Even meat-lovers will crave this vegetarian burger: toasted pecans, mushrooms, Cheddar cheese, fresh herbs and red quinoa pack this recipe full of delicious flavor. Red quinoa gives the burgers the perfect color, but white quinoa is fine too. These quinoa veggie burger patties hold together well for freezing, making for a quick and easy meal. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before cooking. Serve with your favorite burger garnishes. (Adapted from “Quinoa Revolution” by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming; Pintail Books, 2012.)
1 cup of water
½ cup red quinoa
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup diced onion
2 cups finely chopped cremini or white button mushrooms
1 teaspoon minced garlic
¾ teaspoon dried marjoram
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
1 large egg
⅔ cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
½ cup whole pecans, toasted and finely chopped (see Tip)
⅓ cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
8 small whole-wheat burger buns, toasted if desired
Combine water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, garlic, marjoram, and oregano; cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes.
Beat egg in a medium bowl. Add the quinoa, mushroom mixture, cheese, pecans, oats, and soy sauce; stir to combine. Scoop scant ½-cup portions of the mixture onto the baking sheet and shape into 8 patties, about 3 inches wide, leaving about 1 inch of space between each patty. (The mixture will be crumbly; patting it into burgers on the baking sheet makes it easier to work with. The burgers hold together very well once baked.)
Bake the burgers until crispy, 28 to 30 minutes. Serve on buns with your favorite garnishes.
Individually wrap and freeze cooked burgers for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat in a skillet with a little oil.
For the best flavor, toast nuts before adding to recipes. Spread whole nuts on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F, stirring once, until fragrant, 7 to 9 minutes. For chopped nuts, place in a small dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.
Serving size: 1 burger (with bun)
Per serving: 280 calories; 12 g fat(2 g sat); 6 g fiber; 35 g carbohydrates; 11 g protein; 48 mcg folate; 29 mg cholesterol; 6 g sugars; 4 g added sugars; 105 IU vitamin A; 2 mg vitamin C; 159 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 372 mg sodium; 353 mg potassium
Carbohydrate Servings: 2½
Exchanges: 2 starch, ½ vegetable, ½ medium-fat meat, 1½ fat