quinoa + white bean burgers with a ramp + chili pesto
I cannot believe that this is the first ramp recipe I am posting this season, since ramps have been on my plate at almost every single meal I've had at home over the past few weeks. Breakfast: side of crispy ramps, lunch: raw ramps in my salad, dinner: ramps any way I can think of.
Ramps, all day every day.
I'm hoping you have not been overwhelmed by onslaught of ramp recipes this year .... if you're anything like me, you'll never be sick of ramps.
But this recipe is not just about the ramps. They're sharing the spotlight with this quinoa burger. If you've been following along here for a while, you know that I have done a few variations of a quinoa burger, shifting ingredients and preparations around each time. This might be my favorite one to date.
The very first recipe I posted for a quinoa burger went internet famous on me. And by internet famous, I mean it has made it's way around Tumblr (not as exciting as being YouTube internet famous). To be honest, I don't even think it was the burger that was getting all of the love, I think it was the avocado spread.
Because let's face it, when it comes to a veggie-type burger, it is just as much about the sauce as it is the patty.
And with that, the conversation gets turned back to ramps.
I've tried some pretty interesting and awesome ramp preparations this year. There is so much you can do with them. They're great raw, sauteed, pickled, or incorporated into a sauce, like this recipe here.
Last night I watched my father-in-law chop a few up and mix them into some homemade guacamole (I'm pretty sure he thought it was green onion). It was so good.
Ramps are a little more pungent and exciting than green onion, but the two can be interchanged in almost any recipe. So if you cannot find ramps where you are, or when their short season is over, then go ahead and sub green onion.
Okay, back to the burgers. These burgers are super versatile. You can switch up, increase, or leave out pretty much any ingredient listed, including the egg, since I know some of you would prefer a vegan version. In the past, my quinoa burgers were made without egg, however the egg really helps to bind. If you prefer not to use the egg, by all means leave it out. Just be aware that they will be a little more delicate (they fall apart easier).
You can go crazy with the toppings. For mine, I just added some arugula and some thinly sliced red onion but you can also add avocado, and any other veggie you can think of. If you want a gluten or bread-free option you can leave out the bun and serve it over a salad or in a lettuce wrap.
The only non-negotiable part is the ramp pesto. You cannot leave out the ramp pesto, it really is the best part.
quinoa + white bean sliders with a ramp + chili pesto
1 cup of cannellini beans (soaked, cooked + drain, or organic, low sodium canned)
1 cup of cooked quinoa
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 green onion, green parts only, minced
a handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
¼ teaspoon of garlic powder
a pinch or two of cayenne
½ teaspoon of chili powder
2 teaspoons of tamari (or low sodium soy sauce, if you prefer)
¼ teaspoon of salt
fresh ground pepper
½ teaspoon of baking powder
2 eggs, lightly beaten
for cooking: a couple of tablespoons of grapeseed or sunflower oil
for the ramp + chili pesto:
3 ramps, frilly bottoms discarded, white + green parts roughly chopped
2 small green chilies (such as a jalapeno, or serrano), seeded and chopped
5-7 basil leaves, chopped
a handful of arugula
1/4 teaspoon of salt (or more to taste)
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
for serving (optional): 6 small buns or bread of your choice, or for a gluten / bread-free option you can leave out the bread and serve in a lettuce wrap. For toppings, you can mix and match with anything you like. Some suggestions would be arugula, avocado, red onion, tomato, shredded vegetables.
Make the patties:
- In a medium bowl, add the beans and smash with a fork. The can be a little chucky. Then add in all of the remaining ingredients, except for the egg. Stir well to combine. You can also use your hands here, I find that works well. Taste with a spoon before you add the egg to make sure the seasoning is to your liking. Then, add in the lightly beaten eggs and stir until they are incorporated.
- Line a plate or pan with a piece of parchment paper. Using your hands grab a small handful of the mixture (between the size of a tennis ball and golf ball) roll it between your hands, and then gently press down to form the patty. Do this until the mixture is all formed. You should have about 6 patties.
- Place them in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to set while you make the ramp pesto.
Then, make the ramp + chili pesto:
- Place all of the ingredients, expect for the olive oil, into a food processor and pulse several times. Then, add in the olive oil in a slow stream until you have the consistency you like. If you like your pesto on the thicker side add less oil, and on the thinner side add more. Taste and adjust any seasoning accordingly.
- Scrap the pesto out of the food processor and into a small container or serving bowl and set aside.
Cook the patties:
- I prefer to cook these in a cast iron pan or a grill pan. It gives them the best flavor. If you want them to be slightly healthier then you can bake them at 350º for 12-15 minutes. I would not recommend grilling.
- To cook them in a cast iron, heat a little grapseed or sunflower oil over medium-high heat. Place the patties in the pan (about 3 at a time, depending on the size of your pan - don't crowd). Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side.
- Place the cooked patty in between the bun or in the lettuce wrap or over a salad. Top with a generous portion of the ramp and chili pesto and any other topping you like.
- These should keep for a couple of days in an air tight contain in the refrigerator, and you can heat them up by lightly sautéing them in a pan.