Indian Cottage Cheese (Paneer) + Kale & Black Bean Burger with Hot Pineapple Poblano Salsa & Vegetable Chips

So #NationalHamburgerDay was 3 days ago. Guess what guys? I missed the boat! :( Needless to say I was bummed. I wanted to do a recipe for that day, but just couldn't pull it off mid-week. Well for us 'rents who work crazy hours and on top of that are proud food bloggers, some slack need be cut!

So I'm effectively celebrating National Hamburger Day this weekend, and I've got a crazy good recipe for you! Way healthier, way more satisfying, and way more delicious than our good ol' Hamburger.

Nothing wrong with a Hamburger, per se, but sometimes I wonder if we do enough justice to this amazing genre of food—the Burger. There are so many possibilities, and so many variations, but somehow our obsession with meat between two buns has stayed. Trust me, I love that too sometimes, yet I walk away feeling enjoying something I already expected. It's predictable.

Well then. Let's blow that predictability away today. I've been thinking about this for a while, toiling away at the nuances to make the most badass and bold and satisfying and hulk of a vegetarian burger, that can get in the ring with a meat burger and kick it in its shank.

I present you the Indian Cheese (Paneer) + Kale & Black Bean Burger with a hot Pineapple salsa served with Vegetable chips. Sounds good already doesn't it? And let's talk about what it packs. Indian Cottage Cheese or as Indians call it Paneer. Excellent source of vegetable Protein to keep you going. Loaded with Calcium for this whitey pearls, and a great source of Conjugated Linoleic acid, an important fatty acid, that helps burn fat quicker. Kale needs no introduction! It is a star vegetable, a celebrity that has shot to fame like no other, and rightly so. It packs one of the most nutrients per ounce and is here to stay on top of the list! And Black Beans… my favorite! Creamy, meaty, and rich, they're a great source of protein, fiber, and antioxidants. This is almost a super food, and tastes awesome. And to top it off, sweet, smoky and spicy home made fresh Pineapple salsa.

All planets align. This is the best day of my life!

Another interesting thing about this burger is what's on its side. Those chips. I've actually been following this company called Bandar Foods that was Kickstarted a few months ago, and what drew me to them was how simply the fused Indian and American tastes and flavors. Since that's what Nomaste is all about I wanted to try their product and reached out to them to see if I could maybe have some fun with their product in my recipes. Needless to say they happily obliged :) If you haven't had a chance, try them out, their snacks use nothing but food as ingredients (refreshing, right?) and especially the crisp harvest vegetables are sweet and savory! I used these chips as a coating for my burger patties to give it a crispy crust, and it worked out well!

This burger is so good and packed with so much goodness, you'd think it looks like cardboard. But wait till you read this through to see what this bad boy looks like! (Subtle hint:) It's gorgeous! But I dare you! I dare you to not skip ahead, and to read through the entire recipe before you see the final shot. Deal? Cool! Let's get to it then, shall we?


Indian Cottage Cheese (Paneer) + Kale & Black bean Burger with Hot Pineapple Poblano Salsa & Vegetable Chips

Makes 1 large double cheeseburger

Ingredients

Salsa Ingredients (you will have salsa leftovers)

1 Cup fresh ripe Pineapple (cut into small cubes)

1/4 cup Red pepper (cut into small cubes)

1/4 cup Fire-roasted Poblano pepper (cut into small cubes)

1/4 cup Onion (cut into small cubes)

1/4 cup Corn (I used frozen, thawed under running water)

1/2 Jalapeño (chopped fine, with seeds. If you like it less spicy discard seeds)

1 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin

1/4 Fresh Cilantro (cut into small cubes)

1 tsp Salt

Juice of 1 Lime

Vegetable Burger Ingredients

1 Brioche bun

1 tbsp Butter (melted)

1 cup Paneer–Indian Cottage Cheese (you can substitute with Tofu, but Paneer is highly recommended)

1 cup fresh Kale (chopped)

1 cup fresh Black beans (boiled for 45 minutes – 1 hour till soft and tender)

4-5 baby Bella Mushrooms (chopped)

1 clove Garlic (chopped)

1 tsp Cumin powder

1 tsp Corriander powder

1 tsp Chipotle powder

1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro (chopped)

1/2 cup Lentil Chips/Poppadum (I used Bandar Chips)

1/2 cup Vegetable chips (Bandar Chips)

1 leaf lettuce

2 slices Mozzarella cheese (optional)

1 tsp Salt

2 tsp Oil


First things first, we should get the Black Beans squared away. Start 4 cups water to boil. When it reaches boiling temps add the black beans and turn to medium and cover. Stir every 15 minutes. This should take an hour. Ideally you could take care of this the day before!

