The only veggie burger recipe you'll ever need

Every once in a while you come across a recipe that's a bit of a revelation. That was the case when we tested this quinoa burger from Cafe Pasqual's in New Mexico. Combining nutty quinoa with minced mushrooms, zucchini, cooked yam, shallot and a hint of crushed red pepper flakes, these burgers are richly flavored, filling and completely vegetarian. Topped with a nicely spiced tomato chutney, fried shallots and guacamole, these burgers impressed even some of the most ardent meat eaters in our Test Kitchen.

CAFE PASQUAL'S QUINOA BURGER

Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes | Serves 6

Note: Adapted from Cafe Pasqual's in Santa Fe, N.M. Black mustard seeds, asafetida (or asafoetida) and fenugreek can generally be found in Indian and cooking supply stores, as well as online.

TOMATO CHUTNEY

1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
Pinch asafetida
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomato
1/8 teaspoon curry powder, more to taste
1/8 teaspoon fenugreek, more to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh peeled garlic
1/4 teaspoon powdered turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds, ground
1/2 teaspoon toasted coriander seeds, ground
1/4 teaspoon mace
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup sultana raisins

In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and asafetida. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the rice vinegar, tomato, curry powder, fenugreek, ginger, garlic, turmeric, cayenne, cumin, coriander, mace, sugar, salt and raisins. Stir together and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and gently simmer until the liquid reduces and the mixture thickens slightly, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool, then cover and refrigerate until needed. This makes about 1 1/4 cups chutney.

QUINOA BURGER

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 small zucchini
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1 large shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed and caps finely chopped (preferably using a food processor)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
1/2 cup mashed cooked yam, more if needed
3/4 cup guacamole, for garnish
6 toasted English muffins, to use as buns
6 tablespoons tomato chutney, for garnish
Daikon sprouts, for garnish
Thinly sliced fried shallot "sticks," for garnish

1. Cook the quinoa. Rinse the grains well. Bring the water to a boil and add the quinoa, cooking until it is translucent and tender, and the germ has spiraled out from the grain, 12 to 15 minutes, careful not to overcook. Drain, measure 2 cups and set aside. This makes about 2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, more than is needed for the rest of the recipe; the remainder can be eaten by itself or added to foods such as soups or salads.

2. While the quinoa is cooking, coarsely grate the zucchini. Spread the grated zucchini out on a kitchen towel, then roll up the towel and wring it to squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Set aside.

3. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over low heat and add the shallot and red pepper flakes. Cook until the shallots are soft, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and zucchini, and cook for 3 more minutes to soften, stirring often.

4. Place the mixture in a large bowl and add the quinoa, then add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool, then add the bread crumbs and mashed yam, kneading the mixture to fully incorporate and form the burger base. Test the mixture by forming a very small patty and frying it in a sauté pan; if the burger is too soft to hold together, add more mashed yam to bind. Make 6 patties by pressing the mixture firmly with your hands.

5. Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a large skillet or grill pan over medium heat. Cook the patties until golden-brown on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

6. Spread a tablespoon of guacamole on the cut side of each toasted muffin slice. Place a cooked patty one one of the muffin slices, and top each with a tablespoon of tomato chutney and small handful of daikon sprouts. Top with a sprinkling of fried shallot sticks. Place the remaining muffin slice over the top, or serve the burgers open-faced.

Each serving: Calories 606; Protein 14 grams; Carbohydrates 79 grams; Fiber 7 grams; Fat 27 grams; Saturated fat 4 grams; Cholesterol 0; Sugar 14 grams; Sodium 708 mg.

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