Category Archives: burgers

Food Matters Project #34: Rice & Lamb Burgers with Spinach & Tzatziki Sauce

It’s another Monday post of the Food Matters Project.  This week we’re hosting the recipe, and have chosen Mark Bittman’s Brown Rice and Lamb Burgers with Spinach, from The Food Matters Cookbook.

To catch up all of our readers, we joined the Food Matters Project with these fellow bloggers last winter.  Each week we have a new host, who chooses a recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.  The recipes are your own interpretation, and it’s great to see the creativity from all of the blogging participants.  To read more about the project, check out the web site here, and this is our schedule.  We’d love to have you join in!

Sam and I had hosted one dish so far on Fifth Floor Kitchen.  Almost exactly a year ago we hosted the Vegetables au Vin with Coq.  If you’d like to see the rest of our recipe interpretations, check out this list.

To host our 2nd recipe we chose another delicious one, although as always, we did make some changes.  As you all know, we recently moved from a condo to a house.  One of the bigger changes (aside from having more space and a bigger kitchen), is that we can finally have a grill!  Our fantastic realtor, Peter Raia, got us a wonderful housewarming gift- a new grill! What perfect timing to enjoy a burger, especially since yesterday DC had amazing weather- sunny and in the 60’s!

Tzatziki Sauce

How did we change the recipe from Mark Bittman’s original?  First, we added a tzatziki sauce, rather than using feta cheese.  We also used less rice (he had 1 cup) and more onion (1 whole one).  The biggest change is he did not use burger buns as we did, instead he placed each burger on the bed of spinach (and more of it, 1 lb).  Check out what creative ideas other bloggers came up with here.

Rice & Lamb Burgers with Spinach

Rice & Lamb Burgers with Spinach & Tzatziki Sauce
Inspired & Adapted from: The Food Matters Cookbook

Servings: 4 patties

Tzatziki Sauce
16 oz plain Greek yogurt
9 sprigs of mint leaves
1/2 tsp salt
juice of 1/4 lemon
1 cucumber, peeled

1 tbsp olive oil
3 cups of fresh spinach, roughly chopped

Burger Patties
1 1/4 lb ground lamb
1/4 cup cooked rice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 red onion, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground sumac
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

4 burger buns

To make the tzatziki sauce, blend together the Greek yogurt, mint, salt, and lemon juice in a food processor.  Also add in 3/4 of the cucumber and puree it.  Scoop out the tzatziki sauce into a bowl.  Chop the remaining 1/4 cucumber, and add it into the bowl, stir.  The sauce can be made ahead of time, and actually tastes great when it’s served cold.

To make the spinach, add the olive oil to a large skillet and allow to heat up.  Once the olive oil is hot, then add the spinach to the pan.  Stir occasionally until the spinach begins to soften and wilt, about 5 minutes.  Remove from the pan.

To make the burgers, mix the following ingredients in a mixing bowl: ground lamb, cooked rice, garlic, red onion, cumin, sumac, salt, and pepper.  Mix the ingredients together and form 4 patties.  These can be made ahead of time, or be added onto a grill right away.  Grill to 6-8 minutes on each side, depending on your preference of cooked meat.  If you do not have a grill, you can still make these on a skilled over medium-high heat, cooking the patties for about the same time until they are cooked through.

To make the burgers, place some spinach on the bun, then the burger patty.  Lastly, drizzle with tzatziki sauce.  Feel free to add tomato or onion slices.  Enjoy!

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

I hosted my Book Club at our house last week, there were 8 of us here to talk about The Corrections, and catch up on what’s going on in our lives.  Check out what else was on the Book Club menu!

As I mentioned, I was looking for “all-american” foods, but with a fun new twist.  How about Sloppy Joe’s?  A sloppy joe is an American dish which usually consists of ground beef, onions, tomato sauce (or ketchup) and additional seasonings.  It’s served on a bun, and tends to be very messy!

The origin of the sloppy joe sandwich is not definite.  Some say it started at a cafe in Sioux City, Iowa when a cook, by the name of Joe, made this sandwich.  Others, believe it was first made at Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West, Florida.  Most of us identify with the sauce that comes in a can: Hunt’s Manwich Sloppy Joes.

I did not want to serve my friends something out of a can, so instead I made my own sauce.  I added green bell peppers, garlic and some spices to give it a better flavor.  In addition, since not everyone in our Book Club eats meat- I decided to use the MorningStar Crumbles to make it vegetarian!  The texture was very similar to ground beef, and the sauce had the tomato flavors!


Vegetarian Sloppy Joes
Inspired from: Pinch My Salt

I was making these sloppy joe’s vegetarian, so I added the MorningStar Crumbles; but if you prefer to have a meat version, substitute 1 lb of ground beef.  Also, for a less spicy taste, omit the jalapeño.  This is something which can be made ahead (a day or two), allowing the flavors to blend together much better.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño, chopped (optional)
1 12oz package of MorningStar Farms Meal Starter Crumbles
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tomatoes, chopped
6 oz tomato paste
1 1/2 cup of water
hamburger buns

Heat up olive oil in a saucepan, then add the onion.  Sauté for about 4 minutes, until it’s translucent.  Then add the garlic, green bell pepper and jalapeño.  Cook for about 3 minutes, then add the meat, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper.  Stir well and cook all of these ingredients for about 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to mix together.  Add in the tomatoes, stir them in well.  Finally, stir in tomato paste and water.  Make sure all of the ingredients are stirred well, and allow to cook for about 5-10 minutes.

I put out the sloppy joe mixture and buns separately, allowing everyone to serve themselves.

Lentil Sloppy Joe’s

We don’t make too much meat at home, mostly when we go out to eat.  Although we only make meat at home once a week, it doesn’t mean that certain foods are off limits.  Therefore, when I was flipping through a vegan book which we own, I thought the lentil sloppy joe’s were a great idea!  Plus it was really easy to make- which is definitely an addition to weeknight meals.

Lentil Sloppy Joe’s
Adapted from: Veganomicon

1 cup uncooked lentils
4 cups of water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp Mexican-style chili powder
2 tbsp Ground Cayenne Red Pepper
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
6 oz Chili Sauce
6 burger buns

Heat water in a small saucepan, once it comes to a boil, add the lentils.  Lower the heat and simmer the lentils for about 20-30 minutes, until they are soft.  Drain, and set aside (you can make them the day before).

Preheat a saucepan over medium heat.  Saute the onion, green pepper and garlic  in the oil until onions are softened.  Stir in: cooked lentils, chili powder, cayenne, oregano and salt.  Then add the Chili Sauce, and heat through.  Turn off the heat, and let the ingredients sit for about 10 minutes.  Place on top of the buns and enjoy!