Pump[kin] It Up!

Burgers are one of the most reliable staples to be found in any cook’s arsenal. Infinitely adjustable, easily prepared, and universally enjoyed, many satisfying meals both past and present can be attributed to the humble patty.

Watching Labor Day pass right before my eyes, I groaned as I looked back through my archives and spotted this bun-clad beauty just waiting in the wings. A perfect recipe for the backyard barbecues and grilling extravaganzas synonymous with the date, familiar pangs of guilt gripped me as it seemed like a prime opportunity wasted. Created, photographed, and completely devoured in late June, why oh why hadn’t it made it into the spotlight yet? Before the shame could fully settle, I realized that something as versatile as a properly constructed veggie burger was truly timeless, and better yet, the ingredients might even be better suited for autumnal eating.

Pumpkin is the secret ingredient here, like just about every other crazy new edible on the market these days, such as…

Before you reach pumpkin overload, consider adding this particular incarnation of everyone’s favorite orange gourd into your diet. Bearing far more than just flavoring or pie spices, these burgers have some real heft thanks to the addition of pumpkin seed protein powder. No additives, fillers, or sweeteners set this particular smoothie staple made by Sprout Living apart from the crowd, making it an ideal ingredient for both sweet and savory recipes. My standard bean burger formula is no slouch when it comes to nutrition, but the pumpkin puree and protein powder ensure instant hunger satisfaction, without sacrificing flavor one bit.

Whether you’re determined to keep the spirit of summer alive or looking to transition into more autumnal foods, this is the recipe for you. Best of all, the finished patties freeze beautifully for even colder days down the road.

Yield: Makes 6 – 8 Patties

Pumpkin Protein Burgers

Pumpkin Protein Burgers

Hearty, protein-packed veggie burgers get a boost from the savory side of pumpkin. They're the quick and easy answer for a weeknight meal, any season.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Cup Diced Onion
  • 1 Teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 14-Ounce Can (1 3/4 Cups Cooked) Chickpeas, Drained
  • 1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 Tablespoon Yellow Mustard
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 Cup Pumpkin Seed Protein Powder
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly grease and set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. When shimmering, add in the garlic and onions, sauteing until aromatic and lightly golden brown. This should take no more than 6 – 8 minutes; be careful not to overdo it and burn the garlic. Deglaze the pan with the balsamic vinegar, turn off the heat, and let cool for about 10 minutes minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, roughly mash the beans with a fork or potato masher. You want to keep the texture fairly coarse so that the burger maintains a satisfying bite. Add in the pumpkin puree, mustard, spices, and herbs, mixing well to incorporate.
  4. Once cool enough to handle, introduce the sauteed vegetables and stir once more, introducing the pumpkin seed protein powder as well. Mix thoroughly, making sure that there are no pockets of dry ingredients remaining. It should be soft but manageable; something you can fairly easily mold into patties that will hold their shape. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Measure out between 1/3 – 1/2 cup of the burger mixture for each patty, and form them into round, flat pucks with slightly moistened hands. Space them out evenly on the sheet at least 1 inch apart. Bake for 15 minutes, flip, 10 more minutes, until golden brown. Let cool for 10 – 15 minutes before removing from the sheet.
  6. Serve immediately while still hot, or cool completely before freezing and storing for up to 6 months.

Recommended Products

Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. I have experience with all of these companies and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something through my links.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 68Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 67mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 5g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.

 

Eats, Shoots and Leaves

A delicacy in many cuisines across the globe and a harbinger of spring, bamboo shoots certainly don’t get a fair shake in western kitchens. Commonly and erroneously considered woody, bland, or worse yet, bitter, these traits apply only to the canned variety, which is the only sort that most people have ever tasted in this part of the world. Available for only a short window as the earth thaws out from winter, fresh bamboo are nothing like the sad slivers found in your average Chinese takeout. Subtly nutty, tender yet toothsome, these pale young plant growths boast a unique nuanced flavor that gets lost in translation once any preservation methods enter the picture.

Now is the time to hunt through specialty produce stores and Asian markets, while bamboo shoots are still available in their natural form. Seek out smooth, unblemished specimen, and always check expiration dates. Even if they’re vital enough to be sold, older shoots should be avoided, as they become progressively harder and more fibrous with every passing day. Considering their scarcity and perishability, it’s not hard to understand why this seasonal treasure is so fleeting. Though I had no intention of buying any nor the vaguest idea of how to cook them, I couldn’t possibly just walk away when I discovered a few saran-wrapped shoots nestled in little Styrofoam boats at the grocery store.

For reasons unknown, it struck me that diced bamboo might make an unconventional yet tasty addition to the classic vegan staple: The humble but ever-popular bean burger. Mild white beans and Asian-inspired flavorings harmonize with the mild vegetable addition without overpowering the whole assembly. Veggie burgers for people who truly appreciate vegetables, these simple patties don’t pretend to be meat and aren’t afraid to show what they’re really made of.

