Vegan Burgers: Mushroom Pecan Slider

I had some fun facebook this morning, playing a guessing game with this photo.  And, Dana quickly identified them as my "Mushroom Pecan Burgers, Take II" from LTEV.

Why 'take II'?  I first created this recipe for my first cookbook, The Everyday Vegan.  They were delicious, but a touch delicate and best suited for stuffing inside a pita then taking their rightful place inside a burger bun.  For LTEV, I decided to reinvent them, making them firmer, more savory, and also giving a wheat free and gluten-free option.

Most recently I made them into 'sliders' for Father's Day.  Hubby loves these burgers, and I usually make them for his birthday or Father's Day - or both!  Now, some of you very observant readers might think you see some grains of rice in there.  Indeed you do - can't get anything past you!  I had some leftover brown rice in the fridge, and so decided to substitute some of the oats with about 1 cup of rice, to use up the rice (and also stretch out the mix a little).  It worked beautifully, and I would add it again if on hand.  I wouldn't replace all the oats with brown rice (as the oats help to absorb moisture), but a partial substitution worked well.

Also, if try my "Almonnaise" as an oil-free substitute to vegan mayonnaise!  It's on page 55 of LTEV (and I hope to upload a YouTube clip for it soon).

Mushroom Pecan Burgers, Take II gluten-free option, oil-free option

1 tbsp olive oil (omit for oil-free version and use just 1 tsp water)

1 lb brown (cremini) mushrooms (ends of stems trimmed), chopped (cremini have more flavor than white button mushrooms, but white mushrooms can also be used)

Freshly ground black pepper

1 ¼ cups onion, diced

couple pinches sea salt

3 – 4 large cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 – 2 ½ tbsps tahini

1 tbsp light miso (ex: brown rice)

½ tsp ground sage

1 tsp dried oregano

1 1/2 tbsps balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp tamari

1 ¾ cups rolled oats (use certified gluten-free for that option)

1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

1 tsp vegan worcestershire sauce (optional, omit for wheat-free/gluten-free version)

½ cup pecans, lightly toasted (see note)

In a large skillet (as large as you have) over high heat, combine the oil, mushrooms, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have started to brown and shrink down (9 to 10 minutes). Push most of the mushrooms to the outer edges of the skillet (creating a well in the center), turn the heat down to medium or medium-low, and add the onion and salt. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic (adding the garlic later helps prevent it from burning). Stir the mushrooms into the onion mixture and cook for another 6 to 7 minutes, until the onion is softened and translucent. Add the 1 tablespoon of the balsamic vinegar to the pan, stir, and then remove from the heat.  In a food processor, combine about three-quarters of the mushroom mixture with the tahini, miso, sage, oregano, the remaining 11⁄2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, and the tamari, oats, fresh parsley, and Worcestershire sauce (if using). Process until it just comes together. Add the pecans, pulse once or twice (to break up but not fully process), and then add the remaining mushroom mixture, pulsing once or twice just to incorporate.  Remove the blade, and shape mounds of the mixture into patties with your hands (yielding six, or five larger patties). The patties can be refrigerated or cooked immediately. To cook, place on a nonstick skillet over medium or medium-high heat and cook the patties for 6 to 8 minutes, then flip and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes until a golden sear has formed on each side, working in batches, if necessary. (To oven-bake, place patties on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 400 degrees, for roughly 10 minutes on one side, then flipping and baking another 10 minutes.) Serve up!  Makes 5 to 6 patties.

Serving Suggestions: Because these burgers take a little more prep than others, pair with the simplest of spuds, such as baked whole sweet or white potatoes. But if you’re up to just a little more prep, try Lemon Dijon Green Beans or Sunshine Fries with Rosemary and Coarse Sea Salt. A green salad will round out the meal and add freshness; try one loaded with raw veggies and drizzled with Walnut Mustard Vinaigrette.

Toasting Nuts:  To toast nuts, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Place in oven preheated to 400 degrees, and bake for 7 to 12 minutes, tossing once or twice through the baking process to distribute through evenly during cooking.  Watch carefully as toasting times vary by nut, and they can turn from golden to burned in just seconds.

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