Meatless Mondays: Quinoa Burgers

Confession: I am not a vegetarian. Here’s why: Often, when I eat vegetarian meals I feel something is missing. It’s not meat, exactly—rather, it’s some deep satisfaction. I feel satisfied more easily when I eat a big, juicy burger than when I have an equally delicious but less satisfying quinoa salad.

Even as I write, it strikes me that the language I use to describe those two meals is different. I eat the burger. I have the quinoa. One is carnal action. The other is gentle possession. For me, I also confess, there is real satisfaction in carnal action.

But I like vegetarian food and the idea of eating vegetarian once in a while. So how do I bring that deep satisfaction to my meatless Mondays? How do I get all carnal on that quinoa? The obvious answer is to make it into a burger.

My favorite beef burger comes from Shake Shack, Danny Meyer's New York–based (now worldwide), sustainably minded burger joint. The double ShackBurger is my ideal burger: two smallish patties with cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and onion. The patties, each coated with cheese, bring a higher proportion of melting surface area. It’s real, real satisfying.

So I thought I’d give it a shot with quinoa. Small patties, each topped with melted cheddar and fixin’s. And it totally works! This is, bar none, the most satisfying veggie burger I’ve tasted. (Note the verb: taste, a carnal yet sophisticated and nuanced sense.) The quinoa is just held together with egg, making it tender yet somehow meaty and real, real satisfying.

Quinoa Stack Attack

Serves 4

1 cup quinoa

Kosher salt

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 slices cheddar cheese

4 hamburger buns

Lettuce, tomato, onion, mayonnaise, and ketchup

Whisk the quinoa into a medium pot of boiling salted water, and cook until very tender and the grains have burst, about 15 minutes. Drain the quinoa in a sieve, and cool to warm.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, coriander, cumin, cayenne, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir in the quinoa.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat until hot. Place half the batter, in 4 (1/2 cup) measures, in the skillet, pressing each into a patty. Brown the patties, turning once, until golden, about 6 minutes each side. Repeat with the remaining batter and oil. Transfer the patties to paper towels to drain.

Preheat the broiler.

Drape 1 cheese slice over each patty, and place on a baking sheet. Broil patties until the cheese is melted, then build burgers with the buns, lettuce, tomato, onion, mayonnaise, and ketchup.

Related stories on TakePart:

Meatless Mondays: Black Quinoa and Pumpkin

A Whopper of an Idea: German Burger King Goes Green

Bread Would’ve Been Better: Gross Bun-less Burgers

Original article from TakePart