There’s nothing I hate more than a cold. This past week was pretty bad health-wise for those of us at the law school. It seemed like all of my friends were sick, and my friend Amanda and I got pretty bad colds. All of my Vitamin C consumption just couldn’t stave off the law school germs. It probably didn’t help that I’ve been staying up late doing work for the past week and a half, but what’s done is done. I’m just hoping that I’ve fulfilled my cold quota for the year and that the germs will now leave me alone. What can I say? I’m an optimist sometimes.
After a week of soup, soup, and more soup, I was really craving something hearty last night. I spotted this recipe for vegetarian burger a few days ago on Tastespotting and pinned it within seconds of reading the ingredient list. I love black beans. Black bean soup, black bean salad, black beans burritos. You name it, I will eat it. And I love veggie burgers. I’m always looking for more ways to get in my daily dose of protein, and this was just the ticket. It’s hearty and flavorful, and you can easily adapt it to what’s in your kitchen.
The original recipe calls for quinoa, but I am somehow completely out. So I substituted farro. While the grains normally take 35 to 45 minutes to cook, Trader Joe’s now makes a great ten-minute variety. I am actually obsessed. If you haven’t tried farro yet, you definitely should. It’s nutty and filling, and Oprah has classified it as a health food (so it must be true). All I know is that I feel great eating this whole-grain, and it doesn’t hurt that it tastes fantastic!
Veggie Burgers w/Lentils, Black Beans, and Farro
Adapted from Veggie and the Beast. This recipe can easily be altered to accommodate vegans. In fact, the original uses a flax egg to do just that. The crema…well, not so much. After a day of editing, I was too lazy to betake myself to the store, so I made plenty of changes to suit what I had on hand. You’ll also notice I used red pesto in both the burger and the crema. I promise that recipe will be coming your way next week!
- 1, 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup pardina lentils, rinsed and picked over for stones, etc.
- 1¼ cup water
- ½ cup quick-cook farro
- 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
- ½ red bell pepper, finely diced
- ¼ green bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- 2 large cloves garlic, one crushed and one minced
- 1½ tablespoons red pesto
- ¼ cup grated parmesan
- ½ cup oats
- 1 egg, beaten
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- ½ to 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- ¼ teaspoon Pick-a-Peppa sauce
- Non-stick cooking spray or 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
- First, you need to cook the lentils and the farro. You can do this concurrently or, if you are like me and dislike washing dishes, you can do this in the same pot, one after the other.
- To cook your lentils: Add the water, lentils, and the crushed garlic clove. Bring to a boil and cook for five minutes. Reduce to a simmer and continue cooking until the lentils are tender, adding more water if necessary. This takes about 10 more minutes. Drain any excess liquid, remove and discard the garlic, and rinse in cold water.
- To cook the farro: add the farro and broth to a small pot. Bring to a boil, cook for two minutes, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 8-ish minutes–until the farro is tender. Drain and reserve any excess liquid.
- Next, prep the oats: Crush the oats between your fingers or pulse in a food processor until they form a fine powder–almost like a flour.
- Now let’s start making the burger, shall we? In a blender or food processor, combine half the black beans and ¾ of the lentils. Puree until smooth, adding some of the reserved broth from your farro if necessary. I wound up not needing any additional liquid, but feel free to add a splash (and really just a splash!) if your blender is not cooperating. Add the pureed legumes to a large bowl.
- To the bowl, add the remaining lentils, the farro, peppers, shallot, minced garlic, pesto, crushed oats, cheese, spices, herbs, and Pick-a-Peppa sauce. Stir until combined. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust according to your taste. I used about ½ teaspoon coarse salt and threw in an extra pinch of cayenne. Incorporate the egg, stirring with a fork until combined. Refrigerate for one hour (or, if you are lazy/hungry/named Rosemary, cover and freeze for 10 to 15 minutes).
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray with cooking spray or coat with ½ tablespoon olive oil.
- When chilled, form into burgers. I made six normal patties and one half-size patty. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 12 minutes. Using a spatula, carefully flip. Bake for an additional 8 minutes.
- At this point, you have a few options:
- Bake for 4 more minutes. At which point the burgers will be ready to serve and eat immediately.
- Remove from the oven. Heat ½ tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place 4 of the burgers in there and cook each side for an additional 1½ minutes. Remove, transfer to a plate and add in the remaining burgers, adding more oil in between if necessary.
- Bake for 4 more minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Wrap each burger in plastic wrap and place in the freezer. Once frozen, place in a large Ziploc bag. When ready to eat, reheat in a lightly greased skillet.
I did a combination of the last two options. Cooking three to eat this weekend and freezing the rest.
- Serve warm on some toasted bread or a bun, topped with red pesto crema and some spinach.
Spicy Red Pesto Crema
Recipe courtesy of my unpredictable culinary impulses and my abhorrence of ketchup.
- ¼ cup lowfat sour cream
- 1 teaspoon Siracha
- 1 heaping tablespoon red pesto
- Dash of cayenne
- Splash of olive oil
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir well.