I’m not a vegetarian. I’m sure you have gathered that by now. Particularly with posts like this incredible pork roast, our amazing juniper brined turkey we had for thanksgiving or the very best BBQ chicken I use as our staple “how to fix a whole chicken” recipe (best shredded chicken EVER).
However, I am not a meat as an entree person. I prefer it with or in things- like topping a salad or in a soup. I love a good burger any day of the week, particularly the spectacular ones my husband makes. But meat can be pretty expensive.
I don’t mean to harp on this tight budget bit. It seems to come up nearly every other post but, to be honest, it is something that is front of mind for me every day. I like budgeting, as irritating as it can be at times. I’m enjoying finding new and creative recipes that don’t call for $47 worth of ingredients. Nothing makes me crankier than a recipe with $47 worth of ingredients.
So when I saw a recipe touting $2 for the WHOLE RECIPE I was in. Also the idea of a burger that was made with ingredients I had in my pantry had me intrigued. Bonus for the fact that it is vegan. Not something we do super often around here but something I wish we did more of.
When I first tasted these finished burgers they were a bit… eh. I was unimpressed. The first set actually fell apart. I tweaked the leftover batter/dough/patty mixture and the next set came out great. Still I was unimpressed but dinner they were going to be regardless. As a burger, which cheese and all the usual toppings, they are spectacular.
Back to the budget bit- When making these burgers I wasn’t about to make something on the cheap out of ingredients from my pantry just to turn about and spend $4 on hamburger buns. So I made my own. If you can actually believe this, it was my first time cooking with yeast. Ever. In my life. I have helped others do it or just drink beer while Nathan makes bread but I have never attempted to make my own bread. Thankfully they came out delicious. They are a bit dense but they are so tasty and cost a fraction of a package of buns from the store.
So here you go. Literally a meal of rice and beans. Super cheap both for the patties and the buns. Deliciously vegetarian and good for you. Enjoy.
Black Bean and Brown Rice Burgers on Homemade Buns (makes 8 burgers and 12 buns)
from The Everyday Vegetarian and An Oregon Cottage
1 cup cooked brown rice
2 cups soaked and pre-cooked black beans
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves
1/2 zucchini, diced
1-2 tbs flour
1-2 tbs water
Place a large pan over medium high heat. Sautee the onion and zucchini in a little oil until the onion is brown. Add in the black beans and cook for 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat and place 2/3 of the mixture in a blender and blend for a few seconds- you are looking for mostly smooth with a few chunks. Place this back into the pan with the other mixture, add in the rice, and mix thoroughly. Allow the mixture to sit and cool for 10 minutes. Add a tablespoon of water and stir well. Then add a tablespoon of water to thicken it back up and stir well. This helps the burgers hold together. Divide into 8 portions and shape into patties. Heat a little oil in a pan, and when hot, place 2 burgers into it. Fry for about 4-5 minutes on both sides, then remove from the pan. Repeat with all the other burgers until they’re all cooked
For the buns:
2 c. warm water
1 1/2 tbs yeast
2 tbs honey
2 tsp salt
2 tbs olive oil
4 1/2 – 5 c. flour (use half whole wheat)
Mix water, yeast, and honey until yeast and honey are dissolved. Add the salt, oil, and 4-1/2 cups of flour to make a soft dough. Beat with a stand mixer for a minute or two (or knead a minute), adding the other 1/2 cup flour as needed to help dough be less sticky (you may not need all of it- and it will still be somewhat sticky). Let it rest 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove to a floured surface and knead by hand a few times. Press dough flat on floured surface and cut into 12 even pieces. Using floured hands, shape each into a ball. Shape and flatten the balls into buns and place on a greased cookie sheet.
Let rise 20-25 minutes (they will rise a bit, but not double). Bake for for 15 to 17 minutes until golden. They will sound hollow when thumped. Remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.