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Veggie Burgers: Meat Free But Full of Flavor

Looking for a meatless meal idea? Try making these divine veggie burgers.

Veggie Burgers: Meat Free But Full of Flavor

"If you knew how meat was made, you'd probably lose your lunch."  ~k.d. lang

Something you may have seen all over the news last week was the subject of “pink slime." Jamie Oliver covered this subject on his show "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" last year and now there is a petition to try to stop the USDA from buying pink slime and using it in school lunches.

What is pink slime? According to the petition, pink slime “is a beef-like product created by grinding together connective tissue and beef scraps normally used in dog food, and treated with ammonia hydroxide to kill salmonella and E. coli.”

Ugh.

This slime controversy got me to thinking about how much meat my family consumes and how much that meat costs. Meat is the basis for most all of our dinners and that meat is always the most expensive thing in my shopping cart each week. I'm thinking that maybe it’s time to cut back a little.

I’m not alone in my line of thinking, either, since meat consumption is predicted to be down around 12% in 2012. I was surprised to also read that Americans eat 25% less beef now than they did in 1980. So my new goal is to have two meatless meals each week. This will hopefully be great for my waistline and it will definitely be great for my wallet.

Since burgers are a favorite in my house I wanted to try and make a veggie version. I searched and found a great recipe for homemade veggie burgers in an old Weight Watchers cookbook on my shelf at home. They are really tasty.

I used my food processor to prepare the onion, carrots and zucchini. Just a few pulses and they were good to go. Before putting the mixture into the fridge I threw the whole thing back into the food processor and pulsed it a couple more times to get it to the right consistency. If you don't have a food processor or hand chopper then I would suggest using a grater...you want to make sure you don't have big pieces of vegetables in the burgers.

I like these on a toasted roll with pesto mayonnaise, lettuce and grilled onions.

Veggie Burgers

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, chopped or grated
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 carrots, chopped or grated
  • 1 zucchini, chopped or grated
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar Jack cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • few drops of sesame oil (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over low heat.
  2. Cook the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes, until tender.
  3. Mix in the carrots and zucchini. Continue to cook and stir for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove pan from heat and mix in oats, cheese, and egg. 
  5. Add sesame oil and red pepper flakes, if using.
  6. Stir in soy sauce and pulse in the food processor a few times (if using).
  7. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and refrigerate for an hour.
  8. Preheat the grill for high heat.
  9. Place the breadcrumbs on a large plate.
  10. Form the vegetable mixture into eight 3" round patties.
  11. Drop each patty into the breadcrumbs, lightly coating both sides.
  12. Oil the grill grate and grill patties about 5 minutes on each side, or until heated through and browned.

Enjoy!

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