I love when people send me recipes these days. It shows support, motivates me, and more importantly, it demonstrates that others are being deliberate about seeking healthy alternatives. I read a quote on a restaurant menu recently – ‘All in all, for us a great meal is an emotional experience’. So true! We want food that tastes good so it satisfies us physically AND emotionally. We can eat healthy meals and achieve both. At least I believe that we can and I want to help.
As I’ve stated before, I do not use recipes but I am inspired by them. Recently, a friend sent a recipe for a spinach burger. I am a big fan of a good veggie burger, of course, but have never seen one made of spinach. We both weren’t convinced by the picture that it was the right consistency for a contender in the burger category, but I liked the concept. And once I like a concept, I start to build on it. I’ve wanted to approach a burger idea for quite some time but wanted it to be a bit more intriguing than a brown rice, lentil, black bean varietal. When I read the spinach burger recipe, I immediately thought of substitutions and additions to spinach. It needed to be firmer as a ‘burger’.
For my recipe, I used chickpeas and shitake mushrooms to lift it into burger status. These denser ingredients could make it something to sink your teeth into and the shitakes also add a great flavor on its own. I liked that the spinach burger recipe added cheese in the actual burger instead of a slice on top. It called for ‘shredded cheese’ which I assume is cheddar. I knew my main ingredients would need to be flavored well so I went with feta cheese instead. To add even more flavor and pair with the feta I added capers. My Mediterranean burger was on its way!
To make sure all of my seasonings were fully integrated, I sautéed most of the ingredients and let it cool before forming into burger patties. The use of primarily panko bread crumbs instead of flour also allowed all of the flavors to stand out since it’s lighter than flour. The biggest surprise to me was not that this was tasty, but how well it all stuck together as a burger. I have had plenty of veggie burgers at restaurants that simply fall apart. Not here! This was great on a potato bun and even better NAKED! It needed no condiments but I did try a bite or two with a garlic aioli mustard which was delish.
No need for me to tell you that the spinach, chickpeas, and shitake mushrooms are also good for your heart and soul!
Feed the wellness in you!
The time it takes to drain the spinach is not calculated in the prep time. I let the spinach drain overnight in the refrigerator, but as long as it is thawed it doesn't take long at all to get the water out. Use a strainer then pat it dry between paper towels if you need to.
- 1 10 oz box of frozen cut spinach, very well drained
- 1/2 c chickpeas, mashed
- 1/4 c shitake mushrooms, chopped
- 3/4 c feta cheese
- 1/4 c red onions
- 1tsp minced garlic
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp parsley
- 2 tbl capers
- 3/4 c panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 c whole wheat flour
- 3/4 c egg whites
- olive oil
- cooking spray
- Sautee the mushrooms, garlic and onions for about 5 minutes
- Add the spinach, feta cheese and chickpeas, mix until well integrated.
- Cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes, Mix to avoid sticking.
- Add the sea salt, capers, red pepper flakes and parsley.
- Cook for another 5 minutes then remove from heat and transfer to a bowl
- Let the mixture cool off.
- When cool, add the egg whites, flour and panko bread crumbs.
- Mix well.
- Form into patties.
- Cook in a non stick skillet on medium heat with the cooking spray.
- Cook on both sides until golden brown as in the picture.