Here is a recipe for some hearth-healthy vegan food. Beets are also great for cleansing and enriching our blood cells.
This is a recipe for a long afternoon. It requires numerous steps (all simple), ingredients, and cooking vessels, but it rewards you with great flavor and a large number of burgers which can be frozen. Think about doubling or even tripling the recipe so you’ll have beet burgers in your freezer all summer long. I’ve never had a veggie burger to form such an appealing crust as this one does. Well worth the effort.
Beet, Lentil and Millet Burgers
Makes about 14 small burgers
1 pound beets
1/2 cup millet, soaked overnight then drained and rinsed
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
1 tablespoon turmeric
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 ½ cups dark lentils (I used of mix of brown and beluga lentils)
1/4 cup prunes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Sea salt and black pepper
Unrefined coconut oil
1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Wrap the beets in aluminum foil and roast until easily pierced with a knife, 50 to 60 minutes. Allow to cool.
2. Meanwhile, cook the millet. We’ll be cooking it a bit softer than usual for this recipe. Bring millet and 1 ¾ cups water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt then reduce to simmer before covering. Cook until all liquid is absorbed, 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to steam, covered, for 10 minutes.
3. Heat a teaspoon of coconut oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and stir frequently, cooking until they soften and start to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Lower the heat if the onions start to burn but you will see browned bits stick to the bottom of the pan. Once the onions are softened, about halfway through the cooking time, stir in the turmeric and a pinch of salt.
4. Add the garlic to the onions then cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour in the vinegar and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom. Continue to stir while the vinegar simmers and evaporates (keep your eyes well away from the steam that rises which is quite caustic). Once the pan is dry, remove from heat and pour the onion mixture in a large mixing bowl to cool.
5. Turn the rolled oats into a flour by processing in a food processor. Transfer to a small bowl for the time being.
6. Pulse the prunes in the food processor until broken up in chunks. Add ¾ cup lentils and pulse a few more times to roughly chop. Transfer this mixture to the large mixing bowl with the onions. Stir in the remaining lentils.
7. Use a kitchen towel (that you don’t mind to stain) to scrape the skins off the cooled roasted beets which should slip off easily. Grate the peeled beets on the largest holes of a box grater. Place these gratings in a strainer set over a bowl. Press and squeeze the beet gratings, removing as much liquid as possible. (You can save the beet juice for another purpose, like lip stain.)
8. Transfer the beets and millet to the mixing bowl with the lentils and onions. Stir in the extra-virgin olive oil, whole grain mustard, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, and thyme (I use my hands to make sure everything is thoroughly incorporated). Add sea salt and black pepper to taste. Balance out any additional spices as you see fit, keeping in mind that the flavors will be more pronounced once the burgers are cooked. Finally, stir in the oatmeal flour and mix well.
9. Cover the mixture and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days before cooking.
10. After at least 2 hours of chilling, shape the burgers. Scoop up a large spoonful of burger mix and press into patties about 2 inches across and 1 inch high. You should end up with 14 burgers.
11. Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add a few tablespoons of coconut oil to completely coat the bottom of the pan. Once the oil shimmers start cooking the burgers. Cook as many as will fit in the skillet without overcrowding and making it impossible to flip them.
Cook the burgers for 2 minutes, then flip them. A crunchy, blackened crust should have formed on the cooked side. Deal with any breakage while flipping by gently patting the burger back together. Cook 2 minutes on this side, then cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for a further 4 more minutes until the burgers are hot all the way through.
These burgers are delicious. They’re particularly great accompanied with cashew cheese and avocado.
To freeze for later: wrap burgers individually or layer with parchment in a closed container. Thaw in the fridge the night before cooking.
Cashew Cheese, a great accompaniment.
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