Veggie Burger #2: Corn and Cheese Cakes

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After trying Deborah Madison’s Wild Rice Crepe-Cakes (see previous post), I realized that a simple pancake can be transformed into a full meal, simply by stirring in a few ingredients before cooking.  I wanted my pancakes to fill the role of a burger.  It needed to be filling, savory with a good dose of umami, and have a heft to it. Something when you pick it up, will let you know that eating this is more than a light snack. So I got to work.  Click here for the recipe.

I took a basic whole wheat pancake recipe and added sharp cheddar cheese for the umami and deliciousness factor.  Since I had cooked wild rice left over from the Wild Rice Crepe Cakes, I kept that for the heft and for an interesting texture.  But I think other grains would work just as well – I’d like to try these with some cooked barley or quinoa. Then I finely chopped some veggies to for flavor and crunch.  I was in the mood for some southwest flavor, so I used green onion, fresh corn, and poblano pepper.   I made the cakes quite large, but small would work as well.

The result:  hefty, beautiful cakes.  I was afraid the cheese would add too much oil and weigh the batter down, but it worked.  They weren’t light and airy, but who wants a fluffy burger?  They actually rose pretty well, and the cheese flavor wasn’t overpowering.   The vegetables were fun and flavorful, especially the corn.  Each bite gave a little burst of moist deliciousness.

We ate them topped with salsa, and they got high marks from the whole family.  They would probably be good cold the next day, but all of ours got gobbled immediately.

Veggie Burger Verdict: These are definitely contenders in the Veggie Burger Quest.  They held together well, had good deliciousness and umami, and had the heftiness I’m looking for.  Negatives:  you wouldn’t be able to cook these on a grill, and they would be unhappy encased in a bun.  They provide their own breadiness.

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Corn and Cheese Cakes

Big savory pancakes packed with grains, vegetables, and cheese. The veggies stay moist and the grains give an interesting texture. Top with your favorite salsa.  Two of these makes a whole meal.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped pepper – your choice of heat.  I used poblano, very mild
  • 1/2 cup corn, fresh or frozen (but fresh will be better)
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • canola oil
  • salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil or melted butter
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup cooked grains – I used wild rice, but quinoa, brown rice, or barley would also be good
  • freshly ground black pepper

Heat a little canola oil and briefly saute the onion, pepper, and corn for a couple of minutes.  Don’t overcook – just cook enough so that they are softened.

In a blender, combine eggs, salt, milk, oil or melted butter, ground pepper, and flour.  Blend until uniform.

Stir in the sauteed veggies, cheese, and cooked grains.

Heat about 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy frying pan or griddle.  Put enough batter on the pan to make big pancakes, about 5″ diameter, making sure to get some of the veggies and grain into each.

Flip when the edges are dry and the bottom is browned, in traditional pancake fashion, about three minutes on medium heat.

Brown the other side, then serve with a topping of your favorite salsa.

Serves 4-6 people.