Red Zone

Forget the meat; these burgers are full of flavor

Veggie burgers
Veggie burgers

So far in this weekly Red Friday space, we’ve sampled a variety of foodie fare: hearty pork chops, traditional baked beans, delicate seared scallops and burnt ends chili.

Today, we veer to the Left Coast for something entirely different:

Veggie burgers.

Now, before you poo-poo today’s tailgate/party suggestion, understand that these suckers are tasty as can be.

They are bursting with fajita flavors thanks to a lineup of ingredients than includes peppers, onion, cilantro and chili powder.

You can slap these meat-free burgers on a bun or a salad. And best of all, they’re surprisingly filling yet totally healthy.

Beer Pairing

Drive north out of San Francisco on the Redwood Highway, past the hippie enclaves of San Rafael and Novato (where a giant Birkenstock factory looms over the 101), and you arrive in Americana, USA: Petaluma, Calif. It’s there you’ll find the Lagunitas Brewery, for our money one of the most dependable craft-beer purveyors in Northern California. Their entire lineup is lip-smacking good, but for versatility (think love-child of IPA and wheat), ain’t no beating a Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale.

Craving More

Digging this week’s recipe selection? You’ll love The Star’s Food section. Fill up on the latest edible inspirations at Kansas City’s No. 1 recipe source:

Karma Chow Veggie Burgers

Makes 8 to 10 patties

1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into chunks

1/2 red or yellow onion, cut in chunks

1 cup spinach

1/2 bunch cilantro

3/4 cup cooked brown rice

1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 tablespoons tomato paste or unsweetened ketchup

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2 to 2 cups whole-wheat or gluten-free breadcrumbs

Vegetable or coconut oil, for sauteing

Sliced red onion, sliced tomato, lettuce, mustard and ketchup, for serving

Using a food processor, blend pepper, onion, spinach and cilantro until mixed together and somewhat liquidy. Pour into a medium bowl.

In food processor, separately pulse brown rice and chickpeas together. Add to bowl containing veggie mixture. Add chili powder, tomato paste and sea salt, and stir together to mix well. Add breadcrumbs and combine until burgers stick together. If the burgers feel too wet, add more breadcrumbs.

Form mixture into patties and cook on a skillet with coconut oil on the bottom of the pan over medium heat until browned on both sides.

Serve with sliced red onion, avocado, tomato, lettuce, mustard or ketchup.