These veggie burgers draw their flavor from vegetables, and that’s the way it should be.
The most foolproof here are the grilled portobello mushrooms, so it’s no wonder Robin Donovan serves them up in “Campfire Cuisine.” They’re sturdy and easy to prepare. Spray the caps with olive oil, shake on a little salt and pepper, and grill. They’re ready in about 15 minutes.
The rest of the recipes will require stovetop cooking because the delicate patties won’t fare well on the grill. Flip them carefully. While fragile in structure, they’re big on flavor. Make them with any vegetable or beans on hand that can be mashed: black, white or red beans, chickpeas, lentils or potatoes. Swap vegetables: beets for carrots, or try parsnips, sweet potatoes. Change up binders: Use quick cook oats, bread crumbs, unseasoned cornmeal stuffing. Add texture: Cooked brown rice, red rice and quinoa are perfect. Alter spices with a prepackaged blend or add cumin or coriander. Above all, enjoy.
VEGAN BURGERS 2 cups cooked or canned black, white or red beans, chickpeas, or lentils, drained, liquid reserved
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1/2 cup rolled oats
4 carrots, peeled and grated (11/2 cups)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
1 tablespoon chili powder or other spice mix
1 teaspoon salt, black pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
8 slices whole wheat toast or buns
4 lettuce leaves, tomato, half red onion,
4 tablespoons mustard
Combine beans, onion, garlic, oats, carrots, parsley, chili powder, salt and pepper in a food processor. Pulse until combined but not pureed. If the mixture does not hold together, add reserved bean liquid a tablespoon at a time until it does. Let the mixture rest for a few minutes before shaping burgers.
Shape into patties 1 inch thick. Cover and refrigerate for several hours.
Film the bottom of a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet with the oil and turn the heat to medium.
Cook patties in the hot skillet, 3-5 minutes per side. Per serving: 530 calories; 14 grams protein; 74 grams carbohydrates; 22 grams fat; 1,043 milligrams sodium; 12 grams fiber; 9 grams sugar. GRILLED PORTOBELLO BURGERS 4 large portobello mushrooms, stems trimmed
Olive oil spray
Salt and pepper
4 hamburger buns, toasted
1/2 cup jarred roasted red bell peppers
Spray the mushrooms all over with olive oil or cooking spray. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill over medium-high heat for 7-8 minutes per side, until tender. Serve on toasted buns, topped with roasted peppers and any other desired garnishes. Variations:
1. Grill cup side down for 10 minutes, then turn. Fill the cavities with slivers of Comte or Gruyere cheese and a heaping tablespoon of creme fraiche (or substitute sour cream) and grill for 10 more minutes. 2. Make a marinade with 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup inexpensive balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup soy sauce and 3 garlic cloves. Place the marinade ingredients and 4 mushroom caps in a zipper-top bag for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours before grilling. VEGGIE BURGERS WITH MELTING CHEESE 1 (14-ounce) can aduki beans, drained
2 carrots, grated
1 small onion, grated
1 ounce mixed nuts
11/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
1 tablespoon mushroom ketchup or Worcestershire sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small egg, beaten
Sunflower or vegetable oil, for frying
4 burger buns
4 slices Swiss cheese
Tomato/lettuce for garnish
Mash beans with tomato masher or fork. Add carrots, onions, nuts, bread crumbs, mixed herbs, mushroom ketchup and some salt and pepper. Combine thoroughly. Mix with just enough of the beaten egg to bind the mixture together.
Shape into 4 burgers, place on parchment-paper lined plate, and chill for 30 minutes. Heat enough oil to cover the base of a large non-stick frying pan. Fry burgers over a moderate heat for 6-7 minutes on each side until golden. MUSHROOM BURGERS 2/3 cup water
cup cooked red or brown rice or quinoa
1 pound portabella mushrooms, stems discarded
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
3 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 cups fine dry bread crumbs
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup olive oil
Break one-third of mushrooms into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped, then transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining two batches.
Cook onion and bell pepper in the butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped mushrooms, the garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until any liquid the mushrooms give off is evaporated and the mushrooms begin to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and stir in the rice, parsley, soy sauce and 1/2 cup bread crumbs. Cool 10 minutes. Stir in egg. Form patties and chill 1 hour.
Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Fry patties until deep golden brown, turning over once, about 4 minutes total or until cooked through.Serves 4 From “VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health ... for Good” by Mark Bittman (Clarkson Potter, $26) Serves 4 “Campfire Cuisine: Gourmet Recipes for the Great Outdoors” by Robin Donovan (Quirk Books, $15.95). From “The Picnic Cookbook, by Annie Bell (Kyle Books, $19.95). From “100 Grilling Recipes You Can’t Live Without” by Cheryl and Bill Jamison (The Harvard Common Press, $16.95) Serves 4 From “Vegetable Please: The More Vegetables, Less Meat Cookbook” by Carolyn Humphries (DK, $25) Serves 4 From “The Epicurious Cookbook” by Tanya Steel and the editors of Epicurious.com (Clarkson Potter, $27.99)