Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Rice & Bean Garden Burger

It's July already and it's been a hot one. The last week has been around 100 degrees with the heat index and the grass has been declared dead. It's quite sad really. I know many of you live in a dry and arid climate most of the year and so you are used to the summer being hot and dry. But for a Michigander like me, it seems we are more used to mild tempts and not such a severe dry spell. Yet, I can't really complain with all of the other disasters currently happening across the US. My heart and prayers go out to all those who are being personally affected by the wildfires and extreme temperatures all over the country. What a strange year for weather! Maybe the Mayans were on to something...
Thankfully because of the invention of the garden hose and sprinkler, we have been able to keep our little "garden babies" wet and growing quite nicely. This past week we harvested our first zucchinis, a batch of green beans and lots of greens. The lettuce was done a few weeks ago and I am not saying that I don't mind. There were a few weeks there where we ate lettuce all hours of the day (I'm exaggerating, but still, we had a lot). This burger was inspired by just that. A simple fresh garden meal that does a twist on your plain ol' rice and beans meal with lots of fresh dill and basil to make it bright and beautiful. Dill is my current favorite herb. I just can't get enough this summer. And my little plant is tired of me picking it, so I am going to give it a little break.
I have been picking lots of these sweet things though. Here is a sneak peak of the gorgeous blueberries I have been picking the last week as well. I have almost 50 pounds in the freezer, and I am hoping to get another 50 before the season is done. I know crazy, but we use up about 2-3 pounds a week on smoothies throughout the year, so I thought I might as well try and have enough for most of the year. Besides, I love picking. It is fun and you can usually eat as you pick, so a very fun "game" for my almost 2 year old. I made 2 pies this week with the berries, and hope to share one or both of those recipes very soon. But for the moment, here is a simple summer garden burger to enjoy warm, cold or however you fancy. Top it with some fresh garden tomatoes, lettuce, and avocado and you've got yourself a meal. 
Rice & Bean Garden Burger Recipe 
(gluten-free, nut-free and vegan)
3 cups of pre-cooked brown rice (I used long-grain organic)
3 cups of pre-cooked or canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup of freshly grated (or shredded) zucchini
1 cup of freshly grated carrot
1 ts. of ground garlic powder
1-2 ts. of chili powder spice blend
1/2 ts. of sea salt
1/2 ts. of black pepper
2-3 TB of freshly squeezed lime juice
1 TB of olive oil
2-3 TB of chopped fresh dill
2-3 Tb of chopped fresh basil

In a large mixing bowl, dump in your cooked black beans and mash them roughly with a fork. When you get a nice looking mush then you can add the brown rice and the rest of the ingredients. Mix everything together with a rubber spatula and then let sit in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to soak in the flavors and get chilled. 
Then, pull from the fridge and form 8 to 12 hand-sized patties with the mixture and place them very close to each other on a parchment-papered baking sheet. Then bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, then flip the burger patties and then put back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes. This will help each side get toasted and crispy. 
Depending how large you want your patties, this recipe could make 8 large ones or 12 smaller ones. Then you can eat them however you want. Here are a few of my favorite ways...

Plate: Just put a burger on a plate and eat with a fork warm from the oven!

Wrap: Fill a GF wrap or large piece of lettuce or chard with lettuce, avocado, tomato and ketchup and mustard, then roll it up and eat it.

With a special sauce of : 1/3 cup vegan mayo, 1 Tb of ketchup 1 Tb of mustard, and a sprinkle of chili powder and lime to flavor it. It makes kinda an aoli to help flavor the burger and give it more somethin' somethin'.
However you decide to eat this scrumptious burger, you will do it with lots of flavor! This simple burger is a perfect way to mash up some rice and beans, and the zucchini and fresh herbs just make it great! I hope you try this one out while the ingredients are fresh and while the summer is sizzling!

Much love and light (and cool breeze and some quiet rain) to you!


  1. These look delicious, Stephanie! I love vegan burgers made with beans. :-)

    And, boy, will you have a year full of blueberries--too cool!


  2. Hi: I just made these delightful burgers & tweeked them a bit to make them with a flavour of Mexico! I added Cumin/chopped Cilantro/some Mexican Spice & just removed the Basil & Dill & they were fantastic!! Used Sui Chow for buns. I changed the Mayo a bit & added Cilantro/Cumin & it worked like a charm!! You can actually make these with any spices/herbs you'd like...we could have added Salsa as well, but I didn't think of it until later...these are definitely a keeper...thanks so so much for all your hard work & all of these wonderful recipes!!