You might remember that I took a road trip to Nashville a couple of weeks ago.  There was one thing that we wanted after our eight hour drive…that was food.  Lindsay recommended that we try Burger Up in a hip little part of town. I am way understating it when I say her recommendation was: Top. Notch.

You guys know that I could fairly easily give up most forms of meat and be completely satisfied so it probably comes as no surprise that I chose the vegetarian burger on the menu.  I’m confident in telling you that this is the best burger that I’ve ever had.  The flavors were so vibrant.  It was so moist and had a perfect sear on the outside.  There was just a hint of something special too…cinnamon, maybe? I think so!  It was topped off with a cilantro-lime creme fraiche that was awesome.

All I’m saying is that this burger alone is worth the drive to Nashville.  If you aren’t familiar with quinoa, (pronounced kee-nwa) you should be.  I bought mine at Trader Joe’s but it’s available in most grocery stores.  Not only is it gluten-free, full of fiber and loaded with lots of vitamins and minerals, but it’s packed with protein.  And on that note, it’s what is considered a complete protein because it contains all essential amino acids.  (Essential amino acids: proteins that we must take in from our diets because our bodies do not produce them) I have eaten it in exchange for rice but it also works well as a substitute for oatmeal.  It proves to be a great addition to this vegetarian burger.

Cue mouthwatering…

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Quinoa-Black Bean Burgers Recipe

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

Burgers
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
Vegetable stock (amount as called for on the quinoa package)
1 tsp. olive oil
1 carrot, peeled and grated (or finely diced)
2 Tbs. onion, chopped
2 Tbs. ketchup
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed
1/2 cup panko (more as needed for texture)
Olive oil (for pan frying)
Whole-wheat sandwich rolls or buns

Cilantro-Lime Aioli
1/4 cup mayonnaise (or creme fraiche, Greek yogurt, sour cream, etc.)
2 Tbs. lime juice
1 Tbs. freshly chopped cilantro
Small pinch ground black pepper

Directions:

Cook the quinoa according to package directions using stock in the place of water.

Sauté the onion and carrot in the olive oil until softened, about 8 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix the ketchup, paprika, ground cumin, cinnamon, sea salt and cayenne together. Set aside.

Pour the black beans, onions and carrots into a large bowl. Using two forks or a pastry blender, smash the black beans to break them up as much as possible. (You can also use a food processor for this.) Add in the ketchup and spice mixture and mix until well blended.

Fold in the cooked quinoa and the panko. Form the mixture into six patties. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Add the patties and cook for 5-6 minutes on each side.

Mix the aioli ingredients together in a small bowl. Serve with the finished burgers

Cassie’s Notes:

If you prefer, you can place the patties onto a prepared baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Inspired by the Marathon Burger at Burger Up