One of the Holy Grails of vegetarian cooking is a meat-free burger that’s tasty, nutritious, full of protein, easy to make and easy to handle. Without the strong protein structure of meat, or the scientific hijinks of processed burgers, it can be tricky to get vegetarian burgers to hold together. This burger uses the strength of bulgur wheat and will easily become one of your favourites.
Yield: 6 large or 8 small burgers
2 tablespoons any vegetable oil
1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups water
1 cup bulgur wheat
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons miso paste
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 19 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
a sprinkle or two sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Splash the oil into a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, onions and garlic. Sauté until the mushrooms lose their moisture and the onions caramelize, about 20 minutes. This step is one of the keys to the mixture; it is important to cook out as much moisture as possible so the burger will hold together.
Add the water, bulgur and soy sauce. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook over low heat until the bulgur is tender and has absorbed all the liquid, about 20 minutes.
Pour the mixture onto a plate or tray and let it cool to room temperature.
When cool, transfer the bulgur-mushroom mixture into the bowl of your food processor. Add the eggs, miso paste, breadcrumbs, black beans, thyme and salt and pepper. Purée until smooth.
Form the mixture into evenly shaped patties about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
Preheat your barbecue on its highest setting.
Lightly brush the burgers with oil and grill until they are cooked through and caramelized a bit. Alternatively, you may pan sear them in a lightly oiled preheated pan or simply bake them at 400 °F (200 °C). Enjoy with your favourite burger toppings.
Try substituting a spoonful or two of chili powder for the fresh thyme.
The year 2016 has been declared the International Year of Pulses by the United Nations to celebrate one of the world’s most important foods: the edible seeds of the legume family.
Beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils are packed with fibre, protein, nutrients, and flavour. Their nutritional intensity, inexpensive accessibility, and ease of cooking have made them indispensible staples to cooks all over the globe.
Wherever we live, we all do our best to make healthy choices at home but it’s a lot easier when those choices are delicious. These meatless tacos are stuffed with so much sunny southwestern flavour that no one will notice anything missing. What a great way for your family to join families around the world in a global celebration of flavour and nutrition!