There is something exquisite about fresh produce. I find that each week when I pick up my farm share, it’s like experiencing Christmas morning as a child. You never know what you’re going to get, and it’s so exciting when you see these gorgeous, freshly harvested vegetables with long flowing leaves and a fresh scent. It is, quite simply, a miraculous way to tame the voice in your head that thinks you might enjoy something sweet. You know the voice I’m talking about. It’s the one that constantly questions whether what we’re doing to improve our health is enough, or whether the bag of chips we ate the day before is going to ruin us. It the same one that encourages us to open the fridge when we’re not hungry. But there is something about each Wednesday that I look forward to. The notion that others are eagerly awaiting their farm share too helps solidify the fact that we’re all after the same goals, health and happiness.
Maybe it’s the Mediterranean influence of my heritage, but there is something that keeps drawing me toward the onion, mushroom, and basil combinations when I’m looking for something really satisfying. This recipe can be enjoyed hot inside a burger bun or as a cold sandwich inside a pita. Bring it to your picnic this summer and watch as your curious friends and relatives jump on board the wellness train. You just might find that you don’t have any leftovers!
White Bean “Burger” with Olive Tapanade
1/2 lb of dried white beans, soaked overnight, or one 12-oz can, rinsed well
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 vidalia onion, chopped
1/2 lb of small portabella mushrooms, chopped
10-15 leaves of fresh basil
1/2 cup oat bran
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup brown rice cooked and cooled
For the tapanade
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
4-6 sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
For the basil mayo
1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
10 leaves of fresh basil
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
Cook rice 2 to 1 in water for about 20 minutes and set aside to cool. Saute the chopped onion and sliced mushrooms together in a splash of vinegar until caramelized. Add the minced garlic for about 1 minute at just before you turn off the heat. Set aside and allow to cool while you chop the olives and sun dried tomatoes for the tapanade. When the rice and the onion mixture is moderately cool, combine with oat bran, basil, and beans, and process to a chunky consistency in a food processor. Form patties and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. I like to sprinkle the bread crumbs on top instead of trying to “coat” the entire patty, but depending on how much liquid your onion/mushroom mixture produced, you may need to add in some extra bread crumbs to get a sticker consistency for forming the patties. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes. Top with basil mayo, olive tapanade, and arugula or spinach, and serve on a whole grain or onion roll. You can also serve these in a pita. Note that these are not the type of “burgers” that you can put on your grill.