Last week for dinner we thought we’d give our local Veggie Grill a chance and see what all the hype was about. They recently opened a location here in Long Beach and I had always heard good things about them. I ordered a tempeh burger topped with a portabello cap, and a side of onion rings and loved every bite. It tasted fresh and clean and I can’t wait to start experimenting with tempeh.

The ultimate veggie burger made with mixed grains and avocado
Actually I loved it so much I vowed to try and create my own veggie burger. I’ve made a few before and some were amazing like this one from 101 Cookbooks, where the burger is actually the bun. Others though, have been kinda disappointing. After a few fails I decided to follow the style of using a grain to be the “meat” of the burger. If you ever shop in Trader Joe’s, a well known grocery store chain here in the U.S. look out for their little one pound bags of Harvest Grains Blend. Its a mixture of Israeli couscous (mostly), orzo, baby garbanzo beans and red quinoa. Boil it up with some stock and it gives a great base for a healthy meal. I wanted to use it in my burger though, so I cooked it with a little vegetable stock and added some baby portabello’s and some other essential flavors. If you can’t get this mixture regular couscous would probably work or maybe half couscous and half quinoa.. Not to toot my own horn but I’m gonna, It was bang on! It held up well and was easy to work with. 

I made a simple chili mayonnaise spread, and I used Parmesan discs, sliced avocado and micro greens for my toppings. A toasted pretzel bun was the home for all of these clean, fresh flavors. You could adapt this burger to your own tastes easily and if you wanted to make it vegan, switch the egg for a juicy tomato and use a vegan cheese such as Daiya. When you come to from the mixture into patties make sure to have plenty of flour nearby as things can get sticky but using the flour on your hands will let you mold some fine looking burgers.

Serve this veggie burger on a toasted pretzel bun for maximum flavor
Recipe for veggie burgers:
Prep Time- 30 minutes    Bake Time- 20 minutes    Yield- 6 3.5 inch patties
For the Parmesan discs
Parmesan cheese, grated 3 Tablespoons per disc
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
Lay a 4 inch round cookie cutter on a baking tray lined with a Silpat mat. Grate some Parmesan cheese and gently push about 3 tablespoons of grated cheese into the center of the cookie cutter and making sure to fill the whole circle with cheese. Lift off the cutter and make another cheese disc next to it. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes. The cheese will harden as it cools, Set aside. 
For the spicy mayo spread
4 Tablespoons mayonnaise
Hot sauce to taste
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Combine all ingredients together and set aside in the refrigerator
For the burger
3 Tablespoons canola oil
1/2 bag Harvest Grains Blend cooked to directions on the bag. It recommends chicken stock, just switch it to veggie stock.
4 ounces of portabello mushroom roughly chopped
2 cups of garbanzo beans, drained
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup of chopped onion
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 egg
Salt and pepper to taste
Flour for forming patties
Pretzel buns or any roll you prefer, toasted
Into a food processor, place 3 cups of the cooked harvest blend/couscous mix along with the mushrooms, garbanzo beans, garlic, chopped onion, soy sauce, cumin, egg, salt and pepper. Pulse until the mixture starts to come together. Scrape the mixture down a few times but don’t worry if there’s chunks of mushroom still visible.
Divide the mixture into 6 even sized piles. Roll each pile into a ball using some flour to prevent it sticking to your hands. Form the ball into a burger shape and place each patty onto a plate.
Heat the canola oil in a large non stick pan. Place the patties into the hot oil over a low/medium heat and cook for about 10 minutes, flip them over and cook for a further 10 minutes, making sure a nice crust forms on each side.
When the burgers are cooked let them drain on a paper towel. Spread some spicy mayo on the base of each bun and lay a burger on it. Top with some sliced avocado, cheese and micro greens.
 Serve with potato chips or sweet potato fries.
Note- All opinions of Veggie Grill were my own. I liked it and would recommend it.