Beet Burgers

I have been craving a really good veggie burger and the first one that popped into my mind was one that I had in a little diner in Austin, Texas a while back when I was there for a photography workshop.  I was a little leery on trying it as it was made with beets (not my favorite), but to my pleasant surprise, it wasn’t very beety and was completely delicious!

I searched high and low on the internet trying to find a recipe that sounded similar and I finally found one.  These were surprisingly easy to make considering the amount of ingredients in them and the recipe makes several burgers.  You could even freeze half the batch after pre-cooking them for an easy, go-to burger meal whenever you want.

I took my burgers a step further by adding pickled red onion, avocado and goat cheese…surprise, surprise.  What burger would be complete without it?!  Add whatever cheese or toppings you’d like, though.

Beet Burgers with Pickled Red Onion, Avocado and Goat Cheese

adapted from The Kitchn

makes about 6-8 burgers

3 large red beets (about 1 pound)

1/2 cup brown rice (uncooked)

1 medium yellow onion, diced small

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (gluten-free, if necessary)

2 (15.5-ounce) cans black beans

1/4 cup prunes, chopped into small pieces

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

2 teaspoons brown mustard

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 large egg

Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the tops off of the beets and peel with a vegetable peeler.  Place in tin foil, loosely covering, on a baking sheet and roast until tender.  About an hour.  Set aside to cool.

While the beets are cooking.  Cook the brown rice according to the package directions.  Let it sit covered for about another 10 minutes past cooking.  You want it completely done, almost a little over-cooked, but not mushy.  Set aside to cool.

Heat up a teaspoon of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook until the onions begin to brown slightly, about 10-12 minutes.  Be careful not to let them burn.   Add the garlic and cook until it’s fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Pour in the cider vinegar and continue to cook, stirring the bottom of the pan to remove any brown bits of onion, until the cider has evaporated.  Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Process the oats in a food processor until they have reduced to a fine flour. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Drain and rinse the cans of beans and transfer them to the food processor. Scatter the prunes on top. Pulse in 1-second bursts just until the beans are roughly chopped.  About 8 to 10 pulses.  Be careful not to over process the mixture  or it will liquify. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl.

Grate the cooled beets on a box grater and squeeze out any excess liquid with a paper towel.

Add the beets, cooked rice and sautéed onions to the bowl with the beans. Next, add the remaining olive oil, brown mustard, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander and thyme to the mixture. Mix all the ingredients until combined. Taste the mixture and add salt, pepper, or any additional spices or flavorings to taste. Finally, add the oatmeal flour and egg and mix it well.

Shape about 1/2-3/4 cup of the mixture into burgers and place on a baking sheet.  Refrigerate for about 30 minutes before cooking.

Heat a large sauté pan or cast-iron skillet to medium-high heat.  Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil or vegetable oil to coat the pan.

Add a couple burger patties to the pan and cook for about 5-7 minutes on each side.

Top with the pickled red onions, avocado and goat cheese.


Pickled Red Onions

Makes about 1 cup

1 large red onion, sliced very thin

1 1/2 cup white vinegar

1/2 cup sugar (can use agave or honey for unrefined sugar substitute)

2 bay leaves

5-7 whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1/4 tsp black peppercorns


Cook the red onion in boiling water for 2-3 minutes and drain.  Run cold water over the onions to stop the cooking process.

In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar and spices.  Bring to a boil.  Just after the mixture boils, remove from the heat and add the onions.  Pour the mixture into a glass jar and allow it to stand until cooled.  Cover tightly and refrigerate.  These will keep for several weeks refrigerated.

Jennifer Glover