Get this all up in your grill: Vegan beet burgers

Vegan Beet BurgersWhen I met my beloved, I had no idea he would open up a whole new world of eating to me. At the time, he had a small specialty produce business, growing heirloom vegetables such as tomatoes and fingerling potatoes and selling the fruits of his labor to local restaurants. One of the most popular sellers in his lineup was a surprise to me: beets! (They were second to heirloom tomatoes, because who doesn’t love a good homegrown tomato amiright?)

During the early days of our dating, I learned two things: I love beets and small-scale farming is hard and takes a lot of time (so don’t scoff if the prices at farmers market are a bit higher than what you’d pay at your local grocery).

As time has marched on, I’ve become increasingly interested in finding tasty, satisfying vegan recipes. Eventually I stumbled upon Isa Chandra Moskowitz and her website The Post Punk Kitchen, a great source for vegan recipes (though it isn’t updated as frequently as I’d like).

When I was first gifted beets, I was puzzled what to do with them. The PPK came through, with a wonderful vegan beet burger recipe. I’ve tinkered with the recipe a bit, and thought I’d share it (also, Christine has been bugging me to share the recipe ever since she tried my version).

The only downside I can find with this recipe is that it’s basically impossible to make it without a food processor (unless you have a lot of time on your hands and endless patience). I find my food processor to be as essential to my kitchen adventures as my refrigerator–so if you don’t have one, drop some hints to your loved ones that you’d like one as a gift!

Have you tried The PPK version of this recipe? Have you tinkered with it?

Beet Burgers

Makes 6 burger patties, or 12 slider-sized patties

1 c.  shredded beets

1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice

1 c. cooked brown lentils

1/2 c. dry bread crumbs

2 cloves garlic

2 T. ketchup

1 t. dried thyme

1/2 t. fennel seed

1 t. dry mustard

1/2 t. salt

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Hamburger buns (optional)

Prepare your food processor to use the metal cutting blade. Add all ingredients to the food processor bowl and blend, until all ingredients are well incorporated (it will resemble bright red Play-Doh). Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, cover and chill in the refrigerator for one hour.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. While the oven is heating, form the burger mixture into patties and place on a nonstick cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, turning patties once halfway.

Alternate cooking methods: I always bake my burger patties to keep the fat content low. If you like a nice burger-y charred crust on your burger, you can cook the patties in a well-oiled skillet (instead of baking them) or if you bake them, you can lightly oil the patties and broil them for a few minutes on each side. I think these burgers would probably hold up to grilling, if they are baked first, but I haven’t tested that method to know for sure. (If you try grilling them, let me know if are successful.)