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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Best Veggie Burger: Plant Cafe Organic

I have never been much of a burger person; I’m not one to get crazy burger cravings, as those things go. It’s likely largely due to the fact that I haven’t eaten red meat since about the 5th grade. In these last couple of years, I’ve been coming around to the idea of veggie burgers. Not the commercial kind, but the homemade variety. I have been known to make a mean lentil walnut burger, which I like served with a side of sweet potato fries. Or pickles. Or pickle fries, if I could figure out how to make such a thing!

When my friend, Lindsay, claimed that this place called The Plant Café Organic had the best veggie burger out there, I was intrigued and wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Like I said, you’re more likely to find me swooning over things like extremely fancy vegetarian food or flaky roti rolls stuffed with tikka masala or even a "PB & J" sandwich made with pistacho butter and apricot jam and a semi-soft cheese smooshed between grilled bread.

But, this "plant burger" is no ordinary or traditional burger. For one thing, it isn’t firm or hold together quite like a patty. It’s soft kind of like the texture mashed potatoes. And they recommend getting it on grilled sourdough, although you can get a sprouted whole wheat bun if you need to. But what I find most intriguing is its main ingredients: lentils, mushrooms, beets, cashews and bulgur wheat. Sounds iffy, at best, right?! But it’s not iffy at all—it’s delicious and I even got several omnivores to confirm it. It’s like those five divergent ingredients got together and started up a band to rock out with something new. The combination of flavors all working together to comprise the burger is really satisfying!The grilled sourdough has a nice slather of tasty garlic aioli (possibly made with a vegenaise base) and the burger is topped with these delicious sticky roasted red onions, lettuce and a slice of tomato. And then you can add on other things like sautéed mushrooms, cheese and avocado.

We also loved the raw blueberry "cheesecake" made with blueberries, cashews, young coconut, agave nectar, coconut oil, vanilla, sea salt, coconut and dates. It is drizzled with a blackberry pepper sauce that is a puree of blackberries, agave nectar and freshly cracked black pepper.

And, wouldn’t you know it, a new location just opened up right across the street from my work at Pine Street and Front Street!



* 2/3 c. pre-soaked bulgur (soaked for at least 4 hours, then measured)
* 3/4 c. pre-soaked red lentils (soaked for at least 4 hours, then measured)
* 1/3 c. raw cashews (blended into a powder)
* 1 c. beets, trimmed and washed
* 1 c. white mushrooms, diced
* 1/2 tsp. sea salt
* 3 Tbsp. olive oil


* Preheat oven to 450 degrees and bake the beets for about 45 minutes or until very tender.
* Allow beets to cool slightly, then peel off skin and dice them.
* In a skillet, heat one Tbsp. of the olive oil and sautee the mushrooms over medium-high heat until cooked (you can add a sprinkle of water if needed since the mushrooms will instantly soak up the olive oil).
* In a food processor, combine diced beets and sauteed mushrooms, lentils, bulgur, cashew powder and sea salt.
* Form mixture into burger patties.
* Heat olive oil in a skillet or griddle on medium high heat. Cook burgers, but try not flip more than once to avoid burgers falling apart.

Serve on grilled sourdough bread or buns with your favorite toppings!

UPDATE: I revamped this recipe here.


Lindsay said...

Awesome--thanks for providing the recipe! And if you're wanting some "extremely fancy vegetarian food" in April, we'd love to accompany you two to Ubuntu!

Aly Su said...

I was SOOOOO happy to find your recipe! I LOVE the plant cafe burger. I am going to make it tonight! I will report back with my success or failure....either way I am sure it will be yummmmmy!

David said...

Awesome !
I love that burger, thank you so much for that
You re the best!

Dee said...

I love this burger!! Thanks for figuring out the recipe and posting it. Am making it for dinner tonight. Just one question, is grilling the "patty" enough to cook the beans and wheat through? How long did you leave it on the grill. I plan to use a stovetop grill (grooved skillet) over a gas stove.

Thank you, your recipes rock (I am lactovegetarian).


Morgan Lee said...

