Meatless Monday – Beet Veggie Burgers with Pickled Onions

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What is more American than a juicy burger, except for maybe baseball, hot dogs and apple pie, and I would argue about that… Well these burgers may not be traditional in that they are plant based, primarily quinoa and pinto beans and they get their lovely color from raw shredded beets, but they can definitely go head to head with a beef burger.  I thought these were really good, especially with the pickled red onions, butter lettuce, a little avocado, mustard and mayo, boom!  I could eat these once a week!

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I found this recipe in the Hannaford fresh Magazine, May – June 2019 this summer and I’ve been wanting to make them ever since.  I have always liked veggie burgers, not because I miss meat, but because there is something so iconic about eating a burger.  It’s the ultimate comfort food. (Sorry mac and cheese)  I was immediately intrigued by the addition of raw shredded beet in this recipe. You may have tried the increasingly popular Beyond Meat Burger which is entirely plant based and gets its red coloring from beet juice which is what piqued my interest in this recipe.  Beyond Beef is a very good beef replacement but I’m not sure where regular people go about getting pea protein isolate so… that’s where this recipe comes in. These burgers are packed with protein provided by both the pinto beans and quinoa with smoked paprika and other spices to make a really delicious burger which is easy to make.   Plus homemade is best!
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…And the magic ingredient is beets!  In spite of their homely external appearance, once peeled they are beautiful and vibrant jewel tones, proving the old adage that beauty is on the inside. In addition to providing the gorgeous red color in these burgers, beets are a great source of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals including vitamin C and iron.  One word of caution though, beet juice stains anything porous so use a ceramic cutting board or a plate when peeling.  I used my cuisinart for shredding which worked pretty well although it looked a bit like a bloodbath.
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I like to set up a burger bar so people can make their own.  This time, I set out pickled onion, avocado, dill pickles, butter lettuce and the usual condiments.  The pickled onion is a fun touch but completely optional.  Pickling red onions in half rice wine vinegar and half water softens their texture and sharpness.  It becomes a whole new vegetable!
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TIPS:  This recipe takes under 30 minutes if you are efficient, including quinoa cooking time.  Using leftover quinoa, or making it ahead, is even faster.  It does recommend refrigerating patties for a half hour before cooking to firm them up but this step can be skipped if you are pressed for time. This recipe can be made gluten free by using gluten free panko.  It can be made vegan by using an egg replacer or flaxseed combined with water. Use 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal to 3 tablespoons of water for one egg.  The original recipe called for 1 cup chopped walnuts but I am allergic, so I skipped it altogether.  I don’t feel the recipe needed it but feel free to add walnuts for more heft and protein.
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BEET VEGGIE BURGERS
1 (15-oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (1/2 cup uncooked)
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup shredded red beet (1 small beet)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. smoked paprika
4 tsp. olive oil
6 hamburger buns
1/2 -1 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional-see Tips above)
PICKLED RED ONION (Optional)
1 small red onion
3/4 cup rice vinegar
3/4 cup water
  • Cook 1/2 cup of quinoa according to directions.  Pour into a large bowl to cool.

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  • While quinoa is cooking, thinly slice red onion and place in a bowl with rice vinegar and water. Cover and refrigerate until burgers are ready for serving.

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  • Mash pinto beans with a wooden spoon until mostly broken down but not completely smooth and add to quinoa.

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  • Peel raw beet with a sharp knife on a plate to save your cutting board from staining.  Shred or grate in a food processor, mandolin or box grater. Add to quinoa mixture.

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  • Add breadcrumbs, egg, garlic powder, salt, and paprika and mix until well combined.

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  • Form mixture into six thick patties and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes. (You may be able to skip this step if you are in a hurry)

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  • Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add three patties and cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Repeat with remaining 2 teaspoons oil and patties.

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  • Place cooked patties in buns and serve with pickled red onions and your other favorite toppings.

Beet Veggie Burger

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 (15-oz.) can pinto beans(drained and rinsed)
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (1/2 cup uncooked)
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup shredded red beet (1 small)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. smoked paprika
4 tsp. olive oil
6 hamburger buns
1/2 -1 cup finely chopped walnuts(optional-see Tips)
PICKLED RED ONION (Optional)
1 small red onion
3/4 cup rice vinegar
3/4 cup water
  • Cook 1/2 cup of quinoa according to directions.  Pour into a large bowl to cool.
  • While quinoa is cooking, thinly slice red onion and place in a bowl with rice vinegar and water. Cover and refrigerate until burgers are ready for serving.
  • Mash pinto beans with a wooden spoon until mostly broken down but not completely smooth and add to quinoa.
  • Peel raw beet with a sharp knife on a plate to save your cutting board from staining.  Shred or grate in a food processor, mandolin or box grater. Add to quinoa mixture.
  • Add breadcrumbs, egg, garlic powder, salt, and paprika and mix until well combined.
  • Form mixture into six thick patties and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes. (You may be able to skip this step if you are in a hurry)
  • Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add three patties and cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Repeat with remaining 2 teaspoons oil and patties.
  • Place cooked patties in buns and serve with pickled red onions and your other favorite toppings.