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Beets Garlic Olive Oil Onions Thyme

Beet and Black Bean Burgers

Words and photos by Amanda Callahan of Callywood Farms

As the last of the beets come out of the winter fields, grab some this week and try your hand at some veggie burgers! Beets in burgers? You read it right! I’ve made many veggie burger recipes over the years, and from endless combinations of beans, greens, mushrooms and other produce. In my former life as a dedicated vegetarian, I was always in search of a vegetable-centered recipe to replace those frozen dishes at the store with mile-long ingredient lists. After experimenting through my share of blends, this by far is my favorite combination that results in a moist, earthy, flavorful “burger” patty. 

This recipe is very versatile, provided you ensure everything is well cooked, and I have modified the recipe many different ways over the years. You can roast the beets, use leftover rice, etc. and still be pretty much guaranteed a winning result. Pair with some fresh roasted potato fries and a seasonal salad or fruit for a complete, nutritious and delicious meal.     

Adapted from this recipe 

Ingredients
1/2 cup rice 

1 onion, diced small

3 large red beets, peeled and diced small

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

Juice from 1/2 lemon

4 tablespoons oil, divided 

1 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon thyme

2 tablespoons flour

Salt and pepper to taste

For serving: cheese slices, sauerkraut, pickled jalapeños, condiments of choice

Directions

  1. 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 25-30 minutes. Drain the rice and set it aside.
  2. Heat the 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. Depending on the size of the beets, this can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes. Smaller is better! Add the garlic and cook until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan using the cider vinegar.
  3. 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, 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.
  4. Using your hands, scoop up about a cup of the burger mixture and shape it into a patty between your palms. Place on a plate and repeat until all the mixture has been used. This should make 6 large-sized burgers. We made some smaller ones for lunch portions the next day. 
  5. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add a few tablespoons of oil – enough to completely coat the bottom of the pan.
  6. Once the oil is hot, place burgers in the pan. Once all the patties are in the pan, reduce the heat to medium-high.
  7. Cook the patties for 2-4 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. 
  8. If you’re adding cheese, lay a slice over the burgers now. Cook the second side for another 2 minutes. Remove and serve how you’d like: with buns or without!

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