Forget differences of politics or religion. The world is pretty much divided into two camps: beet haters & beet lovers. I recently started a kerfuffle on Twitter when I outed myself as a beet hater. Sure, I had my supporters ("Beets taste like dirt!") but there were also many vocal beet lovers who defended the humble Beta vulgaris with such passion that you'd think they'd all grown up on the Schrute family beet farm. Barbara from Gone Pie, I'm talking to you. ;)
But I have an announcement to make... I ate beets, and I liked them! Yes, friends, I found a recipe that turned this beet hater into, we'll say, a beet liker. I'm not in love yet, but I'm slowly warming up to them.
I found this recipe for Beet & Brown Rice Burgers in a cookbook I recently bought, Veggie Burgers Every Which Way by Lukas Volger. And now, the beet haters & beet lovers of the world can finally unite. And there will be peace on earth.
I decided on this recipe because I was looking for something that wouldn't mask the taste of beets (that would defeat the purpose) but that wouldn't hit me over the head with it either. I mean, I'm not going to dive in and start eating borscht or anything crazy like that. The recipe was pretty easy, after sauteing a chopped red onion in some olive oil, you add 3 shredded beets to the pan with 1/2 tsp. salt, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes, until the beet softens. Then you add 1 Tbsp. of red wine vinegar and mix thoroughly.
You then add this beet mixture to a mixing bowl with: 1 1/2 cups cooked red or black beans (I used red) that have been coarsely mashed, 1 cup cooked brown rice, 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley, and black pepper to taste. Then you form your burger patties, and cook them in olive oil over high heat, so that you get a nice char on the outside, which will help keep the patties together.
This looks disturbingly like raw meat. But I swear, there are no dead animals in here!
My red "meat" burgers.
I decided to caramelize some shallots (sliced into thin rounds, cooked in olive oil & sprinkled with just a little brown sugar until crispy brown) to go on top of these burgers, and also made some wasabi mayo (just some wasabi paste mixed into Vegenaise, you can make this as sinus-clearing as you like), and I thought these flavors really complemented the beet burgers in a fantastic way. I could definitely taste the earthy beet flavor, but it really blended harmoniously with everything else. (Notice I said "earthy" instead of "dirt-like.")
They were really good veggie burgers, despite the fact that they were a little hard to keep together. I've mentioned in the past how much I hate mushy veggie burgers, but these weren't mushy, they just didn't hold together quite as much as I would like. I might up the mashed bean to other ingredients ratio, or experiment with some different binders, next time I make these, and I will definitely make them again. If only just so I can say that I'm now a member of the beet-eaters club.