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.