For several years I was a vegetarian*. Because those years were very formative years for me as a cook I have continued to prepare mostly vegetarian meals since my return to occasionally eating meat. In my view veggie burgers do not replace meat burgers. They are simply a different food, probably owing more to falafel for their origin than any burger made with meat. The beauty of a veggie burger is how easy it is to modify and adapt recipes to make them unique and new.
This recipe by Emma at From Scratch Club is a great one and we had an easy time making it and an even easier time finishing off the final product at the dinner table. Served on top of fresh English Muffins and accompanied by skillet-roasted radishes with scallions and peanuts it was a very satisfying summer meal, all cooked over the grill (which in my mind makes a meal feel like summer).
Spelt English Muffins
Modified from Joy of Cooking (Aka, my most indispensable cookbook!)
- 2 Tbs. warm water
- 2 ¼ tsp. active dry yeast
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup warm milk (or soy milk)
- 2 tsp. honey (or maple syrup or sugar)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 cups whole spelt flour (or whole wheat flour)
- 3 Tbs. butter or margarine
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
Stir together in a large bowl the warm water with the yeast and let stand for 3-5 minutes. Add the 1 cup of water, warm milk, honey and salt and mix together. Gradually add the spelt flour and stir for 1-2 minutes. Cover the bowl and let the sponge rise for about 1 ½ hours, until it is very bubbly.
Mix in the butter and then gradually add the all-purpose flour. When you can no longer stir the dough it’s time to knead. Knead until the dough is smooth but still somewhat sticky (you may need to use slightly more or less flour than called for). Generously flour a surface and roll the dough out to a thickness of ½ inch. Using a round cookie cutter or a glass cup (I prefer to use a pint glass) cut out the muffins and transfer them to a floured baking sheet or large plate and cover with cloth. Allow the dough to rise until doubled in volume, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
English Muffins are cooked in a skillet rather than an oven. If you make them on a grill you can get the best of both worlds plus a nice smoky flavor. If using a charcoal grill push the coals to one side of the grill for an indirect heat, otherwise you may scorch the muffins without actually cooking them evenly. If using your stove heat the skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is hot melt 1-2 table spoons of butter or margarine. When the butter is bubbling add as many risen muffins as will fit in the skillet. Cover the skillet or grill and wait 2 minutes, then check to see if they are lightly browned and flip the muffins. Cover for 1 more minute then remove to a cooling rack or a plate covered with a towel. If the muffins turn out undercooked in the center allow them to cook a little bit longer at a lower heat.
Black Bean Mushroom Burgers
Adapted from Elle M’s recipe on From Scratch Club
- 2 cups cooked black beans (or a large 14oz can)
- 4 Tbs. reserved bean liquid
- 1 cup onions, chopped
- 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
- 2 cups greens (chard/spinach/mustard/kale)
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. paprika
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup oats
- 2 Tbs. flax seeds
Fry the onions and greens over medium low heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and spices and continue frying for 5-7 more minutes, until the mushrooms are soft. Mash the black beans and add the other ingredients to them. Add the reserved bean liquid (or 4 Tbs. water), oats, and flax seeds and mix everything together.
Use an ice cream scoop (or large spoon) to measure out each burger and transfer to a hot frying pan (or a cast iron skillet on the grill). Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes, then flip and cook another 4-5 minutes. Serve on top of those delicious English Muffins with your favorite burger/sandwich condiments!
Roasted Radishes with Scallions and Peanuts
Thank you to Well Preserved for the Radish-Peanut combination idea! (This is a very easy side and tasted great alongside the sandwiches.)
- 4-6 radishes, cut into quarters
- 2-3 scallions, chopped
- ½ cup peanuts
- 2 Tbs. oil or butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper
Heat the oil in a skillet over the grill (or stove) and when hot add all the ingredients. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the radishes and scallions are beginning to brown. Try one radish and when it has softened to your liking the dish is ready.
*I was a vegetarian and continue to eat a mostly plant-based diet out of concern for the planet and the people and animals that live here (and will hopefully continue to live and thrive here!). In fact, this meal can easily be prepared to be vegan by using dairy alternatives.