Umami. Heard of it, but not quite sure what it is? Let’s get food nerdy.
You probably already know you have four basic tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. I’m sure you have a glowing memory of a single, perfect dish you’ve had. It was the kind of dish that made your mouth water, your grin get bigger, and your tummy get a whole lot happier.
Maybe it was from an expensive restaurant. Maybe it was home-cooked. Wherever it was made, it was just exquisite.
That meal probably had the ideal balance between the four basic tastes. They complemented each other beautifully to create an explosion of flavor on your tongue.
But are there really only four?
Umami: the word that’s as fun to say as it is to eat. Umami is a savory, meaty taste found in ingredients such as mushrooms, soy sauce, and green tea. Discovered in the early 1900s, umami is now more important than ever as more people are going meat-free.
These burgers have umami written all over them.
Don’t be afraid by the prep. 45 minutes on the weekend is nothing compared to less than a minute during the week. This is the type of meal to make in a big batch and freeze. You’ll have your lunch or dinner ready to go for the entire week. Just pop one in the microwave for about 30 seconds.
Another great thing about these burgers? They might be a little easier on your digestion than a traditional legume veggie patty. Don’t get me wrong, I love chickpeas. But I’m not a big fan of their after-effects. Just saying.
Grab & Go Quinoa Veggie Burgers
Prep: 45 min
Cook Time: 25 min
Yield: 8-9 patties
- ½ cup diced white onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 and ½ cups finely chopped white mushrooms
- 2 Italian zucchini or 1 small zucchini, to yield 1 and ½ cups grated
- 1 and ½ TB oil of choice (I used grapeseed)
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup quinoa, to yield 2 cups cooked (you’ll have leftovers)
- 1 cup quick oats
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Start quinoa. Cook according to package directions. While quinoa is cooking, preheat oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Prepare vegetables. Chop onion, garlic, and mushroom and grate zucchini. Heat a sauté pan over medium and add the oil.
- Cook vegetables. Start with onion, then add garlic, then mushroom, and zucchini. Add optional red pepper flakes. Cook until mushrooms and zucchini are soft. Set aside. Quinoa should be finished by now.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg. Add the quinoa, oats, and prepared vegetables. When adding the vegetables, try to avoid pouring in the excess liquid. I found it was easiest to tilt the pan away from me and scoop the vegetables towards me, then into the bowl. You could also use a spoon with holes in it to drain the excess liquid.
- Add salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Shape the patties with your hands and place them on the baking sheet. Cook for 25 minutes and either serve warm or cool completely before freezing. To freeze, line a container with parchment/wax paper and place patties in layers between parchment papers.
Serving Suggestions: The red pepper gives these veggie patties some heat, so they taste fantastic on their own. Avocado pairs well, and I’ve also tried them with honey mustard. I bet they would also taste great with some tzatziki sauce. Get creative!