Oh man. I love beets. I love their color, their taste, and finding new ways to cook them. I found an interesting recipe for beet burgers which I immediately put to the test. Stu has been avidly against beets for some time now, but truthfully he’s never really had beets except for out of a can. I was determined to change his mind.

I love veggie burgers but they can get tiresome if you’re always using the same ingredients. I’ve made them in a variety of ways but this was the first recipe I’ve come across to use beets. It’s entirely vegan, but I added some cheddar on top because we had it on hand. It was awesome!

Best Ever Beet and Black Bean Burgers
from The Northstar Cafe in Columbus, Ohio; posted by The Kitchn

1/2 cup brown rice (doubled if you like more rice)
1 onion, diced small
3 large red beets (about 1 pound), diced small
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons parsley, minced
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
salt and pepper
thin slices of provolone or monterey jack cheese (optional)

Bring a large amount of water to a boil. Add a handful of salt and the rice, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the rice until it’s a little beyond al dente. You want it a little over-cooked, but still firm. This should take about 35-40 minutes. Drain the rice and set it aside.

Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the onions are translucent and softened. Stir in the beets. Cover the pot and cook until the beets are completely tender, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan using the cider vinegar.

Empty the black beans into a large bowl and use a fork to mash them up a bit. Add the cooked rice, the beet and onion mixture, the lemon juice, the olive oil, and all the spices. Stir to combine and then taste for seasonings. Add salt and pepper to taste. Once it tastes the way you like it, add the flour and stir until you see no more dry flour.

Heat a cast-iron skillet over the highest heat. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil – the oil should completely coat the bottom of the pan. When you see the oil shimmer and it flows easily, the pan is ready.

Using your hands, scoop up about a cup of the burger mixture and shape it into a patty between your palms. Set it in the pan, where it should begin to sizzle immediately. (If it doesn’t sizzle, wait a minute or two before cooking the rest of the burgers.) Shape and add as many more patties as will fit in your pan. Once all the patties are in the pan, reduce the heat to medium-high.

Cook the patties for 2 minutes, then flip them to the other side. You should see a nice crust on the cooked side. If they break apart a little when you flipped them, just reshape them with the spatula – they’ll hold together once the second side is cooked. If you’re adding cheese, lay a slice over the burgers now. Cook the second side for another 2 minutes.

Serve the veggie burgers on soft burger buns or lightly toasted sandwich bread along with some fresh greens.

I served this up on toasted whole wheat buns and sided it with the Israeli Cous Cous salad that I made earlier that week. Although the recipe was time consuming to make the actual burger mixture, it only took a few minutes to actually cook it. We had a lot of left over mix, so we ate more burgers later in the week. They were so good that it was totally ok to eat over and over again. I highly recommend trying this out, if you are into meatless meals or if you love beets as much as I do. Hooray beets!

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