Category Archives: Vegetarian Burgers + Sandwiches

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New Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

Greg and I pulled out the grill for the third time this year this past weekend. We’re on a roll.

I remember when we first got our grill, and the very first times we attempted using it. I say attempted, because that’s really what it was. Neither of us had worked a charcoal grill before without other adults (our parents). The first couple of times we grilled, we used way too much or not enough charcoal and lighter fluid, disagreed on whether to keep the lid on or off while it heated up, and once, after several hours of trying to get the thing to work, we completely gave up. Well, we’ve come a long way in less than a year since having our grill, and I’m proud to say I think we now have it down. With nice weather here, we’ve been pulling the grill out on Saturdays after I work. It’s no longer a task that takes hours of planning and preparation, rather, it’s now a way for us to unwind – a way to spend a relaxing evening. And we’ve been doing just that.

We recently had a conversation about veggie burgers that is very similar to the grill story. At one point, we were scared and intimidated to make them. And admittedly, that wasn’t too long ago. Looking back, the beginnings of our veggie burger making were rough, just like the beginnings of our grilling. There was much preparation and planning put into making a veggie burger, and unfortunately, a lot of failed attempts. I wouldn’t say that we are now experts or even close, but we’ve come a long way. This Thanksgiving burger (one of my all-time favorites) is definitely a testament to that. And now, today’s burger.

I shared with you a sweet potato + black bean burger on May 1, 2013, almost exactly one year ago. I think it’s more than a coincidence that making this burger and getting the post together for another sweet potato black bean burger happened, without thinking about it, exactly one year later. It has given me a chance to see how far I’ve come. To see how I’ve improved in one year. My photos, my recipes, my blog. A part of me wants to delete the first sweet potato black bean burger post. The photos are hard to look at, there are things I’d change about the recipe and post. But luckily there is a little something telling me not to. I think I’d regret it. I’m proud of today’s recipe and post, but I need to remember, one year ago I was proud of that post. Makes me wonder how I’ll feel one year from today.

S0 yes, today, a new and improved sweet potato black bean burger. And it is darn good. A burger with a simple list of ingredients, wonderful texture and addicting taste. We made the burgers big, grilled them, and served them on brioche rolls topped with Dijon mustard, lettuce, tomato and gouda cheese, and I suggest you do the same. Serve the burgers with some homemade fries (more on those next week) and a crunchy pickle. Too good to be true, really.

These burgers really hold up well. That is definitely a thing to feel good about when it comes to veggie burgers. They stayed together on the grill, so I feel confident that they’d do wonderfully baked in the oven or fried in some olive oil on the stove, as well. They also stay together when eating them – even better. I don’t know how much more I can say about these other than please try them! And if you do, let me know! Tell me on Facebook or Twitter, or leave a comment on this post.

Cheers to making improvements, slowly but surely, and to gosh darn good sweet potato black bean burgers!

