Refried beans, walnuts and tempeh add heft and heartiness; the smoked tempeh also gives a little bit of that grilled-over-a-fire taste. Shiitake mushrooms double down on umami savor. Although I’m generally a from-scratch girl, using a few ingredients that already have seasoning greatly simplify the usual home-kitchen veggie-burger prep.
These are vegan.
1 (15.4-ounce) can vegetarian organic refried black beans, such as Amy’s
½ cup walnuts
½ cup cooked brown rice, either leftover (previously cooked), or one of the packaged pre-cooked brown rices, such as Seeds of Change
3 to 4 tablespoons mild oil, such as sunflower or canola, plus a bit for oiling a baking sheet
7 ounces smoked tempeh strips, such as Lightlife Fakin’ Bacon
5 ounce sliced, trimmed shiitake mushrooms
3 tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, with 1 to 2 teaspoons of the adobo
1/4 cup parsley, minced
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
Buns (preferably whole-grain and toasted or grilled)
Any of your favorite burger fixings: mayo, ketchup, mustard, sliced red onions, sliced tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, sliced or crumbled cheese (dairy or non-dairy), sliced or mashed ripe avocado, sautéed mushrooms
- Place the refried beans in a medium-large bowl and set aside.
- Place the walnuts in the food processor and pulse-chop until coarsely ground (you don’t want them smooth). Add the brown rice, and pulse again several times. Transfer half of the walnut-rice mixture to the bowl with the refried beans. Leave the other half in the processor for now.
- Heat half the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and add the tempeh, browning for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until golden. Remove the tempeh from the skillet, blot on paper towels to remove excess oil, and let the slices cool slightly.
- Add remaining oil to skillet and add the shiitake mushrooms. Sauté, stirring often, until the mushrooms no longer look raw and have started to grow limp, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Crumble or slice half the tempeh strips into pieces about 1/4 inch wide. Add remaining tempeh to the processor. When shiitakes are done, transfer them to the processor as well, along with the cornstarch, chipotle and sauce, and parsley. Pulse-chop again, making a slightly chunky purée. Add this to the bowl with the refried beans, and combine all the ingredients, making a thick mixture. Season to taste.
- Form into 8 burgers, each about 3½ inches wide and 1 inch thick. Ideally, refrigerate the burgers for an hour or two before baking.
- When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Either oil a baking sheet or line it with a non-stick silicone sheet. Place the burgers on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then remove pan from oven. Using a thin-bladed spatula, carefully turn over each burger. Continue baking for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until burgers are firm and a little crusty-looking on the outside. Serve hot, immediately, on buns with the fixings, or serve at room temperature. Leftovers, should there be any, are excellent cold in a next-day sandwich.
- If you wish to grill, rather than bake, these, the refrigerated rest is a must. Plus, you will need to brush each chilled burger on both sides with a little oil before grilling.
- Since you have the chipotles open, you can easily purée another one, along with some of its sauce, and stir it into a bit of mayo (or vegan mayo, or my own tofu mayo), for, of course, chipotle mayonnaise.