Friday, April 01, 2011

Brown-Rice Veggie Burgers...

We are definitely meat eaters around here, but I've noticed over the last few years we have cut down our consumption. Whereas we would serve meat probably four to six nights out of the week, lately it has been perhaps once or twice, with some weeks not having any at all! I can't say there has been any specific reason for the decline, other than we physically feel better when we don't eat as much. This does mean we have had to come up with dinners that had plenty of interesting textures and flavor to keep us entertained - like these Brown-Rice Veggie Burgers.

To make the patties for these veggie burgers, we used a packed cupful of cooked brown rice, which I made using our favorite no-fuss method. I didn't use a measured amount of dry rice to begin with as I always make extra and place the rest in the freezer for later use! Three quarters of that rice is tossed into a food processor, along with Monterey Jack cheese, a good dose of salt and a single chipotle pepper. Chipotle chiles are ripe, red jalapeƱos that have been smoked and in this case, packed in a vinegar-y adobo sauce. They are fairly potent, but if you'd like a milder, smoky heat, open up the soft pepper and scrape out the seeds first.

Ground down to an almost pasty texture in the processor, next to add is a seeded and chopped poblano pepper, a couple scallions and a scoop of thawed frozen peas, along with roasted and salted pepitas. Pulsed just to incorporate and break down the newly added veggies, the mixture is then scraped out into a bowl, with the remaining cooked rice kneaded in for extra bite. Portioned into four hearty sections, each piece is firmly shaped into a thick patty - I did find the mixture fairly tacky, but if you keep your hands moistened with water, it won't be messy or sticky.

Homemade veggie burgers can be somewhat notorious for falling apart, but I've found in the past that chilling the patties for about a half hour before cooking does wonders for keeping them solid. Even though the recipe didn't call for it, I went ahead and scheduled the extra downtime in for added insurance. With one side brushed with oil, the patties were added into a heated grill pan, oiled side down, and cooked until well toasted and a bit crusty. Before flipping, the uncooked side is quickly brushed with a dab more oil, then turned to cook just the same.

Sadly, I didn't have any of our snazzy homemade burger buns in the freezer and I didn't think enough ahead to make any either, which meant we had to go with those fiber-packed sandwich thins we already had handy. Jeff wanted his plain, as in just the patty and bun, but definitely pack on any variety of toppings you see fit - think about lettuce leaves, thick tomato slices, salsa, sour cream or even thinly sliced avocado. If you'd rather not use a burger bun, how about stuffing one of these thick patties into a warmed pita pocket instead?


  1. I've been cutting back on my meat consumption as well, though it sounds like mine has been a bit more conscious than yours. I'll also say that the less I eat it, the less I crave it. And I love veggie burgers, sometimes I think I crave them more than the meat-filled originals.

  2. Joe,
    Have you tried these? I've made them many times and they're delicious! I serve them with a yogurt sauce with cilantro, ground cumin, and hot sauce.
    Here's the recipe with my notes:


  3. These look delicious! I am definitely going to try them. I use Runner's World for a lot of my cooking. They actually have a lot of good and healthy recipes. I made these and they were delicious and stayed together nicely. But I'd like to try something with simpler, more flavorful ingredients.

  4. Kelly - Ditto to the less you eat, the less you crave! But, I say that as we've had meat-filled dishes the last few nights!

    Meryl - I haven't! Thank you for the link.

    Kelsey - That sounds tasty as well! I appreciate the link!

  5. Really liking this recipe! Been trying to cut down on red meat, and this looks like a great alternative!

  6. We have been also trying to cut back on the meat and these look like a perfect alternative.

  7. Yay for meatless meals/burgers :-) These look really good!


  8. Oh hollar! These shall be made tonight, but perhaps with some of the mixed rice that I scored at the market this weekend past. My stomach is growling just thinking of it. :9

  9. James - Definitely a good way to start!

    Maris - Enjoy!

    Courtney - I know! We need to make more of them.

    Lina - Let us know what you think!

  10. I made these last night and unfortunately skipped the chilling suggestion. They tasted delicious but they were definitely not in burger form by the time they got to my plate. I also used a ridged grill pan so the combination of bumps and squishy material made for a challenging flipping experience. Anyone reading this please follow Joe's suggestion to chill the patties. And, use a flat bottom skillet.

  11. Lisa - I was afraid that would happen if they were not chilled. Glad we added that step! At least they still tasted good!