This summer has been unusually mild for Florida, and we’ve been able to come out of our AC shelters and enjoy the outside. Evenings are almost cool, especially here on the island, with nice breeze coming through from the gulf. We even decided to celebrate Paloma’s fifth birthday outside, at our beach park this year and I’ve been busy making ice-cream and sorbets for the party. Paloma is very concerned about the menu and has me consulting her on every dish.
These veggie burgers will be one of the main dishes at the party. If I ever had to choose a favourite out of all the recipes I’ve come up with, these Asian flavored burgers will probably take the prize. I must admit that veggie burgers have always seemed boring to me, but after seeing these two, I became fascinated with the idea of creating my own.
Heirloom black Forbidden rice is a fairly recent culinary discovery for me. I love its purplish color and unique texture, especially when cooked in coconut milk with kaffir lime leaves. When first fava beans appeared at the market, I could not resist making a burger featuring the dramatic combination of black and purple rice with the spring green of fava. Since then, I’ve made a few variations of this burger using fresh fava, green peas and edamame – all to amazing results.
These burgers alone contain fireworks of bright flavors and will be delicious with any fixings that you use for your veggie burgers. I like to make asparagus fries to accompany the burger. Their spicy and zesty flavor can convert any asparagus hater.
Another serving idea for the burger are marinated beets. These are a variation of a very popular Russian-Korean salad, where thinly julienned carrots are marinated in a spicy vinaigrette. It’s a mandatory item at any food market in Russia and is often a welcomed dish among the many plates on a holiday table. In Russia we call this salad, literally, Korean Carrots.
Serve the burger on your favourite bread or burger bun, or wrapped into collard green leaves with a thick slice of juicy tomato.
Asian Flavored Veggie Burgers
(makes 8-9 patties)
for the rice
1 cup black Forbidden rice
1 3/4 cup full fat coconut milk
handful of kaffir lime leaves – bruised with the back of a knife
pinch of salt
to prepare the rice
Mix all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
for the burgers
2 cups shelled edamame or fresh shelled fava beans or green peas
1 cup untoasted pistachio nuts or pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 cups coconut black rice (from above)
1/4 cup ground chia or flax seeds
3 soft dates – pitted and mashed with a fork
2 tablespoons sesame tahini
1 shallot – minced
3 garlic cloves – minced
zest and juice of 1 lime
1 small red chili – seeded and minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Large handful fresh mint leaves – chopped
sea salt to taste
to make the veggie burgers
1. Blanch the edamame for 3-4 minutes in a large amount of well salted boiling water. Transfer into an ice water bath, drain when chilled. If using fresh fava beans, blanch them for 1-2 minutes, then shock in an ice water bath and squeeze each bean out of its outer skin when chilled. If using peas, blanch for 30 seconds, then shock.
2. Grind the pistachio nuts or pumpkin seeds into a coarse meal in a food processor. Grind the coriander, cumin and mustard seeds in a mortar with a pestle or in a designated coffee grinder.
3. In a large bowl, partially mash the edamame, fava or peas with potato masher or fork, leaving bigger pieces and some whole beans here and there.
4. Preheat oven to 475 F. Add rice, ground pistachio nuts, chia meal, dates, tahini, ground spices, shallot, garlic, lime zest and juice, chili, pepper flakes, mint and sea salt.
5. Mix thoroughly with your hands, form burger patties and place them on a parchment paper covered baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.
5. Let cool and serve between slices of this bread with fresh lettuce leaves, marinated beets and a few mint leaves, or wrapped in a collard green leaf with a slice of tomato and marinated beets.
2 tablespoons ground chia or flax seeds
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons purified water
1 asparagus bunch – about 25-30 pieces
1/4 cup ground pistachio or other nuts, or pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinkling (optional)
1 teaspoon coconut sugar
1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds – ground
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
to make the asparagus fries
1. Choose asparagus spears of medium thickness, they shouldn’t be too thin in order to hold their shape. Trim the hard ends of each asparagus spear and discard.
2. In a shallow dish, whisk together the lemon juice, water and chia meal. Set aside and let it form a thin gel.
2. Mix the rest of ingredients in a bowl or shake them in a ziplock bag to combine thoroughly. Pour about 1/3 cup of this mixture onto the large plate.
3. Preheat oven to 395 F. Dip the asparagus, one spear at a time into the lemon-chia mixture, then transfer it to a plate with the dry coating. Using a fork, generously cover it to coat, avoiding touching the spear and the coating with your hands in order to keep the coating on the asparagus and as dry as possible.
4. Carefully transfer coated asparagus spears onto a parchment paper covered baking sheet. Continue to add more of the coating mixture to the plate as it gets used up. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the coating is dry and golden.
5. Remove from the oven and serve immediately. The leftovers will get soggy in the fridge, nevertheless will be still delicious and great for placing between a slice of bread along with the burgers and vegetables.
Marinated Golden Beets
1/2 lb golden beets – thinly julienned
2 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3/4 tablespoon coconut sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 small garlic clove – minced
1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground hot chili pepper
to marinate the beets
Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl, mix thoroughly, cover and let marinate for 4 to 24 hours in the refrigerator. Stir again and serve.