There are some aspects of life in New York that nobody warns you about. One of those is the, shall we say, interesting experience that is shopping at Trader Joe's. Going on a TJ's run is not simply a matter of making a grocery list and doing your best to stick to it (because let's face it, that cookie butter will end up in your cart whether it was on there or not). It's an event that requires mental sharpness, endless patience, and a trusty sidekick or two (this Buzzfeed article lays it out pretty well). But I digress. My point is that whenever we can re-create one of our favorite TJ's purchases at home, that's one less reason to make the trip to the 7th circle of hell that is Trader Joe's in Manhattan.
Trader Joe's makes amazing pizza flavored veggie burgers. Bear with me, because I know this sounds a little strange. But the sweetness of the tomatoes combined with little cheesy pockets of mozzarella? Oh my goodness they are good, and are a welcomed departure from the standard black bean variety. So when we saw a giant picture of a homemade pizza veggie burger on the cover of one of our favorite blogger's new cookbooks, it was like the stars had aligned. Minimalist Baker is a huge inspiration for us—her food always strikes the perfect balance of healthy and fun, creative and uncomplicated—so getting to see her new cookbook a little early was a dream come true. It is absolutely stunning, and you will want to pick it up ASAP—so I'd go ahead and pre-order the book now for when it is released on April 26th!
And boy are these burgers good! While hers are entirely vegan, goodness knows we couldn't make our pizza veggie burgers without a little cheese. With Parmesan and marinara sauce INSIDE the patty (a revelation!), along with fragrant shallots, garlic, and flecks of oregano and parsley, these veggie burgers have insane pizza flavor but in burger form. We served ours alongside baked oven fries, and would highly recommend you do the same. So here's to skipping the trip to Trader Joe's—and support an awesome blogger! Although let's face it, we'll be going back next weekend anyway for the cookie butter.
Homemade Pizza Veggie Burgers
Makes 4 large patties
- 2 large shallots, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, finely shredded
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs, plus more for coating
- 3 tablespoons marinara, plus more for serving
- salt and pepper
- 4 whole wheat English muffins
- 4 slices of mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)
Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the shallots and garlic and sautee until soft, 2-3 minutes.
Add the cooked shallots and the garlic to a large bowl. Dump in the chickpeas and use a fork to mash everything together. Mash until there are only a few whole chickpeas remaining. Use those muscles!
Add two tablespoons olive oil, the Parmesan, oregano, parsley, panko, marinara, salt and pepper to the chickpea mixture. Stir to combine. A dough should form and will hold together nicely when formed into a patty. If it is too wet, you can add more breadcrumbs, and if it is too dry you can add more olive oil.
Using your hands, pat the mixture into four even patties, each about one inch thick.
If you have extra breadcrumbs or Parmesan, gently coat the burgers with either/both to make for an extra crispy outer layer.
Heat remaining one tablespoon olive oil in the skillet. Add the burgers and brown for about five minutes on each side, lowering the heat if they get too brown.
In the meantime, toast the English muffins and heat up the extra marinara sauce for serving. In the last couple minutes of cooking, add a slice of the mozzarella to each patty, and cover the skillet so that the cheese has a chance to melt. Alternatively, you could stick the patties under the broiler for a minute or so until the cheese is brown and bubbly.
Serve on the toasted English muffin with the warm marinara, and enjoy!