Putting Al Roker to the Test

Since the last time I’ve written, so many things have happened in my life and throughout the world. Isn’t that always the case? Life is never stagnate. That can be a good thing and it can be a scary thing – and it can be both. Writing a food blog has been, and continues to be, an interesting process. I feel passionate about food and traveling to new places, both local and not so local, but I have to be in the right state of mind to write about my experiences. I always think about newscasters and how they deal with always being “on”. I would be a horrible newscaster (FYI I thought that was my possible career path at one time!). I would have a bad night sleep and go on air and pick a fight with my co-anchor. HA!

So after all of the amazing dinners I’ve had out or have made at home, all of the trips I’ve taken the past few months, all of the good and bad in life, what propelled me to write today? Al Roker’s Veggie Burger recipe. Now that deserves a huuuge  HA! (Insert Donald Trump’s voice for that one. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) Yep, a bean, rice and mushroom patty drove me to sit down today and write.

My go to Veggie Burger recipe has been one from Cooking Light, November 2013, Black Bean Burgers with Sriracha Aioli: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/black-bean-burgers-0. I’ve used that recipe so many times because it’s pretty tasty and it’s easy. However, I saw Mr. Roker share his burger recipe on The Today Show, and I quickly printed the recipe for Monday night’s dinner.

This is like the 2.0 of Veggie Burgers. I don’t even know what that means, but it sounds bad ass – and that describes these bad boys. The addition of mushrooms and brown rice makes these babies super hearty and extra delicious. Have a loved one who hates mushrooms? While in the food processor, whirl it a little extra so that you can’t identify a shroom and never tell them. Don’t like onions? Have you tried sautéing them long enough so that they become sweet and wonderful??? Yep? Still hate them?  OK, OK. Leave them out, but maybe give shallots a try? Hate shallots? Come on, you’re killing me. OK, OK, OK! I honestly can’t think of a good substitute for onions. I’ll keep thinking, and I’ll let you know if I come up with a substitute. One thing I did add to Al’s recipe: Sambal Oelek (or as we call it in our house Bob Golic). If you don’t have this in your house, stop reading RIGHT NOW, get in your car or walk to a grocery store AND BUY IT! It packs some heat so add as much or as little as you like. I plopped a healthy 2 soup spoon dollops into the mushroom and bean mixture, and I topped my burgers with sriracha. George likes it spicy!

Here’s the link to this winner of a dinner: http://www.today.com/recipes/al-s-veggie-burger-t99576  Below is the original recipe, and I have made slight changes that I have  boldly italicized. This recipe notes that it makes 4 burgers and it is 4 servings. I was able to make 6 very decent sized burgers. For dinner, I  had 1 1/2 burgers and Franz had 2 1/2. I served this without a bun, opting for Lavash and homemade hummus on the side. This would be great with a tomato and cucumber salad, too!


Veggie Burger 2016

Here’s a shot before I sautéed these little gems and put them in the oven to finish.

Al’s Veggie Burger

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup white onion, diced   I happened to have a red onion. Doesn’t really matter, just sauté enough for it to get golden, buttery and sweet. Also, I sautéed about a cup. 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced I never measure garlic. I just chop a ton of it and add it in.
  • 2 cans black beans, drained
  • 10 medium button mushrooms, stems removed
  • 2 Tablespoons Sambal Oelek – again, this is a chile paste, so add more or less depending on how spicy you like your food. Or you can leave it out and break my heart in the process.
  • 1 teaspoon cumin I doubled the amount. You could add some turmeric as well. Why not??
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup Sriracha* From here to the avocado, all ingredients with a *, is all up to you. I think it’s much easier to eat without a bun and have toppings, Lavash or pita, or a salad on the side.
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise*
  • 4 whole wheat buns*
  • 6 leaves Bibb lettuce*
  • 1 tomato, sliced*
  • 1 avocado, sliced*

1. In a large non-stick skillet, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and sauté the garlic and onion until cooked. Set aside.

2. In a food processor, add 1 can of the drained black beans, mushrooms, and sambal oelek. Pulse five to six times. The mixture should be slightly chunky. (I made my mixture a bit smoother. It really is personal preference or if you need to hid certain ingredients from someone.)

3. In a large bowl, combine the bean and mushroom mixture, cooked onions and garlic, second can of drained black beans, cumin, dash of turmeric, salt and pepper, egg, brown rice and whole wheat bread crumbs. Mix together until combined and then form into 4 burger patties.

4. Preheat the oven to 350°.

5. In a non-stick skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the patties and brown them on both sides. Place the burgers in the oven and cook until the center is cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes. This is where I opted to end the recipe, but feel free to make it your way!

6. In a small bowl, add the Sriracha and mayonnaise. Stir to combine.

7. To build each burger, smear the Sriracha mayo on the bottom buns , then add the burger, lettuce, tomato, avocado and top bun.

8. Serve with Al’s Baked Sweet Potato Fries and extra Sriracha mayo on the side.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did! Thanks, Al and The Today Show! (Side note, years ago I saw the Broadway show Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me. Al Roker was in the audience and was brought onto the stage. It was totally off the cuff and Al just rolled with it. I became a bigger fan of his that night!)

Take Care and Happy Eating!


5 thoughts on “Putting Al Roker to the Test

  1. Awesome! I will definitely give this a try, thanks for all the tips and additions to make this a tasty, healthy option!

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