If you're a vegetarian for long enough you become a sort of connoisseur of veggie burgers. I can't tell you how many bland, tasteless hockey pucks of soy I have eaten over the years. Now there is a time and a place for veggie burgers - I am not denying that - but is it too much to ask for them not to be made out of textured vegetable protein? Even that name sounds unappetizing.
Of course there are as many opinions on veggie burgers as I imagine there are on the right way to make a beef burger. The two main varieties are the "meat" burgers (e.g. morningstar patties that try to imitate real meat) and what I call rabbit burgers. Rabbit burgers have visible vegetables/beans/grains and aren't trying to fool anyone. In my book veggie burgers should taste like they have vegetables in them. Might as well embrace the vegetable and try to create something that showcases them in their best light. A few weeks ago Erik and I ate dinner at 5 Napkin Burger where we both took the veggie burger. (Sidebar: they call it 5 napkin burger but they only give you one napkin??) It was sort of amazing. Probably the best veggie burger I have had at a restaurant...ever? One thing I took note of was the bright pink color of the burger. My spidey sense took perked up - beets were there! Now I love beets - I love them so much I want to marry them. I knew then that I would take this idea and make a beet burger of my own. Oh yes I would.
Memorial day seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out my new beet burger scheme. What is more American than burgers made of beets? Well besides pretty much everything...
Ellen's Rabbit Burgers
1 cup black beans
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Various spices of your choice
In a large bowl smash up your beans with a fork. You're not trying to completely pulverize them. Leave some large pieces. Grate up a big pile of your beets and carrots and add them to your beans. Throw in the egg, bread crumbs, and spices. Can I recommend garlic and italian herbs? (Sidebar: Penzeys please sponsor me!) Give it all a good mix with your hands. Form into patties. We found they worked best when the patties were on the thiner side.
We cooked ours on a george forman type grill. You could also bake them in the oven I suppose. I don't recommend putting them on a real grill since I think they would fall apart.
Add toppings of your choice! We went with sliced pickles, spinach, and sharp cheddar on sesame buns.