Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Olive Lentil Burgers

There is something completely satisfying about making veggie burgers from scratch. While I do (usually) have a box of frozen veggie burgers on hand for a quick, no-fuss dinner, many of the store bought burger varieties contain some not-so-wonderful ingredients.

When you make your own though, you have the freedom to pick any flavor you like: Mexican, Indian, Cajun, Italian... the possibilities are endless, and YOU get to control exactly what goes in them.

So when I saw this recipe for "OLIVE LENTIL BURGERS' on the Post Punk Kitchen Blog, I was immediately intrigued.  That, and I had a lovely container of fresh kalamata olives left over from making Artichoke Olive Salsa for New Year's!

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These were DELICIOUS!  The salty brine of the olives mixed with the meaty texture of the mushrooms made a perfect match.  For the mushrooms, I actually used a 50 gram bag of dried shiitakes that I had picked up at Job Lot for $2.00. They were already finely chopped and just needed to be re-hydrated.  I wasn't really sure how much re-hydrated shiitake I as going to end up with, so I soaked the whole bag and figured I'd hope for the best.

The amount ended up being perfect, and the substitution was perfect because the shiitakes added a wonderful smokey flavor. After they were well soaked, I drained and then added them to the already sautéing onion, garlic and spices, just to  heat them through and let the flavors combine.

One thing I also really liked about this recipe was the addition of dried tarragon.  I do have a small plastic bag of the spice, but I don't really come across too many opportunities to use it.  To me, tarragon has a licorice and slightly minty flavor.  The flavors of dried tarragon are quite strong, but the 1/4 tsp called for in this recipe, gives the perfect subtle hint.  I might be able to use up that bag after all!

I did end up baking the burgers in the oven about 15 minutes longer than stated, so about 45 minutes total.  I served them on toasted wheat bread with some romaine lettuce leaves and some Guacamame from Appetite for Reduction.  More on Guacamame to come!

Mushroom Olive and Lentil Burgers

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