Veggie burgers will always remind me of when, years ago, I worked for a financial broker. It was your typical office job… lots of cubicles, the smell of musty manila file folders filled with an assortment of documents, sounds of a loud annoying copier and a small cramped kitchen where all the cool kids gathered to eat lunch and gossip.
For me, I never ate my lunch in the kitchen because I would much rather leave the office, get some fresh air and clear my head of all the mundane work and annoying gossip that filled the walls of our office building.
Many of my co-workers were young professionals (mostly girls) and were always talking about their current diet and workout regimen. But based on their conversations, they did not seem happy. Or maybe that was just my interpretation?? But it seemed like they were constantly complaining about it all rather that being supportive or encouraging or each other. They complained about going out to run after work in the sweltering Texas heat or waking up at the crack of dawn to hit the gym before work. And then complained about eating the same food over and over again, from plain broiled chicken and steamed broccoli, to salads and black bean burgers.
Don’t get me wrong, I know for most “dieting” isn’t fun, and that’s why I’m a firm believer in the all things in moderation and the get up and get moving mantra, not dieting. And even if you are dieting or just trying to be healthier, your food and workouts don’t have to be boring! There are so many delicious meal options and so many ways you can change up the classic “diet” foods.
Because of this, for some time after leaving that job I was skeptical about veggie/black bean burgers. I never really ate them before then, and since my co-workers always complained about how sick of them they were, I wasn’t eager to try them. Then one day I saw a recipe for some, made a batch and thought they were so good. Now don’t get me wrong, we are not vegetarian and enjoy a juicy beef or turkey burger, but we do try to eat meat free one or two nights a week and so veggie/bean burgers are a great way to switch things up.
Since trying my first homemade veggie burger all those years ago we have made many variations, and today’s recipe is definitely a winner, despite what my crazy (totally crazy in that I absolutely adore them) Cajun family (who eat classic, hearty Cajun/Creole meat and seafood dishes on a daily basis) might think! These burgers are filling and have that traditional creole spice. While you can certainly eat them on a burger bun, I have been eating them over a bed of spinach or argula topped with a fried egg, avocado and a hefty dash of hot sauce. Totally delish!
One Year Ago: Vegetable Barley Soup with Chicken Sausage Meatballs
Two Years Ago: Restaurant Review: Jack Allen’s Kitchen (Austin, Texas)
Three Years Ago: Raw Cauliflower Couscous
Four Years Ago: Classic Red Beans and Rice
Five Years Ago: Cranberry Pumpkin Bread
Six Years Ago: Boursin Cheese, Spinach and Pecan-Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Cajun Red Beans and Rice Burgers
Prep Time: 25 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Serves: 6
1 (8.5-ounce) package microwavable quinoa and brown rice
2 tablespoon canola oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
2 (15-ounce) cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1 tablespoon Tabasco hot sauce
1 large egg, beaten
½ cup Panko bread crumbs
¼ teaspoon each Kosher salt and black pepper
3 tablespoon mayonnaise
3 tablespoon stone ground mustard
2 tablespoon green onions, minced
2 tablespoon parsley, chopped
¼ teaspoon each Kosher salt and black pepper
6 whole wheat hamburger buns, toasted
Iceberg lettuce, spinach or arugula
Microwave quinoa and brown rice according to package directions. Remove from microwave and set aside to cool.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large sauté pan on medium‑high heat. Add onions and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-8 minutes, or until tender. Add garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for 4-5 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour beans into a large mixing bowl. Using a fork or potato masher, mash beans until almost smooth, leaving some large pieces of beans.
Add cooled quinoa and rice blend, cooked vegetables, Cajun seasoning, hot sauce, egg, Panko bread crumbs, salt and black pepper. Mix well. Divide bean mixture into 6 equal portions and shape into 6 patties. Set aside.
Return pan to heat and add remaining oil. Working in batches, cook patties in hot oil for 3 minutes per side. Transfer cooked patties to a paper towel lined plate and cook remaining patties.
To form sauce, in a small bowl stir together mayonnaise, mustard, green onions, parsley, salt and black pepper. Spread sauce on toasted buns then add burgers and lettuce. Serve.
Notes: Reserve some diced yellow onion to substitute for green onion in sauce, if needed. Omit egg and add additional bread crumbs for vegan option.
Serving Suggestions: For lower carb option, serve patty on a bed of spinach or arugula topped with a fried egg for added protein, if desired. Serve burgers with Sweet Potato or Carrot Fries, Corn Chips, fresh fruit or raw veggies.
adapted form My H‑E‑B Texas Life Magazine