Photos by Emily Caruso
Tomato, basil and mozzarella sandwiches and veggie burgers are two vegetarian staples on restaurant menus. This recipe is what happens when you combine the two into one mind-blowing sandwich.
Yes, I said mind-blowing. Because it’s really really good. First, you have the burger patty. The concentrated flavors of tomato paste and sun-dried tomatoes make for a boldly flavored veggie burger; this is not a burger that tastes like beans or quinoa or oats! Breadcrumbs and cheese add even more deliciousness, in addition to helping bind the patties together. Because homemade veggie burgers are a little bit delicate, they’re baked in the oven until lightly browned and slightly crisp on the edges—although if you’ve got a hankering for a grilled burger, you can bake these until they’re set and then transfer them to the grill to finish cooking.
Then we’ve got the toppings. It’s like caprese on a bun! I like using slices of fresh mozzarella, but provolone works too; melt that on your burger, then add a slice of tomato and basil leaves. The pièce de résistance is a balsamic reduction drizzled over the top—to make it, bring about a cup of balsamic vinegar to a boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and let it cook until thickened and sweet. And if you’re not a vinegar fan, no worries–a dollop of basil pesto or garlic aïoli works too.
- 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/3 cup torn basil leaves
- 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- For serving: 4 burger buns ciabatta rolls are perfect, fresh basil leaves, tomato slices, balsamic reduction or pesto, sliced fresh mozzarella or provolone
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- Puree 1 cup of beans with 1/4 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, tomato paste, and garlic powder in the small bowl of a food processor.
- Put remaining beans in a medium bowl and mash them a little bit with a fork. Stir in the bean-tomato mixture, basil leaves, cheeses, breadcrumbs, and remaining tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste, then fold in the beaten egg.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the burger mixture into 4 mounds on the baking sheet, then shape each mound into a patty. Bake the burgers until they’re lightly browned on the outside and feel dry to the touch in the center, 20-25 minutes.
- Serve the patties on buns, with your choice of toppings.