I saw recipes for beet burgers floating around the blogosphere for months before I finally got around to making them. Once I did, I was totally hooked! (Not much of a surprise, of course, given how much I love beets.) I’ve tried — and been inspired by — a half dozen different recipes, but this variation is my favorite thus far.
Putting some smoky flavor into these burgers was a no-brainer; it nicely compliments the beets, but doesn’t overwhelm their unique flavor. Sweet smoked paprika is a magical spice, but smoked paprika will also do the trick. Raisins (yep, raisins!) impart a dark and subtle sweetness, and the walnuts balance the sweetness and add some textural interest.
Like a lot of burgers made mostly from veggies, these burgers are soft and fairly delicate. They hold their shape, but they don’t like being handled heavily. Keep them small, and heck, call ‘em sliders if it makes you feel better. I suggest serving them on a soft bun, so the burger isn’t forced to squeeze out the sides.
These can also be made with less rice or a different grain altogether, but they might turn out a bit more delicate.
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 c grated beets (packed)
- 1 c walnuts, toasted
- ½ c raisins
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp sweet smoked paprika (or smoked paprika)
- 1½ c cooked rice, slightly cooled
- 1 c cooked brown lentils, slightly cooled
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- In a frying pan over medium heat, sauté onions until translucent.
- Stir in beets, walnuts, raisins, garlic, and paprika.
- Cover pan and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing sticks.
- Set mixture aside to cool a bit.
- Pulse mixture in food processor for a few seconds (until it approximates the texture of ground meat).
- Transfer beet mixture to a large bowl.
- In food processor, pulse rice, lentils, salt and pepper until its texture is similar to the beet mixture. (Don’t over-do it! You don’t want this mixture to be gummy.)
- Add rice mixture to beet mixture in bowl and stir until fully incorporated.
- Using your hands, form patties about 3 inches in diameter by 1 inch in height.
- Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium to medium-high heat.
- Cook burgers for about 5 minutes on each side, or until browned, taking care to flip them gently.
- Serve hot or cold on buns with tomato slices, baby greens, vegan mayo, and ketchup or chipotle sauce.