This recipe calls for cooked and still-warm rice and lentils. The steam helps to cook the raw beets through on the griddle. The beets are grated, then rough-chopped and incorporated in the mixture. I didn’t want to throw any gluten in the recipe, so the black beans work as a binder with the dijon mustard, but I think the moisture from the rice and lentils lends to the success. If you prep any of this recipe beforehand, it will work fine, just toss some or all of it in the microwave for 30-45 seconds with a tablespoon or 2 of water and a splash of apple cider vinegar until it’s lukewarm and somewhat squishy.
You can also substitute a can of refried beans of your choice for the black beans - or if you live close to a Trader Joes, use their Refried Black Beans with Jalepeno Peppers (I have done this and it is YUM!)
If using a non-stick pan instead of an iron skillet, lower the heat somewhat and increase your cooking time.
The Northstar Burger (Beet/Lentil/Rice/Bean Burger)
1 1/2 cup brown rice
1 1/4 cup brown lentils
3 large red beets, peeled and cut in half (for easier shredding)
1 medium sized onion
4 or 5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 can black beans, drained and mashed to a paste
3 tbs. dijon mustard
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. coriander
½ tsp. thyme
1 tsp. cracked black pepper
2 tbs. apple cider vinegar
Cheddar or provolone cheese
- Bring lentils to boil with plenty of water to cover and cook until done. Strain and set aside to cool slightly.
- Cook brown rice until done (but not overcooked) in a rice cooker or whichever method you prefer. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Grate cleaned, peeled beets in in a food processor fitted with the large grater attachment. Alternately, grate by hand using the large holes of a box grater. Move to a large cutting board and chop roughly with a large knife, trying to break down the long strands into smaller cut pieces. Set grated/chopped beets aside in a large mixing bowl.
- Switch food processor attachment to the metal blade and chop garlic fine. Swap attachment AGAIN to the large-hole grater attachment and grate onion into the garlic. If there are any large pieces of onion that don’t get grated, switch to the metal blade attachment and pulse once or twice to break them down into smaller pieces. Alternately, mince garlic and onions by hand until the form a paste. Ideally, the onions should give off some liquid to add to the mixture. Add garlic and onions (and any liquid) to beets.
- Add mashed black beans, mustard, vinegar, coriander, thyme, sea salt, and pepper to your bowl of veggies. Mix in the still-warm rice and lentils, blending with a spatula until incorporated. Then use your hands to work it together, rubbing and squishing the mixture until it takes on the consistency of meatloaf. Taste the mixture and add more salt & pepper as needed.
- Use a hamburger patty form, or other round shaping device to form dense, flat patties. I used a large, oiled ramekin with flat sides, pressed the mixture into a ¾ inch thick patty, ran a knife around the edge, and smacked it upside down on a flat service to the release the patty. Whichever way works best for you, though a flatter surface will give a more even char.
- While you’re making patties, heat a well-seasoned iron-skillet on medium heat until hot. Spray or brush the PATTY with high-temp cooking oil and carefully place the patty on the hot skillet. Don’t disturb it while it creates that nice sear on one side. After a few seconds, turn down the heat to medium or medium low and let the side that’s being cooked char somewhat. The flavor actually tastes better somewhat burnt. Try to cook it for about 8 minutes before flipping. I put the lid on mine about halfway through on each side. You want to crisp with the heat, then steam the mixture to done using the lid and the built-up heat.
- Spray the exposed side of the patty with oil and flip. If it comes apart or breaks during the flip don’t worry, just reform it with the spatula. Let the other side char for a bit (you can even turn the heat up for a minute or two if you’d like), then put the lid back on to finish cooking. Top with cheese when it’s 2 minutes out from done, replacing the lid until the cheese melts.
- Remove from heat and serve! The standard Northstar plating is on a bun with a slice of provolone cheese, dijon mustard, and 2 pickle flats with a side salad.
*UPDATE: The mix does dry out somewhat in the fridge. To use leftover (cold) mix, drop in a few tbs. of water and cider vinegar and nuke it in the microwave for 30 seconds until lukewarm. The mix will mold into patties easier and stick together better on the skillet!