Last night I was inspired by a banged up rutabaga and some leftover lentils.
You don't often find the word "inspired" paired with "rutabaga", or "leftovers", for that matter. But welcome to my world. A world where inspiration comes in the form in homely root vegetables and old food. A world where magic can happen with the unexpected. And why not? The promise of something great can come in all forms, you just need to be open to the possibility.
And when I bit into my Lentil Rutabaga burger, I was sure glad I'm open as window on a summer's day. Because these little burgers are good. They make those leftover lentils WAY more enticing; paired with roasted rutabaga and plenty of herbs and spices, they took on a whole new life. I wish I woudl have gotten a photo of the inside - bright yellow, studded with black beluga lentils, and bits of green herbs and scallions. Beautiful! This recipe would be a great way to use up leftovers of the legume or vegetable variety - I'd think you could use any leftover bean or starchy root vegetable. If you're cooking your veggie up fresh, you could also steam it - while roasting gives a nutty, sweet flavor that adds a whole lot to the burger, steaming is a lower sugar option that may fit your dietary needs a little better if you are very very strictly counting sugar intake.
To stick everything together and create a nice, crisp crust, I employed the hardworking, ever loyal quinoa flakes. I don't know what I would do without them - I use them for breakfast porridge, in baked goods, to thicken soups and stews, in burgers, patties and loaves, as breading on fish, and the list goes on. Quinoa flakes are full of all the same great nutrition as the whole quinoa grain - just quicker cooking and a little processed. I think they should be a staple in everyone's pantry, not just us GF folks!
Flavorful and full of good protein, fiber, and complex carbs, these burgers are a hit. They remind me a little of felafel (which I have an amazing recipe for, by the way). I chose to bake them for a lighter, lower fat option, but they could also be fried in a pan if you prefer. Serve over greens, stuffed inside a collard leaf, sandwiched inside GF breads, or eat alone with your favorite spread, sauce, or chutney. I them twice today. Once at breakfast in a sandwich, on a a slice of Coconut Flatbread with some experimental coconut milk-agar agar "cheese". The flavors go really well with coconut, and it made for a very tasty, hearty breakfast. Then at lunch, I ate a couple patties served up with sauerkraut, a smear of azuki miso, and some braised broccoli rabe. Yum! They are also very tasty eaten cold - I couldn't help but try a bite before heating it up.
I think sometime I will try making them smaller, fry them instead of bake them, and serve them on toothpicks at a party with some tasty dips. I'm going to try freezing a couple and see how they hold up after being thawed...I'm thinking they are best fresh, but it is worth a try!
LENTIL RUTABAGA BURGERS (gluten free, vegan)
yield: 6 burgers
1 c rutabaga, diced, roasted, and lightly mashed (about 1 medium rutabaga - could substitute other root vegetable like sweet potato, parsnip, carrot, turnip, celeriac, or beet)
3/4 c cooked lentils (or other beans)
1/2 c quinoa flakes + 1/4 c quinoa flakes for dusting
1 c water
2 scallions, finely sliced
2 T quinoa flour or other GF flour
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 t smoked paprika (I didn't add this, but I would if I could - it would be very tasty!!!)
1/2 T dry cilantro
1/4 c fresh parsley, minced
ume vinegar or salt to taste
- Peel, dice and roast rutabaga with a little olive oil at 400* until completely soft, about 45-55 minutes.
- While rutabaga is roasting, slice scallions and mince parsley. Measure herbs and spices, and mix together in a small bowl.
- Remove rutabaga from oven once roasted (leave oven on), and mash slightly with a fork, potato masher, or ricer in a large bowl.
- In microwave or in small saucepan, heat 1/2 c quinoa flakes and 1 c water until very thick and soft.
- Add cooked quinoa flakes and cooked lentils to mashed rutabaga, and mix. Then add scallion, parsley, spices, quinoa flour, and ume/salt, and stir until well combined. It will be a thick, pasty dough.
- Place 1/3 c quinoa flakes onto a plate. Divide rutabaga mixture into 6 portions, and form each portion into a patty between your palms. Dredge the patty in quinoa flakes, and place on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining rutabaga mixture until all patties are formed, using more quinoa flakes if necessary.
- Bake at 400* until crisp and golden, about 40-45 minutes, flipping burgers halfway through.
- Remove from oven, and let cool slightly before serving.
NOTE: If you prefer to fry the patties instead of bake them, heat a high temperature cooking oil (sunflower, safflower, or coconut) until sizzling. Place coated patties in pan, and fry until golden brown and crisp, flipping as needed. Remove, and drain on a paper towel. Depending on the size of your patties/pan, you may need to fry in batches.