These veggie burgers draw their flavor from vegetables, and that's the way it should be.
The most foolproof here are the grilled portabella mushrooms, so it's no wonder Robin Donovan serves them up in "Campfire Cuisine." They're sturdy and so easy to prepare. Spray the caps with olive oil, shake on a little salt and pepper, and grill. They're ready in about 15 minutes.
The rest of the recipes will require stovetop cooking, because the delicate patties won't fare well on the grill. Flip them carefully, or they're liable to fall apart.
While fragile in structure, they're big on flavor and plenty accommodating when it comes to swapping ingredients.
Make them with any vegetable or beans on hand that can be mashed: black, white or red beans, chickpeas, lentils or potatoes. Swap the vegetables: beets for carrots, or try parsnips, sweet potatoes. Change up the binders: Use quick cook oats, bread crumbs, unseasoned cornmeal stuffing. Add some texture: Cooked brown rice, red rice and quinoa are perfect standbys. Alter the spices by using a prepackaged blend or adding in cumin or coriander. Above all, enjoy.
•2/3 cup water
•1/3 cup cooked red or brown rice or quinoa
•1 pound portabella mushrooms, stems discarded
•1 cup finely chopped onion
•1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
•3 tablespoon unsalted butter
•2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
•3/4 teaspoon salt
•1/2 teaspoon pepper
•3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
•1 teaspoon soy sauce
•1/2 cups fine dry bread crumbs
•1 large egg, slightly beaten
•1/4 cup olive oil
Break one-third of mushrooms into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped, then transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining two batches.
Cook onion and bell pepper in the butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5minutes. Add the chopped mushrooms, the garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until any liquid the mushrooms give off is evaporated and the mushrooms begin to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and stir in the rice, parsley, soy sauce and 1/2 cup bread crumbs. Cool 10 minutes. Stir in egg. Form patties and chill 1 hour.
Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Fry patties until deep golden brown, turning over once, about 4minutes total or until cooked through.
This recipe is adapted from "The Epicurious Cookbook," by Tanya Steel and the editors of Epicurious.com (Clarkson Potter, $27.99).