The 4th of July is a holiday of many hats, and stands for a wide range of things to many people: Independence, the birth of a nation, family togetherness, parades, fireworks, and of course, grilling. It just wouldn’t be a celebration without someone whipping out one of those half-round furnaces and incinerating big hunks of meat. Now that sounds like a party, no? …Um, no. I’ve never gotten into the great annual tradition of setting the backyard on fire, and you’d better believe there’s been no meat on my menu for quite a few years now. Typically, I’m the one who provides a side dish for this sort of affair, like samosa potato salad, pesto quinoa salad, or bean dip, but am them relegated to some lame, bland soy pucks that someone scrapped out of the back of their freezer. Well, in the spirit of Independence Day, I’m here to say “no more!” and this time, I’m making my own veggie patties.
More interesting than your average mish-mash of random vegetables and textured soy protein, I went the route of taking the flavors of a crave-worthy salad dressing, green goddess, and translated them into burger form.
If you can operate a food processor, you can make these babies, so there’s no excuse for going the store-bought route yet again this year. Wonderfully flexible and customizable as well, feel free to swap out any herbs you’d like or have on hand, or try using another leafy green vegetable for the spinach; I’m thinking that kale might make an especially tasty substitute.
Though I do bake my burgers in the oven, you can make them in advance as written, keep them in the fridge, and then toss them on a well-oiled grill when you’d like to serve them up. Just be gentle, as they’re a bit more fragile than most mass-produced patties.
Green Goddess Burgers
1/2 Cup Rolled Oats
2 Cloves Garlic
1 14-Ounce Package Firm Tofu, Drained and Patted Dry
7 Ounces Fresh Baby Spinach
1/4 Cup Fresh Tarragon
1/2 Cup Fresh Chives
1/2 Cup Fresh Parsley
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
Pinch Cayenne Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
In your blender or food processor, combine the oats, garlic and scallions, and pulse to combine. Once finely minced and no large chunks of raw garlic remain, crumble in the tofu, and follow with the spinach and fresh herbs. Blend briefly to break down all of the greens (it may seem like a lot when you put them in the machine, but they’ll puree down pretty fast.) Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add in the mustard, lemon juice, cumin, cayenne, and salt, and processor one final time. When the mixture is thoroughly combined but still just a little bit chunky, it’s ready to go.
Scoop out 1/3 – 1/2 cup of the mixture onto your prepared sheet for each burger. It will be very wet, so you can’t really “shape” them, but use a spatula to spread the blobs out into as even circles as possible. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes, until darkened in color and they no longer appear wet. They should remain plenty moist on the inside. Let cool for at least 10 minutes on the sheet before serving as desired.
Makes 6 – 8 Burgers