I hate beets.
I’ve given them several chances to win me over, but I just can’t find a place for them in my heart.
When I was in Columbus a few weeks ago, we went to Northstar Café for lunch (where I also dined in November). My local friends insisted that I try the veggie burger, which is loaded with brown rice, black beans and BEETS.
I reluctantly placed my order for the burger, hoping and praying that the beet flavor would not be overwhelming. I was pleasantly surprised by how meaty and delicious the burger was. The beets proved to be mild in flavor, however, their color did take over, and almost tricked me into thinking I was eating red meat. The melted cheese and burger fixings also helped turn my “yuck” into a “yum”!
Since the burger was such a crowd-pleaser, we did a search for the recipe and came across a version of the restaurant reproduction on thekitchn.com. It wasn’t quite as good as Northstar’s, but it was definitely a close second. I loved that this recipe forced me to try something that I typically wouldn’t have enjoyed.
Northstar Beet and Bean Veggie Burger
What You Need
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 onion, diced small
- 3 medium red beets (about 3/4 pound), diced small
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- Juice from ½ lemon
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for cooking
- 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Salt and pepper
- Thin slices of provolone or pepper jack cheese (optional)
What To Do
- Cook rice according to package directions. Cook the rice until it’s a little beyond al dente. You want it a little over-cooked, but still firm. Drain the rice and set aside.
- Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the onions are translucent and softened. Stir in the beets. Cover the pot and cook until the beets are completely tender, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan using the cider vinegar.
- Empty the black beans into a large bowl and use a form to mash them up a bit. Add the cooked rice, the beet and onion mixture, lemon juice, olive oil, and all the spices. Stir to combine and then taste for seasonings. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the flour and stir until it is completely combined.
- Heat a cast-iron or stainless steel skillet over the highest heat. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil the oil should completely coat the bottom of the pan. When you see the oil shimmer and it flows easily, the pan is ready. NOTE: The cast-iron or stainless-steel skillet is what produces the flavorful crust. A non-stick skillet probably won’t get the same kind of crust.
- Using your hands, scoop up about a cup of the burger mixture and shape it into a patty between your palms. Set it in the pan, where it should begin to sizzle immediately. If it doesn’t sizzle, wait a minute or two before cooking the rest of the burgers. Shape and add as many more patties as will fit in the pan. Once all the patties are in the pan, reduce the heat to medium-high.
- Cook the patties 2 minutes, then flip them to the other side. You should see a nice crust on the cooked side. If they break apart a little when you flipped them, just reshape them with the spatula - they’ll hold together once the second side is cooked.
- If you’re adding cheese, lay a slice over the burger now. Cook the second size for another 2 minutes.
- Serve the veggie burgers on soft burger buns or lightly toasted sandwich bread.
- Cooked burgers should be eaten the same day. Save leftover mixture in the fridge for up to a week.