With the summer in full swing, and Independence Day behind us, what could be more suitable (and more patriotic) than an American classic: the burger. But with the price of meat on an ever-increasing climb as wallets shrink, with recent studies published linking lower red-meat consumption to longevity, and with an increasing awareness about the source, sustainability, and quality of our food choices, meat is reducing its appearance even on an avid carnivore's table.
So lately we've been exploring various alternatives to the hamburger, from pan-seared salmon burgers to oven-roasted portobello burgers (soon to come, just as soon as the weather dips below 100ºF). As we are both beet lovers, we wondered how the beet would fare as a meat substitute. It turns out, quite well. For vegetarians and carnivores alike, this burger has enough substance and flavor to satisfy any burger craving.
|Don't worry, it's only beets being ground.|
Save for the use of the egg white which helps with the binding, the remaining ingredients are cooked prior to use. This is because beets take a while to cook through, and using them raw can result in patties with raw beet pieces in the middle. Nevertheless, I found that with these patties, longer time in the pan works better. It helps them crispen on the outside, without drying out in the middle.
Also if you buy beets in a bunch with the greens, remember that the leaves are edible. Beets are related to chard, except the latter has been grown to have large and nutritious leaves frequently used in salads and cooking, while the former has been bred to have a meatier root, but the leaves of either can be consumed. As a result, it can be a nice compliment to the beet burgers to use the beet leaves as a topping instead of lettuce, or to serve a side salad incorporating the greens.
(Makes 4 patties)
You will need:
4 medium beet roots, ends trimmed
1/4 cup (35 g) chopped red onion
1 15.5 oz (439 g) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 egg white
1 1/2 tbsp potato flour
2 1/2 tbsp canola oil, divided
1. Bring a medium pot filled with water to a boil. Add beets and cook, skins on, until cooked through, 40-50 minutes. Turn off the heat, drain and let cool. Then peel and grate the beets or pulse a few times in a food processor for a coarse consistency (processed beets should measure to about 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 cup).
2. Heat 1/2 tbsp canola oil in a pan, and sauté the onion until softened and translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
3. Place the black beans in a large bowl and coarsely mash with a fork or potato masher. Add the processed beets, the sautéed onion, parsley, salt, pepper and the egg white. Mix well to combine. Mix in the potato flour. Form the mixture into four flattened patties.
4. Heat remaining 2 tbsp canola oil in a large pan. Add the patties and cook on medium-low heat, 7-8 minutes per side, until the sides are crispy and moderately blackened. Serve with your favorite burger toppings.