No average white bread buns would do to contain such a special prize. Further accentuating the theme with edible bookends that have more in common with yaki onigiri than dinner rolls, ordinary rice is out of the question. Bamboo rice, infused with the very essence of green bamboo juice, is a perfectly matched pairing, adding another layer of the starring vegetable’s inherent flavor. Floral, reminiscent of jasmine tea with gently grassy, earthy undertones, it may just be my new favorite sort of rice, even without such a fanciful preparation.

Such a hearty yet gracefully composed stack of grains, vegetables, and beans celebrates fresh spring produce through a whole new lens. You don’t have to leave them inside when the weather turns warm, though; carefully packed, unassembled patties, buns, and condiments would make for ideal picnic fodder.

Yield: Makes 6 – 8 Burgers

Bamboo Burgers

Bamboo Burgers

Veggie burgers for people who truly appreciate vegetables; these simple patties don’t pretend to be meat and aren’t afraid to show what they’re really made of. Made with tender bamboo shoots in the patties and bamboo rice for the buns, it's a unique fusion of eastern and western cuisine that celebrates fresh spring produce through a whole new lens.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Additional Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours

Ingredients

Bamboo Burgers:

  • 1 Tablespoon Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Cup Diced Fresh Bamboo Shoots
  • 1/2 Cup Finely Diced Cremini Mushrooms
  • 3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 1 14-Ounce Can (1 3/4 Cups Cooked) White Beans, Drained
  • 5 – 6 Scallions, Thinly Sliced
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 3/4 – 1 Cup All Purpose Flour

Rice Buns:

  • 1 1/2 Cups Water
  • 1 Cup Bamboo Rice
  • Pinch Salt
  • 2 – 3 Tablespoons Sesame Oil

To Finish:

  • Sliced Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Mustard and/or Vegan Mayonnaise
  • Fresh Parsley or Cilantro

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly grease and set aside.
  2. Heat the sesame oil in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. When shimmering, add in the garlic, bamboo shoots, and mushrooms, and saute until aromatic. This should take no more than 5 – 6 minutes; be careful not to overdo it and burn the garlic. Deglaze the pan with the soy sauce, turn off the heat, and let cool for at least 10 minutes minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, roughly mash the beans with a fork or potato masher. You want to keep the texture fairly coarse so that the burger maintains a satisfying bite. Add in the scallions and spices, mixing well to incorporate. Once cool enough to handle, introduce the sauteed vegetables and stir once more. Begin mixing in the first 3/4 cup of flour, making sure that there are no pockets of dry ingredients remaining before assessing the consistency. It should be soft but manageable; something you can fairly easily mold into patties that will hold their shape. Add up to 1/4 cup more flour if necessary.
  4. Measure out between 1/3 – 1/2 cup of the burger mixture for each patty, and form them into round, flat pucks with slightly moistened hands. Space them out evenly on the sheet at least 1 inch apart. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool for 10 – 15 minutes before removing from the sheet.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the rice “buns.” (This can also be done well ahead of time, to streamline the serving process.) Bring the water up to a boil in a medium saucepan over moderate heat before adding in the rice and salt. Stir once, turn down the heat to low, and cover. Cook gently for 15 – 20 minutes, undisturbed, until the water has been fully absorbed. Turn off the heat and cool for at least 20 – 30 minutes, until you can comfortably handle it.
  6. Transfer the rice to a non-stick baking dish and press it out into an even layer of about 1/4-inch in thickness. Use a lightly greased glass round cookie cutter to punch out circles to form the bun shape. Make sure that the rounds are large enough to contain your patties, without having a lot of overhang, either. Place the shaped rice buns on a sheet pan and move the whole thing into your freezer to chill rapidly. It’s easier to fry them when they’re very cold, or even partially frozen.
  7. Heat a thin layer of sesame oil in a pan over medium-high heat and fry no more than 2 buns at a time. Cook each side until the exteriors are nicely crisped and amber brown. Transfer to a cooling rack and repeat with the remaining rice, adding more oil to the pan as needed to prevent the buns from sticking.
  8. To assemble your bamboo burgers, spread a dollop of mustard or mayo on one rice bun. Top with sliced tomato, lettuce, a bamboo patty, and fresh herbs, as desired. The burgers are best enjoyed hot, but are still quite tasty cooled, packed in a lunchbox, and eaten at room temperature.

Recommended Products

Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. I have experience with all of these companies and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something through my links.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 204Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 536mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 6g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.

Green Grilling

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. You can even take them on the road with the right camping grill at your disposal. Just be gentle when flipping the patties, as they’re a bit more fragile than most mass-produced options.

Green Goddess Burgers

1/2 Cup Rolled Oats
2 Cloves Garlic
2 Scallions
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

Printable Recipe