Monday, February 25, 2013

Vegetarian Pumpkin, Beet, and Mushroom Couscous Burgers [Zack]

While walking through the grocery store, I’m sometimes enticed to stroll past the vegetarian section. I like the idea of being able to cook something quick and healthy from the veg aisle, but I usually refrain from buying something because the products look so processed. It seems like a strange dichotomy: a good portion of people go vegetarian for health reasons, but end up losing some of the benefit due to all the long list of additives in processed foods.

And why would you force tofu to look like pork meat strips that you get in gyros? Or ground beef? Yuk. I’m getting off track….

Lauren had made a very good black bean and quinoa burger a few weeks ago, and I was craving a similar version. We didn’t have quinoa, but we did have bio couscous and some veggies that we could construct into a patty. This is a very healthy alternative to the meaty version. It takes about 45 minutes to make a batch because you have to let the veg cool off once you cook it, but you can double the recipe and freeze some pre-made burgers (separated by wax paper.)  Pop em in the oven on a week night, and eat up!


Start by slicing the pumpkin into strips and roasting it in an oven at 400F/200C. Put down a light coating of olive oil on your baking sheet, and sprinkle some salt and pepper on top. Bake until the edges slightly brown and it gets fork-tender.

While the pumpkin is going, you’ll need to cook your couscous and sauté your other veggies. Start a small pot of 1.5 cups of salted water boiling.

Heat up a pan on medium heat. Wash and slice your mushrooms, dice your red onion, and dice your beet. Add some oil to the pan, and then add in your mushrooms and onions. Stir them around until they are almost cooked - about 5 minutes, then add your diced beet and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

When the water is boiling for your couscous, pour the 1 cup of measured pasta into the pot and remove it from the heat. Yes, I just learned that couscous is pasta made from grain.  Thanks Google!

Empty out your sautéed vegetables into a nice big bowl and let them cool off. If you try to make the burger with hot ingredients, the steam will make them mushy and it won't stick together. Less water = good.

Your couscous should be finished by now, so fluff it with a fork and add it into the bowl.

Take the roasted pumpkin out of the oven, and let it cool for a few minutes. Add this to the bowl as well. Smash up the everything with a fork or a potato ricer to get rid of the large chunks. Include your breadcrumbs and flour, which will help bind everything together.

Pour in the mustard, sriracha, and oregano, give it another stir, and then you’re ready to make patties.

Quickly make up the sauce – stir together diced feta cheese, yogurt, and some diced red onion.

Form the burgers into hockey pucks the size of your burger buns, and place them in a non-stick skillet.  Cook, turning once for about 3 minutes per side.

Top your toasted buns with the crispy burgers, the creamy sauce, sliced red onion, and fresh lettuce.

6 baby bella mushrooms
1 red onion
1.5 cups roasted pumpkin
2.5 cups cooked couscous (1 cup dry couscous + 1.5 cups boiling water)
1 tsp dried oregano
1T flour
1/3 to 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1T dijon mustard
1 tsp sriracha

1/2 cup feta
1/4 cup yogurt
1T minced red onion

Techno Healthy Euro Burger Jams:  Major Lazer: Jah No Partial
Jah No Partial by Major Lazer on Grooveshark

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