Thursday, July 12, 2012

Healthy Eating: Cannellini-Veggie Burgers

I have a pretty big news flash to share with y'all. I'm making a bigger effort to cook healthier food. With that said, don't expect this to turn into a diet blog EVER, as I will still be sharing comfort foods and delicious baked yummies that I will simply never stop producing or eating (in moderation, always). I am trying to lead a healthier lifestyle and I'm hoping to have more healthy options on my blog in the future.

An example of this new angle for Mission: Food is this cannellini-veggie burger recipe. I'm a big fan of legumes in all shapes and sizes. Using canned beans is a convenient way to work beans into your diet even when you don't plan ahead to soak overnight and then cook for hours. Mashing them up with some fresh veggies (the zucchini and thyme were from my dad's garden) creates a really delicious and flavorful burger. This meat-lover didn't miss the meat at all! These babies were really flavorful and also very colorful with beautiful flecks of orange and green throughout.

I decided to be a little bad (because who am I kidding, really?) and topped with thin slices of a French Swiss-style cheese I got at Trader Joe's. I can't for the life of me remember what it was called, and I even went to Trader Joe's yesterday and didn't see it there so who knows. I also used Trader Joe's wheat hamburger buns, which were very tasty and a decent, not-too-big size for my burgers. I kept my toppings pretty simple, no ketchup or mustard or anything of the sort, as I really wanted to taste the burgers themselves. You can decorate your burgers however you'd like. It's a free country (or so they tell me).

Cannellini-Veggie Burgers
Serves 6

3 T. extra-virgin olive oil, or as needed
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
1 medium zucchini, grated
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 (15.5 oz) cans cannellini beans, drained, rinsed, and mashed
1/3 cup + 1 T. dry bread crumbs
1 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1 egg white, beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 hamburger buns
Arugula (or other greens), for serving, as desired
Cheese, for serving, as desired
Condiments, for serving, as desired

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the carrot, zucchini, onion, and garlic and saute until softened, about 6 or 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the vegetable mixture to the mashed beans in a large mixing bowl. When the skillet cools, wipe it clean with a damp paper towel and set aside. You will be cooking the burgers in the same pan.

To the vegetable and bean mixture, add the bread crumbs, lemon juice, fresh thyme, coriander, and egg white. Season generously with salt and pepper (I used about 1 tablespoon salt and several grinds of black pepper) and mix until thoroughly combined. Shape into 6 patties and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add a few burgers at a time (they will be delicate; use a wide spatula to transport them) to the pan and cook on each side for about 5 or 6 minutes or until nicely browned. Add oil as necessary when flipping burgers and adding the next batch to the pan.

Serve the burgers hot on hamburger buns (or without if you're watching your carbs) with whatever embellishments and/or condiments you prefer. I used arugula and a Swiss-style cheese from Trader Joe's that I slightly melted as the burger finished cooking.


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