I don’t know how many beet burgers I ordered at the pub near my house before I decided to officially make it my mission to recreate it at home. But now, I think I can consider my mission accomplished.
The burger I came up with is a little bit fragile, but delicious. They require a gentle hand when gathering them into patties and transferring them from a pan to a plate. But trust me, they’re worth the TLC. This burger is completely vegetarian and dairy-free. It could be gluten-free without the farro I added for texture and deliciousness. This burger is a three-part equation: roasted beets for flavor and nutrients, farro for added texture, and walnuts and cashews for protein and as a binder.
Be warned, this is not date food. They have a tendency to squish out of the back side of the bun like the fixings in a taco. I’ve taken to putting a burger in a whole wheat pita, filled with fresh salad greens, just so I don’t miss a bite. They also freeze beautifully. Make all the patties at once, let cool and then lay out in a single layer on a baking sheet and put in the freezer. When they are frozen completely, pack them up in an air tight container and thaw them out when you need something yummy for lunch or dinner. Like I said, mission accomplished.
Vegan Beet Burgers
Make about 10 – 12 slider-size burgers
~ 1 – 1 1/4 lb. (a little under would be better than over) beets, roasted*, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 cup each, walnuts and cashews soaked in water for 4 – 6 hours
~ 1/2 cup cooked farro
1 Tsp. kosher salt
1/4 Tsp. each, black pepper and ground coriander
generous 1/2 Tsp. dried thyme
juice of 1/2 lemon
Drain the nuts of their soaking water and place them in the bowl of a food processor. Add all of the other ingredients to the food processor except for the farro. Combine until smooth, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides. Add the farro at one of these intervals so that it gets combined, but not pulverized. Do not over mix – you want the mixture mostly smooth, but with a little texture.
Heat some olive oil in a skillet over medium heat (enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan). These burgers work better as slider-size burgers. Form a small handful of the mixture into a ball and gently flatten with the spatula as you place the burger in the pan. Don’t overcrowd the pan and resist the urge to nudge and move them once you put them in the pan. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side, until a nice crust forms. Be extra careful when flipping and moving them. When finished cooking on the last side, transfer to a cooling rack for freezing or a bun, dressed for the occasion. Enjoy!
*To roast beets, I follow the simple technique I learned from Tamara Murphy in her cookbook, Tender. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Meanwhile, wash and trim the beets. Place a large piece of foil on a baking sheet. Place the beets in the center of the sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Use your hands to make sure the oil coats the beets. Gather the foil up around the beets, creating a seal. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour, until a fork pierces through easily. When cool enough to handle, use the roasting foil to peel the skin off the beets by rubbing the foil along the outside of the beets. As long as you don’t let them cool down too much, this works like a charm!