I hate to jinx myself (and everyone else in a 200 mile radius) by saying this, but I think spring might finally be here. I say this even after school was canceled last week due to blizzard conditions and even though the sign at the bank downtown only read 37° F when we drove by it an hour ago.
Despite all the evidence to the contrary, I’m convinced that next week I might be able to turn off the heat and open the windows for the first time since October. I have little tiny sprouts popping up in the pots on the windowsill, they are telling me winter is almost over and I’m choosing to believe them.
It has been cold so long that I’m actually kind of over spring, it’s taking too long to get here and I’m sick of waiting. I’m ready for summer. I want it to be hot. I want to tend to my gigantically bushy tomato plants while the kids run through the sprinkler. I have visions of turning my entire backyard into a corn patch this year…. we’ll see.
Crispy on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside these veggie burgers leave those frozen hockey pucks from the freezer section to shame. They are kept moist with copious amounts of shredded carrot and zucchini and have a manly, robust quality thanks to the red kidney beans. Atop a toasted bun with some garlic-laden paprika mayonnaise and you’ll start thinking of summer too.
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, grated
- 1 medium zucchini, grated and excess moisture squeezed out
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 (15.25oz) cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons of your favorite spice mix (I used BBQ, but cajun, creole, or Old Bay would be good)
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3/4 teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, carrots, and zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables start to brown. Add garlic and cook another minute. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Mash the beans in a bowl with a potato masher to desired consistency (I mashed mine up pretty good for the kiddos, but you can leave it chunkier if you prefer). Add the vegetables and remaining ingredients and thoroughly combine. Taste mixture and add more salt, pepper or spice mix as needed.
- Form 8 patties, about 1/2 cup each, or make smaller "sliders" if you'd like. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- Meanwhile, make the paprika mayonnaise: Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until smooth.
- If you have made the burgers the day before take them out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking, otherwise, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Once oil is shimmering add burgers and cook for 3-4 minutes a side or until browned, crispy, and hot all the way through. Don't crowd the pan, you may have to do this in batches. Serve with paprika mayonnaise or ketchup for the little ones.
- Uncooked burgers can be laid out on a baking sheet in a single layer, uncovered, and placed in the freezer. Once completely frozen, pack in a resealable freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw, covered, in the refrigerator before cooking.