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UCLA’s Mediterranean-Style Veggie Burgers with Housemade Ketchup

YIELD: 6 (4-oz.) burgers
For the ketchup:
1 cup tomato sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 Tbsps. aged balsamic vinegar
1 ½ tsps. light brown sugar
1 tsp. dried oregano

For the veggie burgers
3 Tbsps. extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 small carrot, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
12 cremini mushrooms, chopped
2 Tbsps. fresh thyme
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup dried mushrooms (mixed varieties)
2 ½ cups cooked brown lentils
1 ½ cups cooked quinoa (for nuttier burgers) or 1 ½ cups cooked couscous (for softer burgers)
1 cup cup cooked chickpeas
¼ cup toasted pine nuts (or sliced almonds)
¼ cup raisins, chopped
1 egg (optional) or for vegan version, 2 oz. cooked sticky rice
6 slices ciabatta or other crusty rolls, split in half
6 slices of cheese (optional)
arugula, dressed lightly with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil

  • For the ketchup: Place all ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened to the consistency of ketchup, 15 to 20 minutes.
  • For the veggie burgers: Heat 1 Tbsp. of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrot, onions, mushrooms and sauté until tender. Add thyme and garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook approximately 2 minutes. Turn off heat and cool.
  • In the bowl of a food processor, add dried mushrooms and process until finely chopped. Add lentils, quinoa or couscous, chickpeas, nuts and raisins. Season with salt and pepper and add cooled, cooked vegetables. Pulse until well combined. Add egg or rice and pulse a few more times. Form mixture into 6 patties.
  • Heat remaining 2 Tbsps. of oil in a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Add patties and cook 5-6 minutes. Flip and cook 2-3 minutes more. Top each patty with a slice of cheese (optional).
  • Serve on freshly toasted rolls and top burgers with housemade ketchup and dressed greens.

Recipe: Roger E. Pigozzi, CEC, Assistant Director/Corporate Chef, UCLA Dining Services

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