My husband Jim is the best recipe taste tester. There are very few foods he doesn’t like and he’s willing to try just about anything I’ve cooked. But if I have a really odd culinary experiment in mind, I wait until he’s out of town. Usually the experiments don’t work out exactly as I want, but I always learn something, and the next time I try to create a similar recipe, it isn’t such a stretch.
Last February on a long weekend, I tried a handful of things. One was so bad I don’t even remember what it was (but I’m sure learned something!) and another experiment was tasty but it stuck to the pan. But I also made some tofu-cashew paneer that I was really happy with (more on that later). Finally, I made these cauliflower millet burgers, something I had wanted to make for ages. I was really happy with them and wondered why I had waited so long to try them. So when I told Jim on the phone what I had made for dinner, I was surprised when he said, “That sounds weird. I don’t know if I’d want to eat those.” Luckily, he was a good sport when I made more, and he soon changed his mind. Yay for being married to an adventuresome eater! I promise you these aren’t weird at all, just savory and delicious.
I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to add curry powder to these or not. So, I left it out and then stirred curry powder into mayonnaise along with some mustard for a spread. This way each diner gets to decide whether they want curry flavors or not; these are delicious either way.
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets, about 5 cups
- 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced, about 1 cup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
- 1 teaspoon mild chili powder (ancho or Kashmiri)
- 3/4 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
- 3/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 6 cloves garlic, whole, unpeeled
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup millet
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon mustard (I used spicy brown mustard)
- 3/4 teaspoon curry powder
Preheat oven to 425 F. Oil a large baking pan. Toss cauliflower florets and onion slices in olive oil. In a small bowl, mix together the coriander, chili powder, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seed, salt, and red pepper flakes. Toss spices into the cauliflower and onion. Transfer to the baking pan. Wrap the garlic cloves in a small piece of aluminum foil and place in the corner of the pan. Roast for 15, remove the garlic, and stir the remaining vegetables. Roast the remaining vegetables for another 10-15 minutes, until cauliflower is tender and starting to brown.
Transfer the cauliflower and onion to a food processor. Unwrap the garlic and squeeze the roasted garlic out of its peels into the processor. Pulse to finely chop the vegetables, but don't grind to a smooth paste. Transfer about 3/4 of the vegetables to a large bowl, leaving the remainder in the food processor. Add the cilantro the bowl.
Bring millet and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15-18 minutes, until water is absorbed. Transfer about 3/4 of the millet into the large bowl with the vegetables and the remainder into the food processor. Add the tahini, turmeric, and 1 tablespoon water to the processor. Grind this mixture to a smooth paste. (This is what will hold your veggie burgers together.) Spoon this mixture into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Stir well.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Wipe off the baking pan and oil again. To form the burgers, pack the mixture tightly into a 1/2-cup measuring cup. Wet your hands and tip out the burger mixture. Flatten to the size of a burger bun, shaping the edge with your thumb. Transfer to the baking pan and repeat to form 6 burgers. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn the burgers over and bake for another 10 minutes until golden.
Mix together the curry spread ingredients. Serve burgers on buns with the spread, lettuce, and tomato.