MIXED BEAN & QUINOA BURGERS with SMOKED PAPRIKA SAUCE
These burgers are a total power food. They are super light, healthy and loaded with protein, fiber and nutrients. Depending on how big you want your burgers, this recipe will serve six to eight.
2 cups quinoa, soaked for two to four hours and rinsed well
4 cups cooked beans or lentils (or a combination of mixed beans) I often use canned beans as long as they are organic with no added salt. Canned beans must be well rinsed and drained.
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 to four cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small bunch herbs, such as cilantro or parsley, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil over a medium flame in a pot with a lid that is large enough to hold all of the ingredients, and sauté the onion and garlic until soft, but not brown.
While the onion and garlic are cooking, puree 3 cups of the beans in a food processor, scraping down the sides as needed, until they become a thick paste. It works best to pulse the processor from time to time to keep the beans moving.
Add the quinoa to the pot of onion and garlic with just enough water to moisten is, about 1/4 cup, and cover the pot. The quinoa will be cooked in about five minutes. Remove the lid and check that the grains have popped open and become translucent. If there is any remaining water simply cook it off for a few more minutes until the quinoa mixture is dry. Then stir in all of the remaining ingredients with a spoon or your clean hands. The pureed beans will bind everything together.
You can form the patties my scooping out a cupful of the mixture and shaping them by hand. Or you may press the mixture into a large cookie cutter to form burgers.
At this point the burgers can be frozen for future use. Although they are essentially cooked, it is best to brown them on both sides by baking them in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes on each side. Or better yet, grill them on an open flame for a smokey, charred flavor and crunch. Either way, they will be crisp on the outside while staying soft and moist on the inside.
The options for topping the burgers are endless. These lentil-quinoa burgers I topped with chopped avocado. The mixed bean-quinoa burgers I topped with a sauce made by combining equal parts salsa and reduced fat Vegenaise (vegan “mayonnaise”) and a sprinkling of smoked paprika. I served them over a bed of baby arugula. No buns necessary, but the choice is yours! Keep it healthy and whole grain!
To see more of Frank’s recipes, check out his blog: frankpicchione.com!