Did You Know? The white ribs inside a pepper that we all trim away actually contain heart healthful bioflavonoids, so use them in your soups!
This was one of the first things I made for my family when I started this blog, but unfortunately I don't have the pictures from our very first experience. Because if I did, you would see them on big, homemade kaiser rolls. I was so excited at how well those rolls turned out, but for some reason, I have yet to make them again. I'll save that for Spring Break, which will be here before I know it.
Besides the rolls, which definitely don't make or break this sandwich, the burgers have quickly become my go-to meal. Pre-Roasted Pepper Veggie Burgers, my diet consisted of a lot of store-bought, frozen patties (Gardenburger mostly). They were convenient, healthy, and pretty tasty, but I knew all of that sodium and TVP couldn't be the best thing in the world. When I came across Heidi's Ultimate Veggie Burger, I knew it had to be good, I mean is there anything on 101 Cookbooks that isn't?
Serving her burger as the bun, it lent itself to a lot of different fillings, which she detailed wonderfully. Being a bread person, I knew I wanted to take some of her filling ideas, and experiment with adding them to the burger mixture itself. That way I would incorporate some extra veggies, add some more flavor, and plate the burger more traditionally, sandwiched between bread.
The burgers are a breeze to throw together, and the taste is like nothing you will find in their manufactured counterpart. I love the depth that the roasted peppers bring, set-off by the brightness of the cilantro. The sauteed exterior develops a wonderful, golden crunch, split open to reveal a creamy, hummus-like filling.
Keeping the base mixture consistent with Heidi's recommendations, the flavor combinations for mix-ins are endless - all resulting in an entirely new burger. I've already come up with a new favorite version of this ultimate veggie burger that I can't wait to reveal to all of you in the future. Until then, here's my first take on Heidi's classic...
2 (15-oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 large eggs
1 red bell pepper
2 jalapeno peppers
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 onion, chopped
Zest of one lemon
1 cup alfalfa sprouts
1/2 cup whole-grain bread crumbs
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or cooking spray
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Place red and jalapeno peppers on a baking sheet, cut side down. Right before placing them in the oven, switch your oven over to broil. Broil for about 8-10 minutes, until charred on the outside.
Remove from the oven and place the peppers in a zip-lock bag. Seal the bag, and let steam for about 20-30 minutes. At this point, the skins can easily be peeled away, to leave you with the roasted peppers.
Combine the chickpeas, eggs, roasted peppers, and salt in a food processor. Puree until the mixture is the consistency of a slightly chunky hummus. You don't want a smooth batter. Add the alfalfa sprouts, and pulse a few more times just to combine. Pour into a mixing bowl and stir in the cilantro, onion, and zest. Stir in the breadcrumbs or flax, and let sit for a couple of minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture.
Form the burger mixture into patties, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. I use an ice cream scoop for this to get around 12-15 small burgers. You can either freeze the patties (which is what I do, so I can have them whenever the mood strikes), or heat up that last tablespoon of oil in a skillet, and cook for a few minutes on each side, until nicely browned and heated through.
I enjoy mine on a toasted Ezekial 4:9 Sprouted English Muffin, smeared with some red pepper hummus and topped with baby spinach leaves.