The Ultimate Veggie Burger

For the longest time, the veggie burger at Houston’s has been my favorite burger.  It’s sweet, savory and smoky – I actually don’t even eat the bun with it.   At home, I’ve tried boca burgers and other frozen brands, but they never compare to the one from Houston’s.  When I discovered Gwyneth Paltrow’s recipe for a “homemade veggie burger” – I was incredibly curious to try it.  The ingredients were ones I usually stocked in our house, and the steps seemed easy.  While it was hard to be patient while the patties cooled in the fridge, the end result was definitely worth it.  We’ve enjoyed ours with some of our favorite barbecue sauce (Gayle’s Original) and a whole wheat bun (we like the ones from Whole Foods).  I’ve yet to serve this to company, but for a crowd that enjoys veggie burgers and other vegetarian fare – they will certainly love this (it might surprise the meat-lovers too)! 

Some notes

  • The first time I made this, we didn’t have cilantro so I used flat leaf parsley instead.  It tasted great.  The second time, we used cilantro, and it definitely kicks up the flavor.  I would use either – but not omit completely.
  • Sometimes I can’t wait “the couple of hours” to let the patties cool in the fridge.  They cook up fine after 20 minutes in the fridge, but definitely hold their shape and have more flavor, the longer they chill out.
  • For brown rice, I’ve used leftover brown rice that was in the refrigerator a few days and the burgers still came out great.  I usually just use the 3-minute frozen brown rice from Trader Joes.
  • For the onions, I like mine brown, so cook them to that point instead of when they’re just softened (unless, of course, you just like them softened)
  • To cook the burgers, I use just 1 tbsp. safflower oil.
  • For leftovers, you can either leave the patties chilling in the fridge for the next day’s meal and cook then OR I precook them and reheat on a medium-heat skillet the next day.
  • NOTE – if you wanted to make sliders, I think it could make about 8 – just divide the mixture as such – and cook according to recipe.

Veggie Burger with BBQ Sauce + Romaine

My Favorite Veggie Burgers
adapted from My Father’s Daughter by Gwyneth Paltrow

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 small sweet onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 14-oz. can black beans, drained & rinsed (I use the brand with BPA free lining)
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro or flat leaf parsley
2 tbsp. flour (you will probably use less)
1-2 tbsp. safflower oil
4 whole wheat burger buns (or your favorite)

Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan (with the straight edge) over medium-low heat. Saute the onion, garlic, and cumin together until starting to brown and fragrant, about 7-10 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, beans, and rice and cook, stirring about 2 -4 minutes. Add the cilantro (or parsley) and mash the mixture with a potato masher just to thoroughly combine and get some cohesion – you want the burgers to have some texture.

Once the mixture is cooled, I form a rough square of the mixture and divide into four – each section making one patty. (You can divide smaller if you want to make sliders.) At this point, you can set the burgers in the fridge for a few hours. I put on a plate and cover tightly with saran/plastic wrap.

Dust both sides with flour. Heat safflower oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown burgers on both sides, about a few minutes on each side. (If you’re nervous about oil splattering, keep heat at medium and let burgers book a few minutes longer on each side)

Serve them on buns with all your favorite fixings.

P.S. Gwyneth says her vegetarian daughter loves this – so might be a good one for kids too.

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