Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Soy-free, Wheat-Free, Dairy-Free Veggie Burgers

Hey there! I’ve been on a nice little vacation to visit family, complete with a family reunion picnic. You know what that meant, right? Barbeque! And lots of it. It smelled fabulous! Sadly, I can’t do barbeque and while I hardly starved, I still wished I had some sort of alternative.

If you are interested in reducing the amount of meat, particularly red meat, in your diet, you’ve probably tried some or all of the vegetable-based meat substitutes available. Many are pretty darned nice, in my humble opinion. However, they are often off-limits for me since I was diagnosed with allergies to so many vegetables. The substitutes often contain vegetables I need to avoid as well as yeast. They can also be quite expensive. Still, I like the idea of a meatless burger so I set out to make my own. What resulted was a legume-based burger with plenty of seasonings, no gluten, low sodium (with the option of making it sodium free) and simple preparation.

Want to try it? Here’s what you’ll need:

· 2 15 oz cans of beans packed in water – I used Pinto and Great White Northern beans but you can choose what you like
· 2 T minced onion – I use dried minced onion to avoid adding extra moisture
· 1 T celery seed
· 1 T garlic powder
· 2 T spicy brown mustard
· 2 T lime juice
· 2 T minced fresh parsley
· Rice flour as needed to thicken

Drain your beans and using a food processor, blender, stick blender or mixer, make a smooth paste. Add all the ingredients EXCEPT the rice flour and stir until mixed. Add rice flour a little at a time (about a tablespoon) until the mixture is about the consistency of a stiff drop cookie dough. You don’t want it too stiff because it will get very dry as it cooks.

In a skillet over medium heat, heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil and drop spoonfuls of your bean mixture in. Flatten slightly with the spoon to make a patty shape. Don’t make these too large or thick since it will make them very hard to flip. Brown them well on each side (2 – 5 minutes depending on how soft your mixture is) and be sure they are heated through. You may need to add a bit more oil to the pan from time to time as you cook the patties. You should be aware that the patties will not be as firm as a meat burger. Just use a good spatula and you should have no problem. This recipe makes about 10 patties (roughly three inches across).

Serve this up as is or on a bun with any condiments you like. I like mine with mustard but mayo and ketchup or even salsa will be good, too. As you can see, this whips up in minutes but if you know you will be pressed for time, you can prepare the mixture in advance and keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook.

As always, there are plenty of alternatives possible. If you need to go easy on your sodium intake, steer clear of the canned beans and cook dried beans yourself. This does add an additional step but removes a lot of the sodium. You can certainly use regular wheat flour or some other flour in place of the rice flour to tighten up the mixture, if you’d prefer. As I mentioned in the ingredients list, you can use whichever beans or combination of beans you prefer. I suppose you could use peas or lima beans if they tickle your fancy but they will give your patties a greenish color which, personally, I wouldn’t find all that appealing. Still, if you really like the flavor, go for it. If you don’t care for mustard or would like to try a different flavor profile, trade out the mustard for soy sauce, a spoonful or two of tahini and some ginger. If you’d like a bit more kick, add some diced chilies and switch out the parsley for cilantro. For an Italian taste, use oregano, more garlic and sun-dried tomatoes.

These burgers are full of flavor and packed with protein, fiber and nutrients and are very low in fat. Leftovers reheat very nicely in the microwave, too. You really can’t lose.

So, let’s go eat that!


kang said...

ok i'll eat that :D

You've been stumbled by londoneater! Please help stumble me too!

Sandra Gordon said...

*waves* Hey, Kang! Thank you again for the tip about StumbleUpon. I'll be heading over to stumble you shortly.

Maggie said...

These look simple and delicious!

Sandra Gordon said...

Maggie, they really are. If you use canned beans, preparation takes only a few minutes. If you'd rather cook the beans yourself, they can be done in advance and kept in the refrigerator. Either way, assembling the patty mixture is simple and done with things you would normally keep in your pantry. I hope you get a chance to try them. I'd like to hear what you think!