When our client Michael asked for a beet burger my reaction was “huh??? – beet burger? Not so sure about that.” So I searched for a recipe and found probably the most complex one around. But it’s good and well worth the effort. We’ve tweaked the original recipe to make it a teensy quicker and tastier. One absolutely necessary change from the original is to sauté and season the tempeh before adding to the mix. Without that step, there is this odd tempeh twang flavor to the burgers (you’ll know what I mean if you’ve had tempeh that hasn’t been seasoned properly).
These burgers freeze well so consider doubling the recipe and popping them in the freezer for later on.
If you’re on a low sodium diet here’s the link to the recipe with less sodium.
This recipe requires approximately 1 ½ hours of cooking and prep time plus an additional 2 hours of chilling time.
- ¼ cup short grain brown rice, cooked to make ½ cup
- 4 ounces extra-firm tofu** see note about tofu in the sidebar, drained and sliced into ¼ inch thick slabs
- Olive oil
- ½ pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed, quartered, and pulsed in the food processor. Keep these coarse.
- Splash of balsamic vinegar
- ¾ teaspoon salt – leave out for low sodium
- Optional: black pepper
- 1 – 15 oz can kidney beans, drained
- 1 medium beet, peeled and coarsely grated – we put it through the food processor after we take out the mushrooms
- ¼ medium or ½ small red onion, teensy dice
- 4 oz tempeh, chopped coarsely then sautéed and seasoned
- 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
- ½ cup water
- ¾ cup roasted unsalted cashews
Since raw cashew pieces are a little cheaper than whole roasted, we use raw cashew pieces and roast them in a 325º oven till light brown. But, of course, you can purchase pre-roasted, unsalted cashews.
- ⅓ cup herb crust or Italian seasoned panko
- 2 oz (about ½ cup) cotija or queso Blanco crumbled or parmesan grated
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons mayo
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
We often do the first bit of prepping, which is roasting the tofu, mushrooms, beets, and beans, the day before.
Once everything is roasted just put it all together in a bowl and pop it in the fridge overnight.
Cook the rice
Using the smallest pot possible, cook ¼ cup short grain brown rice with ¾ cup water and a pinch of salt. This will take about ½ hour to cook. When done just leave it in the pot while you work on the other stuff.
Roast the first four ingredients
Heat the oven to 425º
You will need two rimmed baking sheets for this first part of the prep. We prefer to line the sheet with a silicone mat to make clean-up a little easier.
Pat the tofu dry with a clean towel. Place it on half of a baking sheet. Brush both sides with a little olive oil. Spread the mushrooms on the other half of the baking sheet and toss with a splash of balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper (pepper optional)
Using a second baking sheet, mix the grated beet and kidney beans with about 1 tablespoon olive oil, and a little salt and pepper (pepper optional). Spread this out on the sheet.
Put the baking sheets in the oven. Cook the bean-beet mix till the beans split and the beets are tender – about 15 minutes. Roasted the mushrooms and tofu for about 25 minutes, until the tofu is golden and most of the liquid has evaporated from both. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly then tuck them into the fridge to cool them more quickly.
Sauté the onions and cook the tempeh
Using a medium sauté pan on medium heat, add a little olive oil and sauté the red onion with a pinch of salt until the onions are translucent – about 5 minutes. Put into a small bowl when done.
Using the same pan as you used for the onions, add a generous amount of olive oil and sauté the tempeh until browned – about 10 minutes or so, then simmer with 2 tablespoons coconut aminos and 1/2 cup water. Cook till all the liquid is gone.
Put it together
Put the cashews in a food processor and pulse till coarsely ground.
Next add the cooled beet bean mixture, mushrooms, tofu, herb crust, cheese, eggs, mayo, red onion, garlic, smoked paprika and ¾ teaspoon salt. Pulse until well combined, then add the tempeh and rice and pulse again, till the rice and tempeh are small bits.
Divide the mix into 6 equal portions and using damp hands, shape about 1 ¼ inches thick burgers. Place on a small sheet pan or plate and refrigerate for about 2 hours (this time can be reduced to 1 hour if you’ve done the first part the day before.)
Time to cook
Heat a few tablespoons olive oil in a sauté pan, cast iron works best, and cook the burgers on medium heat till browned – about 6 minutes, then turn and repeat.
Variations and additions
If you’d like these to be a little spicier add ¼ teaspoon chipotle powder, maybe a teaspoon of chili powder, and/or a little cayenne.