Burgers and BBQs are summer staples. As soon as you eat more plant-based though, you are kind of left out of the fun. I mean you can only eat so many corn on the cobs until they come out of your ears. And sometimes you just really want a juicy burger to bite into. Taadaa... my brown rice burger patties are the perfect substitute. Let me be frank, if you are a hardcore meat burger lover, you are probably not going to appreciate this patty. This is for those of you who have given up meat a while ago, and were fine to nibble on salads and condiments at BBQ get togethers, but you are really ready for something different to enjoy.
This burger combines patty and bun in one. This means I make a thick patty, then lather it in BBQ sauce, mustard, or whatever other condiment you love, top it with sliced tomato, onion, and avocado, and wrap it in a big lettuce leaf. Yes, this might sound far from a real burger, but trust me, it is delicious. The patty is made with brown rice and beans, which makes it feel like something really substantial. If you were to add a bun to this, it would make the whole thing very dry. That's why I prefer a huge lettuce leaf to give it crunch and juiciness.
Now let's talk about this sticky sweet BBQ sauce. It it AHHHHMAZING! I have no other words to describe it. It's so sweet because of the dried apricots (sulphur free ones if you can find them :-)). Adding liquid smoke takes the sauce to the next level, from a sweet sauce to a smokey killer sauce. I can highly recommend getting a bottle of this - it will last you an eternity. It's easy to find in American supermarkets, not so easy to find abroad. My old bottle was so sacred to me that I moved with it from Thailand to New Zealand and then to China. Seriously get yourself one. It will give sauces you make from scratch so much depth!
Brown rice burger patty
Preparation time: 40 minutes (does not include rice and beans cooking time)
Makes 4 patties:
¼ white onion, very finely chopped
2 Tbsp virgin coconut oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, very finely grated or processed in the food processor very finely
¼ cup cooked brown rice
¼ cup cooked white beans
½ cup chickpea flour (you could substitute with brown rice flour)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
½ tsp smoked paprika powder
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat a big pan over medium heat, add 1 Tbsp coconut oil and onion, and stir for 5 minutes until golden brown.
Add the minced garlic, and stir another 2 minutes.
Add the carrots, and brown for 5 more minutes.
Finely, add all the other ingredients, and season with salt and pepper.
Take off the heat, and transfer to a food processor to process for 15 seconds at medium speed. This is to mush it all together, but you still want a little bit of texture left to it.
Run your hands under cold water, then separate the "dough" into 4 portions, and form patties.
Heat the other Tbsp of coconut oil in the pan over medium heat, add the patties, and let cook for 8 minutes on each side until browned. If you find they are turning too dark without cooking in the inside, cover the pan with a lid to let the steam cook the rest of the patty.
Sticky sweet BBQ sauce
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Soaking time for apricots: 2 hours
Makes 3 cups:
2 cups dried apricots, soaked in filtered water for 2 hours, then drained
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 thumb sized piece fresh ginger
1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil
1 cup vegetable broth (make it at home)
½ tsp coriander powder
4 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce
½ tsp liquid smoke (optional)
⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Start by grating the ginger very finely. For this you want to peel off the thick skin, either by cutting it off carefully with a knife, of using a spoon to scrape it off. Then run the ginger over the fine holes of a grater to get delicious minced ginger.
In a medium sized pot, add the coconut oil, onion, garlic, and ginger over medium heat. Stir for 5 minutes until slightly browned.
Add the vegetable broth, drained apricots, coriander, tomato paste, maple syrup, tamari, and liquid smoke. Let simmer for 15 minute over low-medium heat. This may spit out of the pot, so make sure you don't stand too close or have kids running around in the kitchen. Place a lid on it halfway to catch most of the splashes - just make sure the lid doesn't cover the whole pot because you want the steam to evaporate. Stir often.
Add the apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a food processor and process until you have a smooth sauce. Make sure you don't do this while the sauce is still hot unless you have a food processor that can handle heat like the Thermomix.
Do another taste test, and see if you want to add more salt, pepper, or apple cider vinegar.
Store it in the fridge for up to 2 months. You can also fill it in sterilized glasses, and seal them to store at room temperature for longer.
Happy summer BBQs!