“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Hellen Keller
I’ve come to realize that I am an adventurer. I find my flow in the healthy tension between what is and what lies ahead, the process of unravelling the unknown. This unraveling has repeatedly opened me to great opportunities and, more often than not, something beautiful. Life these days is becoming a study in experimental living with lots of question marks and open ellipsis. It’s an exciting time.
While it all reveals itself I catch myself looking backward. In the kitchen, I’m reminded of the meals that have marked milestones and left indelible dimples on my palate. When I was living in San Francisco, friends and I would huddle for lunches over a very special veg burger at The Plant Cafe, Organic. This burger was basically a weekly event, yet the first bite was almost always followed by “Uh…this is so good”. This delicious, nutty burger is made of primarily grains, nuts, sauteed mushrooms and roasted beets. It’s by far the very best veg burger I’ve had.
There are a number of recipes floating around the interwebs for this burger. They all helped to inform a really great starting point. That said, the burger was generally too wet and not as dense as I like or had remembered. I found that adding nuts, in multiple forms (flours, chopped and whole) helped to create the density and texture that it needs to live as a burger.
A quick housekeeping note: While I was working on this burger over the weekend we were also migrating The Wisch List to a new server. That said, you may have experienced a few broken links. Thanks for being patient while we chip away at the blips that still exist.
BEET NUT VEG BURGER
2/3 cup bulgar
3/4 cup lentils
1/2 cup raw cashew meal
1/2 cup raw almond meal
1 cup raw cashews, whole
1 cup beets, roasted, peeled and diced
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sauteed
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, whole
1 tsp sea salt
4 tbsp coconut oil
Soak both the lentils and bulgar in water for at least 3 hours. Measure both after they have been soaked.
(THE CASHEW & ALMOND MEAL)
You can make nut meal in either a high-speed blender like a Vitamix, a food processor or even a spice or coffee grinder. Simply add your nuts and blend/process into a fine powder.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Clean and trim the beets and place them on a cookie sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the beets are very tender. Once the beets are cool they will be easy to peel. Dice and set aside.
Heat 2 tbsp of coconut oil and sautee the mushrooms until they are golden brown and cooked through.
Using a food processor, combine the grains, beets, mushrooms, cashew meal, almond meal, whole cashews and salt. Process until fully combined, scraping down the sides as needed. At this point, I encourage you to employ your instincts. You want the texture here to make for easy handling and patty-making. If it’s too wet, you’ll know. If so, add more almond meal and/or cashew powder for balance and to create density.
Empty the mixture into a bowl and add the sunflower seeds. Stir to combine.
Form the mixture into patties and place onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Allow the patties to chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
To cook these burgers you will bake them first and then saute. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a foil-lined cookie sheet to prevent the burgers from sticking. Place the patties on the sheet and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes remove from the oven and heat 2 tbsp of coconut oil in saute pan. Saute the patties until you’ve achieved a nice sear on both sides.
Top your burger with your favorites. We added english cheddar, carmelized onion, sauteed mushrooms, arugula and a fried egg. You can create a vegan and/or gluten free version by choosing a gluten free bun and omitting the egg.