I am always on a quest for excellent vegetarian entrees. I’ve noticed that when I search for meatless meals, most of the results are salads, soups, and other light dishes that wouldn’t satisfy the grown man I cook for daily nor put a dent in our caloric needs. Vegetarian meals are budget-friendly and might bring some nutritional variety, so adding some meatless meals to your routine, even if you’re generally a meat-eater, can be beneficial. Some of my favorite meals on this site (hello, wonderful falafel) happen to be meat-free.
I’ve found that patties are great ways to bulk up a meal without adding meat. They are versatile, full of flavor, easy to throw together, and actually provide satiety. These mushroom quinoa burgers are quite tasty: even my husband, a don’t-call-it-a-burger-if-there’s-no-meat guy, sent me a text to tell me how much he liked them after I packed a couple in his lunch one day. And that herb aioli? Heaven.
Quinoa – not actually a grain and instead a member of the chenopod family along with beets and chard – is rich in nutrients, unlike many grains. It is high in manganese, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, and folate, and packs 8 grams of protein per cooked cup. There have been few research studies on health benefits of quinoa in humans, but some studies on rats have shown that daily quinoa intake reduces internal inflammation. This isn’t surprising given the anti-inflammatory compounds found in quinoa, including phenolic acids and vitamin E.
The outer layer of the quinoa seed contains phytonutrients called saponins. Saponins, while possibly beneficial to health, are quite bitter-tasting, which is why most people choose to rinse quinoa prior to cooking.
Notice the bits of frost on the patties below. Now that it gets dark at 4:30, I had to finish shooting this recipe a day after baking them, but that allowed me to find out that these babies freeze wonderfully.
- 1 pound portabella or cremini mushrooms, stemmed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup flax meal
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 3 dates, pitted
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa
- 12 hamburger buns, store-bought or homemade
- 1 cup herb aioli (recipe below)
- Preheat oven to 400F. Clean mushrooms by wiping with a damp cloth. Toss with olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 25-30 minutes until browned. Allow the mushrooms to cool.
- Combine garlic, flax meal, parmesan, chickpeas, dates, parsley, egg, tahini, soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a food processor. Pulse to combine well and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Finely chop the mushrooms and add them to the bowl along with the quinoa and any juices from the mushroom baking sheet. Stir to thoroughly combine. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. If the mixture seems too wet to form into patties, stir in an extra 1-2 tablespoons of flax meal.
- Preheat the oven to 475F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Form the mixture into 12 patties, each about 1 inch thick. Arrange on the baking sheet and bake until browned, 15-18 minutes.
- Toast the hamburger buns and place mushroom burgers on the bottom halves. Top with 1-2 Tbsp. herb aioli (recipe below) and any other fixing you like. I'd recommend red onion and alfalfa sprouts or microgreens. Serve immediately.
- SR Clients: 1 burger with bun and aioli (1/12 of recipe) = ¾ of a level 2-3 entrée; pair with a side like 1 small ear corn or 1 cup green beans sautéed in olive oil.
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Mince the garlic clove and mash into a paste with the edge of a knife. Combine garlic paste, egg yolk, red wine vinegar, mustard, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a small food processor and pulse until combined. Run the processor as you slowly add the olive oil to create a thickened emulsion. Add the herbs and pulse to incorporate. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.