Vegan Chipotle Quinoa Burgers

If you’re curious, I do find irony in the fact that I have a love of beef cattle and want to own my own someday, with the added fact that we eat vegan and vegetarian quite a bit. I also think it’s important to have a diverse diet though, including getting proteins from different sources besides meat. Sometimes it also just has to do with what my bodies telling me. Lately I’ve been pretty bogged down with allergies and a cold, so I’m trying to keep all dairy, eggs and meat out of my diet for the next few days since they tend to give me subtle reactions anyway. This meant it was time to go for the good grains and it was the perfect excuse to try quinoa.

I always thought it was one of those things like risotto that is intimidating. Despite the fact I have rice for risotto on my pantry shelf, I haven’t attempted that either. The thing with quinoa though is that I was so wrong about it being hard. This stuff is easy. Really easy. Easy as in cous-cous easy. Easy as in easier than rice easy. Or as easy as rice. Either way, I was completely wrong.

The original recipe for these burgers included dairy and eggs, oh—and it wasn’t for burgers. It was for bite size patties, which was not going to fly in our house. So I took the basics, referenced my favorite vegan substitution book and went to town on the recipe…plus adding in a bunch of stuff and taking out a bunch of stuff. The only thing that is about the same is the fact is uses quinoa.

First, I washed my quinoa. If you want a tip for this amazing grain, save the water when you wash the grain. Quinoa’s exterior has saponins in it. More or less, this means that it’s basically an all natural mild soap and is wonderful for your hair, oh and it’s packed with proteins. If you don’t wash the quinoa thoroughly you’ll end up with soapy water and a weird tasting quinoa. So rinse it through a fine mesh strainer into a container, and then use said rinse on your head in the shower. Just let it set for about 5 minutes in between your shampoo and conditioner. My friend who is no-poo recently said she mixed quinoa water with chickpea water and baking powder and it made her hair like glorious unicorns. Well, she didn’t exactly say that, but I know that’s what she meant.

While I cooked my quinoa, following the directions on my bag, I mixed up my binder. In lieu of eggs my handy little book told me I could use plenty of other things, but I chose the corn starch route for these. There’s also a way to do it with flax, but I didn’t want the flavor imparted. Next time I might try flax though, just to see the difference.

For the corn starch substitute you use two tablespoons of corn starch and two table spoons of warm water and this is equal to one egg. Pretty simple.

So I whisked up enough (four eggs worth – yep, four!) and then added a teaspoon of chia seeds to the mixture. They are after the superfood of the aztecs. If the bag says so, it must be true.

My friend actually told me about them this weekend so I decided to give it a go. Not only is chia easier to digest than flax, it contains more fiber and it also contains protein and antioxidants. Yes please.

To this mixture add:

  • 2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup almond cheddar shreds (or your favorite substitute)
  • 1/2 a medium onion, minced more or less
  • a tablespoon of chipotle powder (hence the name)
  • a teaspoon of garlic powder
  • one cup quick cook oatmeal – whole grain

Now, when you mix this all up that cornstarch is going to bind and fast. You might think, “ahh crap!” but just keep mixing it with a fork. Eventually it all comes together and you start seeing how they will hold in burger form (and they do).

Heat a skillet with some olive oil in it, and then grab about a small handful of the mixture and just roll and pat it in into patty form. Place patty in the skillet and get cookin! I did mine over medium heat until they were toasted nice and brown on either side.

To limit anymore carbohydrates, I took one piece of bread and toasted it, placed hummus and tomatoes on the bread and the hot crispy quinoa burgers on top. The temperature heat of the burger, mixed with the spice heat from the chipotle, combined with the cool tomato and the creamy hummus was a huge winner.

I would literally serve these to meat and potato eating truckers and I’m pretty sure they would like them. As long as I didn’t call them vegan, or suggest it was some sort of meat substitute. Oh heck, forget the trucker—we tease my brother-in-law about eating mostly meat and potatoes and even he ate one of these and liked it.

These would be so easy to make about a million other ways though. Add in some italian spices and basil and you could make italian burgers or even rolled into balls you could make “meatballs” for your spaghetti. Which I might have to do now that I just wrote it.

I made a little too much quinoa, but that just means for lunch I’m eating quinoa, almond cheese, tomatoes and a little salad dressing on a wrap and who knew, it’s pretty satisfying and filling.

There might be something to this whole quinoa thing after all.

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xo,

Heather

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