I've made every version of veggie burger- beans, rice, cauliflower, eggplant- it all got quite monotonous after a while! Over the summer I had a huge batch of pesto in my freezer that I wanted to use up and decided that a veggie burger with pesto was a delicious idea! The rest of the burger came together in no time - quinoa, peas, mushrooms and onions!
There are 2 "secrets" to having well formed vegan veggie burgers without any fillers (such as breadcrumbs):
1. A food processor or blender is a must! In order to keep the mixture together, part of the batter will need to go into the blender/ processor. This part of the mixture forms a 'glue' and ensure you don't have a hassle flipping or transferring the burgers.
2. Use a ring mold or metal cookie cutter. I like this one from Amazon. If you are someone who wants to make more veggie burgers at home, these are a worthwhile investment!
One more thing to note is that there is SO much room for doing your own thing in this recipe! I use different varieties of greens for the pesto (I especially like to mix basil, spinach and arugula together!) You can omit the mushrooms and/or add other veggies to the mix- it all works!
I recently used this recipe to stock a batch of 100 burgers for the local food pantry with the help of a bunch of volunteers, Here are some shots of us in action!
Pesto Veggie Burgers
2 cups quinoa, cooked
1 small bag frozen peas, 16 oz
1 onion, chopped and sautéed
1 box mushrooms, chopped small
3 cloves garlic, chopped and sautéed
1 batch homemade pesto (see below)
2 bunches basil or spinach or a combination
1/4 cup olive oil, or more if desired
1 tablespoon hemp seeds or pine nuts
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt, to taste
Blend everything adding oil, or water to thin until you achieve the desired consistency.
Add hot water to cover peas, and cook about 5-10 minutes in a saucepan over the stove. Cook chopped mushrooms in a 350 oven without any oil or liquid 10 minutes until the juices release and mushrooms dry out slightly. Mix together quinoa, peas, onion, mushrooms, garlic and pesto. Place a portion of the mixture in a blender or food processor and pulse to combine. Form veggie burgers, placing mixture halfway up the mold and patting down to even it out. Pam or brush the tops with oil and bake on 375 for 30 minutes. Then flip over and bake other side an additional 10 minutes. Serve fresh or cool and place in the freezer.
To shop ingredients and kitchen equipment for this recipe, head over here to find everything you need to get started!