This summer was amazing for so many reasons, including a visit from my niece, Karen, who inspired this recipe, and unlimited freedom to hang out with my kids. I didn’t have a traditional 9-5 job with limited time off for the first time in my life. This meant we could go anywhere for as long as we wanted. We spent a week at Carolina Beach (read about that trip here), we spent three weeks in northwest Indiana visiting my family and took a couple trips to Wisconsin to visit more family. You may have read my post about the Sweet Potato Hash on the wood burning stove… anyway, I took the kids back there for a long weekend. My aunt and cousin have the most beautiful, bountiful gardens you have ever seen. Rows of kale, rainbow chard, beets, zucchini, basil, tomatoes, squash, cabbage, onions among many other treats adorning their yards. What a perfect environment to create my veggie burger. My cousin, Shelly, who is also a great home chef and dietician by trade, and I were up for the task. We had a fun time playing around in the kitchen, and I think we created a wonderfully healthy and delicious veggie burger that just happens to be vegan and gluten free!
This recipe will take some time to create (maybe 40 mins of prep, and 40 minutes of cooking), but it is well worth it! Makes 12 burgers and they can be frozen.
Thanks for the inspiration Karen!
- 1 extra large zucchini or 2 large
- 2 large beets or 3 medium (keep the tops if possible)
- 3/4 cup chia seeds
- 1 onion
- Beet tops (can use rainbow or swiss chard if tops aren’t good or not available, you will need 1 large bunch or 2 medium sized bunches)
- 1 large sweet potato
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- salt, pepper, red pepper flake, garlic powder
Start by cleaning and chopping the beets and sweet potatoes into little 1-2 inch chunks. Put beets and sweet potato into a large pot and add enough water to cover. Cover and bring to a boil and keep at a mild boil for about 30 minutes until both are fork tender. Once they are cooked, drain and rinse in cold water.
While the beets and potatoes are cooking, shred the zucchini. We used a food processor with the shredding blade, but you could also use a hand held cheese shredder. We probably had about 4 cups or so of shredded zucchini. Finely chop the onion, rosemary, garlic, and beet tops (or chard).
Heat about 1-2 TBS olive oil in a large skillet, add garlic and saute for 30 seconds or so and then add the onion. Saute onion for a minute or two and then add the zucchini. Gently saute zucchini until it starts to cook down a bit, probably 3-4 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Before it is all the way cooked, add the beet tops or chard to the pan and continue to saute it all together, stirring frequently. I added a bit more oil, salt, pepper, the garlic powder and red pepper flake at this point. It shouldn’t take much more time until it is all incorporated and cooked nicely. Remove from heat.
Heat oven to 425 degrees.
Next, you will take your cooked sweet potatoes and beets and put them in the food processor and pulse a few times until they are coarsely chopped. Think of little teeny chunks (or gems like my cousin called them). You don’t want a complete paste out of it, some texture is good here. Dump the beets and potatoes into a large mixing bowl. Add the zucchini mixture to bowl and mix. Add the chia seeds and chopped rosemary, mix well. Taste to make sure you have added enough spices and doctor it up as you wish. Let this mixture sit for 10-15 minutes to let the chia seeds do their magic. They really help thicken the mixture naturally, just wait you’ll see.
Put parchment paper over 2 cookie sheets. Form your burgers as you would a regular burger and place them evenly spread apart on the cookie sheets. Bake in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, depending on your oven.
They should be golden brown on the bottom. Remove and enjoy immediately with your favorite bun/bread and toppings.
They can also be frozen. If you do this, put the entire baking sheet (once cooled!) into the freezer and freeze them flat and then put into freezer bags or stack into a container for freezing.