Sometimes we crave a good burger, so with health in mind, here is one for you!  Mainly vegetarian, totally satisfying with no guilt trip, and a lot of nutrition with only 482 calories.  Try this healthy Spinach Burger and you will be convinced that vegetarian food can also be very delicious and enjoyable. 

1 hour and 15 minutes; serves four (or freeze for later!)

  • 4 SOURDOUGH BUNS (or your choice of buns), cut in half
  • 1 lb. FRESH SPINACH, packaged/cleaned and chopped small
  • 1 bunch FRESH PARSLEY, stems removed, washed, dried, and chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 bunch FRESH CILANTRO, stems removed, washed, dried, and chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup SHREDDED CARROTS ready packaged
  • ½ cup DRIED QUINOA
  • 1 cup WATER
  • ½ cup BREAD CRUMBS
  • 4 medium EGGS
  • 1 large or 2 medium TOMATOES, cut into 8 thin round slices
  • 4 tsp. MAYONNAISE
  • 5 tbsp. OLIVE OIL, divided
  • 1 tbsp. GARLIC POWDER
  • ½ tsp. SALT
  • ½ tsp. BLACK PEPPER

1. In medium nonstick pan over low-to-medium heat, combine one tablespoon olive oil and spinach. Cook uncovered for about fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the water from the spinach has evaporated. Remove from heat and let cool for about ten minutes.

2. While cooking spinach, start cooking the quinoa. In a small pot over low heat, combine one cup water and quinoa; cover and cook for twelve to fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally. When water has evaporated, remove from heat, and let cool for ten minutes.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine cooked spinach and cooked quinoa. Add parsley, cilantro, carrots, bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and mix. Add eggs and mix well.

4. In a large nonstick pan over low-to-medium heat, place two tablespoons olive oil. With a very large spoon, put four (equally divided) spoonfuls of spinach mixture into pan. Using the spoon, form five-inch patties about half an inch thick. Cover and sauté for six to eight minutes or until patties are golden underneath. Flip, add remaining two tablespoons olive oil, cover, and continue sautéing for six to eight additional minutes. (During the sautéing process, it is important to keep the pan covered to allow patties to sauté and cook without excess use of oil.) Remove from heat and set aside.

5. During the last ten minutes of sautéing, preheat oven to 375ºF. Place all buns face up on a baking tray, heat for one minute, and remove from oven (don’t let buns dry out). Place each spinach burger on the bottom bun, spread one teaspoon mayonnaise on each patty, and add two slices of tomato and half a cup basil or arugula. Close the burger and serve.

Nutrition Facts per Serving, Total calories: 482, Calories from carbohydrates: 94, Calories from fat: 280, Calories from protein: 108

Fara Bauer of La Quinta is the author of Fara’s Food Mainly Vegetarian and can be reached at (949) 572.8225.

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