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Awesome Omnivore Burgers

I created this burger because, like many omnivores out there, I like a balance between meaty meals and vegetarian fare. And since I love burgers, the idea of a meatless burger is very appealing. Unfortunately, I find most ready-made vegetarian burgers (especially the frozen variety) feeble (at best). So I developed my own. The combination of whole grain bread crumbs, cheese, roasted peppers and beans in the patty creates a hearty burger with a great texture. To give an extra oomph of flavor, I used two of my favorite spices for grilling, smoky cumin and smoked paprika, as well as my favorite herb, cilantro. I almost always have these ingredients on hand, which means I can whip these up in no time.

Developing the relish was a labor of love. I’m nutty for sweet/sour combinations (and I’m also a something of a beet freak—I’m on a personal crusade to convince others, including my husband), so the beets-oranges-olives combination was a natural. And just like the burger patties, it’s a breeze to prepare and I very often have all of the ingredients in my pantry (a little aside: I actually have many jars of bottled beets in the pantry because I was a runner-up in a beet recipe contest. The prize was a case of beets. My husband’s response? “Beets are never a prize.” But even he loves them in the relish for this burger). This is a burger both vegetarians and meat-lovers alike love—in short, it’s awesome.


2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
4 tablespoons Colavita Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, divided use
3/4 cup jarred whole beets, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 and 1/4 cups well-drained canned mandarin oranges, cut into 1/3-inch cubes
2/3 cup chopped shallots
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pitted green olives
Salt to taste
Fresh black pepper to taste
3 large slices multi-grain bread
1 15-ounce can light kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup chopped jarred roasted red bell peppers
1/2 cup minced shallots
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon smoked hot paprika (or substitute chipotle chile powder)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 cup (fairly packed--about 4 ounces) finely shredded Parmesan cheese
6 multi grain burger buns, split
8 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
2 and 1/2 cups bagged & pre-washed fresh baby arugula


To Make Relish: Whisk the lemon juice, marmalade and 2 tablespoons olive oil (reserve remaining olive oil for brushing grill) in a medium bowl. Mix in the beets, oranges, 2/3 cup shallots and olives. Season relish to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.

To make Burgers: Prepare gas grill to medium-high heat. Process bread slices into crumbs in a food processor. Transfer to large bowl.

Pulse beans, peppers, 1/2 cup minced shallots, cilantro, garlic, cornstarch, paprika, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt and egg in food processor until blended but slightly chunky. Add bean mixture and Parmesan cheese to bowl with breadcrumbs; gently mix to combine. Shape into 6 patties.

Toast buns on grill (cut side down) about 2 minutes. Brush grill rack with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Grill patties on grill rack, cover, and cook, turning once (be careful), until cooked through and crispy brown on outside, about 5-6 minutes per side. Divide goat cheese on patties for final 2 minutes of grilling. To serve, place equal portions of arugula, followed by a cheese-topped patty on bun bottoms; top with an equal portion of relish. Add bun tops and serve. Makes 6 burgers.


If your grill has large spaces between the bars on the grill rack, you can place a perforated grill tray (often used for fish) on top of the grill grate. Place on top of the preheated grill rack and allow to preheat, then brush with the olive oil.