The Challenge: Design, cook, and implement a dinner menu for a backyard wedding with 80 guests and a budget of $1000. Today we tackle the problem of a vegetarian entree.
I’m going to take the risk of driving everyone bananas by pointing out one more time that I am not a meat-less type of person. I know I’ve mentioned it before. And probably several times after that, but I’m bringing it up again to give you some idea of how challenging it’s been for me to come up with a good appropriately themed vegetarian main dish for the wedding.
To recap for those who have just joined us, I’m handling the catering for cousin Kyra’s wedding to Matt (the most important vegetarian!). The wedding is in a backyard, and food is going to be bbq/picnic style. Pulled pork, pasta salad, potato salad, will be gracing the table among other things. This is all well and good, except what on Earth do you make for a vegetarian main dish?
I feel like vegetarians kind of get the short end stick at a picnic. All side dishes but no main course. I really don’t want this to happen at the wedding.
So I brainstormed. By myself. With my husband. With the bride and groom. With my Mom. I scoured the internet. I tested recipes galore, including a lovely ratatouille, a killer garlic and ginger tofu (Yes! I’m actually saying the tofu was good… I’ll share the recipe some time so you can see for yourselves.), but nothing was quite right. Finally, while I was chatting with the bride and groom it came to me! Veggie burgers. And not those yucky, comes in a box, in the frozen section, veggie burgers. Something homemade, flavorful, that even I, the not-meat-less girl would eat. So black bean, chickpea, and quinoa burgers were born.
(I suppose these are more of a legume and grain burger then a veggie burger technically, but it gets the job done…. and darn it all if I didn’t end up using quinoa in another recipe!)
These burgers are so flavor packed. I would actually eat them, like on purpose, on a regular basis. The trick is plenty of spices, flavorful ingredients like caramelized onion, black beans (which I personally adore), and green chilies.
These are great topped with cheese, or any of the traditional burger condiments, but they also rock all on their own. So finally, a real main dish for the vegetarians! Hurah!
♫ Problem solved, the problem is solved, we solved the problem, everything is awesome, problem solved! ♫ (Yeah my kids have been watching Peg + Cat lately.)
Also a side note: As written this recipe is vegan. The patties can be more on the delicate, crumbly side. However, feel free to add an egg, to act as a binder. It will make the patties easier to work with.