By Eileen Goltz
Summer or winter, it’s always barbecue time, and in my house this poses a bit of a problem since two of the couples we typically invite have children who are “almost” vegetarian. They will eat fish, which technically makes them kosher pescatarians. According to my research, pescatarians don’t eat meat or fowl but believe that some fish added to a vegetarian diet is the best way to incorporate the proper balance of nutrients in a diet. (Let’s hear it for those Omega-3 fatty acids.)
Since I try, in all things culinary (and especially during the Three Weeks and even more so for the Nine Days), to please all people invited to sit at my table, a bit of research (and taste testing) for meatless burgers always ensues when we have a dinner date. Before you write, call, or text and tell me that there are perfectly good kosher-certified meatless burgers available in the freezer section, please know that I know about them but typically prefer to serve freshly made over frozen. Frozen is fine, and I have used them as a last resort, but the following recipes will show you that meatless doesn’t have to mean tasteless or blah. Let the grilling (or grill-pan cooking) begin.
My grill is fleishig so while I could make the vegetarian burgers there, it kind of defeats the purpose of keeping them meat-free. I have three grill-pans: one dairy, one pareve, and one for meat. So depending on if they’re vegetarian burgers or fish, I use the corresponding pan. I have also made entire meals with vegetable or fish burgers and, quite frankly, everyone loved them. You may want to take the leap away from meat and try something different. You can also make these into really small versions and serve them as is, without the buns, as appetizers during the Three Weeks, on Shabbos, or for a yom tov meal.
On a side note, I always toast the buns for my burgers (meat and others) and have plenty of mayo, ketchup, pickles, and other fixings ready for everyone to pick from when they want to make them extra special.
With Zesty Mayo
2 Tbsp. capers, drained and finely chopped
½ cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. dried dill weed
1 Tbsp. relish
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup celery, chopped
½ cup green onion, sliced thin
½ cup breadcrumbs
½ cup ground almonds
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1–1⅓ lb. skinless salmon, cut into small pieces
In a small bowl, combine the capers, mayonnaise, lemon juice, dill, and relish. Whisk to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the celery, onion, breadcrumbs, and ground almonds. Pulse two or three times just to combine then add the egg, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pulse just until everything is mixed. Add the salmon pieces and pulse just until the salmon is mixed with the other ingredients. Do not over process; you want chunks of the salmon, not a paste. With wet hands, form the salmon mixture into four large or six regular-size burgers. Place them on a cookie sheet and then chill them in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Spray the grill with a non-stick spray before preheating. Preheat to medium-high. (You can use a grill-pan too.) When you’re ready to grill, brush both sides of the burgers with olive oil.
Carefully place the burgers on the grill or in the grill pan. Let them cook undisturbed (that means don’t touch them) about 4–5 minutes. With a spatula, lift carefully to make sure you have grill marks, then carefully flip them over and cook an additional 3–5 minutes until they are done throughout and are firm to the touch and browned.
Adapted from Cuisine at Home Weeknight Grilling 2007.
Chili Portobello Burgers With Slaw
½ cup olive oil
3 Tbsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. minced onion
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
4 large Portobello mushroom caps, stems removed
2 cups shredded purple cabbage
1 small green pepper, diced small
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced
3 Tbsp. apple cider or rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. honey
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
2 avocados, sliced
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, honey, garlic, chili powder, minced onion, and red pepper flakes. Whisk to combine. Brush the inside and outside of the caps with the marinade and then place them on a cookie sheet and let sit for 45–60 minutes.
While the mushrooms are marinating, place the shredded cabbage, green pepper, and parsley in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper and whisk to combine. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and mix until combined. Set aside and let rest until ready to use. Grease the grill grates and preheat. Place mushrooms on the hot grill, top sides down. Let the mushrooms cook undisturbed for 2–3 minutes, then carefully flip them, grilling for 2–3 minutes. Mushrooms should be slightly soft to the touch and slightly charred.
Toast the buns and then assemble by placing the grilled Portobello, slaw, and slices of avocado on top.
⅓ cup dry couscous
1 cup water
2 tsp. olive oil
½ cup chopped green onions
½ cup chopped onion
2 tsp. ground cumin
1½ cups broccoli florets, blanched and drained, should be medium crisp
1 15-oz. can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 Tbsp. sesame tahini
2 tsp. caraway seeds
½ cup toasted rye bread or panko breadcrumbs
⅓ cup sesame tahini
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup water
¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
¾ tsp. kosher salt
Preheat your oven to 400°. Place the water in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, and add the couscous. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and sauté the onions for about 5 minutes, until just soft. Add the cumin and mix to combine. Remove from heat. Place onion mixture, couscous, broccoli and chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine, but don’t make it too smooth. Add the tahini and pulse to combine. Place the mixture in a bowl and add the caraway seeds and bread crumbs and mix to combine.
Line a cookie sheet with foil, make patties from the mixture, and place them on the cookie sheet. Bake for 25 minutes and flip the patties. Bake an additional 20–25 minutes. The tops should be sizzling and lightly golden. To make the sauce, place the tahini, mayonnaise, water, lemon juice, garlic, and parsley in a food processor and process until smooth. To serve, toast the buns and top with sauce, tomatoes, and lettuce.
Submitted by Marcie Allenberger, Cleveland, OH
Bush’s Black-Bean Burger
1 15-oz. can Bush’s Black Beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup chopped sweet onion
½ cup chopped yellow bell pepper
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. minced garlic
¼ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. hot sauce (optional)
1 Tbsp. oil
6 hamburger buns
toppings of choice: tomato, lettuce, avocado, pickles, etc.
Place rinsed beans in a large bowl and mash well using a potato masher or a fork. Add the egg, onion, bell pepper, breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Mix (use your hands) until combined. Shape the mixture into six patties.
Heat oil in a large skillet. Cook the patties for about five minutes on one side then gently flip them and cook an additional 4–5 minutes. They should be golden brown and sizzling. Serve with buns and toppings.
Modified from www.wholefoods.com
© Eileen Goltz
Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher-foods writer. She graduated from Indiana University and the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris. She lectures on various food-related topics across the U.S. and Canada and writes columns for the CJN in Chicago, kosherscoop.com, and the OU Shabbat Shalom website, www.ou.org. She also wrote the Perfectly Pareve Cookbook (Feldheim).