Totally veggie — and proud of it

The problem with many veggie burgers is that they try too hard to be hamburgers. Sorry, but they’re not fooling anyone, least of all diehard carnivores. So why not embrace the idea of a veggie burger and make one that tastes and looks like what it is — a burger made from veggies and grains?

This burger can be topped with either cheddar and mayonnaise or Tzatziki or hummus.

This burger can be topped with either cheddar and mayonnaise or Tzatziki or hummus.

The problem with many veggie burgers is that they try too hard to be hamburgers.

Sorry, but they’re not fooling anyone, least of all diehard carnivores. So why not embrace the idea of a veggie burger and make one that tastes and looks like what it is — a burger made from veggies and grains?

That was our motivation as we set out to create this harvest burger, a patty bursting with flavour, not to mention onions, red pepper, corn, pumpkin, rice and oats.

It won’t fool you into thinking it’s meat . . . and it’s not supposed to.

We like our burger dressed with a slab of cheddar and a slather of mayonnaise, but feel free to top as you see fit. Tzatziki or hummus would make delicious choices.

Harvest Burgers

To toast the oats, place them in a dry skillet over medium heat. Stir constantly for 2 to 3 minutes. Alternatively, spread them evenly over a baking sheet and toast at 180 C (350 F) for 5 minutes.

Start to finish: 30 minutes

45 ml (3 tbsp) olive oil, divided

5 ml (1 tsp) ground cumin

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, core and diced

125 ml (1/2 cup) corn kernels, fresh or frozen

250 ml (1 cup) cooked brown rice

250 ml (1 cup) quick oats, lightly toasted

1 can (398 ml/14 oz) pumpkin or squash puree

30 ml (2 tbsp) chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

15 ml (1 tbsp) balsamic vinegar

Pinch cayenne pepper

5 ml (1 tsp) salt

2 ml (1/2 tsp) ground black pepper

6 burger buns or large rolls

In a medium skillet over medium-high, heat 15 ml (1 tbsp) of the oil. Add cumin and onion and saute until onion softens and begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add red pepper and corn kernels and saute until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes.

Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and let cool for 5 minutes. Add rice, oats, pumpkin, cilantro, balsamic vinegar, cayenne, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Form mixture into 6 patties.

Heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add patties to skillet, in batches if needed, and brown for 3 minutes per side. Serve on buns with preferred condiments.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 330 calories; 100 calories from fat (29 per cent of total calories); 11 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 51 g carbohydrate; 9 g protein; 7 g fibre; 540 mg sodium.