Monday, March 18, 2013

It doesn't have to be beef to be a burger. Try these vegetarian Mediterranean Burgers!

I love having these burgers on hand for BBQ season.  They are complex, flavourful and good for you.  Spread the word: burgers don't have to be about meat...

Makes approx. seven burgers
4     sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
1/2  cup millet, rinsed
1/4  tsp salt
6     tsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided (optional)
1     large onion, chopped
3     cups lightly packed baby spinach, stems trimmed
2     cloves garlic, minced
1/2  cup crumbled feta cheese
1     tbsp chopped fresh basil
2/3  cup fine dry breadcrumbs
1/4  tsp freshly ground pepper
7     whole-wheat English muffins or whole-wheat buns
arugula and sliced tomatoes for garnish

Place the sun-dried tomatoes in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let soak until softened, about 30 minutes. Drain and finely chop; set aside. Meanwhile, bring broth (or water) to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in millet and salt; return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the millet is tender and liquid is absorbed, 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork; transfer to a plate to cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

While the millet cooks, heat two teaspoons oil, if using, in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened and light brown, five to seven minutes. Gradually stir in spinach; cover and cook, stirring, until the spinach is wilted, 30 to 60 seconds. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about one minute more. Transfer to a plate; let cool for about ten minutes.

With dampened hands, form the mixture into seven 1/2-inch-thick patties, using about 1/2 cup for each. Using two teaspoons oil per batch, cook three to four patties at a time in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until browned and heated through, about four minutes per side OR bake in a 350 degree oven for approx. 30 minutes until lightly browned and heated through.

You could replace some or all of the millet with spelt and/or kamut and use panko or replace panko with ground spelt and kamut flakes. Add ground, mixed nuts and seeds to the flakes. Coat the burgers with the nut mixture. Served on a bed of grilled onions and mushrooms with a homemade olive ketchup.

Or use portobello mushrooms instead of burger buns.  One mushroom, nicely grilled should do it!

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