If people have a stereotype about what vegetarians eat, veggie burgers, along with salads and tofu, are probably at the top of the list. I don’t think they’re entirely wrong either. If you go to a restaurant and there’s one vegetarian item on the menu, it’s very likely that the item is a veggie burger. And those veggie burgers vary in quality—sometimes you get a gross frozen processed soy burger that’s full of artificial flavors to make it taste like real meat, while other times you get a homemade patty full of veggies and grains and other good stuff. Those homemade patties are the ones I get excited about. Veggie burgers can be the most boring things we eat as vegetarians, but they can also be the most inventive too. This, my friends, is the paradox of the veggie burger.
I hope that these Freekeh Bean Burgers fall into the inventive category. I kind of think they do. Because: FREEKEH! You don’t see that in veggie burgers everyday, do you? No! When I did the whole summer of veggie burgers thing, I wanted to make these too, but I had more ideas than I could fit in, so they had to wait. And here they are! In addition to freekeh, these have pinto beans, shredded carrots, and green onions in them, then they’re seasoned with a liberal amount of za’atar (a Middle Eastern spice blend). You can usually find za’atar at specialty grocers and spice shops, but you can make your own za’atar too.
Veggie burgers are about the whole package, though—it’s not just about the patty, but what you put on it and how all those flavors come together. So to top these Freekeh Bean Burgers, I made a batch of harissa onions and whipped up some Smoky Garlic Aioli, which has become a staple in our fridge since I made it to serve with Cauliflower-Carrot Fritters. The onions are sweet and spicy, but the aioli tempers the spiciness so it’s not like WHOA OW SPICY HOT. Each bite has the perfect balance of heat and spices and textures.
If you’ve never cooked with harissa or freekeh before, I’ve written about them a little bit more in these posts:
This post was originally published on December 2, 2013.Print this recipe
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