I’m not a vegetarian, nor am I a vegan, however I try not to consume meat unless I’m craving it. However, sometimes I just want a hamburger – no meat included. And to be honest, it’s a little difficult to get that meaty texture that’s packed with vegetables instead of those soy based substitutes because seriously, trading meat for GMO soy might not be the best thing in the world for you.
After bowing to my craving of a meat hamburger, I still felt a little unsatisfied. As I continue to grow, my love of animals also grows and it’s getting harder and harder to eat meat. So maybe that was it. But, I’m not bashing omnivores or vegetarians – basically what I’m doing is saying that sometimes you just want the meat, surrounded by a potato bun (an absolute must), without having to feel bad about it. It’s not soy based… it’s not meat based… it’s just plain awesome.
Actually, it’s not really plain at all! What’s not plain you ask? My Plain Jane Burger that hits all of the notes you’re looking for in a burger – taste, texture, and quality. My husband, a big omnivore (he loves both meat and vegetables) told me it was the best veggie burger he’s had. “It’s really good, Melissa!” (His reactions have become interesting as I cook almost every night and sometimes receive no comment at all… so I cling onto these comments when they come!)
My secret ingredient? Maybe the millet? It’s an underused grain that I discovered a few years back. Made the wrong way, it becomes a little mushy, but made the right way, it’s perfection. Similar to quinoa, but reminiscent of whole grain wheat varieties. Packed with B-complex vitamins, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. And guess what, just like quinoa, they’re gluten-free.
So, with some key pantry ingredients, an unused grain, and lots of flavor, I introduce to you my version of the vegetarian burger and it’s pretty damn good (if I don’t say so myself).
Plain Jane Burger
Makes 6 Burgers
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 cup millet (cooked)
2 ½ cups water or vegetable broth (I like using a 50/50 mixture)
¼ cup bread crumbs (you can use panko or gluten free)
1 clove garlic
1 small onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ cup corn kernels
Choice of cheese (I used Iberico)
¼ cup mayo
1 tablespoon Harissa paste
1 cup chopped and massaged kale
6 potato buns
Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium pot, combine the millet with the water or broth. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the millet is fluffy, around 12 -15 minutes. Drain the millet in a strainer and let cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, take half of the black beans and blend in a food processor. Combine with other half of beans in a large bowl. Cook the onions until translucent and the garlic until fragrant.
Combine all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Form six patties and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow them to set.
Once set, heat a skillet to medium low. Add olive oil and cook each burger 7 minutes on one side, then flip over, top with cheese. Cover the pan and cook for another 7 minutes.
Mix the mayo with the Harissa paste, smear onto both sides of the potato bun, add the burger, top with the kale, and then be prepared for a little bite of food heaven.