Category Archives: Burger

Crispy Red Lentil Garbanzo Burgers

chickpea red lentil burger open

In case you were wondering, I do realize that I’m a big pile of inconsistencies. I’ll eat peanut butter Nutella granola for breakfast nearly everyday, but justify it by mixing in ground flax and wheat germ. I’ll put brown butter in my pumpkin waffles, and top them with syrup, powdered sugar, and sometimes a bit of brown sugar as well, but convince myself that they make a balanced meal because they’re whole wheat. The funny thing is that when I’m not obsessing over sweets, I’m usually eating brussels sprouts and quinoa, or an absurdly huge salad with avocado and hummus (well, and a pretzel roll on the side). The way I see it, making healthy choices most of the time leaves room for naughtier choices other times (/for dessert every night). Logical, right?

Which brings me to these vibrant burger patties. This past Sunday, after returning from our two-year anniversary trip that included lots of delicious things, such as raspberry cream cheese turnovers and dark hot chocolate with pumpkin cream liquor, my body was yearning for some nutrients. Fortunately, a bag of split red lentils had been sitting in our pantry for a few months and were just begging to be used. When you cook red lentils, their texture leaves something to be desired, but their flavor remains awesome. So, I figured why not take that flavor, puree it with some chickpeas, coat it in panko, and make a sort of crispy falafel doppelgänger, if you will? Or a falafel relative of some sort? You know what I’m saying…whatever you want to call it, it’s pretty awesome. Especially if you put it on a pretzel roll (seriously, I have a problem).
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[Nearly] Vegan Weekend, Continued: Nutty Veggie Burgers

vegan veggie burger no top

Earlier this week I wrote about dipping my toes into vegan baking for a cabin trip last weekend. I’m strictly a lacto-ovo veg, and have been since I was but a wee 3-year-old, but I wanted to make a couple of things to share with our vegan friends: a sweet treat and a substantial meal. Since this weekend was all about convenience, and grabbing food that would get us back to the lake faster, I decided to whip up some veggie burgers. Well, it was mostly this convenience factor that made up my mind, but I’m also kind of obsessed with veggie burgers. It’s true. Weird, but true.

I’m also kind of obsessed with learning about how vegan food works. The science befuddles me (MOST science befuddles me, but that’s a different topic), but I love how creative vegans need to be with their food. I’ve always thought that I’m just on the cusp of being a vegan. Sometimes I think I could do it. Sometimes I think I might even LOVE it.

However, every time I consider veganism, even if only for a moment, there’s this little voice inside of me that screams, “CHEESE! Grab the cheese and run!”

…but we’ll get to that later. First, the veggie burger.

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Big n’ Tall Toasted Quinoa Burgers

Quinoa burger sandwich 1

People often comment on the size of my meals. “Oh wow, that’s a ton of soup! And you’re having that bread too? Wow, rock on” or, “That’s a HUGE sandwich, I’m impressed” or the occasional, “Did you eat that entire pizza?” Yes, I did, okay? I ate the whole damn thing. I’m a small person who needs a lot of food. Get over it. Uffda, anyway, the takeaway from my rant is this: I like big meals. I like the act of eating, so I’m sad when it’s over quickly. Because of this, I like to eat HUGE bowls of soup or BIG  sandwiches or, yes, the occasional ENTIRE pizza. BUT, here’s the kicker, I [usually] like to make my large meals full of healthy stuff, like tomato spinach zucchini soup, or sandwiches piled high with avocado and tomato, or pizzas topped with so many veggies you can’t even tell what’s on them. That way, I can just eat the whole damn thing and still be that small chick who eats an absurd amount of food…and maybe the occasional ridiculously indulgent dessert, but that’s another post altogether.

And that brings me to my quinoa burger. While shopping at Trader Joe’s, I picked up a bag of their new Tri-Color Quinoa, and staring back at me was a recipe for quinoa burgers. I wasn’t feeling the recipe’s black bean/southwest vibe, but the idea of a quinoa burger had gotten into my head, and I wasn’t going to give it up. After all, quinoa is packed with all kinds of healthy stuff, so I could make a gigantic patty, with an awesome texture, and a main ingredient that comes together in 15 minutes. Plus, for someone like myself who’s a bit of a veggie burger aficionado, coming up with a new homemade patty sounded like a fun challenge.

I’m fortunate that the boy is supportive of my random food challenges, and actually enjoys quinoa. Sure, he’ll act skeptical when I serve it, use his sarcastic voice, and make fun of its appearance, but he eats [nearly] as much as me when we have it, so I figured he’d happily hop on board the quinoa burger train…with a bit of an attitude, per usual, but I’ll take it.

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Falafel Burger Flirtation

Falafel Burger

My blood may be mostly Scandinavian, my appearance may be Irish-dominant, but in my heart I’m way more exotic. Sometimes my heart is Greek, sometimes it’s Italian, and every now and then it flirts with the Middle East. This Middle Eastern flirtation began, as with many food discoveries, in my college cafeteria. The hit-or-miss “Grains” (read: vegetarian) line was suspiciously popular one day, so I decided to investigate. The overwhelmed student worker filled my plate with the donut-hole sized fried balls that my classmates were clamoring after, topped with a mysterious tangy white sauce.

It was love at first falafel. With some googling, I learned that my dear falafels were just a magically balanced blend of chickpeas and spices, rolled into balls and fried to a golden brown. The mysterious white sauce, tzatziki, would later become an obsession of mine on a study-abroad trip to Greece, but this first taste in my MN homeland was what started the tzatziki and falafel fever.

Post-graduation, there were several attempts at recreating the cafeteria falafel experience: boxed mixes that tasted…boxed, scratch-made recipes that made my falafel balls collapse and break so they were balls no more, and an overly fried, poorly seasoned falafel stick at the MN State Fair. Nothing was up to snuff. In fact, nothing even came close, until one fateful day when I stumbled across a falafel burger recipe from Rachel Ray. So, today I bring you the best falafel recipe I’ve found over the past 4 years, along with a quick tzatziki lime sauce that, when drizzled over top, is sure to make your heart feel Middle Eastern, even if you are but a petite Irish Scandinavian.

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Manwich, Veggie Style

Wild rice burger

As a long-time meat-free, food-obsessed chick, I’m a veggie burger connoisseur of sorts. If I’m in a hurry (okay, or lazy) I will grab a frozen patty, but this is never anything special. When I go out to dinner, it’s a whole different story. As soon as I see “house made” near the words “veggie burger,” I dive right in and don’t look back. While my enjoyment varies with each burger, I always order them mostly out of curiosity. Home made veggie burgers have never turned out really well for me, so if someone is willing to serve me one, bring it on, baby. A cute lakeside restaurant brought it on big time when the boy and I went to Duluth for our anniversary last October. After devouring a “house made” wild rice burger on the restaurant’s patio, the boy mentioned an affection for wild rice, and suggested we bring the “house made” patty into an actual home sometime soon. Wary yet excited, I agreed to let the carnivore in on a veggie burger trial in the near future.

One of my favorite aspects of hand-built burgers is the size, the sheer size that makes me question if I can even extend my jaw to fit its height, but always makes me want to try. I wanted to mirror this element in my burger, so I found a recipe that would be a base, and ran with it like the breezy girl that I am (note: read this last sentence with a touch/an absurd amount of sarcasm).

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