sriracha mayo, sliced tomato, baby greens, and olives, and served them bun-less with some pita bread on the side.

There are so many other awesome things you can put on them. Some of our other favorites are roasted eggplant, garlic roasted tomatoes, sliced cucumber, cabbage slaw, tapenade, roasted red peppers, and taboule. Also, I'd stay away from serving these on a hamburger bun, but if you want to make a sandwich, go with a toasted english muffin or some ciabatta bread - both are really tasty!

There's one variable in this recipe, and it is the moisture content.  It directly effects how mushy the patties are, so make sure your ingredients are always as dry as they can be when you add them, make sure you don't over process the mix, and know that you might need to adjust the amount of flour (add a little more if it's too wet).

Burger Ingredients

  • 1 can garbanzo beans - drained, rinsed, and dried
  • 1 egg
  • 1 big handful of parsley, stems removed
  • 1 packed cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 T ground coriander 
  • 2 T ground Cumin
  • 2 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tsp dried ginger powder
  • 1 cup carrots, rough chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, rough chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup wheat flour
  • EVOO
  • S&P (be generous!)
  • 1 cup plain breadcrumbs 
Start by cooking your quinoa.  To make one cup, you'll need to boil 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Add 1/2 cup of quinoa, stir well, turn heat down to medium, cover, and let cook for 10 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.  Fluff with fork, remove from heat, and set aside to cool.

While the quinoa is cooking..... In a large sauté pan, heat small amount of EVOO over medium high heat.  Add the carrots and onion, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic, and cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent and the carrots just being to soften.  Add the coriander, cumin, mint, ginger, and a generous amount of S&P and cook for one more minute.  Remove from heat, and let cool.

In a food processor, add the garbanzo beans, egg, parsley, cooled quinoa, and cooled carrot/onion/spice mixture, flour, and a generous amount of S&P.  Pulse in short bursts just until the ingredients combine.  Don't over process, or the mixture will get pasty.  Remove the blade, and set the container on your counter next to a plate with the breadcrumbs on it.

Put a large saute pan over medium, medium high heat (like a 6 out of 10) and add enough EVOO to just coat the bottom of the pan.  With your hands, create a ball of the burger mixture, approximately an inch and a half in diameter (think honkin' meatball). Roll the ball in the breadcrumbs to coat, and then gently flatten it into a patty in your hands. Add the patty to the pan and cook without flipping until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes per side. Flip, and cook until the other side is golden brown.  You can cook several patties at once, and you'll need to add and heat oil as you go. Once pan fried, I like to keep them hot on a foil lined baking sheet in a 250 degree oven until ready to serve.

Once all patties are cooked, serve them as you like with whatever toppings sound good to you! My tzatziki recipe is below.

Cuke Loaded Tzatziki

  • 1 T very finely chopped parsley
  • 1 T very finely chopped dill
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 inch length of English Cucumber, finely chopped
  • 1 cup of Greek Yogurt (I like Fage)
  • S&P to taste

Mix all ingredients well, and let rest for at least 15 minute to allow flavors to marry.  Serve. Good for up to 1 week if left wrapped in the fridge.

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