Jan 30, 2011

Spicy Vegetable Burgers

In honor of the Minimalist as he exits the Times’ Dining section, I made one of Mark Bittman’s recipes from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian (with a very minimalist photo to match!).  Leave it to Bittman to come up with what must be the world’s healthiest veggie burger. This recipe is pretty much just beans, greens and sweet potatoes – you can’t get much more nutritious than that.

I eat some variation of beans & greens several times a week, usually with whole wheat pasta. This recipe gives me a good reason to skip the pasta for a change. Plus, you can make a big batch of the mixture one day, then form and cook the burgers for several days after.

Note that I’ve pictured this burger sans bun. Since they’re are a little on the soft side, I think “patty” might be a better name than “burger”.  I can’t quite imagine eating one on a bun. But served simply on a plate with a topping like Bittman’s onion chutney? Fantastic. I’ve included the chutney recipe below, too.

A few recipe notes:

– The original recipe calls for cinnamon, but I thought that might add a bit too much sweetness. So I’ve substituted ground coriander and paprika for the cinnamon, to good effect. I also included a jalapeño pepper for added kick.

– The recipe calls for 2 cups of cooked greens. I used two very packed cups of greens, making this a greens heavy (and therefore quite light) burger.

Spicy Vegetable Burgers
Adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

2 packed cups cooked kale, squeezed dry and finely chopped
2 cups cooked or canned cannellini beans (about a can and a half)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium sweet potato (about 12 ounces), peeled and grated (about 1 cup)
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh (not dried) bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste

Mash the cannellini beans in a large bowl, so they are mostly mashed but with some beans still holding their shape. Stir in the greens and mix well. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the grated sweet potato and peppers, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly to prevent sticking, for about 5 minutes or until just tender. Stir in the bread crumbs and spices and cook for 1 minute longer. Stir the sweet potato mixture into the bean mixture. Add additional salt and pepper to taste, then let the mixture stand for a few minutes (or refrigerate for up to a day). Form into 4-6 patties. Heat the remaining oil in the skillet and saute the burgers until browned on one side, about 4-5 minutes. Flip and cook another 4-5 minutes to brown the other side. Serve with onion chutney (below) or other topping of choice.

Caramelized Onion Chutney
From How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

1 large yellow onion, sliced
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 jalapeño or other fresh green chile
1 fresh hot red chile, or another jalapeño
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon brown sugar

Put the onions in a large skillet and cook, covered, over medium heat, for 20 minutes. Add spices, and salt to taste. Cook, uncovered for 15 minutes longer. Stir in sugar, then process in food processor until semi-smooth.

See more recipes: Entrees, Vegan


  • My hippie, vegan wife will love these!

  • This sounds delicious. I have Bittman’s book but haven’t tested too many of the recipes out. Although, I love how many are heavy on the greens! Love your site.

  • I have been looking for more vegeburger recipes –since I realized the Boca variety are made by Kraft. I will definitely try! (The big question for me will be is if a 9 year old will eat it). I am in the process of cooking a Bitman recipe tonight — granola. I’ll probably blog about it tomorrow. The chutney looks awesome too.

  • Caitlin

    So delicious! I liked these even better the next day, after the mixture had set a bit! It seemed like the flavors really settled in. Though you’re right it’s kind of soft, I ate it on a bun anyway because I felt like a burger kind of experience, and it worked out just fine. I’ll definitely make these again.

  • This is exactly the kind of recipe I love for my weekday dinners, and it does not surprise me one bit that it comes from the Minimalist, one of my favourite sources for everyday food. I’ll miss it a lot, but it is full of hidden gems like this one.

  • LOVED these! I made them with zuchinni “fries” and it was such a delish (& healthy!) meatless Monday meal. Will def use this agian. Thank you!

  • whatwouldcathyeat

    So glad you liked them. They are one of my favorites.

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