Hearty Farro and Mushroom Burger
This hearty burger, with farro and shiitake mushrooms, makes for a satisfying, meatless lunch.
About this Recipe
Burgers are pretty much the perfect food—hearty and satisfying; just what you want when you are really hungry. Add a side of French fries—golden-crisp on the outside; mealy-soft on the inside—and your beverage of choice, and you basically have the perfect lunch.
Except, sometimes that meal—which seemed super-satisfying at the time—can leave you feeling a little lethargic and drained a few hours later.
- 1 cup (200g) cherry tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons (40g) olive oil
- 1 whole clove garlic
- Pinch kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons (25g) olive oil, divided
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 4 ounces (115g) shiitake mushrooms, sliced, stems discarded
- 1 cup (150g) farro, rinsed and cooked according to package directions, drained, and cooled
- ½ cup (50g) panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup (15g) chopped parsley
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ cup (60g) mayonnaise
- 1 egg
- ¼ teaspoon salt and finely ground black pepper
- ½ cup (120g) mayonnaise
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon (15g) freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- ½ cup (15g) baby arugula
- 4 slices sharp cheddar cheese
- 4 brioche burger buns, split in half and lightly brushed with melted butter or olive oil
Veggie burgers are a lighter alternative to all that beef, although it is hard to find a good one, especially since I am not a huge fan of alternative proteins (meat substitutes made from products like soy or tempeh). I much prefer vegetarian dishes derived from pulse foods (like beans or lentils), grains, or produce.
Ten years ago, my friend Anna gave birth to her son about eight weeks ahead of schedule, resulting in a 100-day stay in the NICU at Seattle’s Swedish Hospital. I visited frequently during that period. We never wanted to be far from the hospital, so we would grab lunch at Skillet, a modern diner just a few blocks away.
I fell in love with their farro burger, which felt deeply satisfying, yet didn’t make me feel like I was going to pass out in a food coma an hour later while holding the baby. Farro is an ancient whole grain with a nutty flavor and a pleasant, toothsome texture, which pairs well with umami flavors like the shiitake mushrooms I have selected here.
Step by Step Instructions
In a medium bowl, combine the farro, panko, parsley, garlic powder, mayonnaise, egg, salt, and pepper until well-mixed. Add the mushrooms and shallots once cooled. Using your hands, form the burgers into four patties (if you find that they are not sticking together well, you may add a little more mayonnaise or beaten egg).
Heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat (you can use the same one in which you made the shallots and mushrooms) and add the shaped burger patties, cooking 3-4 minutes on each side (they should be browned on each side). Add a slice of cheddar atop each burger during the last two minutes of cooking, and cover.
Toast the buns by briefly heating in a skillet until browned (1-2 minutes). Transfer to serving dish.
Add a burger patty to each bun. Divide the aioli between the buns, spreading it generously on the top and a bit less on the bottom half of each bun. Top each burger patty with arugula and a few cherry tomatoes, and serve (you may discard or eat the whole garlic clove from the tomatoes). These burgers go well (of course) alongside French fries, or serve with potato chips or a light salad.
Optional: These are my favorite burger toppings, but add whatever you like—you may prefer fresh tomato slices (especially when tomatoes are garden-fresh in the summer), raw or fried onions, avocado slices, alfalfa sprouts… the possibilities are endless.
Vegetarian or not, it’s hard to think about a burger without an accompanying beer. The folks at Violet Wine say that the heartiness of this dish makes it a perfect burger for a wheat-based ale. Whether it be American, Belgian, or German, grab yourself a wheat ale! Violet Wine recommends local brewery Fulton Beer and their Lonely Blonde American Blonde Ale. But if it’s wine you are after, well then, a lovely Côte du Rhône from France could easily fit the bill. Again, many options at Violet Wine.