Austin360Cooks: Classic Cajun dish inspires spicy veggie burger

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These veggie burgers are made with red beans and brown rice and are from Austin blogger Heather Hunsaker, who writes the blog Kitchen Concoctions. Photo by Heather Hunsaker/@kitchenconcoctions
These veggie burgers are made with red beans and brown rice and are from Austin blogger Heather Hunsaker, who writes the blog Kitchen Concoctions. Photo by Heather Hunsaker/@kitchenconcoctions

These veggie burgers are made with red beans and brown rice and are from Austin blogger Heather Hunsaker, who writes the blog Kitchen Concoctions. Photo by Heather Hunsaker/@kitchenconcoctions.

Red beans and rice are perfect in a bowl, but what about in a bun?

That’s the idea behind these vegetarian burgers from Austinite Heather Hunsaker, who writes the blog Kitchen Concoctions (kitchen-concoctions.com and @kitchenconcoctions on Instagram). She found the original recipe in the magazine they hand out at H-E-B and adapted it for her site. You could use other beans besides red beans, and Hunsaker used a microwavable quinoa and brown rice mix she found at the store; the original recipe called for Central Market’s brand of microwavable barley and lentils.

These veggie burgers are a great way to use up just about any kind of leftover grains, and you can make them vegetarian by leaving out the egg and adding more bread crumbs. If the mixture is still dry or won’t hold together, consider adding one of those vegan “eggs” made out of chia or flaxseeds.

You could also serve these patties on a bed of arugula or spinach, top them with an egg, or form them into small patties and serve on a hoagie for a vegetarian po’boy.

Editor’s note: This post is part of our #Austin360Cooks social media project. Each Wednesday, we share recipes, tips and cooking ideas from readers, and you can submit yours by adding the hashtag to your posts on social media or by emailing me at abroyles@statesman.com.

Cajun Red Beans and Rice Burgers

For the burgers:
2 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (15-oz.) cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup cooked brown rice or quinoa
1 tsp. Cajun seasoning
1 Tbsp. Tabasco hot sauce
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 tsp. each Kosher salt and black pepper
For the sauce:
3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
3 Tbsp. stone ground mustard
2 Tbsp. green onions, minced
2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp. each Kosher salt and black pepper
For serving:
6 whole wheat hamburger buns, toasted
6 iceberg lettuce, spinach or arugula

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large sauté pan on medium‑high heat. Add onions and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until tender. Add garlic and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour beans into a large mixing bowl. Using a fork or potato masher, mash beans until almost smooth, leaving some large pieces of beans. Add cooled quinoa and rice blend, cooked vegetables, Cajun seasoning, hot sauce, egg, panko bread crumbs, salt and black pepper. Mix well. Divide bean mixture into six equal portions and shape into six patties. Set aside.

Return pan to heat and add remaining oil. Working in batches, cook patties in hot oil for 3 minutes per side. Transfer cooked patties to a plate lined with a paper towel and cook remaining patties.

To form sauce, in a small bowl stir together mayonnaise, mustard, green onions, parsley, salt and black pepper. Spread sauce on toasted buns, then add burgers and lettuce. Serve.

— Adapted from a recipe in My H‑E‑B Texas Life magazine


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