Cajun Red Beans and Rice Veggie Burgers
BellaFina™ peppers may be used to create a wide variety of recipes, from appetizers to main dishes. BellaFina peppers are often used in salads, vegetables trays with or without dip, cooked in stews and sauces and stuffed with meat, cheese and grains.
Grown on the vine in the field, BellaFina peppers are a great source of vitamins and nutrients. They are low calorie, fat free, sodium free and high in Vitamin C.
Author: Brandi Doming
Serves: 7 large burgers
For the Rice:
1 cup uncooked jasmine brown rice
2 cups water
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
For the Burgers:
2 green Bellafina peppers, finely chopped, small so it blends easily (about a cup)
1 cup finely chopped yellow or white onion, 130g (half of a large onion)
2 15 oz cans of salt-free red kidney beans, these are important as they mash well, drain & rinse
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon dried thyme
2-3 teaspoons cajun seasoning (this is a blend from the store, with salt already added, start with 2 teaspoons and add more if desired. I used 3 for a strong flavor)
1½ tablespoons vegan worcestershire sauce
Prepare your rice. It is important to prepare the burgers right after making the rice, while it is still warm. The warm rice is what forms the burgers and makes them stick. Do not use cold rice! Add you rice, water and salt to a small pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir and cover and turn to the lowest heat. Simmer for about 30 minutes (checking at 25) or until all the water is gone. Turn off the heat, stir again and cover and let it sit for 10 minutes. This will increase the moisture content and make the rice super moist and sticky.
While the rice is cooking, cook your veggies. Add the Bellafina peppers and onion to a pan with 3 tablespoons water over medium-low heat. Cook for about 8 minutes until the veggies are tender and all the water is gone. It’s important all the water is gone before the next step.
While the veggies are cooking, drain and rinse your beans. Add one can to a large bowl and mash the beans with a fork into a paste. Now add the other beans to the bowl, but do not mash those.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Add the cooked veggies and rice to the beans, just giving it one quick stir to mix.
In a small cup, combine the garlic powder, thyme, cajun seasoning and worcestershire sauce. Stir and then pour over the bean/rice mixture. Now, you are going to need to stir and stir and stir this mixture for a good 5 minutes or more until it’s all well mixed and all the spices are thoroughly blended into the mixture. You will need to stir and press the mixture with the back of your spoon. This will cause the starches to release from the rice and make the mixture become very sticky and thick. Keep stirring until it is very sticky, otherwise the burgers will not hold. The more you stir, the sticker it becomes. Taste and add anymore spice if desired, keeping in mind the flavor will mellow some after cooking.
Now, using a ½ measuring cup, scoop out the mixture and pack it in and level off. Plop the burger mixture on the parchment lined pan. Repeat with all the mixture. You should get 7 large patties. After you have placed all the patties on the pan, using your hands, press the mixture into packed patties along the sides to help form the shape. This is important so they stick. Then press down the patties to 1 inch thick. This makes nice large burgers.
Bake for 40 minutes on the first side. This is how long it needs for the thick burgers. Use a thin metal spatula to carefully slide under the burgers and flip them. They will still be rather delicate, so be gentle when flipping them. Don’t try to flip them with your hands or they will fall apart. They will be nice and firm by the time they are ready to eat though. After you flip them, bake for another 10 minutes until they have a nice golden brown top and are slightly crispy. The rice forms a nice crispy coating which is so delicious. Let them cool 10 minutes before eating, this is important so they firm up just a bit more before assembling your burger. If you make smaller burgers, you may need to adjust the baking time. I have only made these as large patties.
Top your burgers with cajun cream sauce (see recipe below) and any other toppings of choice. I added sliced avocado, tomatoes and spinach leaves. So dang good I nearly died. These burgers with the sauce become rich, creamy, spicy and just over-the-top delicious!
Adapted from a recipe by Brandi Doming on thevegan8.com