Veggie Burger: Prep 15 mins Cook 15 mins Eat 30 mins
Brioche Buns: Prep 20 mins Rise 1 hour Bake 15 mins Eat 1:35
I know I’m going out on a limb by calling this the Ultimate Veggie Burger, but after our Summer Garden & Grilling Cooking Class, all ten people who tasted it agreed. What makes it the ultimate? First of all, it is true Fresh Food in a Flash. No frozen patties that contain extra stuff you don’t want to eat. Delicious, spicy, chewy, delicate, flavors that keep popping in your mouth – no cardboard here. Even us meat eaters would choose this veggie burger over it’s meaty brethren. Well most of the time; unless the meat is prime chopped, cooked rare – a discussion for a later time. No guilt associated with this burger!
OMG, the flavors in my mouth as I am eating one right now are amazing! I taste the smokiness from the black beans and jalapeno spice along with the crunch of the breadcrumb crust combined with the delicate center composed of the earthiness of the mushroom, carrot, zucchini and onion bound together with brown rice, cashews (splurge!) and a little breadcrumbs. Add the heirloom tomato slice, Kerrygold Dubliner cheese slice, fresh lettuce leaf and a spicy mayo (made with smoked paprika and ground red pepper) and I’m in heaven! Veggie burger heaven.
I attended a Culinary Historians of Southern California lecture years ago to learn about the History of the Hamburger from Andrew F. Smith, author of Hamburger: A Global History. What stuck with me was the importance of what you put on your burger. Everyone has their favorite toppings. The real attraction of the burger is not the meat but the way you dress it up. I think about that every time I prep a burger and I think it is true. But with the veggie burger, the flavors in the burger really stand out as much as the extras.
What also adds to their specialness, is the fresh brioche bun – admittedly not Fresh Food made in a Flash, but worth the extra effort of only about 10-15 minutes hands-on time and at least an hour of rising and a quick bake of 15 minutes.
These brioche buns with their soft buttery, eggy mixture are so delicious that you will want to eat them alone. But try to hold out unless you have a few extra.
Make the brioche dough in the food processor or a stand mixer and then spoon it into an oiled muffin pan.
Fill muffin cups 1/2 full so they don’t puff up to much, or your burger will look like the Tower of Pisa.
My inspiration for this veggie burger was one I ate at the Pasadena restaurant, La Grande Orange Cafe. Instead of it being solid and boring, the interior squished into the bun and was memorably good. I knew I had to create a burger this good. So the day after our June knife skills class, I took some of the leftover veggies we sliced and put them into the food processor with a can of black beans and some spices and bread crumbs.
The texture was good, the flavor was there, but I was never quite happy with the binding ingredients. It needed more. Then a friend suggested brown rice. Yeah! I had a sample of a new short grain brown rice from Lundberg Farms in my pantry, so I cooked some up, added it to the mixture, tasted it and I felt I had reached the Ultimate in my Veggie Burger madness. The stickiness of the short grain rice bound the whole thing together beautifully. I learned early on that this burger was too delicate for the grill, but dusting them with bread crumbs and baking them off in the oven on a high heat was perfect.
It seems like a lot of effort to go through for a burger, but taste them and you will understand why. These are no ordinary burgers, they are The Ultimate Veggie Burger!
Make up a batch and throw some of them in the freezer for when you get the urge for more, which I promise will be soon.
Ultimate Veggie Burger >
This recipe makes 15 slider-sized burgers. Veggie burger mixture is soft and does not harden when cooked like a meat burger. Consequently, they should be cooked in an oven and the smaller the size, the easier they are to handle. I don’t recommend cooking them on the grill or they will fall apart. I’ve added cooked brown rice as a binder to give the burger shape, Cooking the rice adds time to the recipe, so plan ahead, or better yet, make this recipe when you have leftover rice. You can replace the bread crumbs with cornmeal if you want to make them gluten free.
- 1 1/2 cups onion, diced
- 2 Tb olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and minced
- 1 carrot, peeled and cut in chunks
- 1 zucchini, cut in chunks
- 6 button mushrooms
- 1/4 cup cashews
- 1 cup cooked brown or a short/medium grain rice
- 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 Tbs fresh herbs, such as basil, oregano, marjoram
- 1/3 cup + unseasoned bread crumbs (extra needed for dipping patties)
- 1/4 tsp salt or to taste
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp ground red pepper or black pepper to taste
1. In skillet, cook onions in 2 T olive oil until translucent.
2. Meanwhile, In food processor process garlic and jalapeno until minced. Add in carrot, zucchini, mushrooms, cashew nuts, cooked brown rice, black beans, onions, herbs, and process until coarsely chopped. Add in spices and breadcrumbs and pulse to combine.
3. Form veg patties, dip in additional breadcrumbs and place on wax paper. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.
4. Preheat oven to 400°. Spray or oil baking sheet. Place prepared patties on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes for a slider size or longer for a larger patty.
Servings: 15 92 calories per serving.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes
Oven Temperature: 400°F
Try this easy brioche recipe for buns that will make great sliders. The buns are soft, buttery and delicious. The batter will be loose and is best made in a container such as a muffin tin.
- 3/4 cup milk
- 3 3/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp yeast
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks) room temp.
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 egg, mixed with 1 T water for egg wash
1. Heat milk to 100°. It should be warm to touch, like hot tap water.
2. In bowl of food processor or stand mixer, add 1 cup of flour, the yeast and sugar. Pour warm milk over the yeast. Let it soak up for a minute, then process until combined. Add remaining flour and salt. Process until combined.
3. Add eggs one at a time and mix until combined.
4. Cut butter into chunks and add gradually to mixture. Using a rubber spatula, plop mixture into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour, then punch it down. (or if you are in a hurry, got to step number 5 and let rise once in the muffin tin.)
5. Grease cups in a muffin tin. Spoon brioche mixture into muffin cups, filling them 1/2 full.
6. Brush brioche with egg wash and let rise until doubled. Bake at 400° for about 15 minutes or until buns are golden brown.
7. Loosen the buns from the muffin tin and serve or store in an airtight container.
Servings: 24 164 calories per serving
Oven Temperature: 400°F