Thursday, March 31, 2011

Veggie Burgers- A Perfect Weeknight Meal

I'll go ahead and state the obvious- I love meat.  Serve me up a nice steak or a juicy hamburger any day and I'll be happy.  I won't daintily pick at it, or feign distaste.  No, I'll dig right in, armed with my sharper than average steak knife, or my bare hands, and chomp hungrily at the carnivorous meal.  I feel no shame in admitting this, no embarrassment for my love.  However, that is not to say that there are some days that I crave a healthy dose of vegetables.  I eat salads on an almost daily basis and I load them up with all sorts of veggies.  I find new ways to fill up on veggies as much as I can.  The other night, I had a craving for a healthy meal, and a spicy one at that, and decided to see what I could make with just the ingredients I had on hand.  A few minutes later, I was laying out the ingredients for some of the heartiest, and tastiest, veggie burgers I've had in a while.

Look at all those veggies!
As I considered the burger, and heard my stomach rumbling, I knew I wanted these guys to really satisfy my hunger.  I wanted a hearty burger.  I took out a can of Cannelloni (White Kidney) beans from my pantry, as well as some bread crumbs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and cinnamon.  I turned to my fridge and pulled out spinach, a jalapeno, a red onion, a small zucchini, a bag of corn from the freezer, and um a bag of shredded mozzarella cheese (sue me-I love cheese).

Ok the paste wasn't the prettiest
Playing with the ideas floating in my head, I pulled out my food processor and combined the can of beans (drained), a cup (give or take) of fresh baby spinach, the jalapeno (I used the full pepper, if you want less heat just remove the seeds and the ribs, or use half the pepper), about a 1/4 cup of chopped onion, salt, pepper, and about a teaspoon and a half of the paprika, cinnamon, and garlic powder.  I pulsed these together until a thick paste was formed.

To prep my other ingredients I poured 3/4 of a cup of the frozen corn into a strainer and ran warm water over it until the kernels defrosted.  The zucchini I simply washed and diced.  

I transferred the bean paste into a mixing bowl, added the corn and the zucchini and then slowly added the breadcrumbs.  I wanted to be sure that the breadcrumbs didn't over power the vegetables, but that they did bind together the paste into workable patties.  I probably used between 3/4 cup and a cup.  Then I added a half cup of cheese.  This could obviously be omitted-but come on-its CHEESE!  I mixed these thoroughly together and then formed four good size patties.

I heated a skillet on the stove top and transferred the patties to warm through, melt the cheese, and brown the outsides.  These were fully cooked in about 15 minutes (my patties were kind of huge).

While I waited for the patties to cook, I combined a diced avocado in a small bowl with 1/4 cup red onion, the juice of a lime, 1/2 a jalapeno, salt, pepper and garlic salt- all to taste.  

Once the veggie burgers were done cooking, I slid one on to a plate, topped with the makeshift guacamole, and sat down to enjoy dinner!

These were a veggie burger I can definitely stand behind.  They were absolutely hearty, but they contained really diverse flavor profiles that made them rather addictive.  The spice from the jalapeno offered an initial kick of spice, but then lulled to allow the smoke from the paprika to shine through, coupled with that hint of cinnamon.  The corn gave bursts of sweetness with each bite and the zucchini, not fully cooked through added great textural relief.  I loved the make shift guacamole on top as well- it helped to compliment the spice, but also added that nice rich component from the avocados, and a nice acidic burst. 

I can definitely assure you, these will be a permanent fixture in my week night meal rotation when I tire of salads! 

5 comments:

Megan said...

Looks really interesting... and it's always good to have a salad alternative!

Michelle Collins said...

These look great, and so innovative! Thanks for the recipe. :)

In and Around Town said...

Always looking for good and quick recipes for after work meals - will definitely have to give this one a go. Maybe next meatless Monday!

Jen said...

I love a hearty veggie burger. And anything topped with avocado is awesome in my book!

Anonymous said...

Love the blog

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