Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bean Burgers and Blogrolls

While some of you may be celebrating the month of November by growing a hideous creature on your upper lip (aka the Movember Mustache), vegans are celebrating by blogging about delicious food. This year marks the fourth annual Vegan Month of Food, affectionately known as Vegan MoFo. Over 500 vegan bloggers have signed up this year to share their love of food with the world. Heck, with numbers like those, there are probably vegan bloggers who are growing
mustaches. I would have been one of them (blogging, not growing a mustache), but I missed the sign-up deadline by a matter of hours. Bummer. I will still be posting delicious recipes this month in honour of Vegan MoFo, and I encourage you to check out the blogroll and marvel at the plethora of vegan wonders that will present themselves to you daily.

Tonight for dinner I made some homemade bean burgers that were so good, easy, and versatile, I can't see myself spending money on store-bought veggie burgers ever again. I've made other forms of veggie burgers before, and they always fall apart and are never quite as good as my old standby, the Lick's Nature Burgers. These actually held together! Our BBQ is packed away for the season, so I didn't try them out on the grill, but if that's how you want to roll, I would try freezing them first so they don't get lost between the grills.

I'll give you the basic recipe, and you can jazz it up however you like. The possibilities truly are endless people!

Honey garlic style bean burgers with sweet potato homefries

Basic Bean Burgers
Makes about 6 normal sized patties

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp ground flax seeds
1/3 cup water
1/2 onion
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp sauce*
3/4 cup bread crumbs

In a wee dish, combine the water and flax seeds and let them sit and goop up while you work.
In a large bowl, mash up the kidney beans to form a paste.
Mince onion and garlic in a food processor and add to bean mixture, along with oil, sauce, and spices. Add the now gelled up flax seeds.
Add the bread crumbs a little at a time, mixing well, until you get a stiff mixture, about the consistency of cookie dough.
Shape into 6 patties (or 4 if you like your burgers really thick!). Bake in the oven at 350-375ish for about 15 minutes, then flip, brush with sauce (optional, but why wouldn't you?!) and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. Put it on a bun, top it however you like it, and enjoy!

* Some thoughts on sauces and spices.
This is where you get to have fun with your burgers! The possibilities are endless here for different burger combinations. In the burger pictured above I kept it simple, using honey garlic BBQ sauce, and a few dashes of plain old salt and pepper as my spices. You can use all kinds of things for your sauces such as traditional BBQ sauce, chili sauce, salsa, stir-fry sauces, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce. If it's a sauce, chances are there's a way to incorporate it into a burger.

Below you'll find a few ideas that you could use to jazz up your bean burgers:

Mexi burger: sauce= salsa; spices = cilantro, chili powder and cumin; top with some avocado and peppers
Thai burger: sauce= thai peanut sauce; spices= cilantro and chilis; top with mango
Teriyaki burger: sauce = teriyaki sauce; spices=ginger, extra garlic; top with bean sprouts and peppers
Pizza burger: sauce = pizza sauce; spices = basil, oregano, parsley; top with Daiya vegan cheese and your favourite pizza toppings

I also think that these bean burgers would easily transition to "meat"balls. With tomato paste and Italian seasonings, bean burger balls would add a delicious protein boost to spaghetti.

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