Oh, the humble beet. This rustic root vegetable is surprisingly versatile, with an earthy taste and rich hue perfect for everything from whipping up vibrant natural food dyes to making flavorful soups. And, with a touch of fragrant smoke and a little time on the barbecue, they make a mean burger.
What happens when you combine beets, black beans, a mouthwatering medley of spices and herbs, and a few other special touches? You get a hearty, protein-packed, savory beet burger that's as decadent as it is good for you. Here's how to achieve this meatless marvel:
Smoked Beet Burger Recipe
¼ cup uncooked brown rice
¾ cup water
1 Tbsp. butter
½ medium onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, whole
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. ancho chili powder
1 large beet, scrubbed and quartered
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley
1 cup canned black beans
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp. kosher salt
4 brioche buns + hickory smoked salt
Hot tip: Measure and set aside all ingredients beforehand so you can assemble the patties quickly while the grill warms up.
Begin by firing up the grill and filling a smoker box with cherry wood chips. It's recommended you keep your chips dry, as soaking them leads to water vapors that prolong the preheating time. The goal is smoke, not steam! If you're working with a:
1. In a small saucepan, bring rice and water to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes or until tender. Set aside to cool.
2. Melt butter in a medium pan and add onion, garlic, cumin seeds, and chili powder. Cook on low heat until the onions are softened and the spices are toasted (about three minutes.)
3. Add the raw beet to a food processor and pulse until it resembles rice. Add the onion/spice mixture from step two, along with parsley, black beans, and cooked rice. Continue pulsing until the mixture is well combined and scrape into a large bowl.
4. Stir in egg, breadcrumbs, and kosher salt. Form into four equal-sized patties.
5. Smoke on the grill for one hour.
6. Serve on a buttered bun sprinkled with hickory-smoked salt.
You can serve up your smoked burgers under a blanket of crisp lettuce and a generous dollop of your favorite condiment or yogurt. Present them alongside a simple salad or sweet potato fries, and try to act modest when everyone tells you it's the best veggie burger they've ever had.