I consider myself a bit of a Burger snob. During my time I have eaten enough burgers, both vegetarian and otherwise, to be discerning of the good ones and I can spot them from a mile away. I have also made enough veggie burgers at home, to know what works. I reserve my judgement about a good burger recipe until I have made it at least a handful of times (read more like 20 times). To put it mildly, I put a burger recipe through a lot of stress test. It needs to work when I double the quantity, or when I run out of a few ingredients or when I throw something else in the mix and it has to freeze well.
I have been following Laura Wright's blog - First Mess, for a while and I have been immensely inspired by her work. Her recipes are intuitive and her photographs tell a wonderful story of her life influenced by local markets and vegetable patches. When she first announced her cookbook I was beyond ecstatic and I pre ordered as soon as it was up on Amazon. Her cookbook is a natural extension of her blog and exudes the same wonderful charm. It is packed with 125 gorgeous recipes and I have pretty much bookmarked everyone of them.
When a cookbook, as gorgeous as Laura’s, has not 1 but two burger recipes, I can’t help but jump right to it. Her rice and bean burger recipes is now our go-to-burger recipe and it is tough one to beat. The recipe has an unusual combination of flavours, one I would never think to put together, they are high in natural umami taste and it comes together to make a nice substantial patty. You know you have a good recipe when friends have asked to take a few burgers home with them.
Veggie burgers have received a bad rap for being mealy, I don’t blame you you for being skeptical about the ingredients. But if there is need for a veggie burger in your life, then this is the one. I have made it at least 10 times and I promise you there is no looking back.
The patty itself is both vegan and gluten free, and I usually serve it with a bunch of condiments and toppings. Avocado, green chutney, pickled beets and vegan ranch are some of our favourites. I have included the recipe for a quick vegan ranch below.
Rice and Bean Veggie Burger// Makes 10 – 12
Barely adapted from The First Mess cookbook
Wait time: 1 hour
*Notes - I have also used walnuts in place of sunflower seeds and it works equally well. The recipe calls for beans, I have used chickpeas or black beans and they both make substantial patties. Use certified gluten free oats if you have gluten sensitivity and look for gluten free buns or serve on lettuce or chard.
- 1 cup medium grain brown rice
- ½ cup raw sunflower seed*
- 5 cloves garlic peeled
- 1 medium red onion chopped (about ¾ cup)
- ½ cup carrot grated (1 large or 2 medium carrots)
- ¾ cup cooked and drained beans of choice*
- 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoon oat flour*
- 2 teaspoon arrowroot powder
- 4-5 teaspoon ground spices of choice, such as cumin, coriander, or za’atr,
- ¼ cup chopped fresh leafy herbs of your choice ( I used, basil, chives, parsley, cilantro and oregano)
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 4 teaspoon gluten-free tamari or soy sauce
- 1 - 2 tablespoon water
- Salt and pepper to taste
Wash and place the rice in a saucepan, cover it with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and over medium heat. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook the rice for 15 - 20 minutes (the variety of rice I used required 3 cups of water and took about 40 minutes to cook, pre-soaking might help). It should be chewy but not hard. Drain the rice if necessary, and put it in a large bowl.
In a food processor, add the sunflower seeds, garlic, onion, carrot and beans. Pulse the machine until you have a chunky paste. Add this to the bowl of rice. If using a blender, add everything except the beans to it and blend till you have chunky mixture, mash the beans separately using a potato masher, I find it does not do as well in a blender.
To the rice and beans mixture add all the other the other ingredients, except filtered water. Using your hands mix everything together, until the mixture hold together when you pinch. Add water if needed, I have never had to use it as the rice did have some water in it.
Divide the mixture into 8 equal parts and shape them into patties. I usually get about 8 or 9. Refrigerate the patties for at least 1 hour so that they can properly set. At this point you can freeze them for 20 minutes and store them in freezer bag for later use.
Preheat the oven to 350 F
Remove the patties from the refrigerator, and place them on a baking sheet. Bake the veggie burger for 30 minutes, flipping them at the halfway point. They should be even browned with crispy edges.
Alternatively cook them with a little sunflower oil on a skillet, I find it to be a bit faster, but both work equally wonderfully.
Serve them hot with accompaniments.
Vegan Ranch// Makes about a 1 Cup
- ½ cashew soaked in hot water for 30 minutes
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and roughly chopped
- Handful of Chives
- 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup water
Drain the cashew and add it to a blender. To this add all other ingredients and blend till the mixture is smooth similar to a ranch consistency, pausing to scrape down the sides as necessary. Taste and adjust seasoning.