Celebrate the holiday weekend with a gluten free and vegan beet and bean burger. Full of protein, fiber, and lots of fresh veggie goodness, these colorful burgers are thick, tasty, healthy, savory, and easy to prepare!
Happy Fourth of July weekend, friends!
If you’ve read my blog before or seen some of my recipes, you know I harbor a strange love for beets. I think that brilliantly red little root vegetable is delicious. The humble beet possess that ideal flavor balance between earthy and sweet that all my favorite vegetables (sweet potato, carrots, romaine) have.
Ryan thinks my love of beets is genuinely weird. Thankfully, I have an amazing husband who isn’t bothered by some of my quirkier food choices. He doesn’t mind the taste of beet greens, but he opts out of sharing a huge serving of roasted beets with me. Based on a very scientific survey or our family and friends, Pinterest, Instagram, and other blogs, we have concluded I am in the minority with my love for beets. You know how some people have a gene that makes cilantro taste like soap? I’m pretty sure I have a rare gene that identifies the taste of beets as sweet and equivalent to candy.
Although please, never serve me pickled beets out of a can. I just can’t tolerate the rubbery texture of those.
Granted, beets do come with that mildly disturbing side effect known as beeturia, which can make one think that they are slowly dying (which you’re not). But let’s not discuss such unpleasant things, shall we?
Let’s discuss veggie burgers instead. Some of you may be scoffing, because veggie burgers could be qualified under the category of unpleasant things. I empathize with your pain. I have regretfully consumed bad veggie burgers. These burgers, I promise, are not those type of veggie burgers.
Bad veggie burgers are those pure-soy ones you get from the freezer aisle or from college cafeterias. I used to willingly and gladly eat those veggie burgers back when I was in my early 20s, until I realized that soy and I are not good friends. Some people can eat it with no problem, but it leaves my stomach aching and renders me feeling rather like a pile of Charlie’s twosies.
So I gave up on any and all processed veggie burgers as part of mission no-more-soy (I also cut Kashi cereals out of my diet, which was a sad day). If I was eating at a restaurant where they had all-bean burgers on the menu, I would definitely order them and greedily dig into it. Black bean burgers are almost (yes, almost) as mouth-watering and heavenly as beef burgers.
Bean burgers are so delicious that I could not reserve them for dining out only occasions. Once I was no longer spending every waking hour of my day poring over research and thesis-writing, I eagerly began developing recipes for different types of veggie and bean burgers that contained no soy and were easy to make at home. So I researched, experimented, tested, and tasted. That’s what you do with a master’s degree, right?
I probably should have studied food science or nutrition.
Over the past year, a few of my veggie and bean burger creations have stood the test of taste. These baked falafel with garlic tahini drizzle pack an incredible flavor and have that elusive, perfectly crispy outside without all the fat from frying. Wrap up in a pita or toss on a salad with some feta and these will take you to Mediterranean food nirvana. My upcoming eCookbook (look for it in early fall!) includes a recipe for husband-approved spicy black bean burgers that one of my favorite vegetarian dinners, especially when paired with sweet potato fries.
I realized, however, that all of my veggie burger recipes contained eggs and flour. There is nothing wrong with eggs and flour, as evidenced by the fact that we must always have eggs and some Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat flour on hand or else I panic. I am attempting to expand my recipe audience, which means includes making vegan, Paleo, and gluten free dishes.
I also wanted to make a veggie burger recipe that contained less beans. Beans contain lots of nutrients and plenty of good-for-you fiber and protein, but they are not always the kindest foods to sensitive stomachs. Nor are they the type of food you want to heavily indulge in before a long run or a race. These beet and bean burgers contain half the beans for the whole recipe than my other veggie burger recipes, thus rendering them gentler on the GI system while still full of protein.
In order to make these beet and bean burgers vegan and gluten free, I substituted oat flour in place of regular flour and replaced the egg with a chia egg. What’s a chia egg? It’s simply ground-up chia seeds mixed with water to create a binding agent. You can do the same thing with ground flax; I prefer chia seeds because they contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, while flax contains omega-6s, which most of us get enough of in our diets. (Don’t have chia or flax seeds on hand? Try one of these other egg replacers.)
Here’s the caveat: the substitutions do create a softer, less structured burger. In order to create firmness and keep the burgers from crumbling, here are my tips:
- Form thick patties. Spreading the mixture too thin will create a delicate burger and cause it to crumble easily, especially if you reheat it later.
- First cook over the stove, then bake in the oven. The longer baking time will firm up the burgers more than just a quick cook over the stove.
- Use a grill pan instead of a grated grill, to avoid the risk of the mixture falling through the grates while cooking.
- Don’t crowd these burgers together in the pan while cooking (this is a general tip for cooking any burgers).
- If you reheat, do so either over the stove or for short intervals in the microwave (30 seconds at a time until warmed through). Too much heat will cause the leftover burgers to crumble.
- Don’t expect these to mimic beef burgers. The texture of these will not be the same as a beef burger do to the lower fat content and higher amount of water from the vegetables.
For a light meal that’s vegan and gluten free, you can enjoy these burgers in a lettuce wrap! Crisp romaine, hearty cabbage, and the large leaves of bibb lettuce are the best choices because of their durability and mild flavor. Or, you can savor these on a whole wheat burger bun or tortilla.
These beet and bean burgers also contain broccoli and carrots, so they pack so much fiber and so many vitamins with all of the vegetables that they make a great alternative for a guilt-free burger for the holiday weekend. Plus, isn’t the bright beet red color patriotic?
- 3 tablespoons rolled oats
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1/4 of a yellow onion, minced
- 5-7 spears of broccoli, chopped
- 1 beet, peeled and chopped
- 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 (14-oz) can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil
- 2 tablespoons minced onions or other toppings (optional)
- In a food processor, grind the oats into a coarse flour and then pour into a large mixing bowl.
- Using a mortar and pestle or the food processor, grind the chia seeds. Combine the chia seeds and water in a small dish and let sit for 5 minutes to make the egg replacement.
- Meanwhile, use the shredder attachment to grate the broccoli, beet, and carrot in the food processor. Add the oats, beans, chia seed egg replacement, onions, and spices to the food processor and pulse a few times to combine. You want to integrate the ingredients but avoid pureeing the beans too much.*
- Preheat your oven to 375 degree Fahrenheit.
- Heat a grill pan or skillet over medium high heat on the stove with the half of the olive oil. While it heats, shape the mixture into 4-6 tightly packed burger patties. Once the oil is hot, add the burgers 2-3 at a time and cook 4-5 minutes on each side. Once the first batch is done, set the cooked burgers aside, add the remaining oil, and cook the remaining burgers.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake the burgers in the oven for 15-20 minutes to firm them up.
- Serve as desired and enjoy immediately!
- *If needed, do this step in batches to avoid overfilling your food processor work bowl.
- Leftover burgers can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days and carefully reheated.
I’ll be linking up with Tina Muir for Meatless Monday, so be sure to check out my and other bloggers’ recipes there each week!
P.S.: I have been using the KitchenAid 7 Cup Food Processor for three years now and highly recommend it if you’re look for a food processor to make veggie burgers and other yummy foods.
Questions of the Day:
What are your Fourth of July plans?
What’s your favorite type of burger? —-> Black bean or beef for me, although salmon is always good!
What’s one of your favorite “weird” foods?