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thai carrot burgers

Not only are these some of the best burgers we’ve ever tasted, but they are fun to make and are guaranteed to fill your kitchen with the warm and enticing fragrances of southeast Asia. The bold flavors of garlic, ginger, and serrano pepper mix with an irresistible blend of aromatic spices in a peanut-lime carrot foundation to create a burger that is deeply satisfying for your senses and your appetite.

These tender and juicy patties are so flavorful that you’ll be enjoying them too much to remember that they are actually good for you. And unlike most veggie burgers, these do not need condiments to dress them up. We have made this recipe many times without adding any toppings since the robust, tangy, and slightly spicy flavors can truly stand on their own.

That being said, we have found a delightful avocado-cilantro lime sauce that brings out the tanginess of the burgers without masking their complex flavor. It is simple, delicious, and you can quickly make it while the burgers are baking in the oven. Except for the avocado, all the sauce ingredients are also present in the patties, making it the perfect companion.

The recipe for the carrot burgers originally came from Veggie Burgers Every Which Way, but we have made a few changes. We double the lime juice and use more scallions to boost the flavor. And to improve the texture and to keep them from falling apart, we use whole eggs instead of egg whites, and make six patties instead of four gigantic ones. The avocado-cilantro lime sauce came from an enchilada recipe in The Oh She Glows Cookbook, and we amended it slightly by adding a bit more cilantro. Whether you decide to use the sauce or not, this Thai-inspired meal is a pleasure to make from start to finish.

Thai Carrot Burgers
adapted from Veggie Burgers Every Which Way by Lukas Volger
sauce adapted from The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon
makes 6 burgers

For the burgers:
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 bunch scallions (about 4 ounces), thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 serrano chile pepper, minced
1 pound carrots, grated
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
6 hamburger buns

For the sauce:
2/3 cup cilantro (about 1.5 ounces)
1 medium avocado, pitted
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

First, place the bread crumbs in a small dry skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the crumbs are golden brown and evenly toasted. Place them in a bowl to cool, and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place a large skillet over medium heat, and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the sliced scallions and cook until they soften, about 2 minutes. Then add the garlic, ginger, and serrano pepper, stirring and cooking for about 30 seconds. Then stir in the grated carrots, salt, coriander, turmeric, and cinnamon. Toss well to combine, cover skillet, and cook until the carrots are tender, stirring occasionally, about 6 to 8 minutes.

While the carrot mixture is cooking, combine the eggs, peanut butter, and lime juice in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. When the carrot mixture is done, add it to the bowl with the eggs and stir in the cilantro. Stir well to combine, then gently fold in the toasted bread crumbs. Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes, allowing the crumbs to soak up some of the moisture. Then shape into 6 even patties.

In a large oven-safe skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the patties and cook until browned on each side, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake uncovered for 12 to 15 minutes, until the burgers are firm and fully cooked.

While the burgers are in the oven, make the sauce. Place the cilantro in a food processor or blender, and pulse until chopped. Then add the avocado, lime juice, salt, garlic powder, and process until smooth and creamy.

Serve patties hot from the oven on hamburger buns, with sauce as needed.

a few notes:
— A food processor will make grating the carrots quick and easy and can be used again for the sauce… fewer dishes!
— Serrano peppers can vary widely in heat level. If you’re concerned about spiciness, removing the seeds and white ribs from the pepper before mincing will decrease its strength.