Made well, veggie patties can make all the difference in transforming a good burger into a truly great one. But with such a myriad of different recipes to try (with—let’s face it—highly varying results), sometimes it just seems simpler to grab a package of premade patties at the supermarket and get on with the grilling.
Yes, as far as convenience goes, we understand the temptation of these store-bought options. And if you’re looking for something that tastes indistinguishable from meat, you’ll admittedly never be able to recreate a homemade version without a proper science lab at your beckoning. So rather than try and “compete” with meat flavors, we like to make our veggie patties a wholly delicious endeavor unto themselves. This hands-on effort has additional benefits over store-bought varieties too, including offering substantially increased nutrition (with a much wider spectrum and saturation of micronutrients and fiber), freedom from food additives (which can cause inflammation, allergies, or gut irritation), and more exciting and diverse taste profiles!
While we’ve made many delicious variations of “burgers,” (check out how to make your own burger without a recipe), this week we wanted to explore some fun new hybrids that incorporated more varied spices as well as additional superfoods. The impressive result was a protein-rich batch of these Southwest Superfood Burgers, which are packed with incredible ingredients like black beans, quinoa, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), flaxseeds, medicinal mushrooms and more!
While these burgers are great on the grill (although really, what isn’t?), they can easily be made on just a normal stove-top skillet for a more casual dinner setting, too. So as the pleasant food rituals of summer heat up—from making the perfect corn on the cob, to bottomless bowls of sliced watermelon, to scoops of dreamy-creamy ice cream—try mixing things up a bit with this slightly spicy, highly rewarding, superfood burger recipe!
WATCH HOW WE MAKE OUR SOUTHWEST SUPERFOOD BURGERS:
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SOUTHWEST SUPERFOOD BURGER PREP TIPS:
Making veggie patties is a flexible process that requires little time or effort. Heeding these few quick tips while cooking can help ensure every batch is at its best.
Use organic corn. Non-organic corn is notorious for its high risk of GMO contamination. Always choose organic corn varieties—either fresh or frozen kernels will do just fine! (No need to defrost frozen corn prior to cooking for this recipe.)
Blend in stages. Mixing all the ingredients together at once will result in over-mixing, which translates to softer, less toothsome burgers. Instead, keep as much texture as you can in the burgers, mixing the ingredients in the food processor in stages just long enough for the ingredients to stick, while retaining plenty of larger textural morsels.
Be sure to pre-season. The best meat burgers are pre-seasoned before they ever hit the grill (or the pan), and veggie patties are no different! A light brushing of olive oil, salt, and pepper creates a particularly delicious outer “crust” on the patty once cooked.
Add superfoods. We love using flaxseed (for its omega 3s and binding power), quinoa (for its protein and textural contribution), and, optionally, chaga powder (a medicinal mushroom renowned for its immunity-boosting phytochemicals). However, you can always add more superfoods to boost your burger's nutrition even further: try additional medicinal mushrooms (such as lion’s mane for a brain boost!), a spoonful of beet powder, a handful of hemp seeds, or even a little unsweetened/unflavored supergreens powder.
Cook slow and low. If making the patties on a skillet, err on the side of a lower heat: this will help the patties obtain a better texture, and retain more nutrients overall.
SOUTHWEST SUPERFOOD BURGER SERVING SUGGESTIONS:
Toasted burger buns (either whole grain or gluten-free)
Your favorite burger sauce or spread (such as plant-based aioli or ketchup)
Red onion (raw or pickled)
Fresh sprouts or lettuce leaves
MORE BBQ-FRIENDLY RECIPES:
Southwest Superfood Burgers
Crispy on the outside, with a soft yet toothsome interior, these slightly spicy black bean patties come fully loaded with both flavor and nutritional benefits (including protein, iron, zinc, and omega 3s). Make-ahead tip: Whip up a batch through step 5 and refrigerate, then cook up a ready-made burger in mere minutes for a quick future meal.
Prep Time: 20 mins | Cook Time: 10 mins | Total Time: 30 mins Servings: 6 Author: Julie Morris
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for cooking
½ cup red onion, finely diced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup organic corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
¼ cup ground flaxseed powder
¼ cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons yellow or chickpea miso paste
2/3 cup pepitas
2 tablespoons chaga mushroom powder (optional)*
2 teaspoons chili powder blend
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground paprika
Sea salt and ground black pepper
1½ cups cooked black beans (or 1 15-ounce can, rinsed and drained), divided
½ cup cooked quinoa
1. Warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes to soften. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for a minute longer. Mix in the corn and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the onions are golden and the vegetable juices in the pan have evaporated. Set the vegetables aside to cool slightly for a moment.
2. To a food processor, add the flaxseed powder, oats, miso paste, pepitas, chaga powder, as well as the spices: chili powder, oregano, chipotle, cumin, paprika, and ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper. If the cooked/canned beans you’ll be using for this recipe are a sodium-free variety, also add a large pinch of salt. Blend together until combined.
3. Add half of the cooked vegetables and half of the beans. blend again until the mixture is chunky, but starts to stick together.
4. Add the remaining cooked vegetables, remaining beans, and the cooked quinoa. Briefly use the pulse feature on the food processor to mix the last ingredients, while leaving them mostly whole.
5. To form the patties, scoop up a sixth of the mixture at a time, shape it into a ball, flatten it into a patty about ½-inch thick (and/or about the circumference of your burger bun). Brush each of the patties with a little olive oil, and season lightly with a sprinkle of salt and ground black pepper. Flip the patties and repeat with the other side.
6. Cook the patties in a non-stick skillet brushed with olive oil over low heat for several minutes on each side until browned. (Cooked patties can be kept warm on oven-proof tray in a 250° F oven, uncovered.) Alternatively, cook patties on an open grill.
7. Serve patties as desired: We recommend a toasted bun slathered with your favorite burger sauce, lettuce, pickled onions, and avocado slices).
Cooked burger patties will last for up to 5 days, covered and refrigerated. Uncooked patties may also be refrigerated (through step 4 or 5) for up to 1 week for a quick future meal.
*If omitting the chaga, we recommend substituting 2 tablespoons of flour in its place for optimal texture. Gluten-free flours like chickpea flour or brown rice flour work particularly well.