Veggie Burger

So remember how I was wondering about wedding presents not so long ago? It turns out I must be really, really good at foreshadowing….because I have to talk about weddings again this time. This is, of course, my way of letting you know that Nathan and I are engaged!

Speaking of weddings, it was almost a year ago that my friends Brian and Michelle had theirs up in Banff. On top of the gorgeous mountains, beautiful wedding ceremony in this amazing castle, and yummy reception food (with sushi!), another thing I remember from that trip is this veggie burger recipe.

You see, Nathan and I got together with some friends and shared a vacation rental apartment up there. So while the boys were out on their bachelor’s party/hiking in the snow, I spent some quality time in the warm and cozy apartment with Food Network Canada. Did you know they have a bunch of Canadian-specific shows up there? Some of them are pretty good and definitely way better than that scary, creepy Sandra Lee. One in particular was by this chef Michael Smith and he was the one with this awesome recipe for veggie burgers, loaded with mushrooms, tofu, miso, and soy sauce. (To be honest, I think this should be called umami burger because that’s probably a way more accurate description.) He even showed how you can grow your own sprouts from various grains to serve with this burger – cool!

Anyway, yes, I’m one of those meat eaters who willingly eats veggie burgers because I like the taste, so imagine how excited I was to try this recipe. And this recipe really does not disappoint, although the first time I tried to make it, I made it way too mushy so I’ve now adjusted the recipe accordingly. Also, these burgers are a lot easier to pan-fry than to grill. But being the sucker that I am for grill marks and grilly flavors, I finally discovered that if you freeze the patties before you throw them on the grill, they tend to hold together a bit better. But still I say, grill at your own risk!

After a bit of internet searching, I finally found the recipe from the show here. I added some notes below as I went along because my burger ingredients turned out too wet after the first step. Veggie burgers are tricky little monsters!

2 tbsp olive oil
4 portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 cup of shiitake mushrooms, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup brown rice
1/2 cup bulgar wheat
2 cups water
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 bay leaf
2 eggs
1 block of firm tofu
2 tbsp miso paste
1 cup breadcrumbs
salt and pepper

Heat a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat and add oil. When hot, add mushrooms, onions and garlic. Sauté until the mushrooms lose their moisture and onions begin to caramelize.

Add rice, bulgar, water, soy sauce and bay leaf. Cover with a lid and cook until the grains have absorbed all the liquid. At this point, if the mixture still looks very watery, continue to cook uncovered to evaporate more moisture. Let mixture cool.

Place mushroom and rice mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Add eggs, tofu, miso paste and breadcrumbs and seasoning. Puree a bit. (The original recipe calls for pureeing until smooth but I prefer a bit of texture in my burgers, so I recommend not pureeing to baby food consistency.)

Form into patties and refrigerate until firm. You can freeze the patties at this point: Separate individual patties with wax paper or parchment and put in freezer.

Fry over medium high heat until golden and cooked through. If you feel brave, you can even try grilling them!

Serve with your favorite burger accessories.

(makes 4-6 burgers)