A few times in the twenty-some years since going vegetarian, I’ve ordered something in a restaurant and was certain they made a mistake and gave me meat. And then I felt really guilty because it tasted so good. Fortunately, it’s always turned out to actually be vegetarian.
This happened again recently with a wild rice melt when we stopped for lunch on our way back from the cabin. There’s a restaurant in Duluth, MN that from the outside looks like an old Ember’s (which years ago, it was), but there are vegetable and herb gardens in the parking lot and, once inside, you find yourself in an eco-friendly, organic, local food oasis, that still looks like an Ember’s. The Duluth Grill does comfort food right, and makes sure that vegetarians and gluten-free diners have almost as many choices as everyone else.
A wild rice melt caught my eye on the menu—pretty much a patty melt, but with this wild rice burger. I asked our server if it was vegetarian and she hesitated for a few seconds and then said yes. That worried me a bit. When I took my first bite, a moment of panic—the flavor and texture was so meaty, but after a thorough inspection, I breathed a sigh of relief—no meat! And man oh man, this was good—I couldn’t get it out of my mind. A few days later, I Googled it, thinking I might find a recipe for a similar wild rice burger and lo and behold, I found THE recipe. The Duluth Grill recipe. Seems they have a cookbook and a couple excerpts were included in a newspaper article about the book. Pretty sure I actually squealed with delight.
After making the recipe a couple times as written, I decided on a few tweaks that made it a little healthier, but just as tasty. These sturdy patties make a great burger on a bun, can be broken up and scattered over a salad, and my favorite way—patty melt style, grilled on bread with some gooey cheese and fried onions. Enjoy!
Wild Rice Patties
½ cup old fashioned (not quick) oats, toasted
3 cups cooked wild rice
½ cup diced mushrooms (I used cremini)
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup mayonnaise (vegan Mindful Mayo works well)
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
½ teaspoon white pepper
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
½ teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
¼ – ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, depending on the level of heat you like
Place oats in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the consistency of coarse bread crumbs. In a large bowl, mix together oats, wild rice and mushrooms. Stir in eggs, mayo and yogurt. In a small bowl, combine pepper, salt, granulated garlic, onion powder, cumin and red pepper flakes. Stir seasonings into wild rice mixture.
Place mixture in the refrigerator while you preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. When oven is hot, using a ½ cup measure, scoop a heaping cup of mixture and form into a patty about an inch thick. Place patty on parchment lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining mixture, for a total of six patties.
Bake 40-45 minutes, flipping patties about half-way through baking time, until golden on both sides. Serve as you would your favorite burger.