ORIGINAL ANIMAL-FREE BURGER
Dried split green peas, lentils, barley, rice and oats mixed with herbs and spices. Refrigerated overnight, then formed into patties and baked. Packed in containers for you to use when needed. Either microwave or dry-fry with lid-to-skillet, to heat and serve. Tired of mushy veggie burgers? Try these!
Makes approx. 11 cups batter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees the day you bake the burgers
1 c. dried split green peas
1 c. dried lentils
1/2 c. dried barley
1 c. dried parboiled long grain white rice (I used Canilla brand – available in most markets)
8 c. water
1 T. salt
1 t. black pepper
1 T. garlic powder
1 T. dried basil, finely crushed
2 t. poultry seasoning
1/2 t. ground allspice
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 c. rolled (old-fashioned) oats – don’t use quick-cooking oats; we want the texture of the rolled oats
Wash peas, lentils, barley and rice in wire mesh strainer (not colander – the rice will run through the holes) till foam disappears. Place in large pot with 8 cups water. Stir well.
Bring to boil, stir well again, then cover tightly, reduce heat to low and cook 30 minutes.
Remove cover, stir ingredients well, cover and cook 30 minutes longer – total cooking time 1 hour.
Remove from heat. Add salt, black pepper and stir to disperse evenly.
Add garlic powder, basil, poultry seasoning, allspice and brown sugar. Stir well again to evenly disperse.
Now add rolled oats all at once. Stir till all oats are combined into the batter. This will take a few minutes and some muscle power. You can’t over-stir, so keep at it.
Cool batter to room temperature, then transfer to large container or bowl, cover to keep air out, and refrigerate overnight.
Forming and baking burgers:
Pour a few tablespoons vegetable oil in cup.
Decide how big you want the burgers – either 1/3 cup or 1/2 cup is good. I prefer 1/3 cup. These burgers are filling due to the density of ingredients.
Fill a 3rd cup measuring cup full with batter. Scoop out and place on counter. Do 6 or 12 of them.
Pick each one up and roll it into a smooth ball, like a meatball. Replace on counter.
Now, take a little oil and smear it on the counter in a circle. Place the burger ball on the oil. Using palm and fingers press down middle of ball lightly and repeatedly, working from the center to the edge, into a round shape, that’s about 1/2 inch (no more) high. Make it even all over. Push in edges/sides with hands and thumbs to form a smooth round shape with no jagged edges. Smooth the top, so there’s no lip on the edge – it will burn in the oven, and we want an even bake.
Liberally oil a large baking sheet. Carefully lift burgers ( I do 6 at a time) from counter with pancake turner and place on baking sheet.
Place on middle rack of preheated 350 degree oven. Set timer for 15 minutes.
When timer goes off, remove burgers from oven and carefully flip over.
Return to oven and bake 15 minutes longer.
Total baking time 30 minutes.
Transfer to cooling rack and repeat with remaining batter.
When burgers are cooled, place in covered plastic containers and refrigerate.
To serve: Since the burgers are already cooked, you only need to reheat. We do this in one of two ways.
Microwave: Place on plate, uncovered, till heated through. Serve.
LID-TO-SKILLET DRY-FRY METHOD
Restaurants do it all the time. They place a food item on the flat-top and cover it completely with a lid that sits on the flat-top. Most often they use it to melt cheese on something quickly. It works.
I use it to reheat my homemade animal-free burgers, rather than frying in oil or a couple drops of water, which would make them break apart. This method keeps the burger together, while the moisture from inside of the burger heats it throughout.
Lid-To-Skillet Dry-Fry: Place burger in dry skillet, over medium to high heat, depending on how much char you want. Place a saucepan lid that’s smaller than the skillet over the burger for 1-2 minutes – so that the rim of the lid actually sits on the skillet. Flip the burger and do the same for 1 minute longer. Serve.
You can also put the burger in a toaster, for a crisper burger. Don’t toast too long though.
I like to use an English muffin for the bun with these burgers.