Monday, February 28, 2011

Meatless Monday: Carnivore-Approved Black Bean Portobello Burgers

My husband is a die-hard carnivore.  One of his favorite meals is a big, beefy helping of bolognese sauce with a side of spaghetti, and he's always most excited about the dinners that make the house smell like roasted, sauteed or grilled hunks of protein.  Now I'm not exactly vegetarian (I love seafood and am on fairly good terms with all kinds of poultry) but I'm pretty apathetic about meat and, pre-marriage, often indulged in meatless meals.

"Meatless? Who, me?"
It took some time for me to adjust to preparing meat on a regular (i.e. near daily) basis and some time longer before I began to reintroduce some of my completely meatless meals.  We've had a few overwhelming successes (Japanese cabbage pancakes or parmesan-portobello risotto, for example) and a few flat failures (quinoa is an acquired taste, I'll admit) but this recipe is one we discovered together and that we've both enjoyed.  I've made it a few times since and I make it differently every time (this seems to be a theme - I guess I need to work on consistency!), but the recipe is simple and quite forgiving.  The key is to make sure that your 'meat' mixture is moist enough to hold together while cooking.  If it seems dry, cut back on the breadcrumbs. You should be able to shape it into patties by hand.

Black Bean Portobello Burgers
Adapted from
1 8oz package portobello or baby portobello mushrooms, wiped clean
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (or other cooked beans)
1/4 minced onions, sauteed
1-2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (as desired)
1/4 packet onion soup mix (or 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2-3/4 cup breadcrumbs or crushed saltine crackers
1 large egg, beaten
1 medium onion, sliced
No-stick cooking spray

1. Chop mushrooms very finely. A food processor is ideal for this (mushrooms should be moist but still a little chunky) but if you're gadget-less like me, a good chef's knife will do the trick.  Just be sure to chop, chop, chop.  The finer you chop, the more uniform your patties will be and the better they'll stick together.

2. In a large bowl, stir beans with a wooden spoon so that about 2/3 to 3/4 of the beans are mashed.  The mixture will be very thick and slightly lumpy.  Add remaining ingredients and mushrooms.  Stir until well combined.

3. Spray a non-stick frying pan with cooking spray (I use oil in a spritzing bottle - one of the best kitchen gadgets since it cuts down on waste and aerosol containers!) and heat over medium-high heat.

4. Divide the mushroom mixture into four equal portions and form into patties by hand.  Press together firmly.  If mixture is too soft, scoop onto frying pan and shape with a spatula.

5. Cook for about 5-8 minutes each side, or until a crust forms on the outside of the patty and the burgers  hold together well. Heat sliced onion in frying pan until caramelized.  Serve burgers on multigrain rolls or in whole wheat pitas.  Top with caramelized onions.

Note: My instructions are food processor-free because I don't own one but if you do, the original recipe suggests that you blitz the mushrooms and then combine all the remaining ingredients in the food processor.  You can still get delicious burgers if you're gadget-free, it's just a bit more work and the end result will be a little more...'rustic.' Enjoy!

For those who are interested, the Epicurious link has the nutrition information available (although my version will be slightly different, of course).  Or you could just take my word for it....and not tell your favorite meat-lover that it's meatless and healthy!

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