From my experience, the lentils will be soft enough to blend in. You don't need to worry about the bulgur because it is a whole grain that has already been parboiled or precooked, so it cooks quickly and fluffs up when steamed or steeped in boiling water. I am going to try another round to experiment with the bulgur and maybe check out the directions on my Bob Mills package of bulgur wheat to find the optimal method (steaming like couscous or soaking). The beets are pre-roasted, so they will be cooked. The tricky part is really the grilling, because it is a very soft burger. For that reason, I think a grooved skillet might give you trouble because it might fall apart when you tryto slide a spatula under it to flip it. When I make this burger again at home, I will be sure to post updates!

ehuss said...

Yum! One of my favorites. I noticed you included mushrooms in the ingredient list, but did not include them in the instructions. I sauteed them briefly to soften them up before including them in the food processor mix.

Dustin DeKoekkoek said...

Do you happen to have the recipe for the cheesecake as well?

little bird said...

I am going camping this coming week. Do you think these burgers would be a good thing to bring? I would premake the mix and heat them up in a pan above the fire. Good idea or bad idea?? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Morgan Lee said...

Dustin--Sadly, I do not have the cheesecake recipe. I wish I did. I haven't had a chance to try making my own raw cheesecake, but I will be sure to post it if I do!

Morgan Lee said...

little bird-I think it could work for camping, but I might wrap the mixture up in plastic wrap and store in a tightly sealed tupperware so that it doesn't dry out. And be sure to grill up some bread on the camp fire too! Please let me know how it goes--I would love to know how well it holds up (or not) because I've contemplated making larger batches...or even toting it to a bbq party if I wasn't so afraid it would fall apart through the grill cracks and be a mess...But you never know--it might work and its always worth a try!

Jessica said...

I did not have success with this recipe. Any tweaks? It tasted raw (the lentils) and bland. Maybe I added too much lentils and bulgur? Were the recipe amounts pre or post soak? Wish I'd had better results, because I have been looking for a way to duplicate this burger at home!

Morgan Lee said...

Oh no! I believe the lentils/bulgur quantities were post-soaking. I am in the middle of moving, but once I get my kitchen back in working order I will do some more recipe testing and post any improvements or changes!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe! Do you know how many it makes?

Anonymous said...

Thanks! I am addicted to the plant burger and have wanted to try it at home. Have you ever tried to make more and store them for future? (How long would they keep in fridge / have you tried freezing?) Can't wait to try to make them myself! (Also what do you think about buying pre-roasted beets? I tend to dye my whole kitchen purple when I make them on my own...)

Anonymous said...

Oh yay, I have been searching for this recipe for 6 months. I could not stop craving this burger it's so good! Thanks, you made my day :-)

digiyesica said...

Thanks for sharing! Yes, the plant burger is my favorite veggie burger ever too! Can't wait to try it out on my own! :)

Gwen said...

I'm in the process of making this burger now and am having a problem with the texture. After everything was blended in the food processor the mix was extremely sticky and I could not form it into patties. I ended up adding some bread crums...hopefully that will do the trick. Any other suggestions? Thanks for the recipes!

Morgan Lee said...

Gwen, did you use the updated recipe (link is at the bottom)? The moisture really depends on whether you measured the lentils and bulgur pre-soaking or after soaking (I tried to clear this up in the new post). Also, some mushrooms can have more moisture than others. Breadcrumbs were a good idea! Chilling the mixture also helps. BUt even in the end, it is a wet burger that is unlike any burger that actually holds together. You have to approach it with confidence when cooking on the griddle and go with gusto! Good luck! :)

Rebecca said...

So delicious! Top it with carmelized onion, mushroom, goat cheese and avocado and its divine!!

Rebecca said...

So delicious! I added a little cumin and garlic salt to the recipe and then topped with sauteed onions, mushrooms, avocado, and goat cheese. Simply divine!

Laura said...

A friend just sent this to me and I can't tell you how thrilled I am to have the recipe for my favorite veggie burger in the world. Thanks so much!

Morgan Lee said...

Yay! It's a tricky burger to make, for sure. But worth the effort. :) Be sure to see the updated recipe link.