Being Bruce -: Quinoa Burgers - First Attempt Fail, Second Try Awesome!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Quinoa Burgers - First Attempt Fail, Second Try Awesome!

My first ever cooked quinoa burger. Read on to see how I made it.

After I posted a photo of one of our quinoa salad recipes last week our daughter sent me a recipe, or rather an ingredients list, for quinoa burgers she'd had at a restaurant in southern Maine.

Here's the original ingredient list:
black beans
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese
bread crumbs
sauteed onions and peppers

When I asked her about amounts she said the proprietress said she didn't measure, she just put in "enough". She also said that some recipes she saw called for egg whites to help bind it all together but she didn't use them because it seemed icky to her.

So, as you can tell, the recipe was kinda loose. Here's my ingredient list:
1 cup of dry organic red quinoa with two cups of water - yields about 4 cups cooked
1 cup of mixed dry black beans and pinto beans - soaked overnight and cooked
1/2 cup of frozen corn cooked
1/2 cup of chopped onions and 1/2 cup of chopped green bell pepper, sauteed in extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup of Progresso plain bread crumbs
2 teaspoons of minced garlic
3 egg whites
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.

So I mixed it all up and then used a cup measure to create each burger. Basically I got a cup full and then compressed it with a spoon and popped the somewhat tight burger onto a piece of wax paper. This ended up with seven good-sized burgers.

The next step was to cook them. I was a bit leery about grilling them as is, which is what the restaurant owner said she did, but maybe a restaurant grill is different from our gas Weber. So I tried with just one burger. Here's what it looked like on the grill:

So it looks like it's maybe OK, right? Well, flipping it was a challenge. After cooking for about 3 minutes on a side (medium high heat), I took it off the grill and it was a mess.

Here's what the grilled burger looked like (after a bit of reconstruction):

And here's what the grill looked like:

So, even though the direct-on-the-grill quinoa burger actually TASTED DELICIOUS, it wasn't something we'd ever serve to guests and it really was kind of a mess.

So next we decided to wrap the remaining six burgers in aluminum foil:

And put them in a grill top cooker we bought years ago (I forget its original purpose, maybe for grilling shrimp).

We eventually decided to cook just three of them so we'd get two meals from the six burgers (figuring we'd each have one and a half). Here they are on the grill:

Again we cooked them about three minutes on a side, with the grill top closed about half the time.

Here's the final result:

So maybe it doesn't look like a burger, and it doesn't taste like beef, but I gotta tell ya, it was fabulous (is it OK to use that word?).  We served it with Roasted Root Medley (a combination of sweet potatoes, carrots, white potatoes, and onions) and with cantaloupe with fresh strawberries. And guess what? Neither of us had room for the extra half of the third burger, so we saved it for another meal.

Bottom line, GREAT veggie burgers. Can't call 'em vegan because of the egg whites, so try it without if you'd like (maybe with a bit more olive oil to held bind them together?).