Veggie burgers have acquired a bad rep because the ingredients tend to render them so lackluster seems like you are gnawing on a dog biscuit.
The objective with veggie burgers is to deliver in texture and flavor and I guarantee there’s nothing yawn inducing about this take, which will not make you miss the meat, even if you’re a confirmed velociraptor. Here, the cast of characters are so intriguing and diverse, it’s going to become one of your faves of all time. The roasted bell pepper aioli and the fig jam make this burger flat-out delicious and savory-sweet. Don’t forget to post on Instagram so you can boast your capabilities.
Seriously guys, I can’t stress this enough. Take the time to prepare your condiments so you don’t avail yourself from store-bough crap which contains, colorants, preservatives, sugars and a ton of sodium. Making your own mayo, aioli, ketchup, chutneys, confits and pickles injects versatility into your cooking and that’s how serious chefs are elevating food to another level. The secret to delivering professional fare at home, is creating your food from scratch, which is what will catapult your dishes to greatness.
1 cup of brown rice
½ LB of button mushrooms – minced
½ PKG of Brussel sprouts – minced
1 onion – minced
2 potatoes – peeled, cooked and grated
2 carrots – finely minced
1 PKG of riced cauliflower
1 PKG of Trader Joe’s cooked lentils**
½ cup of oats
1 can of chickpeas, drained, dried and minced
1 cup of toasted pumpkin seeds – chopped
¼ cup molasses
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 large onion – chopped finely (for caramelizing)
Heirloom tomato slices
Fig jam (recipe follows)
Red bell pepper aioli (recipe follows)
4 toasted brioche buns
ROASTED RED PEPPER AIOLI
2 egg yolks
2 TBSP Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
2 TSP lemon juice
6 oz roasted red bell peppers (if using from a jar – drain, dry and chopped finely)
½ olive oil
½ grapeseed oil
Kosher salt and fresh raked pepper
In the cup of an immersion blender add all the ingredients. Insert the immersion blender all the way to the bottom and pulse a few times lifting the blender slightly up and down. When you see the mixture emulsifying, lift the blender up and down a little higher to insert some air while you are blending to acquire the right consistency. It should be done in about 30 seconds. Set aside.
1 PK of dried figs
¼ cup of white sugar
½ cup of Bourbon
¼ cup of white balsamic vinegar
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 piece of star anise
5-6 whole cloves
1 TSP orange zest
1 TSP lemon zest
Pinch of Kosher salt
Combine the figs, sugar, bourbon, star anise, whole cloves, balsamic vinegar, lemon and orange zests with the pinch of Kosher in a medium sauce pan. Bring all ingredients to a boil and reduce to a gentle simmer for about 30 minutes till reduced by half. Set aside and the jam will thicken as it cools. Stores in the fridge for about 10 days.
PATTY SPICE MIX
1 TSP Kosher salt
½ TSP smoked Spanish sweet paprika
½ TSP turmeric
½ TSP each ground coriander and cumin
½ TSP ground mustard
½ TSP Ancho chili powder
½ TSP ground sage
½ TSP each of garlic and onion powder
In a food processor pulse the veggies (onion, mushrooms, Brussel sprouts, carrots), one at a time and add them to a bowl with the riced cauliflower. Mix well together and spread them onto a cookie sheet, drizzle generously with olive oil, Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes to remove their moisture. Allow them to cool and add them to a bowl.
Meanwhile, boil the brown rice according to package instructions. Drain and rinse the chickpeas, dry them with a kitchen towel and pulse them in the food processor.
Add the brown rice and chickpeas to the roasted vegies and add the lentils, pumpkin seeds and shredded cooked potatoes. Add the spice mix, lemon juice, molasses and oats. Mix well with your hands. Form the patties and allow them to cool for about 1 hour plus.
In a sauté pan add some olive oi and sweat the onions with a pinch of salt and caramelize them, stirring often for about 30 minutes.
PREHEAT OVEN TO 350F
Place the patties on a cookie sheet sprayed with some olive oil and bake for about 40 minutes. Heat up some safflower oil in a cast-iron skillet and sear the patties on each side for about 2 minutes. Toast your buns.
Assemble your burger. Add some roasted pepper aioli on the bottom bun, lettuce and tomato, the patty, some more pepper aioli, caramelized onions and the fig jam.
The lentils are purchased from Trader joes. You can also prepare them by soaking them overnight, draining them and adding them to a Dutch oven with ½ chicken stock and ½ water (1 cup each), a drizzle of olive oil, bay leaf, large chunks of raw onion and a few smashed garlic cloves. Cook them for about 40 minutes, but ensure they don’t become mushy, as the patties are also baking in the oven. Drain and reserve. Salt and pepper after cooking as the salt will render them tough if you add them at the beginning.