Now in the meantime, let's make the salsa. Guys, this salsa is as simple as it is amazing and refreshing! It comes together in a snap and elevates everything it touches!

It is as easy as adding all the ingredients from the salsa list mentioned about and giving it a good shake. Once done, give it a quick taste for seasoning and re-season if needed. Mind blown? I know!

 Fire roasting the Poblano pepper

Fire roasting the Poblano pepper

 Salsa ingredients

Salsa ingredients

 Look at this plate of Salsa.

Look at this plate of Salsa.

Toss this salsa into the fridge to come together while we make our burgers.

For the burgers, start a pan on medium flame. When the pan gets hot, add 1 tbsp oil and add the Garlic. Sautee it for a 30 seconds, and add in the chopped Mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Move that around for a minute or till ti looses some of the inherent water/moisture. Now add the Kale and sautee that around for 3 to 4 minutes and turn off flame.

 Kale and 'shrooms.

Kale and 'shrooms.

Check on your black beans, they should be getting close to being done. While they get the finishing touches, let's make our Paneer mix.

In a bowl, roughly crumble up the Paneer with your hands and toss it in a bowl. Add the salt, Cumin, Corriander and Chipotle and mix.

 Paneer and spices

Paneer and spices

Now it's time to take the black beans off the stove and drain the water out, and run them under cold water till they're cool enough to handle. Transfer the Kale mix and beans into a food processor and mix well. The beans will break down into a smooth paste and the Kale will be coarsley chopped. This is good, and how we want it to be! Add the bean paste to the bowl with the Paneer and incorporate well, making sure to keep some of Paneer clumpy. Texture kids! Texture. And also....time to get stoked guys, we're almost there!

 Paneer and Kale and Bean mix

Paneer and Kale and Bean mix

 Clumpy and good!

Clumpy and good!

Once folded in, add the onions.

Mix it one last time, and make two, 1"-1 1/2" thick patties. Yeah they're big, you were warned :) Once done, set them aside, and in a coffee grinder or mortar pestle, finely crush both types of chips.

 Bandar Chips! They're good for you and just plain good!

Bandar Chips! They're good for you and just plain good!

 Paneer Kale Bean Patties

Paneer Kale Bean Patties

Before we pan fry the burgers, start your oven to 350 degrees if you're using cheese, if not skip this step. Start a pan on medium high heat with 1 tsp oil. Coat the patties in the chip crumbs one by one, and drop it in the hot pan one at a time. Fry each side for 3-4 minutes and repeat for the second burger.

 the burgers coated with chip crumbs

the burgers coated with chip crumbs

 The burger, nice and crusty.

The burger, nice and crusty.

Now when both burgers are done, add the cheese slices and transfer on a tray into the oven for 3 to 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted. In the meantime, slice the Brioche in half and add some melted butter and toast it in the same pan as the burgers, till it's nice and toasty. Remove form pan. By now the burgers should be done, and the cheese melted. Remove from oven.

Bring out the salsa from the fridge as well as the lettuce. On the lower half of the bun, place a leaf of lettuce, and place one patty on top. Layer in some salsa generously. Add the second patty and finally the salsa to top it all off. Serve with some sweet and savory vegetable crisps.

And we are done! This looks stunning! Ok now you can see how it looks like. Looks good right?

 The Panner. Kale. Black Bean. Vegetarian and proud. Burger!

The Panner. Kale. Black Bean. Vegetarian and proud. Burger!

I hope today I've given you some ideas and hope for vegetarian burgers. They're really frowned upon, only because we haven't given it our best, like we've given our meat counterparts. I like both, but there's something unexpected about a vegetarian burger that blows you away, that a meat burger can't pull off.

Please try this at home, and do drop me a line.

Much love to you all, and I wish you a happy #NationalHamburgerDay or maybe #NationalVegetarianBurgerDay. Either way, burgers are awesome :)

Nomaste.