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New Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers
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Ingredients
  1. 2 large sweet potatoes
  2. 3 garlic cloves
  3. Olive oil
  4. 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  5. Vegetable broth or water, to cook rice
  6. 1/2 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, onion powder, chili powder and cumin
  7. 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  8. 1/2 cup walnuts
  9. Large handful fresh cilantro
  10. 1 tablespoon ground flax
  11. 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  12. 1/2 cup rolled oats
  13. Serving suggestion: hearty buns, Dijon mustard, gouda cheese, lettuce and tomato
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400*.
  2. Peel, wash and dice the sweet potatoes. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, along with three cloves of peeled garlic, and drizzle with olive oil, just to coat. Roast sweet potatoes and garlic in preheated oven for about 40 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender.
  3. While sweet potatoes are roasting, cook one cup of dry brown rice according to package instructions. I use vegetable broth to cook mine.
  4. Once sweet potatoes are roasted and rice is done cooking and slightly cooled, place the roasted sweet potatoes and garlic in a food processor along with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the 1/2 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, onion powder, chili powder and cumin. Process for about 30 seconds, or until sweet potatoes become mostly smooth.
  5. Add the rice to processor and pulse several time to incorporate. You may need to use a spoon to move the rice along.
  6. Add the black beans, walnuts and fresh cilantro to the processor and process for another 30 seconds or so to incorporate well.
  7. Add the burger mixture to a large mixing bowl and add the flax, panko and rolled oats. Alternatively, you can use all panko (1 cup) or all oats, rather than a mixture of the two - just as long as there is 1 cup total. Stir the flax, panko breadcrumbs and oats into the burger mixture.
  8. Refrigerate mixture for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
  9. When ready to cook, form mixture into patties. The number of patties you get will depend on the size you make them. We made them fairly large and got seven patties.
  10. We grilled our burgers on a charcoal grill, but I feel confident these will bake well in the oven or fried in olive oil on the stove due to their sturdy texture.
  11. I suggest serving them on hearty, slightly toasted buns with Dijon mustard, melted smoked gouda cheese, lettuce and tomato.
  12. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. Instead of using 1/2 cup panko and 1/2 cup oats, you could use 1 full cup of panko and no oats or 1 full cup oats and no panko.
  2. I mixed the flax, panko and oats into the burger mixture in a large mixing bowl because my food processor was too full to process anything else.
  3. Refrigerating the mixture before cooking will help the burgers stay together.
  4. I did not bake or fry these, but I feel confident that both would work if you follow the instructions. The burgers are very hearty and sturdy, so I feel that would stay together no matter what the cooking method.
The Dreaming Foodie http://www.thedreamingfoodie.com/
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Thanksgiving Burgers

Or: lentil-rice-cranberry-thyme-walnut burgers.

That’s what these really are, but that’s far too long a title, and I like Thanksgiving Burgers better anyway. Each one of those ingredients is important though, and with one missing, this burger just wouldn’t be the same.

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Around Thanksgiving, there are always sandwiches talked about that have all the season’s fixings on them. Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy. I always think that sounds so good other than the fact that I don’t like turkey, and a stuffing, cranberry + gravy sandwich just doesn’t sound as appealing. Lately, I have been craving a Thanksgiving sandwich, so I decided to make one of my very own.

All of the ingredients and flavors in this burger are what remind me of Thanksgiving. And all of the flavors bring me comfort during these cold months.

Lentils: I was cooking lentils the other day and they smelled so buttery. I thought they would be the perfect base for my Thanksgiving burger.
Brown rice: A hearty grain that I love on its own and in vegetarian burgers.
Cranberries: Can’t have a Thanksgiving burger without the cranberries. A sweet/tart punch among the many savory flavors in this sandwich.
Thyme: I am obsessed with it. It is the perfect-to-me cold weather seasoning.
Walnuts: Can’t get enough of putting walnuts in food. They add a great crunchy texture to these burgers.

I would never pass up the real Thanksgiving dinner for one of these burgers, but they will from now on quickly satisfy a Thanksgiving craving whenever one hits. Although these burgers are great plain + right out of the skillet, they are even better on a bun, with melted cheese and sautéed mushrooms.

Thanksgiving, in a burger. Healthy, comforting deliciousness:

