I’m not usually a big fan of burgers that aren’t made of beef because, as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t like it when vegetarian foods try to masquerade as meat products. Do you remember the scene in My Best Friend’s Wedding where Julia Roberts breaks the news to Cameron Diaz? “Creme brulee could never be Jell-O. You could never be Jell-O.” Same deal. Tofu, I hate to break it to you, but you’re never gonna be a burger. Same goes for you, mushrooms. And you, legumes.
The other part of the dilemma is that the only synonym I can think of is “patty” and I hate the word “patty.” Why? I don’t know, but it causes the same cringing as when I hear “hubby.” Maybe I don’t like words that end in “y”… except I like the word bunny. And puppy. Having such a strong negative reaction towards seemingly neutral words is a strange thing.
So, given that it is the lesser of two evils, I see no better option than referring to this recipe as a burger. But please, do not assume, even for a second, that I am trying to kid myself into believing I’m eating a hamburger. Nor am I trying to present this to you as an acceptable substitute for a burger. There is no such thing. I only use the word burger because it is what most closely resembles what this is.* (Other than the “p” word, which will no longer be discussed.)
Anyway, the first day of Week Three: introducing gluten-free oats and brown rice back into my diet. Today’s lunch was a chickpea and brown rice burger. It took some time to prepare since it calls for cooked rice. But it makes four, so you can get almost a week’s worth of lunches knocked out in one sitting. I also just realized I forgot to mix an egg in with the burgers, as the recipe calls for. Hm. Well, I thought it was great without it so if you somehow happen to make the same mistake, don’t freak out. Or I suppose if you want to make it vegan, it’s good to know you can just leave out the egg. If you make it and include the egg, tell me how it is.
One more thing. The original recipe calls for roasted red pepper. I almost left this off because I’m still not crazy about red peppers, but decided to go for it since part of this cleanse is trying new foods. In a twist of fate, the roasted red peppers in our fridge looked rather old, so I used some sun-dried tomatoes instead. Yeah, I know… sun-dried tomatoes are so 1996. But just like the Spice Girls, in small quantities, sun-dried tomatoes can add a little zest to your meal.
Chickpea & Brown Rice Burger (serves 4, adapted from Whole Living)
2 cups cooked and drained chickpeas
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 minced shallot
1 minced garlic clove
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 egg, whisked (evidently the egg is optional)
2 tbsp olive oil
Red onion slices
Sun-dried tomatoes (or roasted red peppers)
Green-leaf lettuce leaves
Mash together chickpeas and brown rice until they form a thick paste. Stir in shallot, garlic, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the egg (if you’re using it).
Form into four 1/2-inch-thick burgers.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add burgers and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side.
Top burgers with mustard, red onion, and sun-dried tomatoes and wrap in lettuce leaves.
*I had a great metaphor for this: “Like how you might refer to a giant panda as a “bear” if you didn’t know the word panda. It resembles a bear, but it really isn’t one.” But then I remembered genetic studies have confirmed that pandas actually are bears. I sat here for a good 10 minutes trying to come up with another metaphor, but I’m stumped.