An honest admission: I was by no means “blissed out” putting this recipe together. I naively assumed that I could pull it off easily. Boy, was I wrong. The first burger was tasty, but it wouldn’t hold it’s shape when cooked. Using egg as a binder was out of the question this week, for no other reason than looking for another creative option (why don’t I just throw a few stones in my path already?). The next burger was good, but felt a bit too straight, just the usual run of the mill burger. I kept trying to configure different ingredients, looking for something with a bit of a twist, that didn’t feel too exotic for it’s own sake. Try and try again was the order of the week.
Working through the creative process, I got a bit cynical. I called my friend Malina, who is a chef and food stylist, and threw her a curve ball: “Why should I even bother with a veggie burger recipe when most people will go to the frozen section, buy the prepackaged type, and sling them on the grill?” Her quick-fire response was, ” there will always be those that buy frozen burgers, but I suspect that if people are reading your blog, and love food, one day they will give this recipe a try and fall in love with cooking over and over again.” Right. That was enough to keep the wind in my sails for a few more rides around the bay.
Back on the wagon, I reminisced how my favorite veggie burgers had a rustic, wholesome flavor. I put together my dream team of favorite ingredients, and went for it: Sweet potato, millet, and short grain brown rice are satisfying and filling without feeling heavy, cashew butter and sunflower seeds offer a moreish, come hither sweetness, and toasted cumin and fennel gives a warming twist of fragrant flavor. This burger offers that kind of cozy contentedness that makes you feel as if you were wrapped in a soft Mexican blanket, sitting with friends next to a campfire at sunset.
The Blissed Out Veggie Burger
1 cup dried millet
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 medium carrot, grated
1 cup cooked short grain brown rice (should be soft and slightly sticky)
1/2 tablespoon potato flour
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup cashew butter
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
3 cups water
2 tablespoon shoyu or tamari soy sauce
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
extra olive oil to coat the burgers when baking
Honey whole wheat burger buns
sliced red onion
vegennaise (veggie mayonnaise)
1. Preheat oven to 400*
2. Rinse the millet with water, then place into a saucepan with the sweet potato and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until tender and glossy. Remove the cover, and allow to cool for a few minutes.
3. While the rice is cooling, using medium heat, dry roast the cumin and fennel seeds in a frying pan until toasted and fragrant. Turn off the heat and set aside.
4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked millet and sweet potatoes with the brown rice and mash together until combined. Stir in the fennel and cumin seeds, carrot, cashew butter, sunflower seeds, potato flour, and sea salt and black pepper.
5. Using a dessert spoon or ice cream scoop, shape 12-14 burgers and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Lightly baste each burger with olive oil and place in the oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. For a crispy and crunchy crust, pan fry the burgers in a teaspoon of olive oil in a nonstick frying pan for a minute or two.
Serve in a whole wheat bun with your choice of toppings.