In my quest for a perfect meatless, but meaty, burger, I’ve tried many concoctions. After making this recipe twice in recent weeks, including for our Father’s Day barbeque, I can say it truly gives that grilled burger satisfaction I crave, and it can even be eaten on a bun without feeling you are on grain or carb overload. For those eating gluten-free, it’s that rare veggie burger you can actually relish (pun intended!).
The combination of quinoa and mushrooms, along with the binders of egg and cheese (sorry, my vegan friends), makes for the moistest, meatiest, burger I’ve had in years. Grilling somewhat chars the quinoa giving it that outer crispiness, with a flavor-filled interior that doesn’t dry out. Served with melted sharp cheddar on a grilled whole wheat bun and topped with traditional burger fixings, any hankering for a hearty, hot, two-fisted sandwich will be wonderfully sated. Enjoy!
Red Quinoa Mushroom Burgers
1 cup cooked red quinoa
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 cup diced onion
1 1/2 cups finely chopped cremini (baby portabella) mushrooms
½ cup black beans (canned is fine), mashed
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced (include some or all the seeds for more heat)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup toasted almonds, finely chopped
1/3 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon tamari (wheat-free soy sauce)
2 teaspoons vegetarian Worcestershire sauce (I use Annie’s Naturals)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Burger toppings of choice (cheese, onion, pickle, tomato, lettuce, ketchup, mustard, etc.) Whole wheat buns (or gluten-free buns), toasted on the grill before serving.
Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, black beans, jalapeno, garlic, marjoram and oregano; cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes.
Beat eggs in a large bowl. Add the quinoa, mushroom mixture, shredded cheddar, almonds, oats, tamari, and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper; stir to combine (it works best to use your hands for the final mixing).
Heat gas grill to medium-medium high heat (or get a charcoal grill fired up similarly). Form burger mixture into patties of desired size (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup is good). If using a pan with smaller grates designed for a grill, spray it with cooking spray and place the patties on it. Otherwise, make sure your grill grates are oiled and place patties directly on grates. Cover grill and cook burgers about 10 minutes. Test with a metal spatula to see if they will flip easily. These burgers will hold together really well if cooked long enough. If not, they will fall apart when you try to flip them. After flipping, cook another 7 minutes or so. If topping with cheese, do so, and cook another minute or two until cheese melts.
Serve with or without buns; add burger toppings of your choice. Makes 8-10 burgers.