A Quinoa and Bean Burger with kale, and flavored with garlic, sage, and cumin. This burger is made for the grill and packs more than 10 grams of protein in each serving. A gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, vegan burger that works great on the grill.
Most of my grilling happens with vegetables because nearly any veggie can be transformed into smoky deliciousness with a simple turn on the grate. Think mushrooms, eggplant, bell peppers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, asparagus, and even broccoli. But to get the summer really going, I need a good, hearty burger I can sink my teeth into.
There are a ton of veggie burgers out there in the supermarket, but most are disappointingly bland and so processed that you might do better chewing on a chunk of rubber. My hometown newspaper The Washington Post, whose food section has turned rather vegetarian-friendly over the past few months, recently did a taste test of 16 veggie burgers on the market (gulp, did you even know there were that many available?). As you can see the results were anything but encouraging. In fact, the most complimentary comment went something like, “Nice to see recognizable produce.”But while off-the-shelf veggie burgers might leave you wanting, it is quite possible to turn out in your kitchen an all-veg burger that is delicious and satisfying enough to make a voracious carnivore go, who needs meat? Well, almost.
A couple of years back, I posted a great-on-the-grill vegan veggie burger recipe that so many of you love and have tried: my Bean and Oats Burger. That healthy patty has amazing texture and holds well on a grill and it is pretty much my go-to burger recipe. But this week, trying to think of an even better-for-you burger, if possible, I dreamed up and then made this startlingly flavorful, utterly healthy Quinoa and Bean Burger. With kale and carrots and all other sorts of veggie goodness rolled into it. And all of it flavored with some smoking-hot garam masala.
Garam masala is not your average burger ingredient and yet it’s a perfect fit. Spices tend to add depth and smokiness to meat-free ingredients. And I dare you to imagine a burger — vegan or not– filled with more heart-healthy protein than the quinoa and beans pack into this recipe.
I hope everyone has been enjoying the warm weather here in our part of the world. I spent the long Memorial Day weekend trying to beat my yard into shape and not even coming close to where I need to be. But I did plant some seedlings: tomatoes, eggplants, bell pepper, and zucchini. And between watering them and keeping the weeds out, you can bet I will be praying that my thumb’s gotten a little greener after years of trial and error. 🙂
Moving on to the recipe for my vegan Quinoa and Bean Burger. Enjoy, all!
Quinoa and Bean Burger: Great-to-Grill Vegan Recipes
- 1 cup dry red kidney beans (rajma)
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1/4 cup chickpea flour, also known as besan or garbanzo bean flour
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1 large carrot, grated
- 1 cup packed kale leaves, minced
- 4 leaves of sage, minced. (Sage adds a great smokiness, but you can also use coriander leaves here.)
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced or grated
- 1 tbsp tamari, or you can use regular soy sauce
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper or paprika (use cayenne for more heat)
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp vegetable oil like olive or canola, and an oil spray to cook the burgers
- To cook the quinoa, rinse under cold water and then place in a saucepan with 2 cups of water and garam masala. Add salt to taste. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and let the quinoa cook until it has absorbed most of the water. Place a tight-fitting lid on the saucepan and continue to cook on low heat for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.
- To cook the beans, it is always better to soak them overnight but you can get away with no soaking if you have a pressure cooker. If you do, just follow your manufacturer’s instructions to get beans that are squishable but not falling apart. Otherwise, place the soaked beans in a large saucepan, cover with at least an inch of water, bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low and cook for about an hour until tender.
- Heat 1 tsp of oil in a large saucepan.
- Add the carrot, onion, kale, sage, and garlic. Add the tamari, mustard, coriander and cumin powders and the cayenne. Saute on medium-high heat about 5-8 minutes or until the mixture is dry and doesn’t taste raw anymore. Stir in the tomato paste and saute for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the ground black pepper and cooked beans and mix well. Using a potato masher, squish some of the beans. You don’t want this mixture to be too smooth– your burger will benefit from some texture.Add the chickpea flour and stir for another couple of minutes. You want the bean mixture to be quite dry and without any visible moisture, or your patties won’t hold together.Add the quinoa and mix well. Check for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Heat a griddle and spray with some oil. Moisten your hands in a water bath and form the patties. You can get about eight really big patties and 10 good-sized ones from this recipe.
- Place the patties on the skillet and cook on each side until browned.
- You can freeze these patties once they have cooled. Separate each patty with wax paper before freezing. When you are ready to grill, just throw the frozen patty on the grate and heat through.
I served these burgers piping hot, cradled in my Whole Wheat Burger Buns along with some greens, onions, avocado, and a dollop of Nayonaise (it’s a vegan mayo that tastes amazingly like the real thing on the bun).