Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Northstar Cafe Veggie Burger

When we moved to Columbus a few years ago, one of the first new friends I met suggested we meet for lunch one day at the Northstar Cafe. When we ordered, she said, "You *have* to try the black bean veggie burger. It is the best veggie burger you have ever tasted."

Little did I know how good a veggie burger could taste. But don't just take my word for it...

--Eating-SF.com, a San Francisco food blog says, "this is the place I'd take every out of town visitor if I lived in Columbus. But what has given this place almost cult-like status is its vegetarian burger, appropriately deserving of its name: The Northstar Burger."

--Thekitchn.com calls it the best-ever veggie burger, stating, "They are unlike any other veggie burger you've ever had."

--Even PETA awarded the Northstar Burger its "Golden Bun Award" for best veggie burger in the nation.

So when I decided to go vegetarian for Lent, in the back of my mind I started plotting how to replicate this out-of-the-world burger at home. I started finding other versions of the burger on other websites, but no true Northstar recipe.

This recipe is my attempt at veggie burger nirvana. Northstar clearly uses beets in their burger, because not only do they taste like a regular burger, they look like one too, with the red beets substituting for red meat. Black beans and brown rice also are evident, but beyond that, it took a few times to come up with this version (thanks to the above websites for their input on the matter too).

Serve on a toasted bun with pickles, shredded lettuce and ketchup. Oh so good.

(Almost) Northstar Cafe Burger

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup cooked, sliced beets (you can used canned, just don't use pickled beets)
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 - 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
3-4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
toasted buns
pickles, etc

In a medium size skillet, heat the olive oil to medium high heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook for about 5-6 minutes or until the onions are translucent and begin to brown a bit. Deglaze the pan with the soy sauce and balsamic vinegar, cooking for another minute or two or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine the onion mixture, beets, brown rice, black beans, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper. With a pastry blender or potato masher, begin to mash the mixture. Mash well until most of the black beans are no longer whole.

Once the mixture is very well combined, add a couple tablespoons of flour. Test the mixture. If it holds together fairly well, then do not add anymore flour. But it may need a tablespoon or two extra flour until you can form patties.

Form 6 patties. If you wish, you can throw them in the fridge until you are ready to use them.

Heat a large skillet to high heat. Once hot, reduce to medium high, and add the vegetable oil. Cook the patties, about 3-5 minutes per side.

(don't they even look like regular burgers cooking?)

Serve on toasted buns.

I'm getting hungry for these just writing this post...and it's 9AM. Good thing I have some patties all ready to cook for lunch today!



Kuckie said...

Mmmmmm...Northstar is one of my favorites. I LOVE their pancakes too!!! Whenever we have company, we take them there for breakfast. So good!!!

Whole-hearted Mama said...

I am so making this!!!

Jill Howell said...

I need to get my family eating healthier. This might be the "entree".

Anonymous said...

Made this tonight! They were yummy, and using canned beets made the process easy. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

for future reference, the northstar burger does not contain soy or gluten (so no wheat flour). it is said to contain dates, oats and chipotle pepper...maybe this will help in trying to get it closer to theirs.

Sweet Pea Chef said...

Thanks Anonymous...great tips!!

sarah22277 said...

We made these tonight for the first time. We did use canned beets, so I think the whole recipe turned out more wet. We ended up adding more rice and flour, which worked fine. Also, we used an immersion blender to get the right consistency. Delicious, will definitely make these again. Congrats on the award!

JerseyBaby said...

Made these for dinner tonight. How simple and fun for we vegetarians. Unfortunately the kids were in the house when the balsamic and soy when in, so they were all "oh, that smells terrible" but the ended up mildly positive about the results. At least they had the world's biggest field greens-on-a-whole-wheat-bun burgers tonight. Josh and I, on the other hand, loved every bite of them!

Ketchikan Fishing Charters Halibut said...

These turned out great. I added some Worcestershire sauce and a dollop of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce to the mix. Also, instead of baking, I cooked them in my cast iron skillet. Wonderful!