You know those pre-made veggie burgers you can buy in the store? Forget about them. While their advertising certainly holds the concept of healthy food as high as possible, the reality is that they, too, are highly processed and packed with all kinds of stabilizers and preservatives. I don't really mind them, but when push comes to shove, I'd rather have something I know to be healthy.
The veggie burgers presented below certainly fit the bill: They are packed with healthy stuff that you can feel good about. They are also super easy and quick to make, taste great, and meet the mostly beige requirement for my picky eater. These burgers, to me, are the ideal food for a spring evening. I love to sit on the patio in the warmth of the late sun and indulge myself with a food that is satisfying but fails to sit in your belly like a brick.
As you can tell from the photo, there is nothing fancy about this. It's very straight-forward! You'll also notice that there are no additions to this burger - no bed of lettuce, no tomatoes on top. That's because that's what the burger patty is made of!!! The only addition is a bit of salsa on top - nothing else is needed. The flavor of these burgers speaks for itself - you need absolutely nothing to dress these burgers up. I know, it sounds strange - but boy, this stuff is good!
Admittedly, the preparation is a bit unorthodox – it requires you to puree lettuce! I promise, though, that the resulting burger patties will come together nicely.
¾ head of Iceberg lettuce.
2 small Roma Tomatoes, finely chopped.
2 ½ oz. smoked Cheddar, grated.
3 to 4 oz. Bread Crumbs (depending on consistency of mixture).
½ tsp. Bouquet Garni.
1 large Garlic glove.
1 Egg yolk.
½ tsp. Salt.
6 Kaiser Rolls.
Your favorite Salsa.
Let's get started:
If you have a panini maker, turn it on now. If you are using a pan, make the patty mixture first, and heat up the pan when you are ready to cook the patties.
With a large knife, cut the lettuce around the stem. Discard the stem and reserve about a quarter of the lettuce for later use.
Equip your food processor with a chopping knife.
Stuff the bowl of your food processor with the lettuce.
Puree on high. If some of the lettuce refuses to be caught by the blades, stop the food processor, push the lettuce leaves down, and turn processor to “high” again.
Remove the pureed lettuce and add to a large work bowl.
Add the chopped tomatoes.
Add the grated Cheddar.
Add 3 oz. of the bread crumbs.
Add the Bouquet Garni.
Squeeze the garlic through a garlic press (or mince) into the bowl.
Add the egg.
Add the egg yolk.
Add the salt.
Use your hands to mash everything together until very well blended.
If the mixture seems too liquid to form into cohesive patties, add more bread crumbs. You want to be able to form the mixture into patties that don't fall apart when you handle them. Don't form the patties yet – if you do, you'll have to store them somewhere until you are ready to fry them and they tend to stick to whatever surface you place them on.
Now is the time to put a large pan on the stove and turn the heat to medium-high.
Add about 3 Tbs. of Canola Oil and let heat up.
Take a good handful of the mixture and form it into a thick patty – roughly the same size of an average burger patty.
Place the patty in the hot pan and move on to the next patty.
If your pan is big enough, you might be able to fit all the patties inside. Most frequently, you'll only be able to fry four to five patties at the same time. If that's the case, fry the patties in batches.
Fry for about four minutes each side – but make sure the patties don't burn. They should be a nice golden hue with a little bit of browning.
While the patties are browning, slice your Kaiser Rolls in half and toast them.
Place the finished patties on the rolls, spread some of your favorite Salsa on top, put the top of the roll on, and serve immediately.