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Thanksgiving Burgers
Yields 5
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup prepared green or brown lentils
  2. 1 cup prepared brown rice
  3. 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  4. 1/2 cup rolled oats
  5. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  6. 2 celery stalks, diced
  7. 1/2 of a yellow onion, diced
  8. 1/2 cup walnuts
  9. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  10. 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  11. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  12. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  13. 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  14. 1 tablespoon ground flax
  15. Buns, optional
  16. Cheese of your choice, optional
  17. Sliced mushrooms for topping, optional
Instructions
  1. There are a lot of little parts to this recipe. I found it easy to do all the little parts as my lentils and rice were cooking, then everything was ready to put together at once.
  2. While the lentils and rice are cooking, place the dried cranberries in a small bowl and cover them with hot water. This will rehydrate them. Let sit for about 25 minutes.
  3. Pulse the 1/2 cup rolled oats in a food processer until they resemble a coarse crumb. Remove from the food processor and set aside in a small bowl.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the diced celery and onion. Cook for several minutes, or until the veggies are softened and slightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. In a pan over medium-high heat, toast the walnuts. I place them in the pan and toss around for about 5 minutes, or until they smell fragrant and are slightly golden. Once toasted, remove from heat and set aside.
  6. Once all of the parts are prepared and the lentils and rice are slightly cooled, add 1 cup lentils, 2 minced garlic cloves, thyme, salt, pepper and onion powder to a food processor and process until mixture is paste-like.
  7. Add the cranberries, celery and onion and pulse a few times, just to lightly incorporate. You want to retain chunks of the veggies and cranberries.
  8. Add 1 cup of rice, toasted walnuts and ground flax to the food processor and pulse several times, just to lightly incorporate. You want the burgers to have texture to them, rather than being completely smooth.
  9. Add the mixture to a large bowl and add the pulsed oat flour, a little at a time, until the burgers come together and are just slightly sticky. You want to be sure they will stay together when cooked.
  10. Add olive oil to a pan and once hot, add patted out burgers, cooking on the first side until toasted and golden brown. Flip burgers, and cook until other side is toasted and golden brown.
  11. While the burgers are cooking, add the sliced mushrooms to a pan with olive oil and cook until softened. If you want, add some white wine in with the mushrooms and cook until all liquid is absorbed.
  12. Place burgers on a bun and if desired, top with cheese and sautéed mushrooms.
  13. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. On their own, these burgers are vegan + gluten free.
  2. These burgers cook well right after putting everything together, but cook even better if mixture is refrigerated a few hours. If you have the time, refrigerate several hours after oat flour is mixed in.
The Dreaming Foodie http://www.thedreamingfoodie.com/
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Barbecue Lentil Burgers

I’ve got a little meatless barbecue for you today.

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I am asked sometimes if I miss meat, since I don’t eat it anymore. 

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I always answer no, I don’t miss meat. I never loved it anyway.

If there is anything that I ever miss sometimes, maybe, it is bacon. I maybe (do) sometimes miss it. 🙂

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I don’t miss meat, but what I do miss is barbecue sauce. 

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I mentioned it to Greg one day that I miss the taste of barbecue sauce. I haven’t had anything with the flavor since I have stopped eating meat. Other than barbecue chips, which I like, but don’t satisfy my craving. 

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I thought, why is meat the only thing we put barbecue sauce on? This needs to change!

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So, one day, we were eating lentils. And Greg came up with the idea of making a barbecue lentil burger. I loved the idea and got to work right away.

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At first we were thinking of it being filled with veggies, lentils and barbecue sauce. But, more and more I am loving super super simple and easy recipes. 

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These burgers are it. Super simple. Super barbecue-y. Super delicious. And completely meat-free.

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There is nothing in them but lentils and barbecue sauce. And possibly breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs are up to you. Let me explain.

I made these once with equal parts barbecue sauce and breadcrumbs. I used 1/2 cup bbq sauce and 1/2 cup breadcrumbs. The burgers were great and worked perfectly. The second time around, I tried leaving the breadcrumbs out. I had to refrigerate the burgers before they were ready to cook, just to stiffen them up a bit. They still worked out well, but were definitely a bit more messy. If you don’t mind refrigerating before cooking and you don’t mind a messier burger, try it without breadcrumbs. If you are in a hurry and want a burger that is more sturdy and together, add breadcrumbs. It’s up to you. Experiment. Find what works for you and what you like!

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The toppings are kind of important too. These burgers would be good just plain — no bun and no toppings. They just taste good. But, they are awesome with a toasted bun, melted smoked cheddar, a big sliced tomato and caramelized onions. That is my suggestion. Try it!

