1 Dish 2 Spoons: Burgers (Take 2)

10 Mar

You asked, we listened.  Here on this week’s edition of 1 Dish 2 Spoon,s we give you our takes on Veggie and Turkey burgers.

Jess’ version: Veggie Burgers

Many readers on here will know that in addition to my love for all things avocado, I’m also a huge fan of homemade veggie burgers.

Nearly every time I’m in Toronto, I try and make a visit to Fresh, one of the best Vegetarian restaurants the city has to offer.  They also have one of the tastiest veggie burgers I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying and they like to serve them with some interesting flavour combinations.  On a recent visit to Fresh with Dustin, I tried their Thai inspired burger with a sweet and spicy peanut sauce.

Now, as strange as you might think it would be to top a burger with peanut sauce, it was just crazy enough to work.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and was very eager to try and replicate the recipe at home.

The key to a good veggie burger are a few components:

–          Grain or legume base (protein)

–          Healthy fat

–          Vegetable fillers

–          Seasonings

–          Binder

Here are my ingredients:

For a base, my favorites are either black beans or brown rice as they offer a robust flavour and texture, not to mention nutrients.  Since I was going more Thai-inspired with this burger, I opted for the brown rice.  I also threw in some ground sunflower seeds to add in a bit more protein as well as some healthy fats.  When ground, sunflower seeds release their natural oils and help bind everything together.

For the vegetable filler, I shredded up a carrot to lend some moisture.  You could also use zucchini when they are in season.  Tonight’s seasonings were some garam masala and ground coriander to complement the peanut sauce.  I also added in some cooked onion and garlic.

Once I mixed everything together and pulsed it a few times in the food processor, I found the natural starchiness of the rice, paired with the oils from the sunflower seeds, created a natural binder and no further aid was needed.   When I make bean-based burgers often times I’ll add in barbeque sauce, mustard or use a flax-egg add for extra moisture and help keep it all together.

Now the real key to cooking the burgers is to sear each side in a frying pan with a bit of oil and then bake them in the oven.  This way they get a nice crunchy exterior and a more moist texture on the inside.  Delicious!

Our toppings were pretty simple: Dustin prepared an amazing peanut sauce, and then we added some leftover shredded carrot, sliced cucumber and lightly massaged kale.  All of this goodness was under a crusty ciabatta bun and was then devoured within minutes.  Success!

So as you see, with the right ingredients and a bit of creativity, you too can create a delicious and healthy veggie burger that will rival nearly any restaurant out there.  Except for maybe Fresh 😉

Fresh-Inspired Thai Veggie Vurger

1/3 c. brown rice

2/3 c. water

1 shredded carrot

1 c. sunflower seeds, ground in food processor or spice grinder

1 tsp canola oil

½ small onion

1 clove of garlic

1 tsp garam masala

¼ tsp ground coriander

Oil for pan-frying

S & P to taste

Sliced cucumbers, 1 shredded carrot, massaged kale as toppings

½  c. peanut sauce (recipe below)

4 burger buns


Preheat oven to 375F

Combine rice and water in a small sauce pan, bring a boil, stir and cover. Reduce heat to low and cook rice until all liquid is absorbed. Let cool to room temperature.

While rice is cooking, heat canola oil over medium high heat, add in onion and garlic and cook until softened.  Add in spices and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until fragrant and golden in colour.  Remove from heat.

In a medium sized mixing bowl combine rice, ground sunflower seeds, shredded carrot, and onion mixture.  Taste and add salt and pepper if desired.  Pour into food processor and pulse a few times but still has some texture to it.

Form into 4 patties, and place onto parchment-lined baking sheet.  Heat oil in a small skillet over high heat, and one by one, sear each side of the patties and replace on the baking sheet.  Insert into oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through.  Serve with peanut sauce and toppings.

Peanut Sauce

½ c. natural, crunchy peanut butter

1 tsp sesame oil

1 ½ tbsp chili paste

1 tbsp lime juice (1/2 a lime)

¼ c. water


In a small mixing bowl combine all ingredients and mix well. Adjust seasonings to your taste.  Depending on the brand of peanut butter you buy, more or less water may need to be added to thin it out, so add water 1 tbsp at a time.


Tess’ Version: Curried Turkey Burgers

When Jess told me what she had in mind for her burger recipe, I knew I couldn’t just do the standard plain old turkey burger – I needed something different.  Curry in a turkey burger?  That’ll work.


-2lbs lean ground turkey

-1 egg white

-2 tsp fresh ginger, minced

-1/4 cup red onion, minced

-1/3 cup apple, coarsely grated

-1 tbs curry powder

-1 tsp lemon juice

-1 tsp ground coriander

-2 tbs ground flaxseed

-S&P to taste

Additional: I used the Weight Watchers skinny whole wheat burger buns (package of 8) which were actually decent.  For toppings I used mustard, tomato, lettuce, cucumber, and a pre-made cucumber yogurt dressing, which you could also make by hand if you have the time.


1) Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.

2) Roll mixture into 12 flat patties.

3) Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Spray with cooking spray. Cook the burger patties in batches.  They’ll need about 3-4 minutes per side.  TIP: I covered my skillet with a large pot lid and it cooked WAY faster!

4) Set cooked patties aside and keep warm.  Meanwhile, warm your burger buns and organize your toppings.

5) Top your chosen buns with burger and condiments, or eat the burger by itself.  Toss up a salad for a complete meal 🙂

Serves 4

Now, I don’t know enough about science and cooking to understand what happened here, but we all agreed that the burgers were SUPER moist!  Maybe it was the apple?  Or maybe it was from using the pot lid?   I dunno.  I love though that there was not ONE drop of oil used – proof that good food does not have to be drenched in butter and oil, or heavily salted, to taste good.  The curry was an awesome addition, and it was extra delicious with the yogurt sauce.  I was feeding two men, and they both thought the burgers were great.  I must say, this recipe probably makes my Top 5 1D2S recipes.  Definitely worth trying.

Stay tuned for next week’s edition by request: grilled cheese sandwiches!



3 Responses to “1 Dish 2 Spoons: Burgers (Take 2)”

  1. Laura March 11, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    Yay burgers! I want to attempt the veggie one first, I have never made anything vegetarian so I am sort of confused..
    -Grain or legume base (protein) ?
    -Healthy fat ?
    -Vegetable fillers ?
    -Binder ??

    can I get exact words for these, total noob here!!! My idea of a binder is what I use so I don’t lose my homework … thanks!! 😀 -Laura

    • Tess and Jess March 11, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

      (Jess) Hey Laura- I’m sorry if it seemed so ambiguous! Here is some further explanation to everything:
      1) Grain or legume base- this is the “core” part of the patty; your “turkey” or “beef” per se. So in this burger, the brown rice would be the base.
      2) A healthy fat could be: avocado, oil, nuts, or seeds. Here, I’ve used ground sunflower seeds. This helps add nutrients, substance and the natural oils help keep the burger together
      3) Vegetable fillers are grated vegetables of your choice. These help add flavor and moisture, which again helps keep the burger together I used grated carrot, but you could use zucchini, grated sweet potatoes, or even grated beets.
      4) Binder- so this is what keeps the burger together. In many cases a beaten egg can be used. With the recipe I’ve provided, the starchiness of the brown rice, paired with the ground sunflower seeds, created enough “stickiness” to keep everything together.
      I hope this explains everything better?
      Good luck on your vegetarian experiment! -Jess

  2. Sam March 11, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    Yay! These are great! 🙂

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