Northstar Cafe’s Veggie Burger All Grown Up


About a year ago I was in Columbus, Ohio for the weekend and I was fortunate enough to eat at a restaurant called Northstar Cafe. It happened to be right at the end of our friends' street, and the couple knew we preferred Vegan fare, so they suggested we go there. Well, it was one of my favorite and memorable Veganish restaurant meals by far.

My daughter Sophia and I shared two things, a veggie burger and a tofu, rice and veggie bowl with peanut sauce. We were in love with both.

Fast forward to about two weeks ago when my friend Fancy Nancy began telling me how she was on a quest to recreate the Northstar Veggie Burger at home and how she had met with great success. Not that her burger tasted exactly like Northstar's, but that her kids were gobbling them up.

I figured I needed to get in on the fun. So I started to do some Internet research. The first thing I came upon was a few bloggers who heroically tried to recreate the Northstar Veggie Burger recipe out of thin air, and came up with what they said was a really delicious veggie burger. But that was all before the actual Northstar Veggie Burger recipe was published in a local newspaper, and I was lucky enough to have the benefit of starting with that. [Edited later to add: Whoops! I misunderstood the Columbus Dispatch article. This is NOT the actual recipe from Northstar Cafe, just a recipe for a beet burger given to the author by a friend. My apologies for any confusion that this may have caused.]

Now, the beet burger recipe in the Columbus Dispatch has oil and eggs and breadcrumbs in it. I wondered what would happen if I just left that stuff out.

Guess what? It worked.

Apparently Isa Chandra Moskowitz had the same idea, a year before I did. This was pointed out to me on Facebook by an HGK fan who was all over the situation after I posted a picture of how much this veggie burger actually resembles a real hamburger. Isa even gave her Veganized beet burger a great name, the "Quarter Pounder Beet Burger." Man that chick is a genius.

Beet Lentil Rice Burgers
makes 8-10 burgers

print me!

1 1/3 cups cooked beets (1 package Trader Joe's cooked beets, you could also use shredded raw beets)
2 1/2 cups cooked brown or green lentils (1 package Trader Joe's cooked lentils)
2 1/2 cups cooked brown rice (about 1.5 bags of Trader Joe's frozen brown rice)
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground fennel
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp onion powder, or 3 Tbsp minced onions
1/2 tsp garlic powder, or 2 garlic cloves, minced

In a food processor fitted with the "s" blade, place cooked (or raw) beets. Pulse beets until they are roughly chopped.

Add lentils and rice. Pulse until the mixture resembles ground meat.

Transfer beet, lentil, rice mixture to a large bowl. Add pepper, salt, thyme, fennel, mustard, onion powder (or onion) and garlic powder (or garlic). Mix, with your hands if you are willing, until all ingredients are well incorporated. Refrigerate for one hour or longer.

Form into burger sized patties.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until a crust develops and burger is heated through, turning once during cooking, about 12 minutes total. The burgers were sticking to my nonstick skillet, so I did have to use some canola oil spray on the pan before cooking my burgers, but different pans will yield a different result.

Serve on toasted Ezekial buns with lettuce, tomato, pickle, mustard and sugar free ketchup, or other condiments of your choice.

Uncooked burgers keep well in the refrigerator for four days. Cook right before serving.

Before the char.
After the char. Looks like beef to me!

I'm telling you, the pickle slices make all the difference. This is a crave worthy veggie burger!

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