Barbecue Lentil Burgers
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup uncooked lentils
  2. 2 1/2 cups liquid (water or broth + some white wine)
  3. 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  4. 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, optional, read above for explanation
  5. Olive oil
  6. Buns
Toppings
  1. Smoked cheddar
  2. Sliced tomato
  3. Caramelized onions
Instructions
  1. Rinse lentils well. Add to a saucepan with 2 1/2 cups of liquid (any mix of water, broth and wine).
  2. Cook for about 40 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed and lentils are soft.
  3. Add lentils to a bowl and let cool a bit.
  4. Mash lentils lightly with a potato masher or fork.
  5. Add the barbecue sauce and breadcrumbs (if using) and stir well.
  6. Add olive oil to a pan over medium heat.
  7. Once hot, add lentils to pan, made into patties.
  8. Cook about 5 minutes on each side, until golden brown and heated through.
  9. Serve on toasted buns with smoked cheddar, sliced tomatoes and caramelized onions, or topping of choice.
  10. Enjoy!
The Dreaming Foodie http://www.thedreamingfoodie.com/
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Loaded Veggie Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

This is a good start to a good week. 🙂

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This week, Greg and I get the keys to our new apartment.

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After revisiting the apartment the last two weekends, we are reassured of our readiness to move. We can’t wait until Thursday when it’s officially ours!

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At the end of this week, I get to head home for the first time since graduation. I also get to see my best friend since birth try on wedding dresses! What an exciting thing. I literally cannot wait.

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What a better way to start/celebrate an exciting week than with loaded veggie grilled cheese sandwiches?

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I can’t think of a word or phrase strong enough to tell you how good these sandwiches are.

{By the way, I really did devour this sandwich right after the photos were taken :)}

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You will love every single bite that you take and feel so jubilant after eating this sandwich. This sandwich = happiness.

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Also, like most things you see on here, this is very customizable. Don’t like mushrooms? Leave them off. Want to add some meat? Go ahead! Want to go lighter on the cheese? That’s okay, just add one piece instead of two. I don’t suggest that, but I do agree, not everyday is a two-piece of cheese sandwich kind of day. Some days are, but not everyday.

Every layer of this sandwich is special and it all comes together so perfectly. The flavorful guacamole, the fresh, juicy tomatoes, the melty cheese, the onions and spinach, both cooked in wine, and the caramelized balsamic mushrooms all come together to make one unforgettable sandwich.

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Dig in!

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Ingredients
This is what I used for one sandwich. Double, triple, etc. as needed
2 pieces of bread
1/2 of an avocado
1/2 of a lime
2 slices of your favorite cheese (I used white cheddar)
2 large tomato slices
1 small onion
1 large handful of fresh spinach
1 medium portobello mushroom
Olive oil
White wine
Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and pepper
Butter

First make the simple guacamole. Scoop out 1/2 of an avocado and add it to a bowl. Sprinkle salt and pepper over it and the jucie from 1/2 of a lime. Mash together with a fork or potato masher until just slightly chunky. Set aside.

Slice the onion into thin slices. Add about 1 tablespoon olive oil to a pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion and cook for several minutes, or until the onion begins to brown. I made sure that the pan was nice and hot so that the onion cooked and browned quickly. Once slightly browned, add a splash of white wine to the pan and let it cook off. Once the wine has cooked away, place the onions in a small bowl and set aside.

Add a large handful of spinach to the same pan as the onion, over medium high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the spinach begins to wilt. Add another splash of white wine and continue to cook and stir until the wine has again cooked away. Remove the spinach from the pan as well and set aside.

Wipe the mushroom clean with a paper towel. Remove the stem and brown scaly insides. Slice the mushroom into long strips. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the same pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the mushroom strips and stir around to coat the mushrooms in oil. Let cook for several minutes, until the mushroom begins to get soft. Add a large splash of balsamic vinegar to the pan, stir, and let cook several more minutes, until the vinegar has cooked away. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside.

