Remember all the carved-out zucchini left over from my recipe for Orzo Stuffed Zucchini? I set it aside and created this yummy, hearty, healthy sandwich: Veggie Burger Number 1.
In my family we love zucchini in every form, and we make many different vegetarian patties for our sandwiches and burgers, but we had never tried making a burger out of zucchini. One day my husband said “Why can’t we have a zucchini patty?” He really inspired me and with the recipe I share here, it came out well constructed and super juicy.
One of the reasons most people don’t like veggie burgers is that they are often hard as a rock, glued together with faked meats made of over-processed proteins. I stay away from the fake stuff and use real beans and lentils! Potatoes also help bind a patty — no egg required! — while zucchini keeps them moist and delicious.
When we visited Portland, Oregon a few months ago, we ate at an amazing restaurant known for using locally sourced produce, The Farm Café. One night we showed up at The Farm all famished at 11 pm. I am usually suspicious of veggie burgers but their description sounded great on the menu. After walking across town all day and hitting a couple concerts in the neighborhood that night, I needed something solid! They call it The Farmhouse Veggie-Burger and it’s made with eggplants, onions, cheese, & spices. “Veggie burger” is a food that could be made of so many different things. These ingredients made the sandwich moist and delicious and spicy all at once. I filed away the memory to try and reproduce.
My mother is the expert on turning almost any vegetable or lentil into a delicious patty. The woman has magic touch when it comes to food. Taking inspiration from The Farm, my mom, and wanting to make something new and of course delicious for my zucchini-loving, dear husband, I ended up at Veggie Burger Number 1. This should be the first of many patty or burger recipes I share, and it’s a great place to start. Since the night I made these, I’ve tried replacing the zucchini with roasted eggplants and that came out great, too!
About the beans: I make variations of these beans for our regular bean & cheese quesadillas. They are spicy & delicious! You can tone down the spice if you’re not a fan of spicy food, but note then I cannot guarantee the taste ;)
1 can of plain black beans, rinsed and drained or dried beans, soaked & pressure cooked
approximately 1.5 cups of finely chopped zucchini — all the remaining carvings from my Orzo Stuffed Zucchini
1 medium potato, boiled & chopped
1/2 small white onion, finely chopped
1 big garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon paprika
fine bread crumbs of your choice (I had some home-made)
salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon of a Mexican hot sauce, I used the Frontera Habanero Hot Sauce from the Yucatan, or try 1/2 of a finely chopped jalapeño if in season
your favorite sandwich bread, grilled tomato, and cilantro garlic chutney for serving, and cheese if you prefer
1. Sauté the onion in 1 teaspoon of oil, till translucent and golden brown.
2. Add the garlic and zucchini, and cook till slightly soft.
3. Add the beans, all the spices including the hot sauce or jalapeño, and let it cook down on medium heat. Zucchini releases a lot of water, cook most of it off.
4. When everything is a bit tender and well cooked, mash it down.
5. Take it off the heat and mash in the boiled potato.
6. Let the combination cool for a few minutes, then form medium-sized patties by hand. If your patties don’t hold together well enough, add some bread crumbs to the mixture and try again.
7. Dip the patties in the bread crumbs to cover them all around. The breadcrumbs will stick because of the potato starch, so you never really need eggs.
8. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet on medium high, & cook 2-4 patties (whatever you fit based on the size of your pan) till they are golden brown on each side.
9. Put them on a paper towel for a minute or two, to absorb any excess oil.
10. Serve on bread of your choice, with extras like lettuce & cheese or a fresh salad.