Saturday, July 5, 2014

The New-Age Veggie Burger

Summer, especially around the 4th of July, just begs for grilled food. Since meat is the food of choice in all too many back yards, vegetarians can feel a little left out. At least this vegetarian does.

In years past, I would grill corn on the cob, attempt tofu kabobs, grill tofu in foil as one might grill fish, slap a commercially made veggie burger on the grill.... you get the idea.

This year, I decided the grill would take a rest. I was beating myself up over why I couldn't find a suitable, grill-worthy dish that everyone liked (I feed meat eaters, too), and I just didn't want to mess with the charcoal.

So instead, I experimented.

I had some quinoa (keen wah) in the cupboard, and I wanted to play with combining textures and odd ingredients. I'd seen recipes that mingled zucchini with quinoa in the past, so I started there. The result: off-the-charts delicious.

Quinoa Zucchini Burgers

1 cup quinoa
3 cups vegetable broth (or more - depends on how it cooks up for you as you simmer it)
1 cup diced potatoes (I used new potatoes with skins on)
1 cup grated zucchini (I let it sit in a paper towel for a few minutes to remove some of the water)
1/4 cup shredded smoked Gouda
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (I cooked mine in water for about 5 minutes)
1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning or chili powder (your own preference)
1 handful basil leaves, torn or chopped
1/3 cup sunflower kernels
Fresh thyme (about a tablespoon)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Freshly milled salt to taste
Breadcrumbs as needed (I used about 6 Tbls.)

Toss quinoa and potatoes into a saucepan with the vegetable broth. Add some pepper and salt; bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are cooked.

In a large bowl, mix together zucchini, beans, seeds, spices, cheese, and seasonings. Depending on how moist the mixture is, add breadcrumbs, a tablespoon at a time, until the mix can be shaped into patties and stand together.

Heat some oil in a skillet. Add patties and cook on each side 5 minutes. This gets you to a point where you can store some patties for later. For the patties you'll use now, cook 5 minutes more on each side again. Look for the outside to be crisp and dark brown.

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