I have gotten several e-mails over the years from readers who are in the same boat I am: the only vegetarian in the raft. A lot of times we end up either making an entire vegetarian meal or falling back on store-bought entrees so we're not making two entire meals at the same time. It can be daunting.
A few of years ago, when I started getting concerned about GMO's, I also read an article condemning the extraction process in most soy products as a cancer-causing air pollutant (The Cornucopia Institute). And when I started participating in October Unprocessed I cut nearly all pre-processed soy products completely. Sometimes I'll have a Boca at a restaurant if I can't get anything else, but I haven't bought a box of soy burgers in years. Soy lecithin is harder to avoid, that stuff's in everything, but I do what I can. What that translates to in the kitchen is lots of beans. Beans! Beans for everyone! Whee! At this moment, I've got at least three different kinds of lentils in my pantry, and I don't even want to hazard a guess as to how many other bean varieties I've got hanging around in there. Even with a pressure cooker, beans take time and honestly, every now and then I'd like a good burger with everybody else.
This lead me on my quest to find a good homemade veggie burger recipe. There are lots of recipes out there. The problem is they usually make, like, 47 burgers, they're bland and mooshy, and between all the shredding and boiling and resting they take forever. I wanted something that I could make quickly, didn't require pre-cooking, and didn't taste like a soggy pile of oatmeal and beans.
So, I came up with my own recipe one night because I was desperate. And you know what? It's pretty darn good! The best part is I can make one large patty or two medium ones and cook it in the time it takes for my family's burgers to fry in a pan. This makes more of a "batter" than a "patty" so it's not one to make on the grill, but I bet it bakes up pretty well if you're in the mood for that. The one caveat for this recipe is that I've got a small food chopper style food processor. I'm not sure how well this would work with a larger processor.
Single-Serving Mushroom Burger
8 button mushrooms, quartered (about 4 ounces)
1/4 C onion (1 oz)
2 small garlic cloves
1 handful organic low salt blue corn chips (1 oz)
1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
fresh herbs like thyme or finely chopped rosemary
sub the button mushrooms for the same amount of crimini mushrooms
In a small food processor, chop the corn chips until a fine meal forms. (Or, leave bigger chunks if you like a little crunch in your burger. I like it both ways.) Pour chip crumbs out and reserve. Put mushrooms, onion, and garlic in the processor and grind until finely chopped. Add egg, oil, salt and pepper and herbs if desired. Process until well combined and veggies are pureed well. Pour chip crumbs in and process until combined. Pour as much of the mixture as you need into a frying pan and fry in a pan with a little bit of oil for 5-10 minutes.
Make this vegan by substituting 2 Tbs chia seed ground and mixed with 1/4 C water. It makes more of a patty, but it does change the flavor. I suggest adding a teaspoon of fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary.
If you are one of the lucky families out there who raises their own chickens or has access to various size eggs, a smaller egg is better in this than a larger one. If all you can get are the XL eggs in the grocery, they will definitely work, it will just make a larger portion.
If you have extra, I've got a recipe coming for that very soon.
This little patty is so good, my kids actually begged me to have the one I made for these pictures for dinner! I don't love the vegan version as much, but it's definitely edible and still much better than most.