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Gluten-free veggie burgers, two ways

Gluten-free veggie burgers, two ways

You can make your own gluten-free veggie burgers or veggie nuggets

Veggie burgers were a big part of my diet at one time. I don’t eat red meat, and I often have meatless meals, but I sometimes have poultry or fish — I’m a flexitarian. Then along come the discovery of my older son’s food allergies, and in the process I learned a lot about food additives. Many of the veggie burgers I was eating have wheat in them (whether wheat starch or wheat protein seitan), as well as artificial colors or flavors.

So, blech. I couldn’t feed my wheat-allergic son those nifty packages of meat-free alternatives, and I don’t want anyone in my family to eat the artificial stuff, either.

I looked online for veggie burger recipes, but most of them are made with wheat flour or use eggs (and my son’s top allergy is eggs).

So because necessity is the mother of invention, I got inventing — in the kitchen.

My first wheat-free, egg-free veggie burgers were pretty dismal. I couldn’t get them to stick together. I thought a little mashed avocado or peas next time might do the trick. But then I realized if I just cooked the beans long enough, they would be plenty “sticky” to hold things together.

And voila — simplicity.

1 cup of beans, cooked until mushy (I used small white beans)
1 cup of brown rice, cooked
1/4 cup cooked, chopped beets
2 medium carrots, shredded and cooked
1 tsp. minced garlic
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Oil for cooking

Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet over medium heat — just enough to coat the bottom of the skillet.

Start with beans that have been well-cooked — think partway to refried beans. (I soak dry beans overnight, rinse them well, bring them to a boil and then reduce the heat and cook them for several hours. This way, the beans are more economical than canned, and there’s no BPA from the can lining.) Drain and rinse the beans, and mix them with the rice. Add the beets, carrots, garlic, salt, pepper and parsley and mix well. Some of the beans might get mushy, and that’s fine. If your burger mixture is still too wet, add a couple of tablespoons of gluten-free flour.

Shape your mixture into burger patties with your hands. It gets messy! But that’s the fun part about cooking, right? ;) Carefully place the burgers in the skillet. Cook for about four or five minutes, then gently flip over the burgers and cook another four or five minutes. The ingredients are already cooked, so all you are doing here is warming the burgers and giving them a golden look.

Do you like your veggie burgers rare or well done?

Drain the burgers on paper towels or whatever you like using to absorb the oil. Then serve the burgers however you like. This recipe will make about four medium-sized burgers. I ate my burgers on a bed of mixed greens, and I served my sons the burgers on Food for Life’s Gluten-Free English Muffins. (Most gluten-free bread I have found has dreaded eggs in it.)

Veggie burgers, like veggies, should be colorful!

My older son ate the veggie burger and said he liked it, but my two-year-old didn’t seem to know what to do with it.

So the next night, I left the beets and carrots out of the recipe and made smaller patties. My husband called them fritters. My son thought there were chicken nuggets.

For a different look or taste, leave out the carrots and beets, and make smaller patties for nuggets or sliders

And the nuggets are tasty too.

It’s amazing what you can do with rice and mushy beans!

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