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Steven Raichlen
see more great recipes and barbecue tips at Steve Raichlen's Web Site.


Mushroom-rice burgers with cheddar cheese
from The Barbecue! Bible(Workman Publishing, 1998)

When I was growing up, no one knew from vegetarian burgers. Today, they've become big business, as more and more health-conscious Americans adopt at least partial vegetarian diets. The following recipe combines mushrooms, oats and brown rice into a patty that looks somewhat like a hamburger and has a rich, earthy flavor that could almost be described as meaty. It's also a great way to use up leftover brown rice. Note that vegetarian burgers are more fragile than beef or lamb burgers. Cook them on a well-oiled vegetable grate and turn as gently as possible with a spatula.

For the burgers:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces white mushrooms, wiped clean with dampened paper towels and finely chopped
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 4 ounces coarsely grated sharp Cheddar cheese (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs, if needed
For Serving:
  • 1 large fresh, ripe tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced (optional)
  • Pickle slices
  • 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced
  • 4 whole-wheat hamburger buns
  • Ketchup and/or mayonnaise and/or mustard

1. Prepare the burger mixture. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until soft but not brown, about 4 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and most of the mushroom liquid has evaporated, about 4 minutes.

2. Stir in the brown rice and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the oats, cheese and egg. Add salt and pepper. If the mixture seems wet, add the bread crumbs. Cover the mixture and refrigerate until firm, 3 to 4 hours.

3. Line a baking sheet or large plate with plastic wrap. Wet your hands slightly and form the vegetable mixture into 4 patties. Place the patties on the prepared baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

4. Preheat grill to high.

5. When ready to cook, place a vegetable grate on the hot grill and preheat it for 5 minutes. Arrange the tomato and onion slices, pickles and lettuce on a platter and set aside. Oil the vegetable grate and place the patties on it. Grill, turning carefully with a spatula, until nicely browned on both sides, 4 to 6 minutes per side, as the burgers cook, toast the buns over the flames as well. Serve as you would any burger, piling the buns high with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and smearing on the ketchup, mayonnaise or mustard - or all three. Serves 6



Steven Raichlen is an acclaimed food writer, cooking teacher, syndicated columnist and lecturer. Among his cookbooks are the IACP/Julia Child Award-winning Miami Spice and the two-time James Beard award-winning High Flavor Low Fat cookbook series. His other IACP honors include a nomination, this year, for Healthy Latin Cooking: 200 Sizzling Recipes From Mexico, Cuba, Caribbean, Brazil and Beyond, and the award for best single subjet cookbook in 1999 for The Barbecue Bible. He now lives and grills in Coconut Grove, Florida.


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