Veggie burger

Veggie burger (May 22, 2012)

Everybody loves burgers. That's a fact of American life. Beef, turkey, chicken, or even fish—all have their ardent fans. Maybe it's because burgers are essentially finger food. A meal in a bun, if you will. Add some oven-baked fries or potato chips, and the simplest burger becomes a yummy indulgence.

You can add to dinner time discussions about which bun filler is best by testing out this series of alternative "ham" burgers that are created from vegetable-based ingredients. Try 'em out as main dishes for your weekly vegetarian suppers. You can even create a burger bar by setting out a plate of lettuce leaves, sliced tomatoes and onions; a plate of sliced cheese (e.g. Swiss, Gouda, cheddar); and little custard cups filled with catsup, mustard and mayo. Pickles, too, plus anything else you think might go well with the thematic flavors of a particular burger

Jamaican bean burgers

"Jerk" seasoning ingredients are rather exotic and so somewhat disguise the main ingredient here, which is black beans. This may be a good starting place for this veggie venture. And, if you want to add to the tropical theme, fry up some plantain chips and serve some fresh pineapple and/or melon on the side.

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P.S. While " jerked" food has a reputation for being rather spicy, this particular combination won't burn anyone's tongue.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

3 cups chopped Vidalia (sweet) onion

1 1/2 cups chopped red bell pepper

1 tablespoon grated (peeled) fresh ginger root

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground allspice

3/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 1/4 cups cooked rice

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed, well drained, patted dry

About 1 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs, divided

1/3 cup mayonnaise (light's alright), for serving

6 hamburger buns (whole wheat are preferable), toasted

6 ruby red lettuce leaves, optional, for serving