Photo by Tricia White
I wasn’t always a believer in veggie burgers. I usually scoffed at my friends who opted for Boca Burgers at cookouts and have never shied from eating meat. When I was little, my parents thought it fitting to nickname me “Little Carnivore,” a nickname I’ve since grown out of but that sometimes comes back to haunt me at dinner parties. When I finally let down my stubborn guard for a moment and tried one, I fell for veggie burgers’ charm instantly.
Veggie burgers are championed for their health benefits, having all the fiber and vitamins of veggies and none of the fat and post-beef burger bloated feeling. I’ve come to realize that they can taste great too. Veggie burgers leave me feeling satisfied and healthy, not stuffed and wanting to lie down on the couch. After weeks of perusing Pinterest, searching through cookbooks and making several test batches, I think I’ve finally got the perfect recipe, and an easy one, too. They can even be made in our tiny college kitchens.
Essentially, all you need to do is chop some veggies (or toss in a food processor), and mix them together with a few extras. There’s no grill necessary– just a frying pan, and the veggies are as basic as carrots, red pepper and zucchini. You can refrigerate the extras, and microwave them for about 20 seconds for a quick and easy meal. They’re even good to eat cold with a piece of cheese in a sandwich for a great on-the-go lunch.
I like to take some time on Sunday afternoons to make a batch, and then I’m stocked with good and quick lunch or dinner solutions for the week. I’ve perfected this recipe to my taste, but that’s the beauty of veggie burgers– you can take liberties with the veggies and spices you put in, and they still come out tasty. With veggie burgers, you just can’t go wrong.
Emily Dias is an SKC guest contributor.
The Meat Lover’s Veggie Burger
Makes about 12-15 burgers
1/2 cup dry bulgur wheat
One 14oz can garbanzo beans
1 zucchini, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
2 carrots or 8-10 baby carrots, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic (depending on your personal garlic preference!), minced
4 scallions, chopped
1 cup oats
½ cup plain breadcrumbs
½ cup Asiago or other variety cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
To prepare the bulgur wheat, boil 1 cup of water in a medium-sized pot. When water starts to boil, put bulgur wheat in the pot and turn off the stove. Let it sit on the stove for 30 minutes to soften.
In a large bowl, mix together beans, zucchini, pepper, carrots, garlic and scallions. Add eggs, cheese, oats and breadcrumbs.
When bulgur has softened with just a little chunky texture, drain into a sieve. Place bulgur between a few layers of paper towel and gently press out excess moisture. Add bulgur to other ingredients in bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
In a large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Form veggie mixture into patties of whatever size you’d like, keeping in mind that the thinner or smaller the patty is, the less time they will take to cook.
Arrange as many patties as will comfortably fit in the pan and lightly spray tops with non-stick cooking spray, about ___ minutes per side. Replenish pan with oil between batches.
Serve hot or cold with your favorite toppings, and keep leftover burgers refrigerated or even frozen. Reheat in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Enjoy!