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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

A New World

As a self-proclaimed “meat-a-saurus,” I became nervous when it was suggested to me that I create a recipe for a gourmet veggie burger. I took to researching the best way I know how: leaning on the expertise of those I trust. I asked a few of my vegetarian friends what they would like to taste.

The vast majority of their responses suggested two things: texture and seasoning. I decided to develop a burger recipe I thoroughly would enjoy if it were served to me.

I used some traditional staples in the vegetarian/vegan world: portabella mushrooms, toasted red quinoa, and black beans, along with the slight sweetness of sweet potatoes and rustic flavor of toasted sesame oil. These components come together to give this burger a decided earthiness that I have been craving for days since I experienced it the first time. I complemented this flavor profile with a tangy, creamy apple slaw.

•  2 large portabella mushroom caps (stem removed)
•  2 chopped shallots
•  15-ounce can black beans
•  ½ cup red quinoa
•  1 large sweet potato
•  1 Granny Smith apple
•  1 cup matchstick carrots
•  1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
•  2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
•  ¼ cup sugar
•  ¼ cup vegenaise (found in most natural food stores)

Before assembling the patties, a few ingredients need to be prepared. Preheat your oven to 375. Prick the sweet potato several times around the outside with a fork. Rub the outside with enough vegetable oil to coat, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the peel and mash with a fork. Set aside.

In a small saucepot, add quinoa. Turn heat to medium and toast quinoa until you can smell a roasted aroma. Add one cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. In a small skillet, add chopped portabella, enough vegetable oil to barely coat the bottom of the pan, one chopped shallot, and sauté until the mushrooms begin to release moisture, but not take on color. Add quinoa, mushrooms, one chopped shallot, ½ cup black beans, and generous seasoning (I used ancho Chile powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper) into a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Add mixture to a bowl with remaining black beans. Mix with enough sweet potato to bind together. Form into patties, chill overnight.

Slaw topping also can be prepped ahead of time. Remove core and chop apple into small pieces. In a small bowl, mix carrots, apple, sesame oil, vinegar, vegenaise, and sugar. Season with salt and pepper.

In a small skillet, add ¼ inch vegetable oil, and heat to medium. Gently place patties into the oil and cook roughly two to three minutes per side. Assemble with apple slaw on ciabatta bread, and enjoy.

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