There’s a plotline in Parks and Recreation where health-nut Chris Traeger challenges meat-enthusiast Ron Swanson to a burger cook-off. Chris makes this whole elaborate portabello mushroom burger, with various gourmet accompaniments. All the judges gush over how great it is, while Ron looks on with a bemused look on his face. When it’s Ron’s turn, he puts a plain beef patty on a bun and serves it. The judges (and Chris) unanimously agree that Ron wins.
This is my usual take on vegetarian versions of meat dishes, so when I do cook something vegetarian, it’s purely coincidence (ie, gazpacho). Well this week’s theme is vegetarian, so I thought I’d give meatlessness a fair shake. The burgers had a tendency to fall apart (I didn’t refrigerate them before cooking; maybe I should have), but tasted absolutely great. Like, ‘who needs meat?’ level of great.
I didn’t have any eggs, so instead of making an actual aioli, I made a facsimile with yogurt. I was all proud of myself, thinking that I managed to make this meal completely vegan, all the way until halfway through eating when I remembered where yogurt comes from. Seriously, how do vegans do it? Seems like a royal PITA to have to cook with those restrictions. Anyway, I adapted this recipe: http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/black-bean-quinoa-burgers/
½ cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup vegetable stock
½ medium onion, roughly diced (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 fifteen ounce can black beans (1.5 cups)
1.5 cups water
¾ tsp smoked paprika
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 kaiser rolls
2 tbsp crema
½ cup greek yogurt
1 chipotle pepper in adobo, chopped
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 teaspoon garlic, diced
For the burgers:
Rinse the quinoa under cold water, and bring the vegetable stock to a boil in a pot. Add the quinoa, season with salt, and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, until the grains have little spirals on them. You should have 1.5 cups cooked quinoa. Set aside.
In a pan, add some olive oil and sweat the onions for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for another minute. Add ¾ cup black beans (half the can), the water, and the paprika/oregano/cumin/salt and pepper. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until most of the water is evaporated. Pour the mixture into a blender or food processor.
Add ¾ cup of the cooked quinoa (half) to the blender. Process until smooth. Place the puree, the remaining quinoa, and black beans to a bowl along with the mustard and Worcestershire. Mix, and form into 4 to 6 patties, depending on how large you want them. At this point it couldn’t hurt to toss them in the fridge (covered with plastic wrap) to let them firm up a bit.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Put a sheet of parchment on a baking sheet, and place the patties on top. Bake for 20 minutes, flip, then cook for 10 minutes more. Toast your buns (to the buns!), and serve with tomato and avocado slices, chipotle aioli, and cilantro.
Chop garlic and chipotle, add to a small food processor and pulse a few times. Add the yogurt, crema, and lime juice, and process until smooth. Taste, and season with salt if you think you need it. Refrigerate until ready to serve.