Mediterranean Veggie Burgers with Provolone and Italian Ketchup
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- 1 cup tomato sauce
- Salt and pepper
- 1 clove crushed garlic
- 3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 tablespoons EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
- 1 small carrot, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 12 cremini mushrooms, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper
- A small handful dried mushrooms, all porcini or mixed
- 2 1/2 cups cooked brown lentils
- 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (for nuttier burgers) or cooked cold couscous (for softer burgers)
- 1 cup drained chickpeas
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup currants or chopped raisins
- 1 egg
- 6 slices Provolone cheese
- Ciabatta or other crusty rolls, split and lightly toasted
- Arugula dressed lightly with lemon juice and EVOO
Combine ketchup ingredients in a small pot and bring to a bubble. Reduce heat to low and simmer to thicken to the consistency of ketchup, 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon EVOO in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add carrot, onions and mushrooms, and saut to tender. Add thyme and garlic, season with salt and pepper, cook a minute or 2 more then turn off heat and cool.
To a food processor bowl, add a few pieces of dried mushrooms. Process to finely chop then add lentils, quinoa or couscous, chickpeas, nuts and raisins. Season with salt and pepper and add cooled, cooked vegetables. Pulse until well combined. Add egg and pulse a few more times. Form 6 patties.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons EVOO in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties and cook 5-6 minutes. Flip burgers, cook 2-3 minutes more, add cheese and tent pan with tin foil to melt cheese, 1-2 minutes. Serve on rolls with greens and Italian ketchup.
For a vegan burger, omit egg -- be gentle when flipping burgers so they don't fall apart -- and omit cheese.