Veggies on the counter

Beetroot and Brown Rice Burgers

Posted in main courses by veggies on the counter on January 21, 2011

 

I have bookmarked Louisa Shafia’s Beet Burgers a long time ago, and never really got the chance to make them. The other day, while flipping through my notebook, I found the said recipe, that I’ve spotted on her blog and immediately did a quick annotation of the ingredients list to make it. But then, some other plans have crossed my mind and the recipe remained written, but untested. So, this week, having a couple of extra-large beetroot sitting on the fridge, I finally gave Louisa’s burgers a try. And after bitting into one of them, I kept asking myself why haven’t I made the burgers sooner – not only they have the perfect texture and right consistency, but are also packed with flavor. In one word: delicious.

Now, I know there’s a lot of you out there who don’t like beetroot. Some of you, might even hate the poor vegetable. But even with beetroot haters like my mum, the burgers were a huge hit. Now that I think about it I realize they actually don’t taste to beetroot that much – the addition of nuts, caramelized onion, and some spices, not only gives them texture and crunch, but also a delicious, kind of  hearty taste, that somehow balances out the natural sweetness of the beetroot. I’ve made a couple tweaks to the original recipe though: substituted the walnuts called for in the original version for a mix of nuts and seeds, and instead of baking the burgers and searing them as suggested, I managed to save some time up by pan-frying them straight away without sacrificing texture – in the end, you still get a well-cooked inside and crunchy outside, the basic requirements for a perfect burger. I’m sure I’ll be making these again, and maybe next time, experimenting with different grains – substituing the brown rice for millet, for example.

Beetroot and Brown Rice Burgers

(makes 6 burgers)

1/4 cup of EACH: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds and cashew nuts

2 cups grated beetroot (from approximately 1 large beetroot)

1 1/2 cups COOKED brown rice

1 large white onion, sliced into rings

5 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoons ground cumin

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 teaspoons salt

1. After grating the beetroot, place them in a colander and squeeze out all the liquid. Discard the liquid and set aside. Alternatively, you can use the liquid – like I did – to make a juice and/or a smoothie.

2. Heat a large pan over medium heat, add the onion and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and cook, stirring often, for at least 10 minutes, or until the onion starts browning and caramelizing. While the onion is cooking, add the paprika and ground cumin to the pan, as well as a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper.

3. In a large food processor, add the cooked rice, 1 cup of the grated beetroot and 1 teaspoon of salt, and process for about 2 minutes, or until it has the consistency of a thick puree. This will work as a binder.

4. Add the cooked onion and all the different nuts and seeds to the food processor and pulse no more than 3 times. You want the burgers to have some texture and crunch, so this mixture only needs to be broken down a bit.

5. Add the puree to the remaining 1 cup of grated beetroot and mix well until incorporated. Have  a taste and salt a bit more, if needed be. The mixture should be thick and easy enough to handle and shape into patties.

6. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions. With your hands, form round patties that are about 8 centimeters in diameter and 1 centimeter thick. At this point, you can keep the burgers refrigerated for 2 to 3 days and cook them within that time.

7. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat, and add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the burgers. Pan-fry them for at least 6 minutes on each side, turning them only once.

8. Serve the burgers right after cooking with your favorite fixings. I’ve topped mine with chutney and lots of fresh parsley.

adapted from Lucid Food

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Smoked Tofu and Caramelized Onion Sandwich

Posted in sandwiches by veggies on the counter on August 11, 2010

This is one of my favorite sandwiches. It calls for only a few ingredients, but they work so well together that you don’t need anything else. A crispy baguette is filled with caramelized onion (whose sweet flavor is brightened by the addition of balsamic vinegar), slightly grilled smoked tofu and a few sprigs of thyme. That’s it. This is actually a very straight-forward recipe, and I bet that if you serve it to non-vegetarian friends, they will certainly enjoy it. The smoked tofu I used in here is quite mild, and I recommend you to use a mildish one too, as to complement perfectly the flavor of the caramelized onion. I feel that smoked tofu, once cooked (particularly grilled), looses quite a lot of its flavor and can also get a bit dryish, so the key in here is to grill it just long enough to heat it through.

Smoked Tofu and Caramelized Onion Sandwich

(for one sandwich)

1 medium size baguette

100 grams smoked tofu, cut into 0,5 cm thick slabs

1 large (200 grams) onion, peeled and sliced into thin rings or strips

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablepsoon balsamic vinegar

a pinch of salt

a few thyme sprigs, for garnish

1.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the onion rings and a pinch of salt and cook for 10/15 minutes, or until the onion has soften and browned a bit.

2. When the onion has browned, lower the heat to the minimum and add the balsamic vinegar. Stir and cook uncovered for additional 3 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced a bit and the onion is deeply caramelized.

3.  At the same time the onion is cooking, heat a grilling pan over medium-high heat, add the tofu slabs, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side. When  done, transfer the tofu to a plate, but do not turn off the heat yet.

4. Cut the baguette in half lengthwise. Place the halves, cut side down, in the same grilling pan in which the tofu has cooked, and toast for 4 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and crisp around the edges.

5. Transfer the baguette slices to a plate and spread the cooked onion over one of the slices, followed by the tofu slabs, 2 or 3 sprigs of thyme, and the remaining slice. Serve immediately.