The Best Vegan Burger I’ve Ever Had

We eat these every week and they make excellent leftovers!

We eat these every week and they make excellent leftovers!

So I distinctly remember the first time I had a veggie burger, at Eat-N-Park restaurant in Pittsburgh, at age 16. It was the Original Gardenburger and at the time, I thought it was just fabulous. Then at Carlow College, I recall ordering their version of frozen veggie patty–it was fried and crispy and frankly, disgusting, in retrospect! Since then, I’ve tried various brands and versions, but they just about all contained gluten and soy, two ingredients that we tend to avoid. I’ve made this particular burger several times now and each time I’ve tweaked the ingredients and ratios just a bit–each time, my husband and 10 year old stepson absolutely love them as much as I do! I may edit this post in the future if I find that something works even better, but I can assure you that this recipe tastes delicious and makes plenty–and you’ll want leftovers! We all seem to think that the seconds are even better in this case!

Carnivore & vegan approved!

Carnivore & vegan approved!

Ingredients:
1 cup dry brown rice (this equals 3 cups cooked brown rice)
1 cup dry black beans, soaked overnight or for a few hours (this will equal 3 cups cooked black beans)
2 cloves garlic minced (or 1 tsp of minced garlic in the jar)
1 yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
3 TBSP BBQ Sauce OR 1 Egg, beaten OR 1 TBSP Flax OR Chia in 3 TBSP warm water (your choice of binding agent)
1 tbsp coconut oil (or whatever oil you like to saute veggies in)
1/4 cup pecans, chopped (you could also substitute walnuts or almonds)
1 cup Gluten-Free bread crumbs (or you could optionally use a cup of diced almonds)
1 head of Organic Lettuce, halved and rinsed.
Roma Tomato
Avocado
Condiments such as Relish, Mustard, Pico de Gallo or whatever your heart desires!

Instructions:
~Prepare the black beans and brown rice as directed. I like to use dry beans to avoid any BPA-lined cans. You can do this a day or two ahead of time and can even do so in a crockpot if that’s easier!
~Saute the onion and red bell pepper in your Coconut Oil or oil of choice until softened and transparent.
~In a food processor, combine the salt, cumin and pecans. When cooled, add the bell pepper and onion mixture and the black beans and brown rice. *I have a fairly large food processor/blender (the Kitchen Ninja Pro) and still I do this in two batches. The point is simply to combine these ingredients. Using a spatula, scrape the sides and continue blending.
~In a large bowl, place the mixture but fold in your binding agent (either the BBQ sauce, beaten egg or chia/flax seeds). Use a wooden spoon to combine and add in the gluten free bread crumbs or ground almonds.
~I like to use gloves for easy clean up here– form burger-sized patties and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. I typically get about 14 burgers from this amount of mixture. *These make excellent leftovers and if I’m going to go through this many steps, I like to get a few meals worth of food! Plus we absolutely love these burgers!

Parchment paper makes clean up a breeze!

Parchment paper makes clean up a breeze!


~Bake at 375 for about 25 minutes–you can’t really under-cook these as the ingredients are already cooked. You will know that they are done when they are firm to the touch. *You can absolutely saute these but we’ve found that baking is easier, takes less time and makes less of a mess, plus it requires no oil or flipping! They taste great either way.
~Serve on lettuce wraps with your choice of condiments! Tastes great with roasted veggies, baked potato wedges, chips and salsa or your choice of side dish! I love spreading avocado on mine instead of mayo or cheese!