By Christiana Langenberg
At Luke’s Organic, we like the fact that we keep our products gluten-free and simple. You don’t need a dictionary or ten long minutes to read through our ingredients. Yet many other gluten free foods are made with refined ingredients like white rice flour, corn, potato and tapioca starches, plus gobs of salt and sugar just to make them palatable. And despite being jammed with these nutrition-less items that are supposed to make them taste good, they actually don’t. Store-bought veggie burgers in particular are notoriously nasty and leave you wondering if you should eat the burger or the package it came in.
I can’t tell you how many gluten free veggie burgers have failed my taste and mouth feel test. In fact I’ve got a couple of boxes in my freezer soldiering on well past their expiration dates. They’re just unpalatable…like chomping down on a spongy hockey puck or frankenpatty or those round felty things you put under your couch’s feet so they don’t scratch the floor. Nom nom, not.
I’ve made the very good recipe from The Kitchn:
But when I overheard a couple of moms talking at the grocery store about how their young children seemed to only want to eat “blond” food and/or chicken patties shaped like dinosaurs, I thought, there’s got to be a way to make a gluten free veggie burger that’s blond, can be shaped to appeal to children and looks like a chicken patty. And if you don’t have all day to loiter over the stove, it has to be simple to make and maybe a little boring to appeal to the taste buds of the younger human species.
So I started with quinoa. Why? Because it’s boring. There, I’ve said it. Yes, it’s a vegetarian complete protein and easily digestible, but I’ve never met a quinoa recipe that truly made me swoon. (Frankly most of my quinoa intake comes in the form of Luke’s Organic multigrain chips.) Next I looked to other white foods I could add that would boost nutrition, improve flavor and help bind the burgers without mucking up the color. And here’s what I came up with:
Quinoa Cauliflower and Cannellini Burgers
- 1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 C or so finely chopped (or “riced”) cauliflower
- 2 C cooked quinoa
- finely diced onion or shallot
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 egg
- salt and pepper
- maybe some spices like coriander or cumin or herbs like oregano or thyme and dill
- coconut oil cooking spray
Brown the cauliflower in a skillet with the 1 T olive oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally until golden. Mash the beans in a large bowl, using a potato masher. Squeeze excess water out of the cooked quinoa. You want approximately equal portions of quinoa, cauliflower and beans. Clockwise from the top here are the beans, browned cauliflower and quinoa, with the shallot in the center. Add salt, pepper and spices.
Add the egg, mix well and shape into patties. If you have large dinosaur-shaped cookie cutters and need to please little mouths, then punch out some dinos out of the patties. Spray a skillet with the coconut oil and gently place the patties in, maybe four at a time if your skillet is large. Cook over medium low heat 5-7 minutes on each side until well browned. Voila!
Doesn’t that look like a chicken patty? Dressed up with pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, etc., it would definitely appeal to adults. I’ve got 12 of them in my freezer right now. Something tells me they’ll get popped into the toaster oven for a quick lunch or dinner, way before those yucky processed burgers will see their next decade.
With a pile of Luke’s Organic potato chips or multigrain chips on the side, I’ll still be able to count the ingredients (and pronounce them all without gnarling up my tongue) on both hands, with some fingers left free to lick the crumbs off.