author’s note: I wrote this post almost a month ago and am just getting around to posting it now. So use your way back machine and imagine that it’s the first week in July. The weather is terrible, even though it has technically been summer for weeks.

It’s July, and that means that on the West Side, the fog is almost burning off before noon. Seriously, we’ve been having some really gross weather lately, but I’m willing to attribute it all to “June Gloom”, as long as mother nature comes through for us in July. I want sunshine in time for the drive to work, or I want a refund on some of the; on exorbitant taxes that I pay to the state of California. This is not the Southern California lifestyle I remember signing up for when I moved out here.
Summer is the perfect time to cook outdoors, and just because your grill is meat-free, doesn’t mean you can’t have a great time barbecuing. Carl bought himself a shiny new grill a few weekends ago, and we have been messing around with vegan grill recipes ever since. The recipe that continues to allude me is one for a veggie burger that is structurally sound enough to stand up to grilling, but soft and juicy enough to not taste like a piece of cardboard. The following recipe is my best attempt to date. The mushrooms give it a nice flavor, and the pinto beans are ok at retaining some moisture during the grilling process.
I like to serve my veggie burgers with avocado, lettuce, and plenty of ketchup. These particular burgers would lend themselves well to sauteed mushrooms. However you serve them, don’t forget about lightly toasting the buns (Whole Foods store brand hamburger buns are some of the best I’ve ever had).

Pinto N’ Mushroom Burgers

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 cup diced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 15 ounce can pinto beans
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 TBSP. viral wheat gluten

Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes.
Add mushrooms and cumin, stir well, and cook until the mushrooms sweat.
Meanwhile, drain and mash the pinto beans in a mixing bowl. You can use a potato masher or the back of your fork.
Add the mushroom mixture, parsley, and a little wheat gluten. The wheat gluten is what keeps is all together.
Form into 4 patties and cook any way you like. These burgers are sturdy enough that they will stand up to outdoor grilling, just don’t let the grill get TOO hot. We’re not charring up baby animal flesh here, we’re just looking for a grilled flavor and some cute grill marks.

Oil-Free Version: Replace the oil with 2 TBSP vegetable broth.