I made these burgers the other day and it reminded of one of the earliest conversations I had with my husband. He told me of his admiration for tattoo artistry and described in detail all of the tattoos he would get if it was permissible for Jews. One of those included a beet on the left side of his chest over his heart…he wanted a “heart beet” (coincidentally, eating beets helps to reduce blood pressure). As a Jew, we are forbidden from making any permanent markings on our bodies and being an observant Jew, he knew he was never going to actually get any body art, but for some reason he had REALLY given it a lot of thought. These are some ideas he came up with…(p.s. he’s a chef)
– Left calf – Swedish chef from the Muppets
– Right calf – Chickens from the Muppets (the chef is chasing the chicken)
– Back – Buffalo Chicken Wings
– Left Knuckle – Brussels sprout
On another note, these are one of the best vegetarian burgers I have ever had!
Tip 1: Keep the leaves and stems from the beets and toss them raw in a salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado and a lemon vinaigrette or saute them with caramelized onions and garlic.
Tip 2: To avoid mess, staining and possible burns when peeling and grating beets, use black dish washing gloves. They will make clean up and prep so much easier!
Red Beet Burgers
Inspired by thekitchn.com
Makes about 12 burgers
3 Red Beets, cooked and grated (about 1 pound) (squeeze the grated beets to remove the liquid)
1/2 C. Brown Rice (uncooked)
1 Medium Yellow Onion, diced small
3-4 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 TBS. Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 C. Old Fashioned Rolled Oats, processed into a flour
1 (15.5 oz) Can Blackbeans
1 (15.5 oz) Can Chickpeas
1/4 C. Prunes
1 TBS. Olive Oil
1 TBS. Smoked Paprika
2 tsp. Brown Mustard
1 tsp. Cumin
1/2 tsp. Coriander
1/2 tsp. Dried Thyme
Salt and Pepper
Thin slices of Munster Cheese
6 hamburger buns (optional)
Bring a 2-quart pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and add the rice. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the rice until it’s a little beyond al dente. You want it a little over-cooked, but still firm (not completely mushy). This should take about 35 to 40 minutes. Drain the rice and set it aside to cool.
Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Stir the onions every minute or two, and cook until they are golden and getting charred around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. A dark, sticky crust should develop on the bottom of the pan.
Add the garlic and cook until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the cider vinegar and scrape up the dark sticky crust. Continue to simmer until the cider has evaporated and the pan is nearly dry again. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas and transfer to the food processor. Scatter the prunes on top. Pulse in 1-second bursts just until the beans are roughly chopped — not so long that they become mush — 8 to 10 pulses. Transfer this mixture to a large mixing bowl. Drain and rinse the second can of beans and add these whole beans to the mixing bowl as well.
Transfer the squeezed beets, cooked rice, and sautéed onions to the bowl with the beans. Sprinkle the olive oil, brown mustard, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, and thyme over the top of the mixture. Mix all the ingredients until combined. Taste the mixture and add salt, pepper, or any additional spices or flavorings to taste. Finally, add the oatmeal flour and egg (if using), and mix until you no longer see any dry oatmeal or egg.
Cover the bowl and refrigerate the burger mixture for at least 2 hours. The mix can also be kept refrigerated for up to three days before cooking.
When ready to cook the burgers, first shape them into burgers. Scoop up about a scant cup of the burger mixture and shape it between your palms into a thick patty the size of your hamburger buns.
Heat a pan over high heat. Add a few tablespoons of vegetable oil to completely coat the bottom of the pan. Transfer the patties to the pan. Cook as many as will fit without crowding. Cook the patties for 2 minutes, then flip them to the other side. You should see a nice crust on the cooked side. If any pieces break off when you flip the burgers, just pat them back into place with the spatula. Cook for another 2 minutes, then cover the pan with foil or a lid and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 4 more minutes until the patties are warmed through. If you’re adding cheese, lay a slice over the burgers in the last minute of cooking.