To make the sandwich, butter one side of each piece of bread. Make the grilled cheese however you usually make one, layering the cheese and veggie layers.

How I did it: place one piece of bread in a pan over medium heat. Add the guacamole, tomato slices, one slice of cheese, onions, spinach, mushrooms and then another slice of cheese. Let cook until the bread is crsipy and browned. Add the other piece of bread on top, buttered side up. Using a large spatula, quickly but carefully flip the sandwich. Let cook until the other slice of bread is crispy. Smash down a bit to combine everything together, slice and eat.

Enjoy!

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Shredded Veggie Burgers

This is the fourth little veggie burger I’ve shared with you.

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You see, I am obsessed with veggie burgers. I’m talking homemade veggie burgers. Burgers with loads of veggies and beans and spices and flavor. And toppings. Sometimes the toppings make the burger.

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But, for the longest time, I was afraid to make veggie burgers! Yes, I was afraid. I thought veggie burger making was reserved for veggie burger gods or something. I don’t know what I was afraid of.

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So finally I tried this little veggie burger. Some smashed beans, tons of veggies, and breadcrumbs and egg for binding. Easy and delicious. That is a great basic veggie burger. Then, I got a little more adventurous with this sweet potato burger. I wanted to make a super quick, and also vegan burger. It worked! I love those burgers, with not as many veggies but with tons of delicious sweet potato. And then this corn + pepper burger happened. Because corn and summer and it just seemed right. It is similar to the first one I made, but the corn makes it even more awesome.

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This past weekend my parents came to Philly for a little visit (we had so much fun!). We did a little touring of Independence Hall and then we ate at the National Mechanics restaurant. OMG, it was so good. There were so many things on the menu that I wanted to order, I just couldn’t decide. Greg was deciding between the veggie burger and the crab cake sandwich, so I told him that I would order whichever he didn’t and we could try each others. He ordered the veggie burger so I ordered the crab cake sandwich. Our meals came out and I just stared at his burger, in total jealousy.

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That thing looked too amazing. Of course, everyone at the table noticed my stare (and shared a laugh) and Greg reassured me that we could really share.

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The burger was all veggies and no beans. The veggies were shredded. And it looked messy. It looked messy but tasted delicious. I wanted so badly to recreate it.

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So, this was my attempt, and I think it turned out really well. These burgers are awesome! Shredded zucchini and carrots with garlic, broccoli and mushrooms. Some flour and egg and that is it! They are sort of like crispy veggie patties, but I really don’t like the word “patties” so I’ll just stick with burger.

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Also, I apologize for the bun-less and topping-less photos, but to be honest, these are so good without buns or toppings! And I know I said above that toppings many times make a burger, but these needed none for me. We ate some of these burgers bun-less and all of them topping-less!

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If you love veggie burgers or even if you don’t, I think you will love these. These work great as a burger main dish with sides but would also work great as a side dish. No matter how you have them, I hope that you enjoy!

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Ingredients
3 medium zucchini
2 medium carrots
2 cups raw mushrooms
2 cups raw broccoli
Olive oil
1 large garlic clove
1 cup flour
2 eggs

In a food processor, shred the zucchini and carrots. Place in a large bowl and set aside.

Chop the mushrooms and broccoli. In a pan over medium heat, add about 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once hot, add the minced garlic, then the mushrooms and broccoli. Stir around, and cook for several minutes, until the veggies just begin to get soft. Add the broccoli/mushroom mixture to a food processor and pulse several times, just to break the veggies up a bit.

Add the broccoli/mushroom mixture to the bowl with the zucchini and carrots. Also add the flour and eggs. Mix well, to combine.

Add olive oil to a pan over medium-high heat and once hot, add veggies that have been formed into patties. I “pattied” the veggies as I was adding them to the pan, rather than before. Cook about 7 minutes on each side, or until not longer mushy and crispy and nicely browned. I cooked these longer than other veggie burgers just to ensure that all the egg was cooked through.

Enjoy!